A distasteful cartoon, that depicts the BJP leader playing ring toss, makes her look wantonly disheveled.

Cartoon in Dinamalar body shames BJP leader Tamilisai she slams the perversionFile image/ PTI
news Controversy Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 19:35

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu President Tamilisai Soundararajan has slammed a body-shaming cartoon that appeared in the Tamil daily Dinamalar. A distasteful cartoon, that depicts the BJP leader playing ring toss, makes her look wantonly disheveled. The cartoon carries a quote by Tamilisai which reads, "We will win ten seats in the Lok Sabha elections" in reference to the national party's plans in Tamil Nadu.

Speaking to Tamil magazine Vikatan, the leader said, “Women who have more colour are not mocked like this by this society. That is perversion. Even if I am a decent woman, a doctor, politician, they are only paying attention to my complexion and my physical appearance. This is a big injustice. They don't like when a woman grows as a strong leader. It is natural then that women are basically not respected. Those who have the basic nature of not respecting women are the ones capable of opining like that. When people coming from a strong background like mine are mocked like this for being a woman, how will other women get the courage to enter politics?”

The cartoon provoked more online outrage after S Ve Shekher, a Tamil film actor and BJP supporter, tweeted it with congratulatory emojis. While he deleted the original tweet, he shared a clarification on the earlier post with a white-out image of the same cartoon, tweeting, “When letter pad parties claim that 40(Lok Sabha seats) is theirs, there is nothing wrong in the ruling party BJP state president saying that (about 10 seats). That was my post appreciating her. I have removed it because many felt that it was mocking her appearance.”

However, this is not the first time that Tamilisai has stood up to body-shaming and trolling. Like most women in politics, the 57-year-old leader has faced vicious online attacks for her appearance and called trolls out for it. Notably, despite being the only woman leader of a major political party at the state-level, she has also constantly endured patriarchal comparisons to her father Kumari Anandan, a long-time leader of the Indian National Congress.