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3 politicians share the distress of vicious and deeply personal attacks from trolls just because they are women, and of course, ‘women should be silenced’!
Politicians are always in the public eye as an occupational hazard. And Indian society, unable to deal with a woman who has a voice, has opinions, and does not shy away from saying what she thinks or doing what needs to be done, have always been vilified and viciously trolled in a gendered fashion.
3 politicians who are women, Kavitha Krishnan, Atishi, and Alka Lamba speak about this in this video.
The abuse they receive from entitled people (read – mostly men) with an internet connection and a keyboard, just because they are women who speak up, is horrendous.
As Nazia Erum, Head of Media & Advocacy, Amnesty International India says, “Online abuse on Twitter demeans women. It invalidates their voice. Which, effectively means that a lot of women pull back from the count of engagement that they do on Twitter. They self-censor. Or they quit.”
Which is what this is all about, isn’t it? Silencing women? Something that holds up the patriarchy and men’s illusion of being on top?
Women in the public eye have always been considered fair game, no matter who they are, what ideology they represent. The abuse invades their personal space, targeting their looks, their bodies, their personal lives, their relationships, and often has suggestions of torture and rape. As if women cannot be any’thing’ more than their bodies.
And it isn’t just a few tweets that they receive. According to the data this video quotes, “1 in 7 of the tweets they received during the 2019 general elections were abusive or problematic. This amounts to about a million tweets, or about 10,000 per day.”
The only way most of them to deal with this magnitude of bullying is to ignore it, and not let it affect you. As Atishi, says, “I enter twitter, tweet, and I leave.”
As Alka Lamba says, “Their purpose is to silence you,” and it really won’t do, for these powerful voices to not say what needs to be said, to not do what needs to be done.
Can people just let them do their work?
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In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya
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