Ram Gopal Varma Insinuates That Women Drink Alcohol, So Violence Against Them Is Ok – Really?!

Ram Gopal Varma yesterday tweeted a picture of women standing in line to buy alcohol, insinuating that it is Ok for women to face domestic violence, because after all, they drink.

Ram Gopal Varma yesterday tweeted a picture of women standing in line to buy alcohol, insinuating that it is Ok for women to face domestic violence, because after all, they drink.

Amidst concerns that access to liquor will exacerbate the problems of domestic violence as women stay trapped in their homes with their abusers, Ram Gopal Varma made light of the issue by tweeting an edited picture of women lining up to buy alcohol. Perhaps someone should tell him and his sexist followers that it’s 2020, and alcohol shaming is not cool.

After being shut during the lockdown, liquor shops in many parts of the country opened yesterday. The decision to open them was questioned, not only because it makes it difficult to maintain the necessary social distancing, but also because it would likely exacerbate the already rapidly rising problem of violence against women.

As activist Shamina Shaiq told IANS, “This is hundred percent true. The government is already insensitive towards the rights of women now this step will add to the plight of women and children who face domestic violence. We already saw a rise in such cases in lockdown one and two and now in lockdown 3.0, it will be even worse. Men who are alcoholic, will snatch the money that women have saved for difficult times and will buy liquor. They will get drunk and will beat women and children at home.”

A cheap move by Ram Gopal Varma

Ram Gopal Varma, however, decided that this was the perfect time to alcohol shame women, while at the same time making light of the actual violence that women have to live with. He tweeted an edited picture, which showed women in line in front of a liquor shop, with the caption, “Look who’s in line at the wine shops ..So much for protecting women against drunk men.”

While there were many who retweeted and commented on the picture to show agreement with his sexist and illogical viewpoint, there were also many who called him out, including singer Sona Mohapatra.

The photographer who originally took the picture also called out Ram Gopal Varma’s tweet, “sexist and twisted,” while pointing out that there were many more men than women in line, and that this was a women’s-only line, organized to protect the women from being molested (and given how unsafe public spaces are for women in India, it was a good decision).

It was also pointed out that the image shared by Ram Gopal Varma, was an edited version strategically cropped to highlight the presence of the women. As many pointed out the original picture shows that the men’s line is much longer.

It was a cheap move to edit the picture thus, and reeks of attention-seeking desperation.

Women drink, so violence against women is Ok?

Ultimately it doesn’t even matter how many women were in line, because just like men, women too drink. Men have no monopoly on drinking.

And drinking does not make women immoral, or loose. To suggest that it does, is casual misogyny. As long as a person, irrespective of their gender, does not become a nuisance after drinking, they should not be shamed for doing so.

The tweet doesn’t even make sense, because it seems to indicate that the women who are standing in line are somehow going to hurt themselves or that they deserve to be hurt.

Drinking isn’t even in the same league as violence against women. I doubt that any of the women standing in line for alcohol are going to beat themselves or their family members up under the influence.

Men drinking statistically proven to be violent

Unfortunately, one cannot say the same about the men with confidence. As this WHO report states, in a multi-­country study (Chile, Egypt, India and the Philippines) regular alcohol consumption by the husband or partner was identified as a risk factor for any lifetime physical intimate partner violence across all four study countries.

So to joke about the same is insensitive, tone-deaf and irresponsible.

Given that Ram Gopal Varma routinely made movies that were filled with casual sexism, one doesn’t really expect better from him. However, when celebrities and influencers put their ignorance on display, it is important to call them out anyway.

Let’s raise a glass to kicking patriarchy to the curb, and saying no to alcohol shaming!

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