Can’t women have an opinion?

Oct 30, 2015, 18:51 IST



Chetana Thirthahalli is a Kannada writer who, like several other citizens who stand up for their rights and voice their opinions, voicing hers. The reaction? Her Facebook account was mottled with comments that threatened her with rape and acid attacks. Her crime was having dared to critique Hindu rituals and supporting beef consumption.

She’s not the only writer to face the wrath of the mob. Writer Arundhati Roy faced the crowd’s ire for taking up social and political activism. Director Deepa Mehta’s films were banned for supporting LGBT rights.

In fact, women in general are often attacked and shamed for having and stating their opinions. For instance, who amongst us hasn’t come across the ‘make me a sandwich’ form of online harassment? Discussions on social media interfaces are often peppered with the derogatory retort by men towards women who happen to have succinct opinions that may overshadow theirs, and that may often hold more salt than theirs.

Why is it that strong women are targeted for speaking their minds? Why are women immediately categorised as ‘bitches’ for doing what men already do in the professional spheres? Why are women constantly being attacked—verbally, sexually and socially?

I applaud all women who raise their voices. Although Kannada writer Chetana is now fearful for her safety, I hope she continues to make a stand. Because we have as much a right to free expression as men. Because we have as much right to respect as men. Because we have as much right to be as men. We are women, hear us roar.