Anushka Sharma has been the victim of incessant “trolling” from the minute her alliance with Virat Kohli became public knowledge. From being blamed for “distracting” Kohli, to being labelled an unlucky charm and the reason for his poor performance on the cricket field, Indian audiences have continually been the quintessential soap opera mother-in-law – constantly criticising and jeering their newlywed bahu, Anushka Sharma.
The Latest Round In The Anushka Sharma Blame Game
Last week, cricketer Hardik Pandya and his girlfriend Natasha Stankovic, announced that she was pregnant. Amidst the immediate shaming of Natasha Stankovic for having a baby outside of marriage, and not having any Indian “sankskaar”, another woman who unexpectedly came into the line of fire is Anushka Sharma.
Twitter has been flooded with memes shaming Anushka Sharma for not having “given Virat Kohli” a baby yet.
The hashtag “#VirushkaDivorce” has been trending in high volumes for the past few days, puzzling many as there’s no actual news about the couple that could have inspired the divorce speculations.
The hashtag is not so much a speculation as it is a demand.
A Woman Is More Than A Wife Or A Womb
It is unfathomable to an Indian audience that the lack of a baby in a family could be a choice. Anushka and Virat not being parents, despite having been married for over two years (*gasp*), has automatically been identified as a failure in being a “good wife” on Anushka’s part.
Any mention of Anushka Sharma at this point overlooks her career and accomplishments; she’s been reduced to being Virat Kohli’s wife. She’s being criticised for not living up to a role that she never agreed to step into, but one that society envisioned for her.
There seems to be no scenario in which women can win. Natasha Stankovic being pregnant is met with jokes about her loose morals. Anushka Sharma not being pregnant is met with criticism and scorn.
On the other hand, if Anushka had in fact had a baby, she and the baby would most probably still have been blamed for “domesticating” Kohli. They would have been easy scapegoats for his poor performances during cricket matches – the “apshagun” that is ruining India’s cricket team, and thereby India itself.
Women continue to be viewed as wives and mothers first and humans second in India. Their primary purpose is to provide the man with a child, and continue the family legacy. Her identity is attached to her womb; her worth measured by her ability and willingness to birth a child.
Pregnancy Is Powerful, As Is The Choice To Get Pregnant
Women’s ability to reproduce is vastly powerful – but the power lies in a woman’s autonomy over her body and her choices.
Women hold great beauty and strength in their wombs, but their strength cannot be reduced to just that.
They have so much more to offer than their bodies; they are so much more than just wives and mothers.
The change in mindsets can no longer happen haule haule. The “small” things we let slide lay the foundation for generations of systematic sexism to build on.
Don’t hesitate in shutting down regressive comments and bullying of women online. Call out that sexist joke forwarded on your WhatsApp family group.
Embrace the power you hold in your body, and refuse to let anyone shame you, or women around you, for what you choose to do with it.
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