February 4, 2018, Sunday: People observed World Cancer Day. India scripted a comprehensive victory against South Africa in the 2nd ODI of the Momentum Series. In a quiet ceremony at a Houston temple, actress Divyaa Unni got married to US-based techie Arun Kumar. No sooner than the news spread, reactions splashed all over social media. While the first two were handled with grace, heartfelt comments and long posts, many social media warriors couldn’t digest the image of a happy Divyaa standing with her partner, parents and her children from her previous marriage! Under her wedding photos, comments poured in, followed by trolls – about how Divyaa could be put on OLX instead of considering another marriage; how ‘low’ could an actress stoop in pursuit of her own whims; and how arrogant she was as a mother who placed her own interests above her kids. What fuels the ugly mindset that Divyaa shouldn’t have found love in life?
Is it that because she is an actress, or a woman, or a mother? “It’s definitely because she is an actress,” feels actress Maala Parvathy. “I can’t even think of the kind of language used by these people who think that getting married is an everyday event in the lives of actresses. There are people who share and forward such trolls and messages without shame. What is disheartening is that people submissively accept it without reacting to the abusive messages, which depict a woman as a ‘second-hand’ thing that can’t be ‘used’ any more. I am glad that she got married in the US, away from the glare of these perverts.”
Actress Sreedevika had posted a note on Facebook after being irked by the responses. Attaching a screenshot of a defaming comment about Divyaa's choice, she took on those who ‘can’t understand the meaning of marriage’. “Persons like these not only defame their own selves, but also of their parents, siblings and society. To all those who feel this way towards any public figure, these celebs too have a private life. Everyone has the right to speak but not by intruding in another person’s life. Human minds are very complex. People can’t just go on blaming a woman for making a choice about her partner, career or children,” she says.
In a viral post, Divya Divakaran, a teacher, has come out against “the pathetic cry of mentally insecure men over the fall of the bastions they built for their own happiness and interests”. Observing that the public psychology hasn’t much changed since the ancient days of Sati, she writes, “A patriarchal society’s concept of an ideal woman whose husband has died or left her is that she should spend the rest of her life worshipping him. In a society where an unwritten law prevails that a female divorcee with a kid should live for her child, Divyaa Unni, a divorcee and a mother of two, marrying a handsome young man, who is better looking than her ex-husband, has caused a massive heart attack for the men here.”
She also takes note that this rule, interestingly, is not applicable for men. To people who worry over who would take care of her children, Divya has another response, “Where were your concerns about the children when actors Siddique, Mukesh and Ganesh, who have kids, remarried?” Parvathy has an answer for that. “Men are pure breeds; does virginity matter to them? Women, on the other hand, are impure and second-hand ‘objects’. Look at the word these abusers use — echil (leftover food), as if the woman is drenched in their spit,” she mocks, adding, "They think that women have nothing but a vagina!"
Interestingly, movie viewers were all praises for the onscreen remarriage in Take Off, where Shaheed, played by Kunchacko Boban, married Sameera, a divorcee with a child. In real life, it must be different from movies. Parvathy feels that remarriage wouldn’t matter if the woman in the picture was the sister of the commenter. “According to the patriarchal rules, any woman who doesn’t celebrate her womanhood is entitled to remarry. A woman who doesn’t live in the US, doesn’t act in movies, doesn’t run a dance class – the ideal woman – can choose her partner,” she adds. Venom spewing and hate mongering will not cease until people stop donning the invisible black gown and consider social media as courtrooms where they can try and sentence judgements on any person they set eyes on.