Over two years ago, ‘The Souled Store’ started a campaign called ‘Roses are Red’ to tackle the issue of women’s lack of access to menstrual hygiene products. They launched a limited-edition T-shirt for the campaign. For every T-shirt sold, they promised to provide 1 girl’s yearly requirement of menstrual hygiene products. The T-shirt in question, with the incredible promise it came with, must not have inspired half as much interest among people in the last two years, as it has in the last two days, when Rhea Chakraborty arrived at her NCB (Narcotics Control Bureau) hearing wearing it.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, Let’s smash patriarchy, Me and you”, the very feminist T-shirt read.
People are appalled at Rhea’s fashion choice for the occasion! A sombre day calls for a sombre OOTD! Not an outfit that screams feminism and supports a campaign working towards women’s health and empowerment! The gall.
“Decode her arrogant message,” one Twitter user wrote next to pictures of her in the T-Shirt. Many have clearly been trying to, as the volume of searches for “patriarchy” have increased exponentially in the last 24 hours.
Another observed, “Her attitude is increasing day by day, the look she gave to the media while coming out of Bandra Police Station & the way she walked in NCB today shows it!”
A Handful Of Bollywood Celebrities Have Posted The Quote On Her T-Shirt On Their Social Media
A few celebrities have shared the quote on Rhea’s T-shirt on their social media, in a display of surprising solidarity, despite most probably knowing the intensity of the backlash that would follow.
Farhan Akhtar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Anurag Kashyap, Shabana Azmi, Zoya Akhtar, Jim Sarbh, Radhika Apte, Kalki Koechlin, Sayani Gupta, Kubra Sait, and Shweta Bachchan Nanda were among the few Bollywood celebrities who shared the quote.
Vidya Balan, Kubra Sait, and Radhika Apta shared the post with the caption #justiceforrhea.
“Didn’t expect this from you – unfollowing 😭😭😭”, Jim Sarbh immediately commented on his own post, to spare his inevitably “disappointed” (ex)followers the trouble.
“Look closer. It’s nothing but a witch-hunt,” Sayani Gupta warned in her post.
“Everyone loves a witch hunt as long as it’s someone else’s witch being hunted. Walter Kirn,” Sonam Kapoor captioned the post on Instagram.
The positive responses to their posts, that presumably represent their disagreement with the vilification and witch-hunting of a woman being criminalised without sufficient evidence, are few and far between. Their social media accounts have been flooded with people saying that they are “unfollowing” the celebrity in question, Making violent threats, and leaving spiteful comments.
“It’s done and dusted. Women support women campaign is successful, I guess. What batshit,” one man replied to Radhika Apte’s post. As unnecessary and evil as this man may think women supporting women is, we do wish his claims to it being successfully implemented were true. Another woman commented on the same post, “Roses r red violets are blue, let’s create a diversion because that’s what we do.”
Rhea Chakraborty has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days and lodged at Byculla Jail. She must go to sessions court after that to ask for bail. News channels have clarified that there is no mention of consumption of drugs by Rhea in the NCB records. She has been charged with organizing and financing drugs for Sushant Rajput. The charges she faces could lead to jail for up to 10 years.
As the situation gets more and more diluted with unrelated tangents, the masses’ emotions drive systematic action, and women continue to be the most convenient scapegoats during tumultuous times, we cannot help but be a little “arrogant” ourselves.
If something must be smashed (and a majority of the online narratives seem to indicate a simmering aggression and violence ready to break free) let it be the patriarchy.
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