In a recent interview given to Harper's Bazar, actor Konkona Sen Sharma said that she does not "view herself as a woman" and has had to "learn" femininity for roles that require it as she thinks there is no one way to be feminine.
Adding to this important conversation, she also noted that she has always felt androgynous, which means that she does not conform to the conventional characteristics that define 'male' and 'female'.
Here is her quote published by the magazine.
I don’t view myself as a woman. I see myself as being completely neutral. Gender is a taught concept that I don’t relate to. Even when I have to be very feminine in a film, I have to learn how to. There’s no one way of being a woman or a man or anything in between... I’ve always felt a bit androgynous.
Konkona also said that she received a very liberal upbringing, which has been a contributing reason as to why she does not want to fit herself in any box.
Ever since I was young, I was quite comfortable with not fitting in. And that’s mainly because of my parents, who ensured I had a very unconventional, liberal upbringing. In fact, I am slightly suspicious when everything is uniform; it becomes almost claustrophobic.
Throwing light on her personal life and relationships, Konkona elaborated that she does not think she can adapt to the concept of cohabitation as she needs her own space.
One thing I’ve learned is that cohabitation is not for me; I feel like it can really ruin relationships. I like having my own room, bathroom, AC, etc. And sometimes, I am nocturnal, so I need my own time to do things. You have no control over how other people will behave or feel, so it’s best to have low expectations. You can have high expectations from yourself but not necessarily from other people.
Meanwhile, speaking about free-thinking, she noted:
By being a freethinker, I specifically mean not subscribing to conventional, societal norms, moralities, or expectations. I do think alone time, introspection, reflection, and daydreaming are important, and everybody should learn to spend some time with themselves. I always tell my son that he’s a freethinker and that no-one can tell him what to think. Yes, there are certain rules he has to follow; being in a society, there is some level of tolerance he needs to learn. But in his mind, he’s free to think
Gender and sexuality are topics that are far from being understood in their entirety in India. And while there isn't necessarily a problem in not knowing things and wanting to learn, this lack of awareness often leads to prejudice - which in turn can lead to life-altering struggles for so many people.
Speaking out about these topics publicly, one would presume, could be difficult. However, it is incredibly important. More power to Konkona for speaking her mind and putting things as clearly as she could.