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Patriarchy and Politics

By Milina Bhattacharya  ⊚

We come from a society which only tends to view women in two ways. Either they are objectified and sexualised or they are made to represent the symbol of purity. A controversy took place regarding the clothes of two public personalities which they were wearing on their first day as members of Parliament. These two women are actresses who recently also turned politicians. They were ridiculed by the media and the public by saying that they are not following the decorum of Indian Politics. The whole social media went bullying them and questioning their character and that they were not fit to be members of Indian politics.

So what do we exactly mean by a decorum?

Indian female politicians have always been given the image of a mother. They are called Didi and Amma and treated like a mother figure or a deity who is worshipped. Why is this strong imposition of a character who is so pure and can’t commit a sin? Indian audience will degrade women involved in show business, keeping them as some eye candy and needed just to make the film look “pretty” but they will respect them with all their heart when she is a politician clad in a saree without makeup.

There is even politics involved with the names. We call Mamata Banerjee “Didi” which means elder sister in Bengali or Mayawati as “Behenji” which also means sister clearly portraying that women are protected only when she is seen as a mother or a sister thus toning down her sexuality. Even though we are living in the 21st Century but the representation of women in the Parliament still remains very meagre and the political arena is still very much dominated by men. But the bunch who managed to make a significant place for themselves even in this horrifying situation has to face the brunt of being restricted to a certain desexualised image the public holds for them.