A few days ago, sex tapes and allegations of womanizing became the primary agenda for parties in the upcoming Gujarat state elections. Now using shoddy sex tapes to tarnish image of politicians is nothing unheard of. What is more amusing is that someone went through a lot of pain to dig out Nehru's old photographs, sift through them, and then single out photographs in which he was in physical contact with women one way or another. Then made a collage out of them. If only they had done some background check on the photographs they were using!
This piece however isn't about shoddy journalism. It is about how people find it convenient to use women as instruments to orchestrate character assassinations.
The term womanizer is a word which admonishes women more than the men. It makes us sound like brainless, greedy, bimbos, who jump into beds by a flash of charm and some bling.
I am not saying that there aren't women who go to specific kind of men for gains. But the society tends to generalize, and no matter what a man does, the blame always falls on the woman's character. She either manipulates a man's mind, or can be easily manipulated by his superficial charm. In short, women are responsible if men waiver from sobriety, one way or the other.
Therefore, the society has no qualms in circulating and wildly publishing photographs of a man. Where he is hugging kissing, cuddling numerous women. And all this is just as a proof to his waywardness. They don't even bother to blur out the women's faces, which should be basic courtesy considering the purpose for which they are using those photographs. Does not matter that the woman in question is the first lady of the most powerful nation of the world, or a famous kathak dancer, or the last Vicereine of India, or the said man's sibling.
The pictures are harmless, the intent is not. And this is the pattern seen globally. Reducing women to mere tools in this toxic game to prove who has a higher moral ground.
At such time we cease to be mothers, sisters, daughters...Everyone should stop looking at these tapes and photographs for a second and ask themselves this one question. Just to cut down someone's vote bank and tarnish image, is it justified to damage a woman's dignity?
Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.