When Trolls Attacked Priyanka Chopra, Malaika Arora Over Choices

Malaika Arora trolled for going braless. Priyanka Chopra trolled for choosing motherhood through surrogacy. Why do we feel entitled to hand out self-righteous criticism to women online?

Tanvi Akhauri
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Malaika Arora Trolled
2022 opened with actors Priyanka Chopra and Malaika Arora trolled brutally on social media for choices, of varying importance, they made for themselves. While Chopra marked a milestone in her life by embracing motherhood through surrogacy, Arora stepped out of her house for a morning walk without a bra. Miles of difference lie between both instances, and yet, they are bound by a common thread of misogynistic abuse.

After paparazzi picked up visuals of Arora last week, netizens swooped in to remind the 48-year-old of the decorum that suited her age, moral policing her in no moral terms about daring to show 'indecency' as a woman. Media headlines joined in the chorus with a titillating choice of words that sexualised Arora's highly non-sexual, in fact standard, act.

A piece of undergarment cloth, or the lack of it, managed to rattle the hypocritical standards of gendered dignity our society upholds.

Why Did We Troll Malaika Arora Braless Photos, Priyanka Chopra's Surrogacy?

This non-issue was yet to simmer down when global star Priyanka Chopra made a surprise announcement of welcoming her first child, a baby girl as per reports, with husband Nick Jonas. The couple stated they opted for surrogacy to begin their journey into parenthood.

The sanctimonious lecturing began soon after. Where some were concerned their beloved desi girl transgressed the cultural norms of 'natural' motherhood, others were critical of the apparently unethical manner in which people - the rich crowd, to be precise - relegated the task of producing children to surrogate mothers for a sum. More here.


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Women are not strangers to vigilante supervision in digital spaces. Every movement of the finger attracts largely reproachful reactions from trolls waiting on opportunities to heap sexist vitriol upon women who do or don't speak their minds. The tone for this year seems to have been set since it has already set off on a gravely wrong note for women on the online safety front, with Muslim women being targeted in an 'auction.' Read here.

No one, from common citizens to A-list personalities, is spared from troll attacks in the online world today. Their position of being in the public eye, forever under scrutiny, renders celebrities vulnerable to more sweeping, all-consuming abuse.

Bra Controversy, Malaika Arora Braless Photo, malaika arora bra-less picture ,malaika arora on marriage, Malaika Bra Controversy Image Credit: Malaika Arora/Instagram

Arora's bralessness, for instance, prompted trolls to attack her for everything else that bugs them about an independent woman - her choice to pick a younger partner, of not fitting the ideals of a middle-aged woman, of having an unconventional career path in the arts. Similarly for Chopra, who is often castigated, sometimes with rather racist overtones, for her intercultural marriage to a man junior to her.


Suggested Reading: Why Are People Uncomfortable To See A Woman Breastfeeding? Even On Social Media?

A section of the audience always waits in hungry anticipation to be allowed candid glimpses into their favourite celebrity's activities. And when the celebrity does grant them that privilege, they turn it around on its head and sensationalise it.

When it's a woman, the 'character' comes into question. This tendency extends beyond showbiz. For instance, a model-turned-politician Archana Gautam, who recently got a Congress ticket to contest the Uttar Pradesh elections, was widely trolled and dragged through the dirt for some old bikini pictures of her that surfaced. Men, between salivating over her viral photos on Twitter, managed to curse her with sexually charged slurs. Read here.

Everyone enjoys a good meme on the internet, a tendency that trolls exploit and conflate with their own brand of insulting humour.


How do we expect society to progress with feminist ideals if we thrive on slandering women who walk off the beaten track of convention, under cover of anonymity on the internet? Are social media giants securing enough ">safety guidelines to keep hate speech in check?

There is no stopping trolls, ever. They are everywhere, always lurking both online and offline to school women on what patriarchal tradition dictates their duties are.

Amid growing trends of troll armies and targeted attacks, one must question: With what entitlement does our society feel justified in dishing out self-righteous advice to women? Should outrage build around women who make choices, big and small, to live their lives how they want to?

Views expressed are the author's own. 

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