The society we are

'So, the truth is, the reasons Pushkar has been pilloried lie elsewhere. Imagine for a moment that instead of Pushkar some nephew of Tharoor had been given sweat equity. Would the media have ferreted out every last detail about his girlfriends and colour of bedsheet — imagined or real? Pushkar says the last fortnight has been akin to a medieval witch hunt. She is right. A deep and unthinking misogyny has underscored all the reporting on her. Her real crime is that she is an attractive 46-year old widow, who is bright, vivacious and hot — in the way only those women can be, who have a comfortable relationship with themselves; who understand that beauty does not preclude one from being kind; or protect one from sorrow. If the media had wanted to try the two for financial impropriety, it should have stuck to doing that. Instead, all of it has become an ugly spectacle about a society trying to decide what women are allowed and not allowed to be. Ambition, sass, and self-assured sexiness are clearly high on the list of India’s penal code for women. This is why Pushkar has been asked by “well-wishers” to stay out of view. This is why she’s in the process of being tamed for Indian public life. The story of how Sunanda Pushkar has been treated then is not the story of just one woman: it is a parable about the society we are.'

- Shoma Chaudhury, 'The Parable of a Vamp'.


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