Why Are Trolls Targeting Athiya Shetty For KL Rahul’s Performance?

Where does the buck stop? For all these women who are at the receiving end, do we ever hear, ‘so and so played well, all the credit goes to his wife?”

Indian cricket player KL Rahul was replaced by teammate Shubman Gill in the test match against Australia. Rahul was in the news recently for his marriage to actress Athiya Shetty. When the news of his replacement went viral, Twitter went berserk with memes, for the wrong reasons.

The blame game began, with trolls narrowing down the reasons for KL Rahul’s poor performance. Athiya, his new wife must have brought about the bad luck. They passed personal comments on the couple, even labeling Athiya a curse to the Indian team.         

This isn’t the first time a wife or a girlfriend has had to face the wrath of netizens and is being criticized for the poor performance of their partner. Actress Anushka Sharma has been on the receiving side whenever her husband Virat Kohli’s performance dipped. For every ball he missed, she would be made the scapegoat. 

Some of these unsavory comments came not just from nameless, faceless trolls on social media. While commenting on Virat’s bowling, cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar remarkedInhone lockdown me to bas Anushka ki bowling ki practice ki hai.” 

(During the lockdown Kohli seems to have practiced bowling only with Anushka)

Anushka responded strongly to this: That, Mr. Gavaskar, your message is distasteful is a fact, but I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband’s game?”

Sunil Gavaskar hastily clarified that his remarks were misinterpreted and taken out of context. Sadly, this isn’t a one-off and is something that has persisted for ages from the times of Sharmila Tagore, who was blamed to be a distraction whenever her husband, Tiger Pataudi, failed to perform. If a newly married actor’s movie flops, fingers automatically point at the wife.

We have seen women blamed every time

Distraction. Curse. Bad Luck.

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Why are these tags assigned to women to explain the non-performance of their partners in fields like cricket or business or cinema? Not only are the women criticized or even threatened, but also in this process, a man’s talent is being discredited since it is assumed that it is the partner who has a bigger role to play. 

Multiple award-winning actress Vidya Balan once revealed in an interview that her debut was supposed to happen in a Malayalam movie opposite Mohanlal. She was also offered other movies based on this debut. Unfortunately, due to production issues, the movie was shelved. A film starring superstar Mohanlal being shelved was rare, and the blame shifted on her for being a ‘jinx’. She ultimately lost out on all the other movies. Ultimately Mollywood’s loss was Bollywood’s gain.

Sania Mirza was criticized when photos of her and the Pakistan team at a café hours before a crucial world cup match against India surfaced. Twitter accused the team of indulging in burgers and desserts and tongues wagged at Sania for being an accomplice. The firebrand tennis player retorted, “I am not the Pakistan cricket team’s dietician nor am I their mother or principal or teacher.”

While women are such easy targets, the reverse is not true. Luck has always had a feminine connection; ‘Lady luck’ came into being with reference to the Roman Goddess Fortuna. But that doesn’t mean it is the female that influences luck and determines whether it is good or bad.

Case-in-point, the recent Bhavnagar marriage. A bride dropped dead due to a heart attack on her wedding day in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar. The groom married her sister instead at the behest of the elders of the family while the bride’s body was still cold. What is appalling is that double standards are followed. For a second, if we are to assume that the reverse happened, would the groom have been replaced? The bride would have been labeled a ‘Panauti’ or a bad omenand the chances of her finding anyone after this tragedy would have been slim.

Why not try to address the actual reasons than find a convenient scapegoat?

“Behind every successful man is a woman,” is a famous quote, implying that there is a woman encouraging her man to do well. But what happens when the man does not succeed? Does this imply that it is the woman’s fault? Where does the buck stop? For all these women who are at the receiving end, do we ever hear, ‘so and so played well, all the credit goes to his wife?”

What defines success? In a sporting field, it boils down to form and fitness, and the conditions on a particular day. A creative field is a little trickier. There is a subject of chance involved; a film may resonate with the audience, and sometimes it might not. Why not try to understand the core reason and work on it, rather than attributing the failure to someone else? 

Accountability should lie with the individual, and the individual alone, and this blame game needs to stop!

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About the Author

Lalitha Ramanathan

Lalitha is a blogger and a dreamer. Her career is in finance, but writing is her way to unwind! Her little one is the center of her Universe. read more...

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