(Express Illustrations)
(Express Illustrations)

Social media and the structural diminution of women

The Constitution of India, considered a progressive document if there ever was one, guarantees equal rights to all its citizens, and that presumably includes women.

The Constitution of India, considered a progressive document if there ever was one, guarantees equal rights to all its citizens, and that presumably includes women. And indeed, India has the glory of putting women at the helm not just in politics but in just about every sphere of life. The virtual world has twisted the terms of engagement, though, giving an unknown quantum of humanity invested with a criminal mindset the licence to operate in public—with little consequence to themselves.

The social media has never been an easy place for women. Particularly those with a mind of their own, and the means to express it. Even so, the uploading of the photos of 100 influential Muslim women on an app called ‘Bulli Bai’, supposedly for auction, plumbs a never-before depth of depravity. The crude nomenclature itself reflected a debased mindset that has, alas, become easy to flaunt. It took a woman journalist’s FIR, and a larger public outcry, for the IPC to be invoked. The police has sought information from Twitter on the account from which the first tweet on the ‘Bulli’ app was sent out. It has also written to the host platform, GitHub, about the app developer; GitHub has since suspended the app. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is now coordinating a multi-city probe. All that is kosher.

But the fact remains that if unambiguous and exemplary action had been taken against those who floated a similar app called ‘Sulli Deals’ in 2021, there may have been no recurrence. The existence of a repressed, criminal male mind will surprise no woman. It’s the system’s lack of a morally driven punitive structure—and the consequent impunity assumed by the criminals—that is striking these days. There is often a touch of ‘normalcy’ to the structural diminution of the female gender anyway. It is, after all, a time when a 31-member parliamentary committee to decide the marriage age for women has only one woman member!

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The New Indian Express
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