No, we aren’t going to skirt the issue of sexism, not when BJP leader Jayakaran Gupta is talking about women’s hem lines while campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.
One Congress leader loudly asks, acche din aaye (did you see good times)? They can’t see acche din when a skirt waali bai (those who wear skirts) is visiting temples in saris and those who avoid Ganga waters are treating it as holyJayakaran Gupta, BJP Leader in a Rally
Gupta ji – seemingly unable to stomach that women wearing skirts can also wear saris, or that they could have autonomy over what they decide to wear – ended up making this comment at a public rally in Meerut, possibly aiming to appease those among the crowd who are uncomfortable with ‘skirt-wearing memsahibs’.
But Who is it Addressed To?
Although the remark per se did not mention anyone in particular, media outlets and political watchers were quick to point out that it could be seen as a reference to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Did The Minister Clarify Anything?
Yes, he did. Soon after brickbats followed Gupta after the remark. He backtracked from his earlier statement later, saying that many (women?) were doing that, and that “now you need to see who fits under that description."
Is this The First Time a Politician Said a Sexist Thing to Priyanka?
If the remarks by Gupta are indeed addressed to Priyanka Gandhi, this won’t be the first time she has been subjected to sexist jibes. Ever since she joined politics actively in January, becoming the General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, everything from Priyanka’s attire to her face, has been considered fair game by her political opponents.
For instance, just last month, Harish Dwivedi, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, had said: "Priyanka Gandhi wears jeans and top in Delhi but when she comes to rural areas she wears sari and sindoor."
In fact, sexist remarks towards women politicians is unfortunately, pretty rampant in India, with the misogyny equally distributed among party lines.
And no, there’s no skirting that fact.