We still remember this day four years ago. On 14 July 2016, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed tennis star Sania Mirza about her then released memoir. However, he ended up learning a thing or two about feminism along the way.
The interview began with the veteran journalist asking Sania Mirza about her autobiography ‘Ace Against Odds‘ (which Shah Rukh Khan unveiled) and her ‘love-hate’ relationship with the media.
He spoke to her about her career, and about her titles. The trouble began when Sardesai steered the conversation towards her settling down. He asked, “Amidst all the celebrityhood, when is Sania going to settle down? Is it going to be in Dubai? Is it going to be in any other country? What about motherhood, building a family, I don’t see all that in the book, it seems like you don’t want to retire just yet to settle down?”
Sania Mirza’s expression, which screamed ‘this question, again??!’ seemed to have said it all. She retorted with an apt reply.
“You sound disappointed I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world,” she said, adding, “but I’ll answer your question anyway. That’s the question I face all the time as a woman, that all women have to face – the first is marriage and then it’s motherhood. Unfortunately that’s when we’re settled, and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become settled. But eventually it will happen, not right now. And when it does happen I’ll be the first one to tell everybody when I plan to do that.”
Sardesai, though, was quick to admit his mistake. He apologised and admitted that he wouldn’t have asked the same question to her male counterpart. Mirza was happy with his apology and remarked that he was the first journalist to have apologized to her on national TV.
The veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai was severely censured on social media on Thursday for asking international tennis star Sania Mirza a casually sexist question on live television. Nonetheless, the interview elicited sharp criticism from Twitter.
Also, earlier that year, Jennifer Aniston lashed out at tabloids for their constant scrutiny of her body and their obsession with her imagined pregnancy. India’s finest tennis players had been asked the same question. It casted a shadow on her success by implying that all her achievements set aside, motherhood ought to be her eventual Grand Slam.