Behind The Mask Of Sankaars: How The Internet Has Been Toxic To Women In 2017

The internet is a revolution that has given birth to various new ways of communication. It has changed the entire face of expressing, sharing and reacting to anything. It has given birth to citizen journalism and  has given a voice to millions. It seems like a good thing, it should have been a good thing. But, sadly, it has turned into something else – something ugly, and unfortunately something real. If you want to peep into the real faces of the ‘Indian society’, or should I say the ‘sanskaariIndian society’ – a clan of cultured (read orthodox) people who show off their ‘strong roots and noble virtues’ – just go to the comments section of any random video/post on social media.

When it comes to pouring outrage and hatred, we Indians find the most absurd places to vent our emotions out! Women getting raped, children getting slaughtered in schools, our national capital being a smog field, honor killing, absurdity in the name of religion, unemployment, declining economy, etc. are all a waste of time – right? Why invest time and research to do something about real issues when we can sit at home, enjoy anonymity and go on blabbering shit about whoever we want? Let us show these women that they are all whores and below us!

As if 5,000 years of patriarchal abuse was not enough, even social media seems to have become a new tool to look down upon women. Male celebrities can casually post shirtless photographs and what not, no one cares. But the moment a female celebrity decides to share something, netizens are ready with their nasty comments. From bikinis to saris and opinions to gestures – everything and anything can go wrong.

According to these people, sometimes women are too fat while sometimes they are just too thin. Sometimes they are overdressed and sometimes they are under-dressed. Sometimes they are too covered and sometimes they are ‘slutty’. Sometimes they are absolutely ‘un-ladylike’ while sometimes they are too lady like. Social media doesn’t seem to catch a break when it comes to hating female celebrities.
Only in the last one year, so many women celebrities were trolled for illogical reasons:

  • Priyanka Chopra was trolled for ‘showing too much leg’ while meeting Prime Minister Modi in Berlin.
  • Deepika Padukone was on the receiving end of public outrage for her photo shoot for Maxim magazine. She was trolled for everything – her attire, her complexion and her pose.
  • Zaira Wasim was first trolled over her meeting Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and recently for speaking up against a molester! She had to write an open letter apology for the former case!
  • Fatima Sana Shaikh was first trolled for posting a picture in a bikini during Ramzan and later she was trolled for a ‘shameless selfie’ in a sari
  • Esha Gupta faced social media bullying when she posted a picture of herself on Instagram. She was slut shamed several times for posting pictures from a photo shoot.
  • Malaika Arora was bullied when a photographer posted her picture appreciating her fashion sense. She was shamed for “divorcing rich guy and using the alimony to buy stuff.”
  • Kalki Koechlin was trolled for her nude photo, which went viral.
  • Richa Chadha was trolled for a statement made in favor of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
  • Ameesha Patel was slut shamed for posting selfies on social media.
  • Taapsee Pannu was trolled for wearing a ‘short dress’. “Due to such stuff male’s attract to seduce girl. And harassment,” a twitter user wrote.
  • Sonam Kapoor, Disha Patani and Mahira Khan were among other celebrities who got slut shamed for wearing ‘bold dresses’.

Where are we going as a nation? What has happened to us? Why do we have so much trouble with women being themselves around us? Where does all this negative energy come from? Don’t we have good things and happiness to share? Have we lessened to become a pit of nastiness and sick thoughts?

Imagine, if celebrities go through so much; what can happen to people like you and me? As a writer, I often try to discuss issues that matter and have been at the receiving end of a lot of hatred too. Healthy feedback and even criticism, for that matter, are more than welcome but when people stoop down to abuse and nastiness, I feel sad. I don’t feel sad for myself. I feel it for them. These people are in a state of pity and need help. They must understand that on the dotcom space or in the real world, there is no place for hate.

We need to grow above these narrow minded activities, and look at the bigger picture. Social media bullying affects people who have done nothing wrong, leads to depression and chronic anxiety. Let us take a resolution that we will leave all this negativity behind this year. Let 2018 be the start of a positive age, a space where everyone is loved. Let us join hands to fight against social media bullying.

2 comments

  1. Heyy!!! Everything you wrote about women, social media bullying is inspiring and needs to be given a thought.
    Please do not consider me as a critic, I would only say things with an intention of knowing your views about it.

    As you wrote “where are we going as a Nation and the problem with women being themselves”

    What do u feel about a nation where 237 million adults are illiterate and where media and the film industry molds the public opinion not knowledge and moral values.
    So do you thing being less dressed or being exposive is what u call being yourself??

    In a nation where nudity is being sold by the so called molds “directors” in their movies. Where item songs are a way of generating more revenue.
    Do u think the youth is getting positively influenced by such pics by celebrities???
    In a nation where around 95 women are raped per day as a Report by TOI, what holds the importance???

    Posting nude pics for self benefits??
    And there is none other intention then gaining followers and TRP

    Being influenced by the western culture, we have come far away from the ground reality. Which says that development, be that moral, ethical, social or mental should be from all levels.
    In our country a part has been developed and that part lives in Metros.

    There are still societies where sex talks, menstrual talks are a taboo.

    So what about the minds of this part of our nation which is illiterate, uneducated and week.
    Won’t this nudity, item songs and bold ideas influence them negatively.
    It’s good to adopt all the good things from western culture but make me count a single benefit of selling nudity on social sites and movies. other then generating mo ney which is anyway same as selling your own body.

    I agree to the toxicity if internet for women, which is in no way acceptable, and because of some people all women are suffering.

    But we can not deny, somewhere women themselves are responsible for their condition in the society, and about the Internet’s toxicity its true that “what goes around, comes around”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate that you read the piece and gave an honest feedback. I like that your reply was quite detailed and I was able to understand where you are coming from. I agree to some parts of your debate but I am sorry to say that the “what goes around, comes around” statement disappointed me. First of all, I am absolutely with you in condemning objectification of women in media/cinema. But, we need to understand that nothing gives a person the right to abuse/harass a woman on the basis of her lifestyle choices. Are you implying that of a woman is lying naked on a street because of whatsoever reasons, it is alright to go and rape her? Anyways, we may contradict on some parts but I appreciate your thought process. I am thankful for this detailed feedback 🙂

      Like

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