2019 polls: Women candidates being denigrated right, left, centre

They are easy pickings – the women in the glare of public life, especially politicians. They are soft targets for those who are bent on a smear campaign and nowadays, meme-creators.

This is becoming amply clear during electioneering that is under way.

There are a few women candidates who are being castigated for being comfortable in their skin. Take the case of BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan. She has been trolled ever since she became a prominent face of the party in the State.

People like Radha Ravi have been ridiculing her for her physical appearance which is none of his business. If you don’t like her face, don’t look at it. YouTube has a video where he asks her to comb her hair and makes fun saying her looks are frightening.

Tamilisai Soundararajan

A WhatsApp message that has been doing the rounds for sometime now, talks about her looks. Are these guys who are circulating the message Greek gods that they body-shame her?

Don’t think it is only women like Tamilisai who are trolled. DMK South Chennai candidate and polyglot Thamizhachi Thangapandian has been trolled after her party leader and actor Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “Send this beautiful woman as MP to Parliament.” People didn’t listen to how he qualified it. He said he meant that her Tamil was beautiful and her social service was beautiful.

Meme-makers went berserk over the ‘beautiful’ remark. But a spirited Thamizhachi refused to be cowed down by their poking fun at her. She said she was not bothered about such loose talk and continued with her campaign.

Thamizhachi Thangapandian

Facing this kind of heat, is it small wonder that women are hesitant to join politics?

The best way forward is to ignore lowbrow comments. Also, women’s organisations and activists should slam these people who demean women politicians who have to live their life out in the open and face such gross behaviour.

Feminists and activists are also often selective in their support for targetted women, owing probably to the latter’s political affiliations or even social stature.

R Chitra