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On International Women’s Day, Somy Ali highlights the continuous struggle of women: “We simply can’t win!”

Former actress Somy Ali runs an NGO called No More Tears in the US.



Somy Ali

Former Bollywood actress and founder of NGO No More Tears, Somy Ali, has always been vocal about women and their endless battle with the world to make a name for themselves. Stressing the fact that it’s still a male-dominated society that we live in, she said, “We have a long way to go before we can even conceive the genders to be completely equal. Be it religious rituals or saying it’s in our culture, thus, we can’t intervene makes me sick to my stomach.”

“Particularly when I see documentaries where there are conversion schools for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, as if one chooses to be gay. I am tired of hearing these excuses and knowing that we still have honor killings, rape, issues with the glass ceiling, telling the victims to hush up about being abused by their husbands, and the worst is when I was told at five years old to never ever disclose the fact that I was a victim of sexual abuse as no one will ever want to marry me. And, granted, this was decades ago, yet, the same mindset has followed from one generation to another,” she added.

She asserted that Women’s Day is one of the most significant days to talk and create awareness about women’s empowerment. She said, “If we are aloof at work and stern, we are deemed stuck up and arrogant. If we are kind and friendly, we are assumed to be easy lays, labeled as loose women, or even hookers. If women take care of themselves and plastic surgery enhances their self esteem, and makes them look and feel better, they are called plastic. If we decide to age gracefully, then we have let ourselves go, and we may as well be invisible or dead. If we are not married by a certain age, we are definitely going to be a spinster who will end up with 12 cats. We simply can’t win.”

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“There is no end to any of it. Gray hair is sexy on men, but heaven forbid we stop coloring grays, it’s literally frowned upon. I can go on and on, however, conclusively, our society has a great deal to learn pertaining to women’s day and why it is so pertinent,” she added.

Speaking more about women’s empowerment and how it is seen in workplaces, Somy said that it depends on where and which country one resides in. “For example, in the U.S., women tend to get a semblance of respect in their workplace, and many hold high-end, powerful positions. But I know for a fact that they are talked about poorly behind their backs. Why? Because we are women! And the mindset, be it a boss in a workspace or a housewife, is that perfection is mandatory because we are not allowed to make mistakes. Yes, we hold high positions in workspaces, and indeed, that is progress, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just because we hold powerful positions does not mean that we aren’t expected to fulfill every duty that a woman is supposed to fulfill in her household to keep her husband satiated.”

She added, “Even in 2024, we can’t take a stand against any injustices against ourselves or other women. We are advised to learn to let it go and let bygones be bygones. It happened in the past, and it’s not worth the stress that comes along with it. We are told to bear the brunt of any and all cruelty shed upon us by people with clout and power because we simply won’t and shouldn’t expect to achieve vindication. Thus, we must and should let it go rather than hope to see even a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.”

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As for India and the entertainment industry, Somy feels that men and women don’t have equal privileges. She further said, “Things are much better than what they used to be, but some things have not changed. Powerful people have cemented expectations to go after whoever and whatever they want. People who often abuse their power still continue to do so, and while good people are aware of this fact, they still look the other way. Whereas they too have the clout to stop the ones abusing their power. Yet they do not care to intervene. This mindset that it’s not my problem and I have to only focus on myself and my career must change. People are terrified of bringing change to the status quo’s agenda. Hence, much of what was still sustained.”

Somy has always lived her life on her own terms and has lived a fearless life. Sharing her strengths as a woman, she stated, “I dealt with all the good and all the bad that came my way for being a rebel in any country I lived in and at any age. And I will continue to do so no matter the threats, the physical attacks from abusers and traffickers, the constant verbal abuse for rescuing victims, and the trolls humiliating me nonstop for speaking my truth.”

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“I will never forget when I was just seven years old and had mastered the art of whistling and was showing off to my father with the utmost delight. To my dismay, I was scolded and told that good girls don’t whistle and good girls never question anything, be it any situation or context. My womanhood defied all the roadblocks, and this is why I consider myself to be a strong and honest woman who will never back down from fighting for herself and for anyone, be it a child, a man, a woman, or, above all, my LGBTQ families. My voice is my strength, and while I may not be heard, I will never stop screaming my truth,” she added.

So what are your plans for Women’s Day this year? “I want to spend it as I always do, which is rescuing victims from abuse or enjoying an amazing meal prepared by survivors my NGO has rescued as we all congregate and enjoy the present and be grateful for a better future,” Somy ended.