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Thursday, May 19 2022
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Sexist tweet? Tharoor’s selfie with 6 women MPs sparks row

Shashi Tharoor, a senior Congressman, sparked outrage on Monday November 29 when he uploaded a selfie with six female MPs on Twitter with the caption, “Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work?” The six women MPs Supriya Sule, Preneet Kaur, Thamizhachi Thangapandian, Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat Jahan Ruhi and Jyothimani were all smiles with Tharoor in the background.

“Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work? With six of my fellow MPs this morning: @supriya_sule @preneet_kaur @ThamizhachiTh @mimichakraborty @nusratchirps @JothimaniMP,” tweeted the Thiruvanathapuram MP.

The picture came at the start of the Winter Session of the Parliament. Tharoor had to faced criticism, with some accusing him of “objectification” and “sexism.” As the tweet drew criticism from everywhere, he issued an apology on Twitter.

“The whole selfie thing was done (at the women MPs’ initiative) in great good humour & it was they who asked me to tweet it in the same spirit. I am sorry some people are offended but I was happy to be roped in to this show of workplace camaraderie. That’s all this is,” the Congress MP tweeted.

Vanathi Srinivasan, the National President of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha and an MLA accused Tharoor of objectifying women.

“An elected representative openly objectifying women, that too inside the Parliament is a new low! I take strong objection to @ShashiTharoor’s sexist remark. But then, he is only living up to the Congress culture! @BJPMahilaMorcha Strongly Condemns,” she tweeted.

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Tharoor faced another criticism from Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nundy as she tweeted “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.”

In response to her tweet Jwala Gutta, Indian badminton player replied, “Not really Karuna, I think we need to take few things in a lighter note..and not see everything with a magnifying glass..And this was a compliment to all the women in the Parliament which is generally stereotyped!! just my opinion.”

“Why does it become misogyny, a derogatory term, just because a handsome man likes surrounding himself with attractive women, women who are at ease being in his company? What kind of a society have we become? We criticize the man, we also criticize the women! Sad,” commented a Twitter user.

Dr. N. C. Asthana, a retired IPS officer responded stating that, “Freudian Slip by @ShashiTharoor. When you use the word ‘attractive’ along with photos of women, the only inference possible is that you are referring primarily to their physical beauty and not the work they do. Sad that the women in the photo have not objected to the stereotyping.”

“Attractive” is probably the least offensive word that could have been used. What, seriously what would be an alternative? was another user’s response.

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A journalist tweeted “Women in the Lok Sabha are not decorative items meant to make your workspace “attractive”. They are parliamentarians and you are being disrespectful and sexist.”

Twitter users shared photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with women, commenting on how Tharoor’s tweet may be construed as a question of women objectification.

Few even responded that the row is to not to allow discussion on the farm bill.

With the Winter Session going on, the opposition is bracing themselves to target the government on a number of things including the government’s decision to bring 36 bills, one of which will repeal the farm bills imposed last year.

Reshma B.

Reshma Babu, a young Postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore University, utilises her considerable learned journalistic knowledge and inherent story writing and sub-editing abilities to add value to the company’s media brands and the editorial team. All dimensions of human interaction are her prime focus.

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