In yet another instance of women being body shamed, actor Taapsee Pannu was referred to as sporting ‘mard ka body‘ when she shared her new look for her upcoming film, Rashmi Rocket. 

Taapsee, who plays an athlete in the film, responded to the comment in her usual, sassy style. 

But, when we can appreciate a male actor for transforming for a role, then why are we not providing the same courtesy to female actors? 

However, the bigger question here is, why was such a remark directed at her in the first place? When did we decide that bulking up or sporting muscles is a gendered activity, fit only for men? 

Taapsee is certainly not the first woman who was shamed for sporting muscles. Actor, model, and fitness enthusiast Bani J has also talked about being shamed for the way she looks. 

“I was being called manly for having muscles. Muscles are only for those who have testicles and if you don’t then you shouldn’t have them. I have been told this for years. I was like,’okay I have balls too, does that make it okay?

-Bani J at India Today Women Summit

The incessant shaming of women for sporting muscles is akin to shaming men for wearing make-up or lipstick – it’s an attack on what society considers ‘abnormal’ simply because it doesn’t fit their gendered view. 

But why? Why are we so intent on boxing people, especially women, in neat, little boxes? Why can we not appreciate a person’s hard work or sense of style irrespective of that person’s gender?

Many people on Twitter called out the comment, and even supported Taapsee’s response: 

But we don’t just need support. We also need awareness and education so that such comments don’t surface in the first place. Shaming women for their looks is far too common for trolls, but it’s time we stop it, once and for all.