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Kamal Nath Calling Imarti Devi An ‘Item,’ Highlights Once Again The Sexist Nature Of Politics

Posted: October 20, 2020

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In light of a senior Congress leader calling his former female colleague an ‘item,’ here are 3 other sexist remarks made by politicians about women. 

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and a senior Congress leader, Kamal Nath recently received severe backlash for sexist remarks about an former colleague. The leader called Imarti Devi an ‘item,’ who switched from Congress to BJP.

She was the target of his sexist remark amid campaigning for by-polls in Madhya Pradesh Assembly seats. Imarti Devi represents the Dabra constituency and was sworn in as a cabinet minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in July 2020.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the current chief minister of Madhya Pradesh tweeted, “By referring to a woman as ‘item,’ the Congress and its leadership have revealed its ‘feudal mindset.”

Crossing limits for the sake of win

Politics and its underlying misogyny isn’t something new in the Indian landscape. Time and again politicians have used various sexist and derogatory remarks against political opponents and people opposing their political ideology.

Instead of healthy campaigning and relevant debates, we often witness sexist and misogynistic remarks and statements being made. Especially against females which objectify and suppress women. Many such incidents have taken place over and over again in the past.

Heroine should dance in Mumbai. Why should she go to JNU?

Remember when Deepika Padukone visited Jawaharlal Nehru University to stand in solidarity with the students opposing the Citizens Amendment Act. Following her visit, BJP politician Gopal Bhargava made an offensive comment attacking Deepika. He said, “Heroine should dance in Mumbai. Why should she go to JNU?”

The offensive and derogatory remark was widely condemned by all. This remark brings down a ‘heroine’s job to merely dancing and alluring people. Thus, highlighting the sexist notions breeding in our society.

PM Modi “got a woman to defend him”

In January 2019, Rahul  Gandhi targeted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, saying PM Modi ‘got a woman to defend him.’ Sexist remarks on Sitharaman keep on making rounds in the parliament.

Despite being highly qualified, Sitharaman is merely a ‘tai’ for all the MPs in the parliament. Directly targeting India’s economy and indirectly targeting her gender, politicians convey she is incompetent for the position because she is a woman.

She will enthral people of Rampur with her ghungaroos and thumkas

Last year, a case was lodged against Firoz Khan of the Samajwadi Party for making sexist remarks against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada. He allegedly said that Jaya Prada would “enthral the people of Rampur with her ghungaroos and thumkas.”

Then, he also added that “Rampur ki shaamein rangeen ho jaayengi ab jab chunavi mahual chalega.” (Rampur’s evenings will turn colourful this election season)

It’s time we accepted that women politicians are here to stay!

Remarks like these have always been made, have always been condemned but nothing has altered. Sexist remarks on women are found throughout the political spectrum and the misogyny cuts across party lines.

People have always targeted women in politics as if they don’t belong there. Women have time and again proved that they excel in whatever field they undertake, whether its politics or cinema.

It’s high time our male politicians start having healthy campaigning and consider female candidates as individuals. Women are competent individuals and not an object whose suppression can satisfy their fragile ego.

Picture credits: Twitter

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Anamika is an English literature student with a strong inclination towards feminist literature, feminist literary

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