Jwala Gutta latest victim of objectification amongst professional Indian female athletes
Indian sportswomen are making the country proud on the international stage, overcoming challenges like patriarchy and sexism rampant in Indian society. Remarkable Indian sportswomen to have won major honours in their domains include Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza and Jwala Gutta.
Apart from winning trophies for the country, another aspect these women have in common is that they have faced online sexual abuse and objectification on social media on an alarmingly regular scale. Indians might brag about P.V Sindhu winning the silver at the Rio Olympics but conveniently forget this feat while targeting her online. One thing people of this county are not good at is treating our athletes well.
The latest victim of such objectification and abuse online is badminton star Jwala Gutta, who has, on numerous occasions, had her character questioned and her body vilified on social media due to her status as a fashion icon.
The badminton star recently posted a picture modelling a loose top and ripped jeans on social networking site, Facebook, after which she received a number of misogynistic and sexually objectifying responses.
The comments section for the picture was expectedly full of marriage proposals and people calling Jwala “maam” hot and sexy. Some were shameless enough to comment on her physical form in highly inappropriate ways.
The objectification and obsession continued with people giving vulgar advice on how her clothes should be cut in a manner which exposed other parts of her body.
Some people even went the extent of warning her against wearing such clothes invoking the name of her father and the effect it would have on the youth of the country.
The free, unrequited advice continued with:
The conversation also shifted to her financial status for some reason with people going to the extent of calling her a beggar and her clothes “bhikhari ka pehnaava“ (clothes beggars would wear).
Lewd videos of women performing kissing actions also featured
Jwala Gutta has been a victim of sexism throughout her career. Apart from the repeated tirades from people on social media, Gutta was also subject to lewd comments when she played the Indian Badminton League in 2013. She has remained steadfast through the abuse and refused to change her ways in a stubborn rebellion against sexism and objectification of women in the country.
Her opinion is that she doesn't dress up for others but she does so for herself. As an independent woman, she does not need the approval of others to decide how and when she dresses or what people think of her.
The Indian society has to understand this. The lady has made the country proud multiple times on the international stage and even if she had not, it is still necessary to accord women due respect which we so often fail to do.Published 07 Apr 2017, 17:40 IST