Arjun Kapoor lashes out at media publication for derogatory, misogynistic tweet on Janhvi Kapoor — and rightfully so

Karishma Upadhyay

Apr 14, 2018 12:41:47 IST

On Thursday afternoon, Arjun Kapoor lambasted a Bollywood portal that objectified his half-sister Janhvi. In a since-deleted story about Janhvi visiting Arjun’s home in Mumbai, the portal slut-shamed the debutant for what she was wearing. It’s no surprise that Arjun lashed out on Twitter and called this tasteless post ‘shameful’.

The Internet is a reflection of who we are as a society. And, what we are seeing on most online portals is the cyber version of the neighbourhood gossipy Mrs Sharma who makes it her business to track and comment on every woman in the colony.

Arjun Kapoor lashes out at media publication for derogatory, misogynistic tweet on Janhvi Kapoor — and rightfully so

Janhavi Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. Images from Twitter.

On most Indian websites, actresses are put under the microscope on a regular basis with headlines that could easily be Mrs Sharma saying, “Haw! Did you see how short her skirt was.’

Sample these headlines:

Top 7 Bollywood celebrity wardrobe malfunctions that can’t be unseen”

“From Alia Bhatt to Katrina Kaif: 15 bikini avatars in Bollywood”

“From Radhika Apte Nude Photo to Deepika Padukone Cleavage, Check out the Hot Bollywood Controversies

These are all real headlines from existing portals that have been posted recently. While they might seem harmless on the surface, each one adds to the misogyny and bigotry that women in Bollywood are subjected to online, almost on a daily basis.

We have all heard the phrase ‘sex sells’ and these portals, many of them belonging to mainstream media houses, are using women’s bodies as clickbait.

It’s one thing for an obscure website to milk misogyny for some quick numbers, but some of the biggest media institutions in our country have also been at fault. Who remembers the time an Editor of one of our largest newspapers called out Deepika Padukone’s cleavage?

There is a large enough readership for posts like these. Social Media is a great indicator if you’re wondering about the audience consuming content of this kind. Actresses have been body shamed on Instagram, called bimbos on Twitter and get sent dick pics on Facebook.

Just earlier this week, an Instagram post by Sonakshi Sinha had trolls attacking her for posing in a ‘cheap outfit’. While one commented ‘ab kaha gyi sharm hya’ (where has your modesty gone), another asked, ‘sanskar bhool gyi kya’ (have you forgotten your culture?). After posting a picture last year, Taapsee Pannu was asked by a Twitter user if she didn’t have money to buy enough clothes. ‘Due to such stuff male’s attract to seduce girl. And harassment (sic), ’ wrote the troll.  

Our society reeks of blatant patriarchy, and a large part of our online media feeds this audience through the objectification of actress’ bodies. This only perpetuates the message that the primary function of female bodies is to be a conversation topic for the sex-starved judgmental masses.

At a time when the national conversation is dominated by two cases of rape and murder – one of a 8-year-old girl in Kathua, in Jammu and Kashmir and the other, a teenager in Unnao, in Uttar Pradesh – it is important to examine online media’s role in perpetuating misogyny.

The excuse media houses will give for peddling sexist and misogynist content is that there is a demand for it. But as the media, is it not our responsibility to be agents of change?

Updated Date: Apr 14, 2018 12:41:47 IST