Twitter India announced the top-most tweeted handles of 2019, comprising most number of tweets & retweets mentioning a single handle, and Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan & Sonakshi Sinha were topped the male and female lists respectively. Amitabh Bachchan’s handle @SrBachchan, followed by 39.4 million accounts, is third on the list of the most followers in India, after PM Narendra Modi and Shah Rukh Khan.
Sonakshi Sinha, on the other hand, has less than half of Bachchan’s followers – at 14.9 million. And yet, Sinha’s name appearing on the list of the most tweeted handles, can only be explained by how she recently became a nationwide ‘trend’.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) December 10, 2019
Sinha had appeared on Amitabh Bachchan’s reality quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati, and she appeared to have failed to answer a seemingly simple question about the Ramayan. #YoSonakshiSoDumb became the top trend of the weekend, where the actor was the subject of a million memes and called a ‘dhan pashu’ (money animal), shining a light on this sexist vigour behind this ‘campaign’.
Dear jaage hue trolls.I don’t even remember the Pythagoras theorem,Merchant of Venice,Periodic Table,Chronology of the Mughal Dynasty,aur kya kya yaad nahi woh bhi yaad nahi. Agar aapke paas koi kaam nahi aur Itna time hai toh please yeh sab pe bhi memes banao na. I love memes
— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) September 21, 2019
In fact, the closer we look at the list, we discover that while the men have appeared on the list because of their gargantuan fan-following, the women are not on it for the same reason. Bachchan is followed on the list by Akshay Kumar (33 million), Salman Khan (38.6 million), Shah Rukh Khan (39.5 million), and Vijay (2.2 million). Barring the Bollywood actors, Vijay is probably on the list because of his recent film – Bigil.
After Sonakshi Sinha, the names on the list are – Anushka Sharma (20.6 million), Lata Mangeshkar (14 million), Archana Kalapathi (806k) & Priyanka Chopra (25.4 million). Sharma’s mentions (probably) blew up after veteran cricketer Faroukh Engineer took a sexist jibe at Sharma, by accusing the national selectors of ‘serving tea to her’ during the ICC world cup. Sharma retorted with a statement that ended with ‘for the record, I drink coffee’.
— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) October 31, 2019
While Lata Mangeshkar was being spoken about during her recent hospital stint which was reportedly critical at one point, a majority of Priyanka Chopra’s mentions presumably erupted from a ‘viral photo’ of her smoking on a yacht. There was another ‘viral video’ that saw Chopra being rude to a young Pakistani girl, who confronted her for a supposedly ‘war-mongering’ tweet. The only exception here is Archana Kalapathi, who happens to be the producer of Vijay-starrer Bigil, which caused a social media storm around the film’s release.
Hypocrite of the year!
* When it was Deepawali, she said she has asthma
* She urged Hindus not to burst fire crackers
But now the Asthma-lady Priyanka Chopra is caught smoking cigarette! pic.twitter.com/gofjcAev6b
— Mahesh Vikram Hegde (@mvmeet) July 21, 2019
Do you see a pattern here? The men are heralded as God-like beings by their fans, each of their tweets and mentions being retweeted thousands of times. While the women face a steady onslaught of trolls, and constantly subjected to ridicule. While a Salman Khan or an Akshay Kumar might be talked about for his upcoming film, the only questions put forward to an Anushka Sharma or a Priyanka Chopra, are what Virat Kohli and Nick Jonas respectively think of their work.
This data paints a rather depressing picture of our everyday discourse around male and female celebrities, and in turn how we probably think about men and women in general.