#GirlPower: Charu Khurana Challenges One of Bollywood's Most Sexist "Laws"

#GirlPower: Charu Khurana Challenges One of Bollywood's Most Sexist "Laws"

When you think makeup, you automatically think girls, right? You’d be surprised to know, then, that up until now women were not allowed to become makeup artists in film industries in India! A long-standing archaic law bars women from registering themselves as licensed makeup artists, and the Cine Costume Make-up Artists and Hair Dressers Association (CCMAA), in fact, routinely raids film sets and fines women who flaunt this rule. Essentially, in the twenty-first century, women are allowed to be hairdressers, but they dare not venture into makeup territory! It took one courageous woman to finally decide enough was enough and challenge this derogatory law. And her name is Charu Khurana.

charu khurana

Charu Khurana on the sets of Raavan with Abhishek Bachchan. Source.

A fully trained makeup artist, she applied to the CCMAA for a membership card, but for months was denied it on some pretext or the other. After she was fined Rs 25,000 for working as a makeup artist on a film, Khurana decided to take the matter to court. After five long years, the Supreme Court has finally declared that the 59-year-old rule is “constitutionally impermissible discrimination” and that if the court doesn’t hear a positive response from the CCMAA, it will pass an order to remove this rule completely. This is what the court said about this highly sexist rule:

"You better delete this clause on your own. Remove this immediately. We are in 2014, not in 1935. Such things cannot continue even for a day."

We, at POPxo, congratulate Charu Khurana for this landmark victory and hope that we’ll see more and more women makeup artists in the film industry now. :)

charu khurana

In the meantime, let's not forget that there are still several professions and activities that women are legally barred from, or are under intense social pressure to not undertake! Here are a few things women are not allowed access to of have to suffer through in India.

1. Combative fighting positions in the army

charu khurana

Image: defenceforumindia.com

Women in India and in several other countries are allowed to join the army as doctors, administrators, service and communications people, but are not permitted to fight in case of war. Wondering why that is? Beats us too.

2. Easy and legal abortion

charu khurana

Image: uptowncollective.com

Getting an abortion in India is doubly difficult for women. Though it is legal, there are a huge number of clauses that need to be fulfilled before an abortion can be performed. Secondly, the moral judgement and stigma that follow make it even tougher for women to do it openly.

3. Visiting temples or entering kitchens while chumming

There is no reasonable explanation for this one at all. NONE.

4. No need to enforce road safety rules for women?

charu khurana

Image: telegraph.uk

Isn’t NOT penalizing women who don’t wear helmets and seat belts a message that their lives are worth much less than those of men?

5. Derogatory passport rules for unwed mothers

charu khurana

The government recently told the Bombay High Court that while applying for her child’s passport, unwed mothers are required to declare how the child was conceived, whether she was raped, and why she chooses not to include the father’s name on the passport.

6. Goan law on polygamy

This infamous law allows a Hindu man to marry a second time if his first wife fails to bear children by the age of 25 or if she does not have a male child by age 30.

7. Differences in legal marriageable age for boys and girls

Men can marry by 21, but women are extended this death sentence at 18. Why? Is this differentiation not clearly a result of a typically patriarchal mindset that believes women must marry soon(er) and start procreating?

8. No sanitation structure

charu khurana

Image: anushayspoint.com

This is not as simple as just the lack of bathrooms. Studies suggest that most women in rural areas are forced to defecate in public (open fields, etc.), as a result of which they become victims of routine sexual harassment and violence.

9. Education

charu khurana

For an average Indian girl, getting herself educated is an everyday struggle. If you don't belong to an affluent community, not only are most parents opposed to the idea of their daughters studying, but also the community at large is suspicious of educated women and prefers that girls be married off as soon as possible.

10. Aid against sexual violence

charu khurana

Image: abceblog.com

A woman is raped every 30 minutes in India. And yet the entire redressal system - police and the law - is stacked in opposition to her. Police officers refuse to file complaints while lawyers take particular pleasure in harassing rape survivors further.

Here's hoping that there are more Charu Khuranas every day, everywhere. And that they change the world that we live in. And let's do our bit too? :)

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