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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:

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.

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