There were a time and era where there was no such thing such as political correctness that is to say or write something as is seen or perceived for e.g a blind person was a blind person and it was not considered rude or inappropriate to describe him or her in that matter.
However, we now live in an entirely different age where everything was done and said has to be carefully taken into consideration least it is misconstrued as offensive or insensitive.
There is not much brouhaha when the average Joe does but all hell seems to break loose if it is done by a celebrity or iconic film star. This was the case with Mrs. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, when a full-page advertisement for Kalyan Jewellers appeared in The Hindu (Delhi edition) on April 17, 2015, in which she was featured reclining in a settee, bejeweled, gracefully poised in a calm demeanor. Behind an underage emaciated black slave boy is struggling to hold an oversized umbrella from preventing her fair skin to be tanned by the sun.
The advertisement was received in poor taste as social activists, feminine groups, Anti-child labor activist, and rights groups criticized Ms. Rai Bachan as being insensitive, condoning child labor and racism. The portrait displayed according to detractors was reminiscent of colonial times, an era of child servitude and blacks being used for menial work.
Aishwarya Rai’s intentions were pure. She did not analyze or view it in the same perspective as many others did for as already said we live in a very politically correct world and that the slightest misjudgment of saying anything or advertising something can draw a lot of flak from the media and the public in general.
Another fashion shoot ad by Pakistan designer Aamna Aqeel drew a lot of hype in 2013 in which beautiful white women attired in the latest fashion garments adorned with jewelry being served by a black child was featured.
There are many people who believe that people like Ms. Rai should and must display a greater sense of responsibility and sensitivity as they are Ambassadors of goodwill, Brand Ambassadors and role models to millions of fans and admirers. Any deviation in behavior or acts displayed against the norm is not acceptable.
Stars and controversies are intertwined or inseparable for no matter what they do the media glare is so bright that they get scorched so to speak.
The latest star to be embroiled in a controversy is the beautiful star of the new American drama thriller Quantico, Priyanka Chopra whose only slip up was so that she appeared on the cover of Conde Nast Traveller magazine advertising a top considered insensitive.
The top has the words “migrant”, “refugee” and “outsider” crossed out while the word “traveler” stands out. Both the actress and Conde Nast were criticized over the “privileged” message, with many pointing out that being a refugee was “not a choice”.
Conde Nast told the BBC their intention was to highlight labeling of people. The magazine was very clear that they wanted to send a message about addressing xenophobia with labels.”
It is always a question of interpretation ‘whereas the makers of the ad presented a positive perspective of the ad while many viewers thought otherwise. The message was according to the magazine is that ‘We are all travelers’
Conde Nast also put out a statement in which it stood by the cover and tried to clarify the intention behind the photograph. Explaining that it believed in a “world without borders” and “had a point to make”, the statement said: “We must recognize that we are all on a journey.
The word most objected to was ‘Refugee’ as many believe it denigrates the current refugee crisis due to the Syrian situation. Chopra has meanwhile apologized to the world and made it clear that she did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.
The ad caused outrage in India, Chopra’s home country. The argument is refugees do not have a choice with one quote saying “The lack of choice in removing one’s home and hearth from the familiar to the alien is one fraught with heartbreak and the feeling of being cornered.
“Very different from picking out the next attractive destination on your bucket list, and surfing through Airbnb for that perfect place to park oneself,” read an opinion in the Huffington Post.
Social media users were abuzz similar comments. Whatever the brouhaha it must be remembered that one does not shoot the messenger but tones down the message. Priyanka Chopra supports causes and has said she was sorry so the social media should accept it and move on.