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Ayushi Agarwal

IWB Blogger

Aishwarya Rai With A Cat: A New Image Of Women In Power?

  • IWB Post
  •  October 8, 2015


There are some pictures that make you ponder. They hold a certain charm, or rather they possess a certain power to transport you to the planet of contemplation. There exists neither a reason, nor a logic for this phenomenon (Maybe there does, but isn’t mystery endearing?). One look of the October edition of Condé Nast Traveller’s cover and the wheels of my brain started turning at an embarrassing speed.


The cover features Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who looks absolutely ethereal and regal in a classic Sabyasachi sari and a 1930’s-inspired hair-do. Beautiful strings of pearls adorn her delicate nape and a black-as-a-night feline purrs comfortably in her arms. Her frame, despite of being dainty, exudes poise, confidence, luxury and fortitude. Power. Four large Louis Vuitton trunks rest beside her, while her vanity case is being fetched by a tall, burly man clad in a Jodhpuri. It is as vintage as it can possibly get!

She has been clearly depicted as a rich, powerful woman leading a luxurious life. She’s also perhaps a cat lady. This image, however, has an added connotation. Women with cats have long been equated with spinsterhood. Adding to this, such women are viewed as being romantically challenged (Yes, I mean that), or rather women who are more career oriented and therefore, lonely.

So, do career oriented, powerful women end up alone, with no one for companionship? Except for cats. Strong women have been subjected to a plethora of stereotypes over the years. If a woman stands on the top-rung of an organisation, she is often pictured as an “ice-queen”, or single and lonely, or sometimes even as androgynous. Alpha women are considered to be as unsympathetic power mongers, who are icy and unfeminine. On the other hand, if such a woman does show emotion, she gets a reputation of being fragile or unstable. Its a no-win situation.

I believe, stereotypes often have a reason behind them, and this stereotype has ‘MEN’ written all over it. Most men are secretly intimidated by women, and more so by women in power. Hackneyed stereotypes not only undermine the women, but their power as well. These collective notions sink in their subconcious and makes it harder for them to function. (Not a man hater, believe me!)

A lot of women have reported feeling lonely due to the blatant lack of support, once they’ve assumed a leadership role. Women are judged, and more so by other women. It is no secret that a human needs to have an intimate connection and friendly companionship for survival.

Psychoanalyst and Biographer Dr. Alma H. Bond has written a book on the presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, where she claims, ‘Hillary is lonely, has trouble expressing her feelings and yearns for an intimate relationship with a powerful woman,’. The keyword here: WOMAN.

For women, friendship with like-minded people holds greater significance than a love connection. Women understand and help each other in a better manner, warding off men who are incapable of seeing a woman in power due to their own egotistical reasons.

Men and women alike, need to rise above these stereotypes. Alpha women exist, and will continue to rise in numbers. Men need to start getting comfortable with the success of their counterparts; and only those men who can love their partners regardless of their position on the career ladder, should apply for the job. There needs to be a transition from insecurity to mutual appreciation.

Before being an alpha woman, she’s a woman. And before that, she’s a human. She has worked hard to get where she is, and she does not deserve to be lonely.

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