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Society expects women to dress ‘modestly’ around men, particularly powerful men, and any woman who doesn't toe this line is attacked.
Recently, actor Neena Gupta found herself ‘trolled’ by the faceless people on the internet, who have nothing better to do than shame women for their clothing choices.
Portable mobile phones and access to 4G internet connection has fundamentally changed the way we live and think. We get to acquire knowledge, engage in debates, and open our minds to new ideas and question our beliefs to evolve as humans. But unfortunately, it has also given toxic, misogynistic people the safety and anonymity to sit in front of their screens and spew hatred and meddle in affairs that do not concern them.
Neena Gupta, who was most recently seen on the second season of the OTT series ‘Panchayat’, had added another feather to her cap last year. She published her autobiography titled ‘Sach Kahun Toh: An Autobiography’. She had gone to Gulzar’s house to give him a copy of the book, and recently shared the video of her interaction with the celebrated poet and lyricist on her Instagram account.
She was seen wearing blue shorts which the sexist people on the internet took offense to.
As has become a norm, a woman who is seen to not abide by the regressive and mercurial ‘ideals’ of closed minded men, find themselves incessantly targeted by trolls. Some people who have no connection with either individual ever, do not know them or the relationship they share, feel entitled to an opinion that they would obstinately share on a public platform to harass and humiliate the woman.
Not very long ago, Priyanka Chopra, too, found herself a target of these trolls. She had met the Prime Minister wearing a dress that did not hide her legs. What a blasphemy! Last year Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Rawat passed an unsavoury comment on a woman wearing a pair of ripped jeans, who had attended an event where he was present, which was, according to the trolls and also the CM, an “affront to Indian culture.” And very recently, Aamir Khan’s daughter Ira Khan was trolled for wearing a swimming costume for a pool party on her birthday.
The list goes on and on. Women’s attire is always a topic of conversation, a point of discrimination, and a policing of women’s bodies. Every single one of these women were well within their rights to wear their choice of clothes, and the Indian constitution secures them a right against discrimination, but that doesn’t stop people from spewing hatred.
The structural inequalities that are being exploited to troll these women are blatantly obvious.
Gulzar is an influential man revered by the Indian population. He is well loved and respected, and has a large following. Gulzar might not have any patriarchal stipulations on what people around him are expected to wear, but the patriarchal society does.
Society expects women to dress ‘modestly’ around men, particularly powerful men. In a democratic polity like India, women are guaranteed equality on paper. But this often does not translate into social equality. Every time a woman is harassed for their very personal choices of clothes or food habits and the like, the deeply entrenched inequality of our social lives becomes apparent.
Women, however, have become more aware of their rights, and some of us can afford to be vocal about them.
Neena Gupta is not one to be clamped down. She would not be shamed into silence because of the abuse. She came down hard on the trolls for those unsolicited comments on her choice of dress. She retorted that she has known Gulzar for long, and play tennis regularly, for which he picks her up, both of them wearing shorts.
In short, she told the trolls to buzz off.
Neena Gupta speaking up for herself is commendable given the amount of backlash women with opinions habitually have to face. As a popular figure, her standing up for her rights also makes a point and inspires others who face discrimination in their daily lives.
Because, really, so what if Neena Gupta wore shorts? The outfit was super cute and she looked great in them.
A postgraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional feminist and an avid reader when she's not busy telling people about her cats. Adores walking around and exploring read more...
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Image Source: Sonali Kulakarni’s Twitter
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