#Opinion

Radhika Apte Boycott Trends: When Trolls Leave No Opportunity To Pull Women Down

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Radhika Apte boycott trends flooded Twitter Friday, unprovoked. But then again, even the slightest things provoke the online audience today, so one never really knows what could become a trigger. For 35-year-old Apte, intimate scenes she did in the 2015 film Parched have stirred commotion. Again.

Back when the film released, troll armies had swooped down on her raising concerns over the ‘destruction’ of Indian culture, all because Apte essayed a role on-screen (rather fabulously, might I add).

Regurgitating those same, now-monotonous arguments, defenders of morality have armed themselves with six-year-old visuals from Parched, where Apte is pictured semi-nude with actor Adil Hussain, and are demanding for a mass boycott of her. Read more here.

What drives our mentality? What sparks us off? Has the intolerance towards and oppression of women been buttressed with social media at the disposal of everyone with an internet connection and a device? Does this routine targeting of female actors indicate a larger, offline trend of bullying? Do trolls see women as battlegrounds on which they seek to affirm our ideologies and biases?

Radhika Apte Boycott Trends Show How Misogyny Breeds With Impunity

So hell-bent are trolls on pulling women down that they are now going out of their way to create opportunities that reinforce the power show of men over women that forms the foundation of desi toxic masculinity. Why else would old visuals of an actor on a random, ordinary day be extracted for mass harassment?

What are we witnessing here, as Radhika Apte boycott trends gain ground, if not a display of radical gender-cum-religious-oppressive community behaviour that is teaching women with a stick how to be the best, moral versions of themselves?

Naturally, the outrage has spilled off-screen and seeped into an ugly attack of Apte’s personal life, from her choice of clothes to her choice of partner.

For all the hate speech that festers online, who is taking responsibility? Is big tech taking note of how quickly today online actions translate to offline violence? Are existing checks and balances of safety guidelines enough? Evidently not, if cybersexism is being allowed to breed unchecked. On an internet where misogyny runs amok, can women ever hope to claim safe spaces?

Views expressed are the author’s own. 


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