#DespiteBeingAWoman appeared as a top trend on Twitter just a while back and has been buzzing with over a 100 entries per minute. How did this phrase come about as a hashtag, and how much moss is it gathering? Here’s a lowdown:
1. Our PM is behind it:
Modi is on his visits around the world again, and made this statement on his two-day trip to Bangladesh, while interacting with his Bangladesh Counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Sunday. “I am happy that Bangladesh Prime Minister, despite being a woman, has declared zero tolerance for terrorism.” This may have been intended as a compliment, but definitely had a sexist connotation, which the internet didn’t fail to catch.
Modi doesn’t have the cleanest track-record when it comes to his attitude towards women. Even before he was elected into office, his remarks to Shashi Tharoor were plastered all over the media as demeaning towards women. He had said, ”Wah kya girlfriend hai,” he said. “Apne kabhi dekha hai 50 crore ka girlfriend?” What a girlfriend! Have you ever seen a Rs 50-crore girlfriend.” And even after he assumed the country’s highest office, he has been criticized for not giving women empowerment and women security the priority it deserves. Thus, this immediate backlash came on Social media as a result of great resentment built up against him over his reputation.
3. Backlash on Social Media
Twitter was quick to take the phrase and turn it into a hashtag, plugging it into tweets that implied that Mr. Modi is undermining the strength and power of women. Some tweets politely pointed out that women have successfully ruled our country in the past. “How can you even say or think #despitebeingawoman when your own country had a great female PM way before most first world countries! Shame!”. But it soon turned into hyperboles and sarcastic digs aimed at the PM, as if to say, ‘he might as well have said this.” - “Mother called me today, #DespiteBeingAWoman” tweeted a user, including the hastag. Another journalist, Sunetra Choudhury posted “#DespiteBeingAWoman I am going out of town to report today. God, give me strength.”