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Delhi Woman Viral Video : Stone for stone, shaming for shaming?

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Young women led by a girl named Shivani Gupta in Delhi called out a middle aged lady for allegedly saying that women who were short dresses must be raped. In the video, that went viral, Shivani and her friends were seeking an apology from the lady, and said if she didn’t they would make her viral. The video, its contents has angered a lot of young girls who ask “why are our clothes the first thing to think about when it comes to men and rape?” On the other hand, many have asked whether the young girls were fat shaming and bullying the lady (henceforth referred to as Aunty.) We take a look at both sides of the arguments.

So Much Attention to What Women Wear

“Dear auntie, I wish you well. I grew up in India being told by random unrelated people how wearing ‘sleeveless’ is inappropriate,” said Pushpita Das on SheThePeople FB Page where comments have been pouring. We spoke to young women from different colleges to understand how they viewed the recent viral video. “This is 21st century and aunties have a view on what and how we wear,” said 18 year old Aditi Mathur Gupta. Another comment noted that India’s women empowerment might just be on the surface and that “emancipation goes out of the window when the slightest of such incidents happen. And our patriarchal realities come to the fore as it happened with the lady in the video. Have we really progressed as a nation?”

Stone for A Stone?

The other side of the debate is the team that believes there have to be better ways than a viral video to address the issue. Worse, now the angry public and the girls are shaming this aunty about her weight, her looks and her beliefs. Writer Nikita Deshpande, points our attention to the comments section against the video “where people are casually asking for the older woman to be killed, her face to be blackened and (oh the irony) for her to be raped.”

The idea is to fight patriarchy by changing mindsets and not teaching people a lesson by shaming them again in return.

Student Karishma Verma is among those who believe a video of this lady should not have been put on social media. “Those young girls have invaded her personal life by putting the video on social media. There were other ways of handling this. Her image could have been blurred in the video. The girls could have filed a complaint with the police. Possibly, she is the only earning member in her family and now she won’t get work.”

Many others are concerned this lady would not be able to get a job, or be in public at all after this video went viral. Just what would she do? Anchal Goswami also blames the media and social media. “Her face could have been blurred. Photography and videography also require consent. People can threaten her and her family. She was moral policing the girls and what did the girls do in return? Same?”

Ishita Chikkara agrees, and says revenge and aggression shouldn’t be the answer to anything.

What will change mindsets?

I think the part that ‘this is coming from a woman’ is being overhyped. When you make a statement like this you kind of imply that it’s ok for men to think that way but not for women since we belong to the same side. It isn’t ok for anyone to think or act in that manner.” says student Rashi Goel.

Was the issue badly handled? Or blown out of proportion? Charvi Kathuria thinks so. “Both the lady and the young girls could have reacted in a mature way. The girls could have acknowledged that there was a generation gap and tried to express themselves in a more sensitive way. The idea is to fight patriarchy by changing mindsets and not teaching people a lesson by shaming them again in return.