December 9 was the birthday of Sonia Gandhi, President of Indian National Congress, and the hashtag #BarDancerDay was once again trending on our Twitter timelines.
And before I proceed, let me clarify that this was not the first time when the 74YO politician was derogated, both by her rivalries and the common countrymen!
The entire Twitter was blown up with derogatory memes and insulting jokes about Sonia Gandhi’s alleged career as a bar dancer in Italy before meeting Rajeev Gandhi and moving to India. The hashtag #BarDancerDay got so viral that even a Google search on ‘Italian bar dancer’ and ‘bar dancer of Italy in India’ started showing Sonia Gandhi in the featured section.
But just for the purpose of clarification, Sonia Gandhi was born and brought up in Italy, and she did work as a bartender, not a bar dancer, in an Italian restaurant during her college days to manage her expenses.
But who am I to play jury to the authenticity of any of these claims or everything else the politician has been accused of so far; but the kind of reaction invoked by these hashtags and arguments is appalling, to say the least.
For everyone, who wish for a society to be equal and respectful to every person, despite the class, caste, gender or profession, this was nothing less than daylight torture as the Twitterattis were using the profession of bar dancer as abuse and insult to defame a woman.
The misogyny existing in our Indian society is not something new that you would witness — people in our society are so grossly sexist that it hurts every time you think about it. And this incident proves that it’s not only men but also women who carry the ounce of misogyny in them.
The kind of comments made for the president of INC make you question yourself — that is this the new futuristic India they were planning? Or if we are really living in 2020? Weren’t we supposed to figure out the unemployment issues and the slow down the adverse climate change affect?
The saddest part about this whole incident is that the profession ‘bar dancer’ is being used as an insult to women — as if the women who work in bars and restaurants are filthy and do not deserve the right to live the same way as we do! And the set of men making such comments and insulting Gandhi using the term ‘bar dancer’ are exactly the same set of men who would go out to ‘ such places’, make these women feel inferior, calls them out unsanskari and yet seek enjoyment out of it!!
And let’s not forget the ever-increasing crime rate against women in our country; reminding us every second that the crime mindsets are just residing among us, probably making another derogatory comment against some woman on Twitter.
By mocking and insulting Sonia Gandhi for just working in a bar, millions of people have intentionally or unintentionally mocked and insulted thousands of those women who works in bars/ restaurants/ clubs to make their ends meet. This incident is a reflection of misogyny — the fact that how our society has evolved as ‘open-minded, modern, yet insensible and misogynistic’ and how far it can go just for the sake of bashing the political rivals.
There were ways to call someone out — one can argue, insult or debate in many respectful ways, a concept that our society is far from — but when it’s a woman at the receiving end of criticism, we forget our lihaaj and limits.
I guess it’s high time (no that high time has been here since forever) that we let go of this selective approach of respecting women and leave any form of prejudice behind. It doesn’t really take a lot to have basic human decency and respect for women (any gender, in fact) and it’s time that we should start practicing it.