By Shambhavi Saxena:
On Saturday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi got the ball rolling on his #SelfieWithDaughter campaign, which quickly became a twitter trend. Part of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, the hashtag aims at improving women’s status in India, but a recent exchange between All India Progressive Women’s Association’s secretary Kavita Krishnan and actor Alok Nath has highlighted some very significant problem areas.
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) June 28, 2015
Following this tweet, Kavita Krishnan was lambasted by many twitter and facebook users. It was these responses that revealed the shallowness of the campaign and the tough-to-remove-stain of patriarchal, sexist and racist attitudes that many Indians harbour – including supporters of #SelfieWithDaughter! Krishnan’s biting reply to actor Alok Nath’s own selfie was a reminder to those who have forgotten, or those who willingly obscure the truth, that the highest seat of power in this country is occupied by a man who was allegedly involved in a stalking scandal, which came to be known as #snoopgate. In 2009, “Madhuri, a Bangalore-based architect, was surveilled by the Gujarat police beyond the boundaries of the state,” reported Gulail, an investigative journalism platform. Krishnan’s tweet is really a question about whether Modi, who allegedly had a key role in Snoopgate, is really the ideal person to be tra-la-la-ing over daughters. What are the other glaring problems you ask? Well, look no further than some of the responses to Krishnan’s tweet. You’ll see what I mean.
@kavita_krishnan Did he stalk u? My God! Venomous witch!
— Ritika Jha (@Ritzi177) June 28, 2015
— RahulForPM (@ProudBhagavathi) June 29, 2015
Perhaps you’ve noticed the irony here – that these supporters of the #SelfieWithDaughter trend are the same creeps who make no bones about abusing women.
You know a person is highly prejudiced when their only response to an argument – a well founded one worth thinking about – is to bring up her appearance and her ‘unwomanly’ ability to make choices and have thoughts all on her own.
We humans have a long and rich tradition of silencing women’s voices, employing every trick and trade in the book. Call her ugly, and she no longer serves her only purpose as a woman – a pleasure object. Call her crazy, and you can discredit any and every rational argument she has made. Call her a bitch, and send her rape threats, because women who don’t listen should become targets of verbal and physical violence.
But obviously, Kavita Krishnan, like any strong feminist who knows what she’s about, will not succumb to foul remarks online.
Transphobia now by bhakts. Poor things, they think I wd be insulted to be called trans. I am queer and proud of it. pic.twitter.com/tsKh3Y8hdu
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) June 29, 2015