Slut Shaming Oldest Tool Used Against Women; We Need To Stand By Atishi In This

Posted: May 9, 2019

Have a powerful women, what better tool to use to discredit her in a patriarchal society like ours but to slut shame her? In this, #IStandWithAtishi.

As the election campaign heats up in its last phase in Delhi, social media today remained abuzz by a derogatory pamphlet being circulated in the East Delhi constituency defaming and abusing AAP candidate Atishi allegedly by her opponents from the ruling party at the centre.

The screenshot circulating on twitter of a pamphlet uses derogatory language for her and her colleagues at her party and goes on to demean her origins and personal life. As is always the case with most such deplorable “slut shaming” cases she is being allegedly labelled as sexually promiscuous and words like “prostitute” being used for her in an absolutely insulting manner.

In a press conference later in the day Atishi choked several times reading out the said pamphlet to the members of the press and condemned it. This is not the first time a woman in public life in India is being shamed like this and sex work and prostitution used derogatorily to intimidate.

The hashtag #IStandWithAtishi has thousands of tweets condemning the language of the pamphlet and also urging the people to reflect as to how we view our women and reduce all their achievements and failures to just their sexuality and private lives.

Gautam Gambhir, ex-Indian cricketer and her adversary in her constituency has tweeted denying the charges and declaring that he hasn’t done this. He and his supporters allege that the pamphlet is an election gimmick by Atishi’s own party to get sympathy votes.

Since ages in conventional societies like ours men have assumed the role of issuing authority of character certificates to women, so the first patriarchal privilege to be “withdrawn” often in instances of conflict with a woman is the withdrawal of this “character certificate” by men.

Even the current POTUS Donald Trump used the phrase “nasty woman” in all its derogatory and sexual innuendo to put his opponent Hillary Clinton down during the US presidential elections.

In India too there have been several instances of derogatory language being used for women in public life by men in positions of eminence and power.

It is time gender becomes a non-factor in electing able leaders and election debates being restrained to political ideology, and policies and not personal vile attacks outraging the modesty and reputation of a woman.

Several eminent women have dissected the language and various aspects of the pamphlet and found it so outrageous, famous columnist Seema Goswami tweeted:

India’s deeply sexist and misogynist political culture has once again proven that for women there is a long battle to be won, those on their side want to “protect” or “project” her as sister/daughter/mother and those opposing her still stoop low to assassinate her character.

Update: 10 am, 10th May 2019

BJP Candidate from East Delhi has sent a defamation notice to Delhi CM and AAP supremo , his deputy Manish Sisodia, and Atishi Marlena, asking them to withdraw statements and apologise, or else legal proceedings would be initiated against them.

The legal notice demands that the people named apologise and withdraw their statements, or face legal action.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story, and will be updated periodically.

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Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.

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2 Comments


  1. It is shameful the way people conduct themselves. Yet it should be no surprise for after all Mr.Gambhir is a cricketer and they are stuck in the testosterone king stage.

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