Why is it a lot easier to slut-shame a woman in power and question her abilities?

Dear Sandeep Aggarwal of Shopclues please dont wash your dirty linen in public
Atom Opinion Monday, March 13, 2017 - 19:07

Every time you log in, Facebook wants to know what’s on your mind. For some, that automatically means sharing the details of their last meal, for others, it’s a platform to declare their political opinions.

There are those though who take it as an invitation to spew venom, and the latest public figure in this category is ShopClues co-founder Sandeep Aggarwal.

Sandeep took to Facebook on Sunday and made several allegations against his wife. It was a standard rant, highly personal although it was supposedly about a professional issue, and written with the confidence that the character assassination of a women entrepreneur will be lapped up by men everywhere.

It’s not about who’s right or wrong: We’re not taking sides in a he-says she-says battle between the founders of a company, although she really hasn’t said anything on the issue so far.

It’s about the fact that a man with considerable influence has decided to wash his dirty linen in public, making allegations against his wife in a Facebook post.

It’s also about the fact that when it comes to questioning the character and abilities of a woman, everyone is willing to accept such questioning so very easily.

Sandeep claims his wife kicked him out of the company. While we don’t know the full story, what we do know is that Sandeep resigned as the CEO of ShopClues after he was arrested by the FBI for insider trading in 2013. Since then, it has been co-founders Radhika Aggarwal and Sanjay Sethi who have been taking care of operations.

Sandeep has also questioned Radhika’s qualifications, abilities and the work she has done at ShopClues. He has given zero evidence to back his claims, but hardly anyone cares, because the burden of proving her abilities always falls on the woman.

And amidst this barrage of ‘professional’ allegations is a private one: Sandeep claims his wife is having an illicit affair, and that she colluded with her alleged lover to take credit for all the work that he, the hardworking husband, had done over the years.

While this is a case of a man picking an easy target in a woman to shame online, it’s also a question of washing dirty linen in public. Where do we draw the line when it comes to privacy? With nothing but unsubstantiated claims, how is it okay for a person - gender no bar - to shame their partner online?

Especially when you are a public figure and have a considerable following - what message does it send to the world?

If Sandeep’s claims are true, he has every right to be upset with his wife for being unfaithful. Just like it is okay for any woman to be upset with her partner if he were unfaithful to her. But does that make it okay to go ahead and assassinate her character in public?

Let’s face it. It is a lot easier to slut-shame a woman than question a man’s character. It is the same idea that makes a man who’s had many women in his life “macho”, while a woman with more than one or two monogamous relationships in her life is of “questionable character”.

In the corporate world too, we have often seen women being targeted for their achievements. At some point, almost every powerful woman has been undermined for her achievements. She is either sleeping with the boss to get ahead, or has had it easy just because she’s a woman.

Image: Sandeep Aggarwal Facebook page

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