Deepika, Priyanka, Or Sushma Swaraj – Trolled ‘Coz They’re Women, Not For An Ideology

We have become intolerant of things that should not really matter, and the politics of trolling makes for violence against women, as soft targets. Why this mindset?

Society has become increasingly intolerant and people out are reinforcing their narrow minded ideologies. A handful of them are raising their concern and voices to change the social fabric, yet many are still locking horns with them.

Plenty of controversies have surfaced at the heart of debate. Politics, nationalism, religion, beef, rifts on spiritual gurus and much more are highly predominant. Last but not the least the biggest war of words is spelled for “Woman”. Present day when notions of “Women Empowerment” soar high in air, our women are still trolled for their sitting and dressing postures.




The politics of trolling

One such latest denouncement was made by the leaders of ruling party. To make it worst, BJP leader announced reward for the person who would behead the Padmavati Fame Deepika Padukone. Protestors are arguing for the misinterpretation of history by showing a love relationship between queen and a Muslim ruler (which is perhaps not depicted in the movie).

Well neither do I stand up with the movie makers nor am I at odds with the BJP leaders and the Rajput Karni Sena. But I feel a shiver down my spine. The very question of women’s dignity and respect stirs my heart. Time and again women are amidst some backlashes. People love to drag them into controversies.

I guess every woman out there faces a growing tide of oppressions. We have a number of reasons to question the morality, character and dignity of a woman. Misogyny stands high. Fortunately some strong and ambitious women have excelled on their self-made journeys and reached the pinnacles of success.

Today we have a list of women who have excelled in the international arena. Mithali Raj, captain of Indian Women Cricket Team is a global icon.

Twinkle Khanna has been actively vocal about menstruation, which is considered a taboo despite of being a biological function.

Priyanka Chopra who has won the hearts of millions with her magnetic screen presence and has successfully made her way to the American film and television.

P.V Sindhu has won different women’s titles and brought glories to the nation. There are many other dynamic women who have contributed to different disciplines such as health, education, cinema and space. Kudos to all those fiercely- independent women!

There are many who are paving a path to their dreams. Sadly, a bigger fraction is still walled up and confined in narrow shackles of illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, violence and sexual abuse. Despite the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” (Save a Girl child, Educate a girl child), campaign launched by PM Modi, there isn’t much relief for women.

There are also dozens of other women empowerment organizations who have been striving to break down the gender barriers. But I feel the experiments in the field of women empowerment have failed to get the desired results.

In metropolitan cities, there are women who are both financially and socially independent. But this isn’t the case with rural India; we have failed to empower women. This is due to the wide difference between the achievements and the expected outcomes. The implementation of the different schemes of women empowerment campaigns have petered out. Here I don’t hold the government or the activists responsible. The only thing I condemn is the mentality – the way we think about women.

The fact is we quickly become judgmental. The very moment we find something which doesn’t tune with our beliefs and behaviour, we take a dig at it and perhaps in the most horrible manner. It isn’t only men who don’t play by the rules. At times women turn brutal towards other fellow women and make matters worse.

Over the years I have kept a watch on different matters concerning to women. And in all cases I have found, negative emotions rule over the good ones and have an adverse impact on women. Time and again we find excuses to demean their value; disagree with their opinions and defame their capabilities and ditch their dreams. Some of the common stereotypes we have become hypercritical about are:

Dressing

“Dress like a decent girl.”

Now could anyone tell me what dresses are included in the ‘decent dresses’ category? Perhaps a four-to-eight meter long saree and a salwar kameez with dupatta being inevitable. What about jeans, skirts and bold dresses? Well according to the beliefs of our narrow minded society it is fair enough to include such dresses in the ‘indecent’ category.

Very often women are questioned for their dress and we end up shaming them. Few months back Mithali Raj got the undue attention as people started the moral policing for her dress which they found inappropriate. Many times we have let Sania Mirza (renowned Indian sports star) down and dragged her into controversies. And forget not we always bring in context the religion when it has nothing to do with the game. To make matters worse we have even questioned the patriotism of Sania. My dear people “All that matters in game is a sportsman spirit. If one fights well both on and off field, he/she is a true sportsperson”. Morals, ethics, religion and personal relationship aren’t needful; at least in the game. Have we ever realised that we are blaming our girls for no fault of theirs.

Likewise we keep on trolling our actresses for their clothes. We make fun of their outfits and even teach them morals for the Sanskari Indian Dress Labels. Let’s not forget they wear what suits their profession and on-screen roles. The most important thing all the fashion veterans have their dress designers to give them suggestions. Remember none of them has time to give hoots to those who troll. So why waste energy and time?

And talking about the rural India people often get terrified to see girls in jeans and other tight fitting clothes. Those in demure salwar suits generally get wider appreciation and reception. And the ones in skirts become women of ill repute. It’s high time we need to change our narrow mind set and think broader.

Let’s pledge to keep by our own ways and stop giving suggestions about someone’s dress. Let a women decide what she is going to wear.

