The star slammed the troll's implication with a reminder that this is exactly the kind of regressive attitude that finds a way to blame women for the crimes committed against them.
Politics of Love star Mallika Sherawat recently hit back at a Twitter user who suggested that the kinds of roles that she plays on-screen contribute to violence against women. The actress slammed the troll's implication with a reminder that this is exactly the kind of regressive attitude that finds a way to blame women for the crimes committed against them. It all started when Sherawat tweeted about the alleged rape and death of a 19-year-old woman from the Dalit community in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which called attention to the nation's caste-based hierarchy and the severe discrimination faced by members of marginalized castes — like the victim.
Hathras case: A woman repeatedly reported rape. Why are police denying it? https://t.co/9oey7rHe6z— BBC Asia (@BBCNewsAsia) October 10, 2020
According to CNN, the girl succumbed to injuries on 29 September, two weeks after she was. gang-raped and strangled by upper-caste men. The case sparked outrage across the country after reports surfaced of the gross mishandling of the issue by local authorities, pushing a number of Indian celebrities — including Bollywood actors and professional athletes — to use their social media to call on the government to adopt policies to protect women. Sherawat was among those to raise her voice against the continued violence against women in the country, tweeting: "Unless India reforms its medieval mindset towards women nothing will change."
Responding to the star's tweet, a Twitter user wrote: "But the kind of roles you have played in Bollywood movie contradict your statement. Don’t you think the kind of message you deliver through your movies also play an important role? Improvement should start from the person who is making the statement first." Hitting back at the tweet, Sherawat replied, "So the movies I act in are an invitation for rape!!! It's mentality like yours that make Indian society regressive for women! If you have a problem with my movies then don't see them #nocountryforwomen."
So the movies I act in are an invitation for rape!!! It’s mentality like yours that make Indian society regressive for women! If you hv a problem wt my movies then Don’t see them #nocountryforwomen https://t.co/I5XdN7zAA6— Mallika Sherawat (@mallikasherawat) October 7, 2020
Sherawat elaborated on the matter during an interview with Times Of India, where she pointed out that "the fact that we still blame movies, the internet, westernization, and a woman's dressing sense for something as heinous as rape, instead of blaming the perpetrator and his dirty mindset, sadly reflects the mindset of the people." She added: "In a country that worships goddesses and has produced one of the first few women Prime Ministers in the world and so many powerful women in different walks of life, our society in so many ways disrespects and disregards women and justifies sexual violence through victim-blaming and shaming. It's such a paradox. Violence against women is a very big issue plaguing our society today. If we have to stamp it out, simply implementing laws will not help. The mindset of our society also needs to change."
"The awful truth about our culture — movies and the clothes we wear are considered an invitation for offense. That is exactly what I feel needs to change. It's a democratic country, and if you have a problem, don't watch the film. This is not the first time that films are being blamed. As a society, we need to ask ourselves that if we don't use our celebrity status to speak up for those not empowered enough, who will?" she asked. "If I do that, I get branded as someone who talks too much, is a motor-mouth, and is trying to bring a bad name to the country. I am often silenced by women. We all know that women in India have faced a long history of violence, thanks to regressive ideologies, passed down generations. It's normalized for people to think that if she is a woman, she will serve and obey. It's often an illusion that we're progressive — you just have to study the mindset and attitude of people in general to realize that."
Sherawat stressed that change begins at home. "It will have to start at home, with parents teaching their boys that a girl has to be treated as an equal and with immense respect, and a girl that she has to make herself financially independent. Education goes a long way in changing things," she said. "Yes, it takes time, but it gradually shows. I grew up in a well-to-do, educated family, but I was treated like the lesser kid. Equal opportunity is so important. I had to go through the grind and work hard to get work, and today, it’s my profession that has given me everything that I have. We, as people, have to make that effort to ensure that no girl is ever seen as a liability in any family."