What would you possibly do if one day you were to find yourself on sale? Will you be stunned or will you be comfortable seeing your face as “the best deal of the day”? It might sound like a nightmare to a few and for some, it has come true. It started when an online platform known as Sulli Deals posted pictures of more than eighty women. As if posting their pictures without consent was not enough, it also announced them on a sale. Almost as though they were a commodity.
“Sulli” is a slang or a hateful attribute for Muslim women, often mentioned to degrade the identity of Muslims in general. The page, Sulli Deals, offered pictures and information of some Muslim women who were students, activists, or journalists. If you are a woman and at some point, you have raised your voice against injustice, there are higher chances that you could find yourself on the platform. To be a woman with a voice makes you a sinner but to be a Muslim woman with a voice makes you deal of the day!
The news spread like wildfire when the co-founder of DO Politics and writer of several books, Ajeet Bharti tweeted and asked people to welcome the open-source which is bringing good to the general mass. According to Bharti, the unethical ‘sale’ of women being auctioned online was not a matter of concern but something to be welcomed. The Sulli Deals incident has thrown us back to the era where women who had a say were prosecuted or shamed in public. The only difference being the advanced technology that has given space to the filthy minds on the internet to do the same.
If this does not jiggle you, what will? As disturbing as this news is, so is the fact that it is not for the first time that this degree of objectification of women has been put upon such a level. In the past few years, the cases of slut-shaming and the prevailing rape culture have grown indefinitely. Incidents such as the Boys Locker Room, provide evidence of the objectification of women as a norm; or when a minister in the Parliament asked for the night rate of a ticket, show how insensitive and inhumane people have become.
The bigger question is that “Is it just patriarchy, misogyny, and rape culture, or all of it coupled with Islamophobia?” For a nation where it is completely fine to raise violent slogans against minorities or asking an audience to kill and rape women, in the presence of police and media, Sulli Deals stands comparatively low.
The escalation of Islamophobia each day is making the environment more suffocating. If they could ask to kill and rape specific communities within societies, they are more likely to bring their plans into action someday. It is not the stance of the uneducated which hurts, it is the remarks of all those well-educated beings who stand to justify such acts of communal hatred and misogyny.
No arrests have been made regarding the Sulli Deals incident, which hasn’t surprised the masses. GitHub deleted the platform after the FIR but no names were brought to light. The fact that Sulli Deals was not actually selling women, raises a whole new set of questions. The most obvious one: Why?
Their main plan could be spreading distress and panic among the ‘woke’ youth. Keeping in mind the whole atmosphere of Indian households after finding a picture of their daughter on such a platform, families will create pressure resulting in something which the offender actually wants.
Women are unstoppable. Regardless of gender if anyone speaks about the injustice which prevails in society they deserve applause and respect. Certainly not a place in some human trafficking sale or ill-remarks by the blind followers of communalism.
Syed Taqui Haider is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Reda Aamna