We live in a country where female celebrities are regularly shamed on social media for myriad reasons – from wearing sarees, sitting in a not-so-sanskaari manner, posing in swimsuits, yada yada yada. Honestly, it’s getting a bit tiring writing about how female celebs “shut down their trolls” or “slammed them like a bawse”. Of course, male celebs are spared such vicious moral policing for going shirtless for their gym selfies or magazine covers. However, this time it was a male celeb, Prateik Babbar, who got shamed into removing his Valentine’s Day selfie…not so much because he was shirtless but because his wife was too.
Babbar got married to producer Sanya Sagar early this year, in January.
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On V-day, he shared a selfie visually and aesthetically similar to famous celeb covers from across the world. From John Lennon and Yoko Ono to David and Victoria Beckham to John Legend and Chrissy Teigen – celeb couples have posed in various stages of undress for magazine covers (as well as personal Instagrams because that’s how the millennial celebs roll now) for decades. These photos always cause a little stir, especially among the conservative lot, but ultimately they end up enduring in public memory for their aesthetics, for being art.
But are desi netizens ready to accept that there is nothing inherently immoral about nudity, yet? We don’t think so. Babbar might have deleted the post after all the slutshaming, but people took screenshots and shared them anyway. Trolls kept spewing venom in the comment section of these re-posts.
Can we even blame trolls for being jerks about this photo when multiple publications have also deemed it “bold”, “steamy”, and “risque”? These are the outlets responsible for teaching the aam junta how to perceive such stories. If they also choose to brush them with broad sensationalising strokes, wouldn’t trolls also get bolstered to further harass people for stepping out of the box, for doing things that aren’t the norm?