Recently, actor and model Malaika Arora took to Instagram to share a photo with her current partner, actor Arjun Kapoor.
While the photo, accompanied by an adorable caption, was a simple declaration of mushy romance, the comments on it ranged from heart emojis to remarks that were anything but nice.
Trolling is never acceptable. But, considering this isn't the first time that one of them has gone public about their relationship, the 'novelty' about the relationship has certainly worn off.
And yet there is no stopping the incessant trolling that targets everything about their relationship, but most specifically the age gap between Malaika and Arjun.
Despite it all though, the two continue to bask in the power of their romance - society, or more specifically, flawed social conventions and social media backlash be damned.
And why shouldn't they? Malaika and Arjun are two adults in a consensual relationship. At the end of the day, shouldn't consent, respect, and romance be the only guiding motto for a relationship?
As Malaika Arora shared with India Today, the world does not have a problem with age but with strong, independent women.
You have a problem if I wear something that doesn’t suit your taste, you have a problem that I am divorced, you have a problem that I have found love again, you have a problem that my partner happens to be younger than me... I think the real problem is not age. Society finds ways to shame women throughout their lives. People are still intimidated by an opinionated, thinking working woman and the best weapon they have is slander.
In a patriarchal society, where women, of all ages, are either sexualized or deified, the idea of an older woman and a younger man falling in love is an alien thought. And yet, no one would even bat an eye at the idea of an older man dating a younger woman.
As actors whose life is under far severe public scrutiny than the general public, Malaika and Arjun are definitely no stranger to how toxic social media can get. But it certainly appears that they have not let such toxicity get in the way of their relationships. And in a world that is far too quick to censure love under nonsensical barriers, their romance is a beautiful example of why we should simply let love be.