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Twinkle Khanna is a woman who knows her mind and boldly speaks her heart out. She nailed it yet again, when she wrote about Serena Williams.
Twinkle Khanna’s recent article in The Times of India speaks about something a lot of us want to scream out from the rooftops for the rest of the world to understand. Please stop reducing us to mere pieces of meat hanging from a butcher’s rack for you to devour.
No matter what profession a woman belongs to and how stellar her achievements, time and again she is reduced to being judged by her looks and life choices. Through her examples of three highly accomplished women–Serena Williams, Smriti Irani, and Theresa May– Twinkle shows us how sexism is still rampant in the world today.
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This is what she wrote about Serena Williams:
“Last week as Serena played at Wimbledon, there were jokes as well as outrage that one could see her nipples through her white tennis outfit. Yes, she has nipples, I have them, my 70-yr-old neighbour who wears a cotton vest under his shirt but still inadvertently flashes his nipples, definitely has them. But I understand why there was such a hue and cry over Serena’s nipples. How else will you try and pull a woman on top of her game to your level…”
These words reminded me of another recent instance of society’s perception of women, when Rajdeep Sardesai asked Sania Mirza, when she would decide to ‘settle down’. Though Rajdeep apologized for his question later on, I just cannot forget how awesome Sania’s comeback was! She said, “That’s one of the questions that as women, we have to face all the time. First is marriage, then is motherhood. Unfortunately, that’s when we are settled and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become ‘settled’…”
In her post, Twinkle also talks about how Smriti Irani’s shift in the union cabinet from HRD to Textiles met with people making sexist jokes like Modi texting her saying, ‘Sorry Honey no HRD feelings’ and an English newspaper coming up with the headline ‘Spinderella’.
She then talks about Theresa May, the current British Prime Minister. Before her election to the position, her rival Andrea Leadsom spoke about how being a mother makes Leadsom a superior contender to May as apparently her motherhood suggested that she had a ‘very real stake’ in the country’s future. No one even bothers thinking along those lines for a male candidate, that fatherhood makes him a more eligible contender for governing a country!
Twinkle’s article clearly shows the double standards when it comes to judging men and women in different spheres of life. It is indeed sad that be it sports, politics, corporate, arts, or any other career that a woman chooses, a woman’s body, her choice to be single or in a relationship, her motherhood status, or anything related to her gender will be brought under public scrutiny to judge her capabilities.
We can only hope to voice our dissent against this ubiquitous misogyny and cry foul whenever it takes place. Maybe that is the only way to leave behind a more equal world for our future generations.
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Yes Kasturi, this post is an important call to all of us- with thoughts in our minds and words on our lips and fire in our souls, to be vocal and expose the foul play women have to deal with, regardless of the strata of society she belongs to. Awareness and sensitivity are the two key pre-requisites when understanding the interests of historically marginalised social groups juxtaposed with the outlook of the dominant majority. We need to constantly check ourselves and others to ensure that stereotypes that reinforce marginalisation are not further perpetuated. We need to hear more women’s voices standing up for each other to silence the naysayers who look for ways to undermine a woman’s potential, strengths and achievements.
You’ve summed it up perfectly, Sonia. I feel more than anything else we as women need to stand up for each other.
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