In response to Madhu Kishwar’s recent comments on Divya Spandana, Richa Singh writes, what makes Kishwar’s words more troubling is that it amplifies the sentiment in society that a successful or ambitious woman reaches the top of the ladder through means other than that of her merit…

These words have not been spoken by an illiterate, uneducated uncouth woman but by someone who is the founding editor of Manushi, a Journal about Women which has been described by Amartya Sen as “a pioneering feminist journal”.

In this tweet, Kishwar is calling out Divya Spandana’s previous association with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the capacity of an ambassador. Further alleging that she may have found “favours” in that role with the then team owner Vijay Mallya, who is known for his flamboyant lifestyle.

But to say that the founding editor of a feminist journal found the crassest words to pull down a so-called adversary, literally defeats the entire process we fight each day.

But this is not the first time she has done so. In the past, she has alleged, in a tweet, that Swati Chaturvedi, a senior journalist, may have resigned from a popular news network because the bosses were afraid Chaturvedi would have retaliated with rape or molestation charges if fired ever.

Madhu Kishwar is not your regular misogynist. She is what lives in civilised societies under the garb of being progressive and well read. The kinds you and I have been fighting a proxy war of feminism since ages. These people cannot be called out in public or shamed because their credentials immune them to be dragged in so.

They are heads of departments in your company who get away with sly sexist retorts in meetings and all you can do is smile to not be a spoilsport. They are well-meaning elders of the house who would slut shame a girl for coming in late in the night but joke about “boys will be boys” when the same behaviour is emulated by the opposite gender.

But to say that the founding editor of a feminist journal found the crassest words to pull down a so-called adversary, literally defeats the entire process we fight each day. What else can you and I do then, when even those who put up a show of being on our side have decided to aid everyday sexism in the loudest and may I add, disgraceful way.

What further makes Kishwar’s words more troubling is that it amplifies the sentiment in society that a successful or ambitious woman reaches the top of the ladder through means other than that of her merit. A perception that no woman, who has fought for her dreams, has been left alone with.

Time and again, whenever I take to write on women issues, especially online, I re-stress the need of speaking up. We cannot remain quiet given the onslaught against opinionated or successful women everywhere, has risen by massive range. That is unfortunately (or fortunately) the only way we can defeat this and allow our public spaces more safe and secure for women everywhere.

Richa Singh is the founder of Blogchatter, and a TEDx speaker. The views expressed are author’s own.

Picture Credit: Patriots Forum

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