It is common knowledge that India still seems to be lagging behind in terms of women's rights, especially because in high-profile cases of rape, abduction, stalking, the blame always seems to fall on the female victims.
The recent "stalking" case poses no exception to India's outdated views, where the alleged attempted kidnapping of a 29-year-old woman was instead held to be stalking. Many are accusing the police of ignoring the victim's complaints, releasing both male perpetrators on bail.
However, the #Aintnocinderella saga ultimately centers around Ramveer Bhatti's controversial comments. The Vice President of the Baratiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed the victim, claiming that "the probability is higher for girls being stalked if they are out at odd hours."
He added: "Girls should not be seen roaming on roads after a certain hour in the evening."
Yet again, no questions about the actions of the perpetrator, and no call for change in the actions of males. Thus, the #AintNoCinderella was born, with women sharing photos of themselves outside at midnight, in protest against Bhatti's comments.
— Nabakalpita Bora (@NabakalpitaB) August 7, 2017
— Palak Sharma (@Palaksharmanews) August 7, 2017
Unfortunately, Bhatti's comments represent an attitude of many in India - one that is dismissive and unsupportive of females. Instead. India opts to blame and shame their women. This is why the #AintNoCinderella is so badass - and necessary. It's undeniable that women feel unsafe in India. Not only is stalking and rape an all too common occurrence, but females are being let down by males at every level. Regular citizens, police, judges and now politicians, all seem to endorse a victim-blaming attitude.
Dear regressive India,
— pooja🌷 (@queenpsays) August 7, 2017
Dear Regressive India,
— Rekha Navani (@rekha_navani) August 7, 2017
Of course, fairy tales have taught us some pretty important lessons when growing up, such as the difference between good and bad, and the importance of treating everybody fairly. But ultimately, they're stories. Perhaps it's time India realised that Cinderella is just that: a story. Females are not to be restricted by make-believe curfews, not to be told what to do, and most importantly: not to be treated like second-class citizens.
In all honesty, it's a real shame that such a statement has to be made at all. But I do commend all the women - and men - supporting this fight. It represents a refusal to accept the status quo, and the ability to rise above and fight the constant judgment women in India face.