Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor's social-media post of a selfie with six women MPs, with the caption reading as, "Lok Sabha is an attractive place to work", has invoked the ire of activists. Accusing Tharoor for allegedly "objectifying" women, the activists proclaimed that it is high-time politicians realize that women are much more their looks.
"Who says the Lok Sabha isn't an attractive place to work? With six of my fellow MPs this morning," Tharoor posted a picture of himself with Supriya Sule, Preneet Kaur, Thamizhachi Thangapandian, Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat Jahan Ruhi and Jyothimani.
Akancha Srivastava, the founder of Akancha Srivastava Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works towards imparting cyber safety knowledge, said there is a need to stop treating women as "objects" and it is high-time that this mentality goes away. "We never look at men parliamentarians and say what a handsome gathering, then why do any woman achievers have to be called women and then objectified in this manner. We need to reach gender neutrality, not equality, but neutrality," she told reporters. "His comments could have been better worded. He has such good vocabulary, he should have put it to better use," Srivastava added.
Chhavi Methi, an activist with the the Bharatiya Samajik Jagritik Sanghatan, said the mentality that women can be just attractive or beautiful needs to change. "There is so much more to them and people need to acknowledge that and give them the respect that they deserve."
Reacting sharply, National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted, "You are demeaning their contribution in parliament and politics by making them an object of attraction. Stop objectifying women in Parliament."
Karuna Nundy, a Supreme Court lawyer, said, "Incredible that someone as exposed to equality discourse as @ShashiTharoor would attempt to reduce elected political leaders to their looks, and centre himself in the comment to boot. This is 2021, folks."
Facing the public outrage, Tharoor later apologised for offending "some people" and said the "whole selfie thing" was done at the women MPs' initiative in "great good humour and it was they who asked me to tweet it in the same spirit".
(With PTI Inputs)