Dear Mumbai Mirror, you disgust us! Sincerely – All women

Every time I decide I will try and reach one step closer to mental peace, I end up reading something that pushes my resolve back. Scratch a self-proclaimed ‘feminist’ and you’re most likely to find misogynist or a woman who would not think twice before putting another woman down just because their political ideologies don’t match. Mumbai Mirror today published an article by one Namrata Zakaria, who otherwise writes on fashion and believes that Sonia Gandhi is a bigger style icon than Sonam Kapoor, referring to Sonia Gandhi as ‘Sonia G’ (Soniaji?).

While such crass pieces don’t deserve to be dignified by giving a response, the more I read it the more I felt it needs to be called out. That the veil of feminism and liberalism needs to be brought down. Because if one is biased, better wear it on your skin.

The fashion blogger starts the article by talking about how Union minister Smriti Irani was ‘punished’ by the top brass and was ‘sent back to her room with her knitting needles, which, I presume, is what the men in the arriviste monogrammed suits think of the Textiles Ministry’. Of course, an industry which accounts for 2% of India’s GDP, 15% of India’s export earnings, employs over 45 million people directly and is one of the biggest employment generating industries in the country is a ‘room with knitting needles’ which the fashion blogger ‘presumes’ what the people higher up think of textile ministry. This is what makes people mock fashionistas who make political commentary, because of their own lack of comprehension skills.

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Moving on, she says the textile ministry portfolio was ‘left to an annoying, noisy woman to take care of. A girl’s job. Like ‘go and bring us some tea instead’.’ Does the fashion blogger, who also identifies herself as ‘feminist’ thinks handling a ministry which provides second highest employment, directly and indirectly, in the country, is ‘bringing some tea’?

She states how her previous columns have dealt with issues related to textile industry and suggests some ‘eye-opening changes’ which could turn small local shops into global players. Curiosity got the better of me and I looked up her other blogs. I was shocked to see her well researched piece:

Some of her other researched pieces are here:

Guess it is a good thing Irani skipped her columns.

The blogger then calls Irani a poster girl for the wrong kind of feminism. Perhaps for taking on the sexist and misogynist comments that are thrown at her by politicians and media persons.

Zakaria writes on how Smriti’s career has been marked with controversies, ‘It all started with a peeping Tom allegation against a particular outlet of Fabindia, saying its staff had hidden cameras in the ladies’ changing rooms. They are still to be found.’ If only the fashion blogger would’ve spent time following up with real news instead of wondering why salwars have hit rock bottom, she’d know that an accused staffer had been arrested by the police for allegedly changing the position of the camera.

Zakaria explains how Smriti has reached where she has:

Irani has come to be the woman in the office who’s only there because she sucks up to the boss. When others complain of her high-handedness, he sets her right for a bit and takes away her corner office. After some more praising, idolising and retweeting, she’s back in the corner office again.

How is this any different from people saying a woman got promotion in office only because of her ‘cleavage’ show or ‘she must have slept her way to top’? How can a decent woman claim herself to be a feminist and still belittle someone’s achievements as ‘sucking up to the boss’? Says more about her as a person and the upbringing which she has received than the person she is talking about.

She then describes other female ministers who carry themselves with dignity (unlike Smriti Irani)

Umm. Sitharaman is India’s first full time female defence minister, not second. Prior to her, only Indira Gandhi held the portfolio, which she had allocated to herself when she was the Prime Minister of India. And Maneka Gandhi’s maternity bill has its own share of drawbacks.

However, here comes the clincher. The fashion blogger has very constructive insight into how Smriti Irani has become ‘BJP’s albatross’?  

Despite quitting her thriving career, she joined politics and now she is facing downfall because ‘she put on oodles of weight’ even as other ‘male politicians’ slimmed themselves. She even quotes disgraced former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has a history of tweeting derogatory tweets against women while peddling anti-India propaganda. Oh, and you can’t accuse the fashion blogger of fat-shaming (because one of her previous blogs, she actually endorsed it.) She defended fat shaming because ‘thin will always be ‘in’ in the business of looking good’.

It may be an occupational hazard to concern oneself with what people are wearing, but even as peopled flubbed around, I was only interested in counting Emma Stone’s ribs in her fringed Givenchy floor-sweeper. Could she get any gorgeouser? Could she get any thinner?

Here you could see her endorsing eating disorder in the same article.

So essentially, according to the petty and shallow fashion blogger, Smriti is now BJP’s burden because she has put on weight and only way she can ‘earn her stripes’ is having to work her way up the ladder (as she has already asserted Smriti has achieved all that she has by sucking up to her bosses) and ‘an image makeover’.

The greatest shame of this asinine, disgusting article, is that it has been authored by a woman, and published in a paper whose Editor is also a woman. Meenal Baghel. Even though Meenal seems to be a bit wonky after writing tear-jerking articles about Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and appears to have signed a mercy petition for him, one would imagine that being a woman, at least she would have the decency and good sense to not let such trash be published. Forget gender for a moment, editorially, is can be considered a terrible decision to have a stray article by some stray blogger tarnish an established newspaper in this fashion. But of course, going after Smriti Irani in the most terrible manner seems to have taken precedence.

Certainly, it is people like Zakaria who give feminism a bad name by their petty and shallow thoughts.


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