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Priyanka Chopra and Sharbari Zohra Ahmed were trolled mercilessly for an episode of Quantico, that they had no role in writing. Why are women soft targets always?
Quantico star Priyanka Chopra, is the first Bollywood actress to land a leading role in a prime-time American television show. Loads of Indians celebrated this as if it were their own achievement! But, all that went down the drain after the episode “The Blood of Romeo” aired.
The episode had the protagonist of the show, Alex Parrish (played by Priyanka Chopra) stopping a terror attack by Hindu nationalists trying to frame Pakistan. This instigated the anger of people who were not pleased and thought that the show was trying to promote an agenda against India and Hindus. While they did target the whole of ABC (American Broadcasting Company), actress Priyanka Chopra and writer Sharbari Zohra Ahmed were and still are the recipients of extra vitriol.
This is odd, considering how a quick Google search would have told people that neither of them had anything to do with the writing of that particular episode. Well, maybe it isn’t that odd considering the facts that we live in times of hyper nationalism and religious extremism, and Priyanka Chopra is an Indian while Sharbari Zohra Ahmed is a Muslim. Remember what happened to Aamir Khan when he dared to make a slightly negative statement about India?
What’s different here though, is that both of the persons being targeted are women, who people consider easy to bully.
There is a huge difference in the way people troll men and people troll women. Even in fiction (and often in real life too), the way women are harmed is usually quite different to the way men are harmed. For women, there always has to be some sort of sexist comment on their bodies. Often women are punished with rape in fiction, for men, murder and torture are enough but for women, there always has to be rape.
And that’s what internet trolls think too. Sharbari Zohra Ahmed was threatened with rape and violence and so were her supporters.
This is not the first time that women who work in the media industry have been bullied in a completely sexist way. I personally witnessed it happen when I used to be an avid watcher of Bigg Boss Tamil (Tamil version of Big Brother). Everyone was trolled for the ways they messed up but for the women, there were memes making fun of their body types and wondering how their husbands put up with them!
Social media is a tricky place to be in, but it is trickier for women. The inherent patriarchy in our societies makes it easier to bring them down because for women there is always their ‘honour’ to think about in a different way than men. Women need to be there for each other in such situations until we manage to change the way the world works.
Image Source: Quantico/ABC
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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