It has been months now since farmers have started protesting for the repeal of the three controversial farm laws introduced by the Indian government. While they continue to protest on the roads under trying circumstances, a whole new debate and related conversations are arising on social media platforms.
It all started with a simple tweet by international pop star Rihanna on Tuesday, when she extended her support to the cause by resharing a report by CNN on the farmers issue.
It seemed like she fired the first shot. The 32-year-old singer was the first global personality to come forward and voice an opinion on the issue.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
Rihanna’s tweet was followed by other international celebrities following suit. Within hours, young environmental activist Greta Thunberg too came forward to post a tweet in favour of the farmers. American lawyer and Kamala Harris’s niece Meena Harris, and porn star Mia Khalifa too joined the bandwagon of tweets in support of the farmers.
While the aim must have been to give the protests global attention, it did not end with the desired result. What followed was criticism, public statements and FIRs to oppress emerging voices. Indian netizens too began calling out these celebrities for expressing their opinions.
Suddenly, there was a shift in focus - from farmers’ protests, all eyes were now on who was tweeting what, and which side of the fence they were on. So much so that tweets became meme worthy. A section of the internet population are now calling out these international celebrities for commenting on “things they do not know about”.
As more women speak up on the issue, it seems like women are increasingly under fire for making a statement.
People in various parts of the country took to the streets with portraits of Rihanna, Greta, Mia and Meena, and burned them as a sign of protest. Eminent journalist Rana Ayyub also shared how strongly her views on the farmers issue was taken.
“The kind of hate , misogyny, threats, abuse I have seen on my timeline in the last two days is something I have never witnessed before ( Given that i am immune to the worst possible trolling on social media). If this is not intimidation, I don't know what is,” Rana said in a tweet.
The kind of hate , misogyny, threats, abuse I have seen on my timeline in the last two days is something I have never witnessed before ( Given that i am immune to the worst possible trolling on social media). If this is not intimidation, I don't know what is
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) February 4, 2021
These incidents prove how women are suppressed for even something as simple as voicing an opinion. Threats of rape, acid attacks, and stalking are frequently aimed at women on social media by trolls who are emboldened by the anonymity that the platforms give. .
In scenes that seem to be shifting, women refuse to bow down to empty threats. If anything, they seem to be stirred even more to stand true to their beliefs. Case in point are both Meena and Greta, who continued to defend their show of support.
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 4, 2021
Indian women celebrities also did not shy away from taking a stand. Be it Kangana Ranaut or Taapsee Pannu, women on both sides of the fence equally made their point well known. Even as voices stand divided on this burning issue, what is interesting to note is that women are raising their voices and being heard.
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)