For long we have associated derogatory tirades with male politicians in our country. However, BJP MLA Sadhna Singh’s “worse than a eunuch” comment against BSP leader Mayawati show that in politics, even women can turn on each other. In politics, it seems that vileness knows no gender. Even women are capable of shaming other women, with attacks on their dignity. How are we letting them get away with it is something which we should be asking ourselves?

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • At a public gathering in  Chandauli, BJP MLA Sadhna Singh called BSP leader Mayawati, “worse than a eunuch.”
  • Politics in India is very unkind to women, just like almost all other fields.
  • Patriarchy wants us to believe that women with power are a threat.
  • So the least female politicians can do for each other, is to respect each other.

To portray eunuchs as some kind low of lives, just to put down your political opponent, tells us about the deep-seated bias against them.

While addressing a public gathering in Chandauli, Singh said, “Jis din mahila ka blouse, petticoat, saari phat jaaye, wo mahila na satta ke liye aage aati hai. Usko pure desh ki mahila kalankit maanti hai. Wo to kinnar se bhi jyada badtar hai, kyunki wo to na nar hai, na mahila hai.” (When this woman’s blouse, petticoat and saree get torn off, she comes ahead for political power. The women of the country consider her disgraced. She (Mayawati) is worse than a eunuch, because she neither a man or a woman.) While Singh may have said sorry for her statement, her apology only came after strong condemnation of her statement.

One cannot let go of the fact that a sitting MLA, a woman nonetheless, thought it was okay to verbally assault other woman’s integrity in public. Her statement is also offensive to eunuchs – a marginalised community which often gets exploited and abused. It is still a struggle for eunuchs in India to find acceptance, and to rid their lives of social and cultural prejudice. To portray them as some kind of low lives, just to put down your political opponent, tells us about the deep-seated bias against them. It shows just why it is difficult for eunuchs to find acceptance in our society.

It is 2019, and politicians in this country have zero sensitisation on issues of gender and sexuality in our society.

Singh says that Mayawati is neither a man or a woman as if it is some kind of insult. It is 2019, and politicians in this country have zero sensitisation on issues of gender and sexuality in our society. Their obliviousness or refusing to let go of brittle ideologies makes one wonder, how long will it take, even after decriminalisation of Section 377, for the LGBTQIA+ to no longer be treated like the “other”? When will people accept that there are more than two genders in this world? No matter what their conditioning taught them, they cannot go on berating people who do not conform to their “values.”

But above everything else, these comments are hurtful, because they come from one woman against another. Politics in India is very unkind to women, just like almost all other fields. It resists the ascent of women to power. Patriarchy wants us to believe that women with power are a threat. Which is why often female politicians find themselves at the receiving end of demeaning and misogynist comments. What they don’t figure in, is hate from other female politicians. That instead of respecting each other, thus setting up a decorum for others, women will go to any lengths to procure vote and power.

We do not discourage such dirty diatribes from our politicians enough.

Can we ask men to stop making derogatory remarks against women, when a woman openly calls another woman a eunuch, as if it should be a grave insult? Whatever their political differences, Singh shouldn’t forget that Mayawati’s journey hasn’t been an easy one. She has fought oppression, gendered and otherwise, long and hard, to get where she is today. The least she deserves is respect from fellow politicians across genders.

Singh’s comments are a part of a rising and disturbing trend of making nasty personal remarks from public platforms among Indian politicians. Nothing is off-limits, as long as it earns claps and hoots from the audience. And there lies our actual problem. We do not discourage such dirty diatribes from our politicians enough. In fact, people hoot and applaud, only encouraging political discourse to get nastier. It is about time that the Indian electorate understands that our leaders need to be sensible. Their debates should be strictly political, not personal. Because then we are allowing them to digress from the real issues and giving them an excuse to be lame leaders. They should have much harder agendas during rallies, than taking personal and regressive pot-shots at each other.

Also Read: Decluttering Our Minds Of Negativity Is More Important Than Ever Now

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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