Thanks to Alisa/Bollywood Newbie for the idea! I always think it is good to give positive feedback, so let’s talk about what actresses we admire most for what they have done for women. Maybe it will just be me and Alisa going back and forth, but we’ll have a good time and that is good enough.
First, Feminist! As I am defining it for this post:
Actively working towards parity between the genders.
Now, what I personally look for in an actress (which you can feel free to disagree with):
Directly using her industry position and power to help other woman move forward in the profession and also indirectly using her position as a public figure to model good behavior.
For me, the best actress in the Hindi industry for this would be……Sonam Kapoor!!!! She is producing with her sister female lead films that help raise up other actresses, along with showing that women can produce films. Veere Di Wedding alone is an enormous accomplishment for all women in the industry, not just the 4 featured in it.
Plus, she models strong female friendships, a working woman who is also married, and a healthy body image (check out this essay here).
Next would be Anushka Sharma, also running her own production house. So far her female focused movies have just starred herself, but that’s still something, making a choice to do interesting strong female roles in her own films instead of working behind and for a man.
And of course she is not just a married working woman, she is married to someone arguably more famous than she is with a more demanding career, and yet they work around each other as a real partnership.
And then there’s the Malayalam actresses, who are a whole different level. Parvathy, Bhavana, Manju Warrier, Rima Kallingal, and others are trying to create a long standing organization to work towards reform and putting their careers on the line to do it. I’ll pick out Rima Kallingal in particular, just because she has taken the additional responsibility of being the outspoken public face.
(Registering their association as an official Society)