Sonia Gandhi has been facing persistent sexism, and is a victim misogynistic and racist trolls. Targeting her Italian background, several right-wing social media groups have been sharing fake claims, that she worked as a dancer in a bar.
Smt. Sonia Gandhi, the president of Indian National Congress celebrated her 74th birthday on December 9. The Congress party supporters and several other leaders including Prime Minister Narendra modi have extended their wishes to Sonia Gandhi on social media.
Birthday greetings to Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji. May God bless her with a long and healthy life.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 9, 2020
While wishes pour in for the longest serving president of the Congress party, a misogynistic and sexist gang passed off disgusting remarks on her with misleading images. Juxtaposing the images of western actresses and Sonia Gandhi, tags like #BarDancerDay & #BarDancer were trended on Twitter. A Twitter user @Brand_vrai has posted a collage of Sonia Gandhi and a girl dancing with a tag #BarDancerDay. The tweet has garnered over 900 retweets and thousand likes.
Please Retweet #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay #BarDancerDay pic.twitter.com/OcAGrdy4Py
— विनय राय(ब्रह्मर्षि)🏹 (@Brand_vrai) December 9, 2020
While the woman on the left is Sonia Gandhi, a simple reverse image search of the girl dancing on the right has directed us to a website Alamy, with a caption, “UNTAMED YOUTH USA 1957 HOWARD W. YOUNG DANCING COUPLE IN THE 1950’S”. According to the website, the image is from 1950’s while Sonia Gandhi was born in 1946, December 9.
Another twitter user @doctorrichabjp has shared a collage of Sonia Gandhi and western actresses with a comment, “सबसे छोटे कपड़ो से सबसे महँगे कपड़े वाली देवी को जन्मदिवस की शुभकामनाएं (Happy Birthday to the lady who went from wearing skimpy clothes to the most expensive ones)”. The tweet has garnered over 600 retweets and two thousand likes.
— Dr. Richa Rajpoot (@doctorrichabjp) December 9, 2020
Reverse image search of the images in the centre and top left has directed us to similar and more images of Swiss actor Ursula Andress. While the image on the centre is from the sets of the film, Dr. No, the first film in the James Bond series, the top left image is of the the same actress found in a Russian website “The Place” .
The image on the bottom right is a photograph of Marilyn Monroe morphed with Sonia Gandhi’s face
Conclusion: Sonia Gandhi has been in the receiving end from many years. She was consistently taunted on her background and race. Once, a BJP MLA, Surendra Singh targeting Rahul Gandhi has said the country will never accept a “dancer” in politics. He even went on to suggest that Rahul Gandhi should consider marrying Chaudhary, just like his father married his mother, who was in the same profession as Sapna back in Italy. No action was taken on Surendra Singh. This is the level of sexism infected in Indian politics. Not only Sonia Gandhi, but Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani are also victims of chauvinist jibes and targeted by sexist trolls occasionally. This sexism is infected in root level in every party and spreads through their social media and IT cells. Stringent measures should be taken by party heads to control and train their cadre as well as leaders.