Who Is Priyanka Paul, The Young Artist Kangana Ranaut Is Feuding With On Twitter?

Should celebrities, with so much fan following and audience influence, be allowed to continue indulging in hate speech? Shouldn't Kangana Ranaut's comments on Priyanka Paul be universally condemned, notwithstanding differences in ideology?

Tanvi Akhauri
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Priyanka Paul Kangana Ranaut

Kangana Ranaut, controversy's favourite child of late, recently got into a Twitter feud with a young artist named Priyanka Paul, going so far as to shame the 21-year-old for her physical appearance and mental health. In what social media users are condemning as extremely "toxic" and "unacceptable," Ranaut transgressed what was essentially an ideological clash between her and Paul, and proceeded to call her "self-admittedly suicidal, toxic, and creepy looking." Paul, an independent artist popular on social media whom Ranaut has now blocked on Twitter, has pointed out how this instance is indicative of the entitlement some people feel towards mocking and harassing those with mental health issues.


Priyanka Paul, who goes by the title Artwhoring online, describes herself as an illustrator, poe, writer, storyteller and creator on her website. She belongs to the Bahujan community, speaks for it publicly and identifies herself as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Paul is known for being vocal on Instagram and Twitter about several social issues that need addressing, predominantly on caste, gender, mental health, and body positivism. Explaining the aspirations of her work, she writes, "With my art, I hope to convey the need to analyse the accepted and re-enforced social systems and norms and to re-evaluate all the wrong in society, that we never really even consider as wrong. I hope my art questions the status quo and provides a voice to the unheard."

Watch Paul's interview with SheThePeople here: 

What Is The Twitter Feud About: A Timeline

1. Recently, Twitter was up in arms against IPS Officer D Roopa Moudgil, who had criticised those opposing the Diwali cracker ban. Her verbal exchange with an account named True Indology on the matter had resulted in the suspension of the said account, which had led many to condemn Moudgil for using her "clout" to allegedly suppress free speech. Read our full report here. Ranaut too had weighed in on the issue extensively, calling Moudgil "undeserving" and demanding for her to be sacked.

2. Paul had responded to Ranaut's tweet on reservations, calling Ranaut a "crackpot" who was "spewing garbage."

3. Ranaut responded to Paul, but notably on another tweet by the artist that spoke about mental health, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies. Commenting on her physicality, Ranaut told Paul, who is currently sporting pink hair, to change her hairstyle, calling her "creepy looking."

4. Further ahead in the Twitter thread as their verbal exchange continued, many slammed Ranaut for allegedly insinuating that she didn't have to resort to masturbation since she was "hot" enough to get sex.

5. Paul, in a series of tweets, responded saying how an adult woman like Ranaut viewed sex as an achievement:

6. Ranaut's spat with Paul sparked off a social media debate on how a celebrity saw it fit to troll a young girl, and opened the floodgates to a volley of other trolls who attacked Paul, alleging she didn't take her own mental health seriously. Some accused her of being only "fashionably woke" about these issues, without exhibiting the "normal" attributes as people with suicidal tendencies did.

These baseless accusations against Paul must make us think how mental health is viewed in India still. The outlook that those with depression or other mental health issues are supposed to look or be a certain way forms a big part of the reason there's still a taboo around the subject. And this is not the first time that Ranaut, who had been campaigning for Sushant Singh Rajput and his alleged mental illnesses after his demise this year, has mocked mental health with misinformation. She has taken similar diatribes at Deepika Padukone, who admitted being diagnosed with depression in 2014, by calling her "depression ka dhanda chalane wale." Read our report on that here.

Should celebrities, with so much fan following and audience influence, be allowed to continue indulging in hate speech? Shouldn't Ranaut's  comments on Paul be universally condemned, notwithstanding differences in ideology? What far-reaching effects will her statements have in the fight forward for body positivism and dismantling of caste? Isn't it high time women stopped pulling other women down? These are some questions that need to be asked in light of recent events.

Views expressed are the author's own. 

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