Tired. That’s how I feel at the moment. And I have no clue how I will survive the coming few days, but thankfully, it will all be over soon. 2022 is ending. It’s always the same old story at year-end.
People will now make exaggerated resolutions only to quit them days later, self-proclaimed motivators will wanna speak about restarting clocks while the pretentious majority will fictionalize everyday realities and masquerade on social media wishing ‘Happy New Year‘ to anyone who’d spare a second to read their captions. And life will go on.
Don’t mind me! I am not here to spill dullness to your new year’s excitement. But, before 2022 gets metamorphosized into a fleeting memory, I feel like writing down some moments from the dying year as a reminder of how things stand at this juncture in the hope that one-day lotus blooms from all this sludge.
Like every year, 2022 was also unkind to women. How? Well! Here’s a throwback on the number of instances this year where women were judged, slammed, and more for merely existing and functioning independently.
1. Sushmita Sen got labelled as a gold-digger after the news of her alleged relationship with Businessman Lalit Modi broke in the media.
The entitled vultures of the Internet did not even take an hour to crowd the social media with gross memes & crass judgments, making a spoof out of a woman’s personal choice when Lalit Modi dropped the vacation pictures with Sushmita Sen.
But why? Cos it didn’t fit one’s perceived idea of relationships. Cos they thought Sen, the 1994 Ms World, a strong, independent, & opinionated lady and a successful Bollywood actress, chose somebody for their money. Cos Sen is a woman, and society has always had troubles with our right to choose.
2. A retired Colonel made an obtuse remark on ‘modern girls’ not giving good food & good sex to their husbands.
Women continue to be viewed as unpaid labour. They are supposed to serve husbands with good food and sex, while men have a gender license to sit and do nothing to uphold a partnership (you see, cos it ain’t a marriage between equals).
3. Uorfi Javed was blamed for ‘distracting youth’ for her creative choices.
Popular Internet sensation Uorfi Javed is known for experimenting with her looks. In our world, her rampant sexualisation & crass objectification gets woefully legitimised cos she dares to challenge the ‘morality’ marketed by our society. When — out of nowhere — author Chetan Bhagat brought up Javed in a literary event & accused her of distracting youth, we saw how some men so readily blame women to deflect from their own double standards & predatory instincts.
4. A random man on the Internet was fuming to see a woman happily dancing at her own wedding.
A woman having fun on her wedding day also appears to be problematic for judgemental onlookers. The comment section of the original tweet is loaded with people questioning her for dancing without inhibitions. One comment also subtly implied that it was embarrassing for a woman to dance freely and that people would have left the wedding procession altogether if it were his family.
5. The deeply misogynistic public trial of Amber Herd triggered a vitriolic wave of gender-based harassment on social media.
From labelling Amber Herd as a serial liar & man-hater to questioning the legitimacy of anyone who’d express an opinion against Johnny Depp, the defamation trial hardened the misogynistic discourse. It’s like any problematic random dude, lurking under the fear of #MeToo, has now suddenly found the courage to twist the narrative & question the legitimacy of female victims.
6. A Doctor got all curious about the skirt length of school-going girls. Apparently, he was a ‘concerned parent.’
Dictating girls on what they should wear, how they should behave, & what time should they should come home is natural in our society. And if they defile these standard protocols then they are problematic cos acche ghar ki ladkiyaan ye sab nahi karti. We would rather moral police women than teach men to just be decent human beings. Girls are sexualised from a young age when teachers police their bodies and question their character on the basis of their skirt length.
7. Alia Bhatt got trolled for getting pregnant. Deepika Padukone & Katrina Kaif got trolled for not.
The constant scrutiny female celebs go through is deeply rooted in sexism. The tireless media speculations and endless judgments not only reduce women as baby-making machines but also harbour an obsession to look ‘picture perfect’ 24X7. The morning Alia Bhatt announced her pregnancy, social media got filled with vicious trolls making fun of the duration between her marriage and pregnancy. At the same time, people also raised eyebrows at Deepika & Katrina for not getting pregnant.
But how does a deeply personal reproductive decision become a matter of public discussion and uncontrollable trolling?
8. A deeply horrific murder unleashed a victim-blaming discourse and turned into a cautionary tale for women to follow the societal modes of respectability & morality.
When the news of Shraddha Walker’s gory murder broke in the media, a wave of an investigation into the victim’s personal life sprung on social media. People questioned the credibility of the victim in defying her parents, using dating apps, sporting a boy cut with pierced lips and more. The self-proclaimed messiahs of morality took pieces of the victims’ life and moulded them to suit and enforce society’s established codes of conduct for a woman.
9. A bunch of white folks in America decided that women should not have the biological freedom to abort a pregnancy.
In June this year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, a landmark legislation conferring a woman’s right to abortion. The decision triggered a wave of protests around the world on women’s biological rights. By default, the majority of judges on the SC bench were men who thought it was scornful for women to have autonomy over their own bodies and terminate pregnancies.
10. Desi landlords continued to be a-holes and asked women if they were married because their relationship status would define whether they deserved a flat.
One of my best friends and her flatmates in Bangalore were judged and ousted from their property for inviting a male friend to their home. The owner typecasted their characters and threatened to begin a legal procedure if they did not vacate the flat (much before the designated date). Cases like these are numerous and the stories are painfully similar in almost every city. It’s a pain to find a good landlord in our country.
On the other hand, owners only want married couples cos somehow marriage legitimises freedom to live life for women.
11. Women in Iran protested for something as basic as the right to keep their hair open.
Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, got detained in Iran for violating their strict Islamic dress code by wearing hijab ‘improperly.’ She died days after being taken into custody. The incident sparked public outrage, and Iranian women removed hijabs and twirled in the air as signs of protest.
But these are just a few drops of the ocean. Women continue to bear the brunt of societal expectations and farcical codes of conduct. Their autonomy is curbed, their choices are questioned, and their voices are tried to be suppressed time and again.