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Why It’s Ridiculous That Anushka Is Trolled For Kohli’s Performance. Every. Single. Time

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By Vartika Puranik:

maxresdefaultWe know that Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli were dating each other until quite recently. Since the beginning, the troll army took to social media in full swing, not sparing a moment to degrade Sharma in some way or the other.

The trolls and memes about Anushka reached a new height of ignominy during the 2016 Aus vs. Ind ICC World Cup semi-final match in Sydney when she was at the stadium to cheer Kohli. Even if the audience hardly cared about the starlet being there supporting her beau, the camera continuously focused on her as though the game would be incomplete without such visuals. Cricket matches in India do not need cheap maneuvers for TRP (with fans already being so obsessed), yet media tends to escalate frivolous issues to excite viewers, frequently crossing limits of decorum.

She wasn’t only trolled that day but some cricket fanatics, with no personal connection to Virat or Anushka whatsoever, abused the actress using rather derogatory slangs. They blamed her for Virat’s performance on Twitter (a place I find to be full of negative people channeling their energy to bullyrag others at the drop of a hat).

Now, let me draw a parallel hypothesis for this – you go to an examination, and your parents accompany you for moral support. You don’t perform well in this exam and score the bare minimum. This is when everyone starts blaming your parents for your poor performance. Pure logic!

But of course, Anushka and Virat are not the first ones in the league. Remember Sangeeta Bijlani and Azharuddin? According to the media back then, she was the reason for his steadily deteriorating performance, terming her to be a “bad influence” on him.

Ridicule, insult and direct blame. As per some, the success of a man is because he works hard but the failure is because the woman distracted him. It’s intriguing how this equation shifts exactly 360 degrees round for women. A woman’s success is dependent on the man, and how he helped her out and stood by her but her failure, of course, is simply the result of her being born part of an incapable gender – destined to fail.

This shows us the medieval mindset that people are stuck with even today. A clear manifestation of sexist tropes. This prejudice is not only present in our culture. Most women who date a famous personality are seen to be at the receiving end of public ire; irrespective of the woman’s own profession and the challenges she faces at her work.
Let me bring other similar instances to light.

Let’s look at yet another incident where Jessica Simpson became the “Jinx” because of which her ex-boyfriend Tony Romo displayed the worst performance of his career apparently. The horrible old ‘kulta‘ angle. Even in America. Imagine!

Recently during the T20 India vs. Australia match, Anushka yet again became the target. This time, she wasn’t even at the venue cheering Virat. But that didn’t stop the troll army or the memes because the gravity of the situation was much worse than ever before this time. According to these people, Virat Kohli performed well this time because Anushka Sharma broke up with him so that he could focus solely on his game.

Woman throughout history has been delegated the role of scapegoats for men’s shortcoming and failures. Yes, scapegoat, because clearly it is too difficult for society to accept that men can fail to deliver (not to mention the pressure it puts on men). For people, a male always performs exceptionally well in his profession because his biological gender has designed him for ‘winning’. “A man always gives his best“, so we can’t blame him, but hey look! We can always blame the woman right?!It is also a case of gender Performativity. Men are expected to optimize their physical strength to perform and give their best every time. We tend to forget that celebrities/athletes are humans like us. They are doing their job, just like you and I do. We have our bad days and good days. If any day your performance was not up to the mark, is it okay for people to blame your partner for this?!

By feeding these trolls, by ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’ what memes, etc. they come up with, consciously or unconsciously we are only encouraging this calcifying misogyny. So let’s not anymore because it is neither fair nor logical.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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