Lately two incidents of female celebrities shutting down haters or trolls (whatever you want to call them) online have made news and for all the right reasons. Momina Mustehsan called out a ‘fan’ on her Facebook page for saying that she looks like his maid and last night, Mahira Khan questioned a person’s upbringing when he asked her if she has been beaten up by Indians yet on her Instagram picture. Why do these replies matter though? Shouldn’t ignoring them be the best answer? These are questions many people, mostly men, are asking. Well no. Ignoring abuse is not an answer because it never stops.
I worked in a social media advertising firm for a year and among our clients were celebrities as well, both male and female. But while the comments, messages and wall posts on male celebrity pages were full of praise, their female colleagues had to face abuse of the worst kind. Swear words covered their pages. Their ‘scandals’ were brought up constantly, each and every one of their pictures was scrutinised, their looks were made fun of, they were shamed for ‘showing off their bodies’ and what not. However they never responded to any hate comments, those that were too filthy were removed and the ones that remained were ignored.
So it came as a very pleasant surprise when Momina Mustehsan not only answered but also posted a screenshot of the comment. And it was a shock to see Mahira Khan tell off the guy so bluntly because who would have expected it of someone with such a polite and subdued disposition as hers.
Momina Mustehsan, after she posted a screenshot of the comment and her answer to it, was criticised for shaming the ‘fan’ openly as she didn’t bother to cover his name. The ‘fan’ himself said he didn’t mean to troll at all since he was kind and considerate enough to have added ‘no offence’ and she had taken his comment out of context. Right.
The arrogance with which men hurl allegations and abuse at women is astonishing. They don’t even stop to think or consider the impact of their hate and don’t fear any repercussions. Why are women hated for joining the entertainment industry and not men? Why are they criticised for having a ‘fat nose’, ‘ugly lips’, ‘dark circles’, for wearing too much or too less makeup? And this is such a non-issue that no one ever speaks up against it, neither men nor women. And that is why Momina Mustehsan and Mahira Khan’s answers to these trolls are important. They need to know that their insults can be thrown back in their faces and it’s not so pretty when that happens. They need to be told that they just because the pictures are open to comments doesn’t mean that they are free to spit out their hate.
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