The much-awaited Tokyo Olympics are finally happening, and India has sent its best to compete.
Indian fans are religiously cheering for every player in the tournament. From 5 am, fans are glued to their TV screens rooting for India. A surreal moment was when Mirabai Chanu bagged a silver medal in weightlifting. The entire country erupted with joy. Social Media was blowing up with praises for Mirabai Chanu.
Women from all walks of life saw inspiration in Mirabai. She is indeed the epitome of hard work for generations to come. News channels showed her journey, her struggle that gave us goosebumps. However, it was not long enough when Twitterati and the Indian ‘meme community’ gave this victory a sexist turn.
Images comparing Bollywood actresses with Mirabai Chanu started to circulate on the internet with the caption, “This is real women empowerment.”
Promote real women empowerment 🙏🏻🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/4eS74SWTSq
— Pradeep Tanwar (@ipradeeptanwar) July 30, 2021
Another user captioned the photo of India’s star Table Tennis player Manika Batra as, “Marry her if she can do both“.
While many people were immediately called out for these posts, it didn’t bother the ‘patriarchal enthusiasts’. Patriarchal Enthusiasts is a term I devised referring to people (irrespective of their sex or gender) who are sold to the idea of everlasting patriarchy for the continuation of humanity. ‘Patriarchal enthusiasts’ with their hyper nationalistic feelings saw this as the golden opportunity to school, what they call “feminazis” i.e., any vocal woman.
Women in India for the past few years have found a voice, especially through social media. Many women are now more aware of their rights and speak up in the face of oppression, discrimination and sexism. This behavioural change has disturbed the workings of the toxic masculine quarters in India.
Even though India is still light years away from achieving any sort of gender equality, these ‘patriarchal enthusiasts’ have had enough of the ‘speaking up culture’ in women. They imagine this as a threatening uprising of vocal women demanding equal pay or worse, calling them out for harassment.
To put a stop to this rebellion, they come up with their own, self-made theories of women empowerment which they have defined without consulting or listening to the opinion of any woman in their life. They have taken upon themselves this tedious task to tell women what is a real beauty, when they will get respect and how much they can participate in public life.
All this should be seen in the backdrop of increasing crimes against women in India which includes, rape, murder and assault.
For starters last week, a girl was considered to have committed blasphemy by demanding to wear jeans. Enraged by this rather simple demand, the father killed the daughter. In another shocking news, 15 men attacked 2 teenage girls for talking on their phones.
So, when something as simple as talking on the phone is an act of rebellion in our society, then are these people in the position to even define what is ‘real women empowerment’?
Featured image credit: Instagram/Manika Batra