‘A girl has to follow her father before marriage, then her husband, and finally her son in old age.’
A woman’s life has always been controlled and directed by a man around her. It has been very evident that the perception of society towards women in the past has been chauvinistic. She has been considered inferior to men and expected to follow the rules set by men for her in society. The struggle of a woman has been more than a man. She has to fight for her rights, freedom, and education.
In the modern time, when women in the world have already fought a big battle for their equal recognition there is still a long way ahead. Women are learning in school with men, working in firms, heading multinational companies, and governing countries. It is still not sufficient because the perception of the majority of men is still the same to a major extent and this can be seen during comments, conservation, and daily practices. Women are struggling for equal pay, abortion rights, workplace harassment, and a lot more.
Recently, something similar was seen when an alleged comment by a Karnataka MLA attracted major flak. During the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, he made a controversial remark ‘when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it. He was criticized by several politicians and by social media users for his insensitive remark. A complaint has been filed against him by an NGO and he has also himself apologized for the comment on Twitter. But, this is not the first time he made such a comment. In February 2019, he was the speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and compared himself to a survivor.
These kinds of ideologies are not just specific to one particular party or one specific state. The reality is that India has a long list of misogynist remarks made by politicians that have been irresponsible and insensitive.
What are the views of politicians important for a country and its citizens?
Politicians are public figures in the political field. They are perceived as the representatives of people and public opinion in society. When politicians are appointed to a governmental position like an MP or an MLA they play a major role in administration and policy formation. Politicians propose, support, and create laws that form the basis of administration. The views of a politician are significant because it reflects their ideology and perspective for policy formation. At the same time, politicians become an important component for developing new opinions or ideologies among the masses in society.
When a politician makes chauvinistic comments, it reflects their thinking and it can also show up in policy formulation affecting the citizens. It will specifically affect the women in the society who are in the midst of a struggle for equal status in society. It can influence the citizens of the country also.
The long history of misogynist comments by Politicians in the past:-
1. Congress MP Sanjay Nirumpam made a comment against BJP Smriti Irani: “Aap toh TV pe thumke lagati thi, aaj chunavi vishleshak ban Gayi (you were shaking your hips on Tv, and now you have become a psephologist).’’
2. BJP MP Muqtar Abbas Naqvi after 26/11 attacks: “Some women wearing lipstick and powder have taken to the streets in Mumbai and are abusing politicians’ democracy. This is what terrorists are doing in Kashmir.’
3. Congress leader Digvijay Singh: Arvind Kejriwal is like Rakhi Sawant. They both try to expose but with no substance.
4. Sriprakash Jaiswal: “As time passes, the joy of the victory fades, just like a wife becomes old and loses her charm”.
5. BJP’s former UP vice president Dayashankar Singh: “Even a prostitute fulfills her commitment to a man after she is paid. But Mayawati, such a big leader in UP, sells party tickets to anyone who pays her the highest amount,” he had told reporters, repeatedly using the word “vaishya” in Hindi.
6. SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav: “ladke ladke hain, galti ho jati hai (boys will be boys, mistakes can be made).”
7. Narendra Modi about Sunanda Pushkar: “Wah kya girlfriend hai. “Have you ever seen a Rs 50-crore girlfriend?”
And much more.
What needs to be done?
Any misogynist comments made to media persons, through social media, or during parliament/Legislative Assembly must be monitored. The respective politician making this comment should be held responsible in the Parliament/legislative or in the court of law. Politicians carry a more significant responsibility when they speak or act. Every politician should abide by the constitutional right of equality to every individual without any kind of gender or caste-based discrimination.
Although we address ourselves as citizens of modern society, it is still a dream to materialize in the form of an ideal society. An ideal society should respect women, give equal freedom to be her, and ensure that their rights are protected. Women constitute nearly 50% of the total population of a country. So, when women will develop only then the society will develop in its truest sense.