#SelfiewithDaughter represents a new concept in the imagination of mainstream India.
Father-Daughter selfies have been floating around the internet in the past few days following a call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hopes that such pictures will boost a national campaign to “beti bachao Andolan”. The prime minister borrowed the idea from a village head in the northern Haryana state, who has been battling to raise the status of women.
It proposes the concept of gender neutrality supporting the birth of the female child. Loving one’s child is presented as a parental impulse rather than a duty towards the state be it male or female.
It was not just fathers in India who responded to Modi’s call – some in countries like Sweden also posted pictures with daughters.
According to Paromita Vohra, “the #SelfiewithDaughter campaign offered people a means of processing an image of themselves as benevolent and progressive while concealing their resistance to altering the status quo, the structures and attitudes that will create a genuinely, vibrantly equal society”.
It proposes a change in the current mindset of the people. We cannot really expect a transformation to a “genuinely equal society”.For in effect what we are asking for, is currently impossible because for a man any change is never sufficient.
Superficially this campaign does look like a change, while taking a deeper look at it and you will find that the problem still persists across a large number of people.
Sometimes it appears as if the problem has been solved but the universal fact here is that problems stay, they don’t disappear, they just change shape.They hide and gradually reappear in some other form, but they never quite vanish.
Just like racism does not disappear overnight, a few measures are taken then afer that gradually the mindset begins to change, but language and stereotypes still live on, which then get pointed out and begin to get dismantled, sometimes in an overly self-conscious way and so on. It is impossible to argue that racism has been tackled as a problem, but it is equally undeniable that much has changed in the last few decades.
The need is to work with the change we have in order to start nearing the change we want. We have to be the change we want to see in the world.
Social change is an unavoidable journey that navigates through degrees of imperfection, descending down hierarchies of discrimination, often in a non-linear way. Gradually, things become worse in every possible way. The desire to see change that mirrors one’s own beliefs results in social campaigns that plug all the right messages without referring to or connecting with the reality on the ground.
Without fighting for rights and working towards building a legal framework of protection, fundamental change of any kind becomes virtually impossible. The #SelfiewithDaughter campaign offers a new organized way in the society that needs to be encouraged, regardless of who supports it even though it may or may not bring about any significant change.
Many people have different views on this campaign.
On 28th June, actress Shruti Seth, like millions of other Indians, responded to the Prime Minister’s call for #SelfiewithDaughter during his Mann ki Baat.
But unlike many others, she took the opportunity not to post a selfie with her daughter, but to go against it.
She had initially deleted her tweets, but later on thursday she wrote an open letter to the nation which was followed by a relentless 48 hour adverse reaction where the actress was called everything from a ‘prostitute’ to a ‘b*tch’ and in the tsunami of all the abuse, these were the kindest of words.
Recounting the event, she wrote how the abuse was not restricted to herself, “The tweets were targeted at me, my family, my ‘Muslim’ husband, my 11 month old daughter and, of course, my non-existent, dwindling career as an actor.”
“Men and women alike said the most vile things about me, stripping me of all my dignity as someone’s daughter, wife and mother and most importantly a woman. Men who were busy hash-tagging their selfies with their daughters one minute called me slanderous names the next. Asked me if I knew who my real father was. Questioned if I had been sexually abused as a child and hence was opposed to the idea of a selfie with my father,” she added.
She asked the whole nation,”What is the point of taking selfies with your girls when you’re also responsible for creating the most toxic environment for them to grow up in? How will taking a photograph nullify the misogyny and patriarchy that is so deeply entrenched in our society? Why bother to increase the number of girls being born when you choose to treat them with such indignity and disrespect? ”
All those who trolled her incessantly for forty eight hours,she asked them that did they, for once stop and think that she, too, is someone’s daughter? Did they ever ask themselves how they’d feel if it were their daughter at the receiving end of all that hate?
No one thought about this because they were too busy pouting for the camera & getting ‘likes’ and ‘RT’s to their #SelfiewithDaughter, according to her.
At the end, addressing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, she said that she stood by her original statement and as for her initial reservation about the initiative being nothing more than eyewash and that she was deeply saddened to see that, in the end, she was proved right.
Read the whole tweet here : http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1smtdi6