#Opinion

Slut-Shaming Disha Ravi: Bad Girls Are Those Who Refuse To Stay Quiet

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Slut-shaming Disha Ravi: Commenting about a woman’s looks and character is the sure-shot way to tarnish her image. This is currently being played out in the case of Disha Ravi. A climate and environment activist who has been detained for allegedly sharing a ‘toolkit’ on farmers protest. I do not want to comment on whether her arrest was right or wrong as the law will take its own course. I, however, want to ask why are her looks and character under scrutiny? How has being an environmental activist got anything to do with one’s appearance?

I felt disgusted when I read tweets like, “Is it only me who finds Disha Ravi ugly? I mean both mentally and physically.” Or “Forget the issue…Why all leftist look so creepy and ugly? Even look at her. She is 21, in her prime age still look so ugly.” Even worse, “Meet World famous climate activist who didn’t bath to save water.”

When people cannot control a woman’s mind or cannot break her courage, they feel threatened and that is when they call her ugly, characterless and throw the vilest abuses her way. In recent past, we saw Rhea Chakraborty, Rhianna, Greta Tunberg being targeted (they are but just a few). The sad thing is that even women have been active participants in this.

What Disha is going through is not new, any woman who breaks a mould, speaks her mind, takes a stand is silenced. And one of ways of doing so is to body shame her: Disha Ravi slut shamed

What I found nauseating was when some women who were decades older than her, compared themselves to her by sharing their pictures. What they didn’t understand is that Disha Ravi is an environmental activist, she spends most of her time outdoors and doesn’t work from inside air-conditioned homes and offices. In any case, why speak of her physical appearance, she is a beautiful human being and wants to make the world around us beautiful. Why not focus on that?

Good girls are quiet girls

When women speak of issues outside the boundaries that society has set for them they will be silenced. And ours being a patriarchal society, women with a mind and a voice of their own are targeted. It is no surprise then that those same people, mostly men, who are offended or threatened by a woman’s voice, will employ the age-old tactic of targeting her appearance to make her feel small.

Unfortunately, women tend to lower their voices when trolled, because our society has reinforced the belief that it’s not a woman’s place to raise a ruckus, speak out of turn, or god forbid not “be nice.”

Slut-shaming the last resort

“#DishaRavi if you’re reading this now is a great time to get pregnant like #SaroofaZarger” reads another tweet. Her character assassination started too because it seems the trolls could not come up with anything civil. This was totally uncalled for; it shows our vile and disgusting mindset that resorts to slut-shaming women when cornered.

We need to remember that this young activist was arrested on very serious charges. Ridiculing her and morphing pictures just to discredit her and make her look guilty is not the right thing to do. Why not let authorities unearth the truth and deal with it?

Slut-shaming women says more about those who do so

We saw how Greta Thunberg was shamed for her age, for being out of school, the fact that she suffers from Asperger syndrome. So, yes when women take a stand all methods will be employed to bring them down. But then what do we as a society do about how women are treated?

It is not enough to shake your head in disapproval or scroll past such derogatory tweets. The next time you see a woman being called names for voicing her opinion, her character being assassinated, being slut-shamed or body shamed, from whichever field, stand up for her. Don’t be a silent spectator. Not only because the next person at the receiving end of such behaviour could be you or someone your love, but because trolls need to know that if they go after women for simply speaking up, their sisterhood will come for them, for sure.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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