By Vartika Puranik:
We 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.