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4-min read

Sexist Indians Can't Handle Tollywood Stars-Turned-MPs Mimi and Nusrat Dressing Up for Parliament

Would dressing up 'sanskari' or acting a certain way make them more credible as MPs? Call them out if on their failure to perform their duties, not their dressing sense.

Jashodhara Mukherjee | News18.com

Updated:May 28, 2019, 9:18 PM IST
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Out of the 42 MPs that West Bengal sends to Parliament, Trinamool Congress offered 17 of its seats to women this year. An analysis by News18 revealed that the All India Trinamool Congress had nine female members, which constitutes 40 per cent of the total number of women in the Parliament - the second highest among all political parties.

Out of these, the most prominent winning members would be Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan, who won from Jadavpur and Basirhat constituencies, respectively. However, ever since the two young actors won by a huge margin on May 23, Bengalis, especially the so-called intelligentsia that Bengal boasts of, have been finding it pretty hard to swallow.

Why?

Because they're not your "conventional politicians." Rather, they don't look or behave like one. But to be honest, what are politicians supposed to look like? How are they supposed to dress, pray tell?

Ever since their candidature had been announced, the two female actors were subjected to incessant trolling and hatred on the Internet. Mamata Banerjee had handed them the task of fighting from two of the most prestigious constituencies, even though they had no political experience of any sort. Consequently, memes and jokes, mostly crass, flooded social media.

That didn't mellow down when both won with a huge majority from their respective constituencies. For the unaware, Jahan won by a margin of nearly 3.50 lakh votes while Chakraborty won by roughly 2.95 lakh votes - let it be noted that this, by far, is the most impressive as compared to other candidates in Bengal.

The controversy surrounding their win worsened when the two reached Parliament yesterday and posted pictures of themselves posing in front of the building. Both Mimi and Nusrat can be seen impeccably dressed, in western clothes (which seems to have triggered the backlash), and naturally excited to kickstart their political careers.

Of course, that too didn't sit well with Indians and especially Bengalis who seem to have a fixed, stereotypical idea of what MPs look like and clearly, these young women don't fit into the mould.

In fact, some even shared old pictures and videos of the actress in an attempt to demean them.

Although we can't really tell if Ram Gopal Varma is being sarcastic in this one, we hope you can identify how problematic this tweet is. An MP is a lawmaker, and one's appearance isn't really supposed to have an impact on their ability to promulgate change.

If having prior political experience is the criteria for judging new MP-elects, then why hasn't anyone trolled Gautam Gambhir yet? Gambhir, too, is a celebrity like Mimi and Nusrat and this is the first time he's ventured into politics. But no one has criticised him for his clothing or his appearance yet. Thus, safe to say, shaming on these is always reserved for women, especially women in positions of power.

Why is it so difficult to understand that a woman's abilities is not really inversely proportional to her external appearance?

Take for example, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. The Congresswoman became the youngest woman to have been elected last year and knew that her outfits would be used against her. Not paying heed to what haters have to say, AOC has always been at her stylish best and uses her clothes to send out powerful messages.

Here lies the hypocrisy. Indians will support AOC's stance and uphold her as the symbol of women empowerment, but when it comes to their own MPs, the same parameters will be used to bring Nusrat and Mimi down.

There were also some who lashed out at the actors and reminded them that the Parliament wasn't just another film set where they could pose.

Some even 'slut shamed' the actresses:

And let's not forget the dutiful citizens who feel they need to keep reminding Mimi what her job is:

Turns out, MPs aren't allowed to have tattoos either.

Here's what we're trying to say. MPs are answerable to the public, yes, but only if they're not performing their duties or if they're lagging behind in terms of serving their people. Mimi and Nusrat are two adults who have every right to decide what they want to wear and how they want to present themselves at the Parliament. And wait for it, they have been elected. To discredit them simply on grounds of clothing or their activities on social media is not just wrong but also challenges the very authority of women MPs in the Parliament.

Would dressing up 'sanskari' or acting a certain way make them more credible as MPs? Call them out if on their failure to perform their duties, not their dressing sense.

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