We want our Bollywood actresses hot and mute: Is that it?

Shaming Sonam Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha on Twitter remind us why this country has no respect for a woman's opinion, celebrity or not.

 |  4-minute read |   09-09-2015
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Dressed in top notch brands, posing and pouting for the cameras and all this while maintaining an hourglass body is how we like our Bollywood female actors. Having an opinion and voicing it on social media isn't something we want them to do. And on the rare occasion when one of them decides to voice her opinions, we go down the oft-taken path - shame and ridicule her, hurl at her resentful comments and remind her why this country has no respect for a woman's opinion, celebrity or otherwise. All this while, completely sidelining the otherwise relevant point she's trying to make.

Expressing her opinion on the recent four-day meat ban in Maharashtra on account of the Jain festival of Paryushan, Sonam Kapoor, she of the irreverent outtakes and no-filter responses, tweeted about the "intolerant" and "misogynistic" view of our country's leaders. She of course was making a more general comment about the prevalent scenario in our society, not specifically the meat ban itself. But it didn't take long for the men and women online to lash out at her for confusing the entire concept of misogyny. They mocked her for her apparent "dumbness", made fun of her "stupidity" and had a field day at her expense, all this while proving just how misogynistic our society actually is, including the ones tweeting all day,  and doing nothing for the actual issue she was trying to talk about. The fact that our current crop of leaders has taken it upon themselves to decide what we eat, see and wear and when, where and with whom we have sex didn't bother Twitter folks much; Sonam committing a mistake online was so much more important after all.  

Sonakshi Sinha dared to call India "ban-istan" after the countless bans being imposed off-late, including this temporary ban on meat in Maharashtra. Since she happens to not conform to the unspoken size-zero requirement for Bollywood actresses, she had to face yet another round of body shaming, one tweet after another. Again the core issue was lost while people took great pleasure in mocking another new-age star for voicing her opinion just like any other regular citizen of the country.

What Sonam and Sonakshi faced isn't something new. We've had countless incidents of actresses being trolled online for speaking their minds on what's happening in the country. More recently, actors Shruti Seth and Neha Dhupia too faced the wrath of social media for their tweets that didn't read highly of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's #selfiewithdaughter campaign. And then we wonder why our celebrities never have much to say about the goings-on in our country. Aren't we pushing them inside their glamour-coated shells and shunning them with insults every time they try to come out of it?

Since the recent bans in our country have gone from public to our living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, it's a cause for serious worry. It's an infringement of our basic rights as citizens of a democratic country. It's surprising to see people busy bullying celebrities instead of helping them further fight the cause. Is it that petting a stone at those on a pedestal makes us feel better about ourselves? If that's the case then it doesn't say much about us, does it? And why is it that women always have it tougher in the public eye while the men seem to get away rather easily? Alia Bhatt till date is reminded of her infamous error on Koffee with Karan whereas we've conveniently forgotten, or maybe ignored her co-star Varun Dhawan's blooper in the same show.

Are these reflective of our low tolerance of anything celebrity driven? Or is it a show of just how negative and judgmental social media has become? The same twitter that runs campaigns for female empowerment and safety suddenly becomes a breeding ground for those who don't like women to share their opinion. Isn't this duality of social media a mirror view of what goes on in our society? We'll click selfies with our daughters but not think twice before abusing someone else's daughter. We'll protest against the banning of beef and porn but happily abuse a woman if her opinion doesn't reiterate what we want to say. Sonam and Sonakshi are celebrities and to a large extent immune to these fanatics but what about the regular, everyday woman? Can she safely say what she has to without worrying about how others around her will react? Her safety offline is anyway questionable but can we atleast guarantee her a safe environment online?


Saurav Bhanot Saurav Bhanot @sauravbhanot

Writer, wannabe fashionista and not one to mince words. Also, traveller by heart and yogi by soul.

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