'I like men, but I love equality too'

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I began my theatre career exactly 30 years ago when I was a girl. It was the first feminist funny show.

We staged it in France and it was such a success that we presented it across the world,” recollects Eva Darlan as she settles herself on the edge of the stage after her exhilarating performance titled Crue et Nue.
   In India recently, the famous French film, television and theatre person and a pioneer of feminism, Darlan came out of the green room wearing a transparent top after the performance. She asked a fellow journalist if she should wear something beneath and on the latter’s advice did as she thought. 

“I don’t want to shock anyone. And I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t respect them,” said Darlan as Metrolife quizzed her about feeling fettered by societal norms. 

“Of course I feel bogged down. You too feel that and we all, especially women, because we live in a man’s world and we have to be exactly how and what they want us to be,” she says as the feminist in her takes over the artiste.

“I was speaking to a young woman who was wearing stilettoes and said ‘I’m sorry I love stilettoes. But I know what it means and when I wear a stiletto, I know exactly what I represent because with a stiletto I can’t run and I obey to the scheme of stereotypes,” Darlan voices her opinion, adding that one needs to be “aware of what we do. When we wear a stiletto or a tiny skirt we should be conscious about it.”

She admits not knowing India too well, even though this is her third trip to the country. “The first one was when I was 20 years old. It was fashionable then to come to India. But after two weeks of coming here, I got sick. So I was hospitalised and was back in Paris,” she says throwing her head back to represent her state of illness then. 

The theatrics in her DNA take over as the talk shifts to the state of modern Indian woman. “I would love Indian woman to be free. Not raped. Not burnt. Not hanged. Free. And she should be aware of her power because we all are powerful. I think it has begun. All over the world women are raising their voice. In France too we have some problems and unfortunately it’s not different,” she says with a heaviness creeping in her voice and her face looking sullen.   

“The struggle of women in the East is more than in the West, because we have laws and you haven’t got them yet. Woman here are just to procreate. It’s a difficult state. But we fight and do whatever little bit we can – abortion, contraception, work, pay, money, freedom,” words that define freedom come out of her mouth abruptly as she frames more exact sentences in English to put across her message.

 “I want equality. Women say ‘You are a feminist, you don’t like men’. Yes, I like men but I love equality too. It is easy for me to express my thoughts through the art of theatre and I have been doing that since 30 years. Now 30 years later, nothing has changed. Actually they have changed but we have to be obstinate.” Well said!

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