We see extraordinary advancement in technology and science but when it comes to social issues like equality, woman and child safety and a healthy mentality towards various social issues, India is still heedless.
One of the most common and daily problems that women are facing is – shaming. All kinds of shaming – slut shaming, body shaming, victim shaming, period shaming and what not. One subjects every step a woman takes to put under a magnifying glass. A huge part of our country still doesn’t understand that every person has the freedom of choice. Every woman no matter if she is a common person or a celebrity, is becoming a victim of shaming. For instance, the nation trolled Priyanka Chopra for wearing a frock to meet PM Narendra Modi. The length of her frock resulted in many controversies. Last year a picture went viral of actress Mahira Khan smoking with Ranbir Kapoor. Everyone shamed her for smoking while no one said a word about Ranbir’s smoking. She also had baseless judgement over her dress and lifestyle and character. Netizens even accused her of “destroying Islam”.
#MeToo gave women a platform to express and share their unpleasant experiences of sexual harassment. Even there, people shamed many rape and molestation victims for sharing their experiences. But this hashtag will keep on telling us the dire stories. Women, who are hitting back against sexual harassment are facing bullying and shaming. Last year after elections even Hillary Clinton had to deal with misogyny comments after losing. Every day worldwide the common girls and women are experiencing shaming, and it’s not only coming from men, but even women are also shaming other women without thinking.
Are men subject to shaming?
We should not think that it’s only women who face shaming, even men face it. They are not allowed to be emotional, they are subjected to taunts if they’re “girlish” in their attire or behavior, which is a really a sad thing. We have even discriminated colors for men and women, apparently, if a man wears pink, he is not manly enough. Shaming doesn’t discriminate gender but no doubt the picture is worse for a woman. Society has set a rule that the man has to be strong and the woman should be soft and weak. Every single person has the choice to be strong and soft despite their gender.
The act of slut-shaming has existed for centuries, women are being criticized for their dress and lifestyle. It doesn’t even take a second to stamp a girl as a slut in this age of social media. Every step a woman takes, every choice a woman makes is being condemned without any logic.
Body shaming is another crucial problem that we all face. Most of the men go to the gym to build up good physique as men should be “strong” and women go to the gym to lose weight as being fat is “unattractive”. We are entangled in these social norms and unable to get over these. Naomi Woolf points out in her book “The Beauty Myth” how the concept of “beauty” is a shrewd politics against women. She says, “The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us.” We still associate fair skin with the beauty and offer the dark skin a tube of fairness cream. Naomi Woolf says, “Many are ashamed to admit that such trivial concerns—to do with physical appearance, bodies, faces, hair, clothes—matter so much.”
Women are still struggling hard to conceal their “flaws” marked by society. Many Bollywood actresses have gone through skin lightening treatments, surgeries are not a big deal anymore. The anti-aging cream and face lifting is having its way in the middle-class drawing room. After women had the right to vote in America, Virginia Woolf said that it would still be decades before women could tell the truth about their bodies. And she can’t be more right. It’s the 21st century; still women are concerned more about what people say than her own happiness, choice, and peace.
Men have always permitted the extent of women independence. In India, there was a time when people didn’t allow women to study. Men never wanted to let women study as it will build up their opinion. Later on, the situation changed. Men used to teach their wives and allow them to pursue education as it was shameful to have an illiterate wife under British rule.
We always gift superficial, conventionally “beautiful”, silly dolls to the girls and race-cars and superhero toys to boys; because this is how the society wants girls and boys to be. This is how they try to decide and point out that a girl should be silly and the boys should be reckless and strong.
Everyone expects women to fulfill all the expectations. She is supposed to be a superwoman. Nowadays she has to be well educated, has a successful job and at the same time has to balance her home perfectly. A little mistake and she will be the one everyone will accuse. Apparently, the women supposed to want to embody all the good qualities and men must want to possess women who embody those. Women now must ask questions about their rights on their body and existence.
Some perverts of the world are getting wicked fun by shaming others. We don’t even think twice before marking someone with a bad adjective, as we know we are not going to confront for that. We should first change this mentality of tagging someone with anything. Every person despite their gender, caste, creed, and religion should possess the freedom of choice without being judged, trolled and shamed.