In August, women took to social media with the hashtag #AintNoCinderalla, as a protest against the moral policing following the reported stalking of a woman in Chandigarh. Many, including Congress leaders joined in the protest, which basically questioned the misogynistic mindset that women’s clothes and behaviour are to be questioned for crimes against them.
— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) August 7, 2017
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) August 7, 2017
Of course, as a woman, I have been subjected to scrutiny and harassment sometimes solely on the basis of what I have worn so defying these societal norms of what is ‘acceptable’ is a welcome move.
However, as much as it is true that I should not be harassed for the clothes I am wearing, the same is true that my choice of clothing should not be a barometer to judge how progressive I am in my thoughts or actions. You would expect the so-called leaders who have been stuck on repeat that they want women empowerment would actually be progressive enough not to judge women on their clothing.
But not Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
Gandhi, while addressing a rally in poll-bound Gujarat, today said that, BJP is oppressing women who raise their voices.
Inka (BJP) main sangathan RSS hai. Kitni mahila hain usme, kabhi shaakha mein mahilaon ko dekha hai shorts mein? Maine to nahi dekha: RG pic.twitter.com/cAxxmDqdw8
— ANI (@ANI) October 10, 2017
He then asked the audience if they have ever seen women in Shakhas (of the right leaning volunteer led nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wearing shorts. “I have never seen them wear shorts,” Gandhi said.
Is Gandhi trying to imply that women could be progressive only if they wear shorts? As a woman, this feels extremely demeaning that a leader would say such a thing. Just as how wearing short clothes is not an invitation for sexual harassment, wearing short clothes cannot be used as a benchmark to assess how progressive I could be as an individual.
Nirmala Sitharaman is India’s first ever full time Defence Minister, Sushma Swaraj is Minister of External Affairs, Smriti Irani is handling Textile Ministry, an industry which provides direct and indirect employment to thousands, and Information and Broadcasting Ministry. These are all associated with the BJP, and in one stroke, Rahul Gandhi has insulted them because “they don’t wear shorts”.
I am baffled that someone who aspires to become the Prime Minister of India has such shallow thoughts.
Rahul Gandhi, I am a right wing, progressive, Modi supporting Hindu nationalist woman, and don’t you dare judge me from my clothes.