It’s raining celebrity babies in India and Twitter is making the best of it.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli and wife and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma made the happy announcement of baby Virushka’s arrival in their family on Thursday. “And then, we were three! Arriving Jan 2021,” the couple announced on social media.
The news came days after Hardik Pandya and Natasa Stankovic welcomed their baby boy to the world and also followed the announcement of actress Kareena Kapoor Khan’s second pregnancy.
But while Kohli’s fans were busy congratulating the star, some Twitter users couldn’t help but make a gentle point about gender roles.
“Is Virat Kohli going to continue his cricketing career after fatherhood? How will he balance a sporting career with family?", a Twitter user wrote.
“Can Virat handle the captaincy once he’s a father? Will he be able to focus on the job? Career ending move, this," asked another.
Many tweeted about the way Kohli would perhaps have been treated when announcing the news of his pregnancy, had he been a woman.
Is Virat Kohli going to continue his cricketing career after fatherhood? How will he balance a sporting career with family?— Star Wars: AnuHope (@anumccartney) August 27, 2020
I mean if Anushka “allows" him to work!— Shivangi (@ChoubeyShivangi) August 27, 2020
Can Virat handle the captaincy once he’s a father? Will he be able to focus on the job? Career ending move, this.— Sivakami Sivakumar (@kamicrelief) August 27, 2020
He should take a break till his children are ready?— Pooja 🖤🖤🖤 (@Pjverma) August 27, 2020
An underslept irritable Virat will be a source of workplace toxicity, a bad influence to have around work colleague. That is when he returns after a year and a half long paternity leave. It’s best to let him go.— The Rupee Room ❼ (@VikramBarhat) August 27, 2020
Women in sports face a tough time coping with motherhood and work. Women athletes across the world face a tough time choosing between their careers, sponsorships, and choosing a family. For many, a pregnancy usually means an end to one’s career. For those who choose to return, the pressure to perform is intense.
It isn’t just in sports, most professionals deem maternity as an obstruction to higher productivity and profitability. In fact, maternity and motherhood is often deemed as a roadblock to women’s careers.
But childbirth should not be the woman’s job alone. While there is a need for mandatory maternity leaves and benefits, these should not extend only to women. Childbirth is as much a father’s responsibility as it is a mother’s.
Some Kohli fans and followers of toxic masculinity seemed to miss the point of the tweets, which was pointing out the inequality with which male and female professionals - especially sportspersons - were treated with when announcing their pregnancy.
Fans of Kohli should perhaps remember to be just as gracious when it comes to congratulating women sportspersons when they share similar news. And also bat for gender equality in sports when it comes to that.
Sexism in Bollywood (for that matter, everywhere) is not uncommon. It’s not difficult to remember how often Anushka Sharma would be trolled every time Virat Kohli did not score well on the field.
In an interview by a leading daily, the actress was asked if she will give up her career ‘for love’, like in Sultan where she was seen essaying a role of a girl who gives up her ultimate goal and not participates in the Olympics ‘for love’. She had an apt response to the question. “What is the point of this question? Why is it even being asked? Strangely, only a girl is asked these questions which I think is extremely sexist. Why is that even an option? Why should anyone think that just because you are in a relationship you have to give up your career? If people need to ask it, there’s a primary problem."
“I don’t see them asking male actors this question. Only women are put through this and it’s demeaning that I even have to answer a question like this," she had pointed out.
Anushka’s response was spot-on. And hopefully, this time, the questions won’t be directed at her. But as Twitter imagined, at the man- Kohli.