A few days ago, actor Swara Bhasker wrote an open letter to Padmaavat director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Titled ‘At The End of Your Magnum Opus… I Felt Reduced to a Vagina – Only’, Swara says that she found the glorification of ‘jauhar’ in the film problematic.
She said in the letter that while she understood practices like jauhar and sati were part of our history, it is questionable to make a film in the present time glorifying these practices, or without commenting on them.
Swara also contested the patriarchal belief that death is better that a life of ‘dishonour’, which is what a sexual assault survivor is made to believe even now.
Swara’s point – what feminists have been saying all along – is simple. A woman’s honour does not lie in her vagina. She has the right to live no matter what, even without her male ‘protectors’.
Does that seem problematic? It did to a lot of people, which is well and good. Not everyone has to agree with her.
But is the abuse – much of it sexually coloured – directed towards a woman who dared to express her opinion, and used the word ‘vagina’, also justified?
The backlash the actor received after she wrote the letter took her by surprise as well. The people who targeted Swara online took one word from her letter – vagina – and reduced her to just that.
There are hundreds of tweets ridiculing and abusing Swara. Some of them come from renowned names. Here are a few, to give you a lowdown of the arguments they make to abuse her.
1. Swara has reduced mighty queen Padmavati to a body part (no points for guessing, the vagina). And she used the word only to grab eyeballs.
This is nothing but trying to grab eyeballs with zero rationale and logic. @SwaraBhaskar has reduced a queen of brain and might to just a female body part. Does more harm to feminism than good.#JNUkaAsar. https://t.co/IjwUPlDSM3
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) January 28, 2018
What you say @Shubhrastha mam
Do read letter
— Om Chaudhary (@om_chaudhary56) January 27, 2018
2. Those going ridiculing her to any reason other than the points she makes in her open letter.
Swara Bhaskar has released more open letters than movies.
— Subhasis (@AuthorSubhasis) January 28, 2018
Some actress named Swara Bhaskar wrote an open letter to Bhansali and said she was reduced to a vagina after watching Padmavati.
Googled her name and found that she holds a masters in sociology from JNU.