Indian women are no strangers to misogyny; they continue to grapple with its hateful offshoots in real life and aren’t spared on the world wide web either, where having an opinion as a female invites ceaseless, often sexual trolling – mostly from men. Two recent targets have been actors Priyanka Chopra and Fatima Sana Shaikh. While Chopra was informed she mustn’t put her legs on display while meeting the PM, Shaikh was trolled for posing in a monokini during the holy month of Ramzan. Such instances aren’t isolated. mid-day deconstructs the web of online misogyny.
Fatima Sana Shaikh
Trolled for: Posting a photo where she’s wearing a bathing suit on Instagram
Trollspeak: ‘I myself loved fatima in dangal but this kind of post in Ramadan was not expected from actress like her’
‘Fatima shame on u at least u could have think of Ramadan’ (sic)
Fatima uploaded several other pictures on Instagram later, but none in response to the comments she’d received. She did not respond to mid-day’s requests for a comment.
Trolled for: The daughter of a Kargil hero was turned into a meme for advocating against war with Pakistan. She was also trolled for supporting a campaign against ABVP’s alleged violence in DU.
Trollspeak: Memes were made out of her campaign for peace with celebrities like cricketer Virender Sehwag and actor Randeep Hooda joining the brigade.
Kaur told mid-day, “When the trolling was at its peak, I stopped looking at things on the Internet. I think once you understand that it’s not personal hatred, but propaganda, you don’t really look at it the same way. There is definitely need for better cyber laws, especially when it comes to trolling. Hate comments need to be looked into with urgency.”
Trolled for: Wearing a dress while meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Germany.
Trollspeak: “Good you met PM in Berlin, but could have worn a respectable costume. Hope he was not interested in your dirty legs?
“Wear proper dress. Mean full body covered. When you are meeting PM of India.” (sic)
A photo on Insta with mother Madhu Chopra, both of them baring their pins.
Trolled for: For her investigative journalism, which includes a book on the 2002 Gujarat riots, and for calling out Randeep Hooda and Virender Sehwag for trolling Gurmehar Kaur.
Trollspeak: “ISIS wud want her… for PR… (sex slaves, they have Indian-Pak moslem boys as)”
“Hi b*tch. Spread ur legs.
Filthy s**t.” (sic)
Ayyub told mid-day, “The government should treat it as a criminal case. If our laws for molestation are so strong, why isn’t a person who is baring his identity and issuing rape threats not taken seriously? Twitter and Facebook also have to do a very stringent check on what passes off as critique and what passes off as molestation.”
Trolled for: Her cringe pop songs ‘Selfie maine le li aaj’, ‘Daaru Daaru’ and ‘Swag Wali Topi’
Trollspeak: “Tujhe Delhi mein nanga karke selfie lunga…gana bandh kar” (sic)
Pooja told mid-day, “I don’t read the negative comments, because I don’t want them to affect me.”