As Assam’s Angoorlata Deka prepares for an elected role in politics, director Ram Gopal Varma’s extremely sexist and regressive tweet shows how it’s still impossible for a woman to escape comments on looks.
The recent Assam elections verdict saw a BJP victory over the 15-year anti-incumbency of the Tarun Gogoi Government. It’s something to celebrate, but what made the news was the ‘hotness’ factor of an elected representative. The day since her victory, social media has been going gaga over the newly-elected MLA Angoorlata Deka, who was even called the ‘sexiest/hottest MLA’.
The latest in the buzz is a tweet by Ram Gopal Varma. Posting a picture of Angoorlata on Twitter, Varma wrote, “If MLA can look like this, Achche din aagaye hai... Thank you Angoorlataji, Thank you Modiji... 1st time I love politics (sic).”
Such a vulgar bout of objectification is highly deplorable. The tweet earned the director much ire.
‘I don’t care about RGV’
RGV is free to comment what he wants. I don’t care about what he thinks or says. People in Assam know me and also know how much I struggled to come this far. Good he chose social media to express his views. And got fitting responses there from of the people of Assam and India.”
BJP MLA Angoorlata Deka
It’s a sorry state of affairs that women are assessed on their looks, not capability. Politicians are not filmstars... why should one comment on what they wear as long as they dress for the occasion.”
Shabana Azmi, actor
‘What’s wrong in a compliment?’
My comment on MLA Angoorlataji was a compliment on her looks and what’s wrong with complimenting a woman on her beauty... Most MLAs look so bad (not that they need to look good) so her looks came as a surprise to me. I don’t know anything about politics nor am I interested, but if there are beautiful or handsome-looking politicia ns I might start loving politics as much as films. I was always a kind of a wild horse, very impulsive and fast. If I try to control my wildness, I am sure I will lose my uniqueness and so I just worked towards steering my thoughts instead of stopping them. I don’t care who likes me because I only care about who and what I like.”
Ram Gopal Varma
The minute people see a good-looking politician, they comment on the looks. I should know. As an MP and politician, I’ve been at the receiving end of this peculiar mindset for years. Not that one minds being complimented for one’s looks. But it’s the thought behind the compliment — how can a beautiful woman be a politician—that is bothersome.
Hema Malini, actor, BJP MP
Such sexist remarks are in very poor taste. It reflects the mentality of the person. It’s unfortunate that people in public life can make such remarks.
Siddharth Nath Singh, BJP national secretary, in-charge, AP and West Bengal
It’s true that women who enter politics or any other field, for that matter, always draw more attention for how they look instead of their political acumen. I think it is all a matter of mindset, really. In this case, the mindset of men who think women have little to offer besides their physical attributes. If they would learn to look beyond that and see the intellect instead, it would make all the difference. Also, I don’t think a woman needs to be apologetic about how she looks. God made you as God made you. Rather than focusing on that, people like RGV would do better to focus on what God didn't give them — the capacity to think before tweeting.
Shaina NC, BJP spokesperson and treasurer, Maharashtra
Prasoon Joshi: It’s more of a reflection of our psyche where we are yet to accept women in leading positions of power, especially with their femininity.”
Pritish Nandy: That every man does when he sees a good-looking woman. For him. it’s a gift from God.
Lilette Dubey: It’s true in most walks of life (except maybe showbiz), the belief is that if someone is attractive/well turned out, they must automatically be deficient in efficiency, capability, talent and intelligence department. If people are interested in externals, they obviously are more frivolous and non-serious – a myth very hard to undermine.”
With inputs by Subhash K. Jha, Swati Sharma, Sanjay Basak and Nandini D. Tripathy...