While trolls do not need any specific reason to wreak havoc in the lives of celebrities, they seem to take the crusade to improve the collective IQ of Bollywood actors personally. Since it is India, naturally there is a gender bias in the quantum of trolling handed down to male and female actors.
Recently, Sonam Kapoor got trolled, again, at the hands of pesky internet trolls, for failing to solve a puzzle. Kapoor has time and again found herself at the receiving end of mean comments and people taking potshots at her IQ. This time she faced flak for failing to correctly answer a puzzle.
The troll army latched on to this opportunity and began making fun of her poor knowledge of mathematics. Suddenly everyone became an expert ridiculing the actor for not being able to solve a seemingly simple problem.
It is, however questionable how the trolls always target female actors for low IQ, almost assuming that male actors are more intelligent.
We still remember very well what happened when Alia Bhatt failed to name the President of India, back in 2014. Trolls dedicated Facebook pages to post memes and jokes directed at the actor. However, Varun Dhawan, who had accompanied Bhatt on the same show also failed to answer the said question correctly. Yet it was Bhatt, who became the butt of jokes, while trolls turned a convenient blind eye to Dhawan.
Being a public icon and not knowing the name of the President of one's country, is indefensible. Even a school kid knows this. Getting trolled for this is well expected, but even here we see a gender bias in the trolling.
Just recently, Tiger Shroff also failed to name the Indian President and got trolled on social media, but the jibes against him were not anywhere close to what Bhatt or Kapoor have faced. Which tells us that trolls love to paint these women dumb and turn a blind eye towards male actors.
Why is it fair to let male actors run away with poor general knowledge, and practically stitch it to a female actor’s head?
Do people just assume that male actors are intelligent? Or maybe, the superiority of their gender is so ingrained in our heads, that we refuse to believe otherwise. On the other hand, it is so easy to brand women stupid. It takes zero social conviction.
The Portrayal of women on the silver screen
The depiction of female actors in movies as being naïve and dependent has also played a big hand in this stereotyping. Movies have traditionally portrayed the female actors as second fiddle to the male ones. They are shown to be mentally and physically dependent for everything from survival to protection of dignity. In fact, Bollywood has effortlessly managed to dumb down its leading ladies. She might be a doctor, researcher or a psychologist, till she meets our hero.
People take home these images in their heads, and simply assume that a Bhatt or Kapoor is much dumber than a Dhawan or Shroff.
Though it’s not much to expect celebs to have basic general awareness, irrespective of gender. Mathematics or puzzles are not the only scale of someone’s level of IQ. It just goes on to show our limited understanding of intelligence. These ladies will eventually find out the right answers, improve their IQ and move on with their fabulous lives. But can the same be said for those who mock them?
Picture Credit: Indianexpress
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own