Shah Rukh Khan, the wildly popular Indian film actor who has appeared in more than 80 Bollywood movies, said in a recent interview that he’ll behead his sons if they ever misbehave with a woman.
Khan, known to his fans as SRK, is the father of two sons, ages 16 and 3, and a 19-year-old daughter. The megastar has some unorthodox—some would say bizarre—ways of teaching his sons to respect women. He claims to be bringing them up to “treat all as equals” and vows they will have no extra privileges over girls, beginning with an egalitarian dress code at home. “I believe that a man in his house doesn’t have the right to go shirtless in front of his mother, sister or women friends,” he said in an interview with the Indian publication Femina. “I tell [16-year-old] Aryan to put on a T-shirt all the time.”
SRK, who was born a Muslim and is raising his children to respect both Islam and their mother’s Hindu faith, explained, “If you’d feel uncomfortable seeing your mother, daughter, sister, women friends without their clothes on, why would you expect them to accept you shirtless?” He added, “It’s got nothing to do with having breasts or not—don’t do something a girl can’t do.”
He’s also adamant that his sons not mistreat women. “And I know that if either of my sons ever misbehaves with a woman, I’d behead him,” he said. SRK didn’t define what he meant by “misbehaves.’
The actor’s views stem from his belief that women are superior to men. “From creating life to taking so much sh*t in your daily life and using it as your strength—the simple act of boarding a local train, being leched at, not getting a job because of your gender—it’s shocking how much a woman has to take every day,” he said. “As men, we should all experience what it is like and still stay strong.”
“I’d like to be a woman,” SRK told Femina. “Physically, I’m not. Mentally and emotionally, I’d like to be one. Sometimes there is a part in me that when I see feminists becoming aggressive, I want to step up in their support. I don’t think women are weak but I’m the kind of guy who would take off my jacket and put it across a puddle for a woman to walk.”
Even though he doesn’t allow his sons to wander around the house with their shirts off, he doesn’t seem to mind that his daughter, Suhanad, 19, is following in her father’s footsteps and pursuing an acting career, where she’ll constantly be “leched at” by all sorts of men who aren’t even related to her.
“I’d like her to be on the cover of magazines like all my heroines are, wear any kind of clothes she wants to wear, and look sexy and beautiful,” he said. “I want her to feel attractive, beautiful and respected, and more importantly, I want her to work hard. There are days when I feel down—the only reason I get up and go to work is when I think of her. I have only one mandate where she’s concerned: she can act, but she has to study first.”
He also has some rules for guys who want to date his daughter:
- Get a job.
- Understand I don’t like you.
- I’m everywhere.
- Get a lawyer.
- She’s my princess, not your conquest.
- I don’t mind going back to jail.
- Whatever you do to her, I will do to you.
SRK’s bottom line? Women shouldn’t aspire to be equal to men because if they do “your aim is too low—you’re belittling yourself.”
Is he the chivalrous knight who wants to protect women or some kind of third-wave feminist who thinks of them as his equals? It sounds like he’s trying to have it both ways. You don’t take your jacket off to protect your equal from a puddle, nor do you objectify an equal and celebrate it as an accomplishment when she wins acclaim as a sex symbol.
Is this what you get when you mix Islam, Hinduism, Bollywood, and American feminism? If so, run away if anyone ever offers it to you!