Swara Bhaskar Trolled For Using The Term Vagina In Her Open Letter Exposes Our Patriarchal Mindsets

Swara Bhaskar getting trolled for her open letter about Padmaavat where she wrote 'she felt reduced to a vagina' proves how our culture is still deep-rooted in patriarchy

Swara Bhaskar getting trolled for her open letter about Padmaavat where she wrote ‘she felt reduced to a vagina’ proves how our culture is still deep-rooted in patriarchy

Swara Bhaskar recently penned an open letter where she criticized Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavaat by saying that the movie seemed to make her feel reduced to a vagina. This is not the first instance of SLB’s Padmavat being criticized. Critics had called it out for being utterly regressive, for showing the Muslim ruler Khilji in an overtly negative light, for being homophobic, casteist, and overall misogynistic. However, Swara seems to bring out the wrath in people like no other.

Let us see some of the points she raised in her letter:

“Women have the right to live, despite being raped”

Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not.”

There is life outside the vagina, and so there can be life after rape.

All she meant to say was that isn’t it high time that we give women the agency over their bodies and minds do not perpetuate the rape culture by glorifying practices where women preferred being burnt alive than being raped?

Yes, that was the 13th Century, but things could have been shown differently in today’s context. Hence, Swara also asks how a movie like this can be made without putting the shameful practice of jauhar into any context? She gives the example of Hollywood where no movie on slavery can be made these days without putting those into the right context.

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However, people seem to be suddenly irked by Swara’s response especially. It seems that her constant use of the word, ‘vagina’ in her letter, is a source of the wrath for many. I’ve seen this trend before as well when the AIB and Kangana Ranaut vagina song was released.

What is it that makes most Indians so uncomfortable towards the usage of the term ‘vagina’? Isn’t it high time we grew up as a country?

People have made remarks like“feminists think from their vaginas and not their brains”, it is “fashionable to say words like vagina to feel like a rebel” and so on.

It is ironical that a very basic part of the female anatomy is such a controversial word that just writing or talking about it can make most people in our country rise up in protest. Swara has been mercilessly trolled since her open letter got published.

Does this in itself not prove the legitimacy of Swara’s argument? That we still do not have the agency over talking about something that belongs to us? That talking about our own genitals might turn us into “attention seekers” and “fake feminists” in people’s eyes?

Image source:By http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/ [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons and a still from the movie Padmaavat

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About the Author

Kasturi Patra

Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by Half Baked Beans Publishers. She won the Runner Up Position in the Orange Flower Awards 2021 for Short Fiction. Her read more...

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