Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s comment on Modiji regarding the Rafale deal is not something new.
For eons, our sensibilities have been attuned to hearing barbs deriding Women and their contribution in the personal, public and emotional space, like this phrase-he gossips like a woman. Which insinuates and further perpetuates the myth that its only Women who gossip.
If our sons enter the kitchen we deride them by saying why are you so fond of cooking? Do you want to become a Woman?
If you don’t have the spunk in you why don’t you wear bangles and sit at home like a Woman !!
This phrase ‘’Like a Woman, Like a Woman” is so often been used so loosely that now it doesn’t even seem like a sexist comment, it has so smugly found its way in our everyday verbiage, so what if its Mr Rahul Gandhi who just got caught unwittingly making a sexist comment himself.
With due respect to Rahul Gandhi Ji, I am one of those who cheer for him as I honestly believe that India needs innocence, youth and an earnestness that is refreshing if we compare him with hardened politicians who have gone grey dabbling in untruths and the vile of the big bad world of politics.
One may not agree with BJP’s ideology and one might even criticize the parties policies, however, full-blown frontal personal attacks are not pleasant to the ear, even if its heaped upon people one doesn’t agree with politically.
As a Woman who’s sensitive about gender equity, I must say some of the public spats and debates these days are cringeworthy.
Donald Trump has been known to comment on Hillary Clinton on how would she satisfy America, if she couldn’t even satisfy her own husband and the list of sexist jibes continue. Mr. Trump is notorious for lewd jokes on his daughter Ivanka as well when he repeatedly joked that he would be dating her were they not related. It is a known fact that politics can be hostile to Women.
Politicians from across the world parliaments have been caught in embarrassing moments about their colleague’s looks,social media comments,all used against Women to gender shame them especially if they belong to an opposing political party.
Parliaments across the world are still aspiring for gender parity and we are not even halfway there.
A strong woman is still called aggressive or she works like a man, is as strong as a man, by defining what is acceptable behaviour for men and women we have lost the battle on gender equality already.
The job of the opposition is to ask tough questions and not belittle a political rival by passing misogynistic and sexist comments even if its done in the heat of the moment. The term ‘hysterical’ is often heaped at Women alone, have not heard many people use this term for a man.
‘Hysteria’ was once known as a common medical diagnosis which ranged from nervousness to emotional outbursts all pointing at Women alone.
So when politicians use infantile phrases like ‘PM is hiding behind a Woman’ referring to PM Modi running away from the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha and instead of letting a Woman defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman defend him in parliament.
The watchman with a 56-inch chest ran away and told a Woman ‘’Sitharaman ji-‘’Defend me, I won't be able to defend myself, defend me was downright jarring to the ear.
Being in opposition need not mean one has to resort to cheap connotations and ape the party in power,one needn’t personally attack a political opponent everytime just to stay relevant,being suave and reticent is the secret sauce to be a politician one cannot point a finger at.
Not too long ago PM Modi was caught off guard by his sexist remarks about Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina. Modiji remarked -despite being a Woman, Sheikh Hasinaji is boldly saying that she has zero tolerance towards terrorism, this was at an event hosted by the University of Dhaka. He too was called out as ‘’Despite being a Woman’’ hashtag trended for days.
These comments expose the dark underbelly of our Indian culture as we are still getting a grip on what modern liberal Indian women want.
The list is long and it would require a couple of more opinion pieces to document who said what and before someone says Iam a bad driver as Women are bad at driving or pathetic at tackling Math coz well “Women are made that way”.We cannot obviously battle sexism by penning opinion pieces however we can minimize its affect by calling out to Men who practise it overtly or subtly.
They may be famous men however at this critical point in time it's perfectly legit to mock and shame men caught in the act.
So when famous men make comments like that which appear harmless initially, they do a disservice to ‘gender justice’ and further perpetuate deep-rooted patriarchy which is hardly a thing of the past further reiterating the point that with the advent of liberalism sexism hasn’t disappeared in its entirety; it has just found new ways to remind us yet again on how far we need to walk till it will be disposed off in the dustbins of the past.
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