Education

We have exemplary women who have contributed to great heights in the field of education. Yet there are many girls who suffer discrimination in this area. The count of girls attending schools is quite less as compared to boys. When ‘Right to Education’ is a fundamental right, why are girls are deprived of it?

Education is a basic human right. It empowers an individual to lead a life of own choice. Education is taken for granted. In some parts of the country, access to education for girls is regarded as a privilege. This is because fellow men find women unsuitable for jobs. Women are bestowed with all household chores such as kitchen, cleaning and other domestic tasks.

Educated women stand shoulder to shoulder with men and can afford to foot every bill. Therefore get your daughters educated and make them financially strong to pay their own expenses instead of expecting the groom to bear the entire costs especially in the present day of inflation.

An educated girl will become a good employee, mother and well informed citizen. Every Indian out there must swear an oath to get their girls educated. I am sure, Indian do stands by their oaths (especially if it is the name of God or some spiritual Guru). At least this way we can have our girls educated.

Equality

Our Indian society is ever ready to demean women. Patriarchy overrules. There is inequality in homes, educational institutions and workplaces. Women are often taken as the weaker sex. All they are expected are to be Sanskari daughters and wives who must trail the path ‘Follow Us’.

A girl is discriminated even before she is born. In rural India, the to-be-mother is treated with utmost care if she carries a male foetus. In contrast if the pre-natal sex determination (which is ethically wrong) reveals a female foetus, the expecting mothers are deprived of the necessary nutrition and medication and maternity care.

When a girl child is born, it comes as a bolt from the blue even for the educated people. The birth of a boy is celebrated with pomp and show along with distribution of sweets while a girl is simply cladded in pink and taken home. As the girl grows the school of learning begins for her. And yes the curriculum includes subjects from the patriarchy. Girls are asked to maintain the decorum. They are taught to behave well, talk less, dress in full and least expected to rebel. Specialization in cooking, sewing and other household chores becomes a must.

Women’s safety is a bigger issue. Each time there is some case of sexual harassment, we blame the woman equally. Either we hold their dresses responsible or the girls themselves. Many a times we hear “Good girls don’t step out at night”. And lot more moral policing. Why don’t we realise we should have a strict enforcement of rules to deal such sensitive issues? Why don’t we punish the perpetrators harshly so that they get a lesson?

Marriage and home

Now the time comes when wedding bells rings for the girl. She has to deal with plethora of questions. Can you cook? What special dish can you cook as a desert? Are you an expert in household work?

I wonder if the people from the bridegroom’s side are eager enough to know about her education and achievements. But no, for them all these are secondary things. Because the girl has to do is to cook and look after the family after her marriage.

No one realises she has left her family and needs some time to adjust to the new family. Stop expecting her to be a “Sanskari Bahu”. Realise the need to understand her and her feelings instead of labelling her as Sanskari.

Apart women face enormous discrimination at their workplaces. They are always at the receiving end. Unfair gender bias often results in low salaries as compared to men. Men are paid more simply because they are men. Not enough pretty women face discrimination for their looks. And those with pretty ones get those lusty stares.

Well lot more can be covered under the umbrella of inequality and patriarchy. Post marriage, working women face many difficulties and stereotypes.  It becomes difficult to maintain balance between work and life.

Could I know why women expected to manage all cooking chores? And that too for free. Keep the money matter aside; their long duty isn’t even well-recognised. Ironically the count of professional male chefs is more than the female chefs. The stereotype is miraculously reversed when it became a matter of money earned. The real go-getters aren’t identified when it comes to homes.

One more important thing when it comes to the marriage, parents search for well-off guys to get their daughters married. Money becomes the top priority when finalising marriages. Interestingly higher salary of a guy demands a big favour in the form of dowry from the parents.

We need change

The need of the hour demands a strict change in the way we think. Some of the pointers that we need to work on are:

Every woman who wears a short skirt isn’t short of character.

The average count of sexual harassment is alarming, yet every man out there doesn’t have bad intentions. They say “Men are dogs”. But not all men are dogs!! If someone stares at you, it could be just because he found you irresistibly beautiful. Figure out the difference between a normal stare and lecherous stare. Dear ladies put an end to double standards.

Feminism is a great thing, but false feminism isn’t. Feminism advocates equal rights for men and women. But at times feminism is exaggerated. When we are fighting for equality for the two genders then why subject woman to being more delicate and sensitive. Be strong and independent woman. Don’t expect people to cosset you.

My warm message to the fault-finders

Please put an end to your confined thoughts. Stop rating and trolling women. You may feel better to bring down women. But I urge you to get a life and a better brain. The time you spend to highlight the fault of others, utilise it to rectify your own flaws.

And all ladies out there don’t argue with the haters for you can never win over their arguments. Distance yourselves and protect your dignity.

A verse of Guru Nanak says — “So Kyon Manda Aakhiye, Jit Jamme Rajaan”. Why call ‘her’ inferior? From her, the Kings are born.

Published here earlier.

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