The live chat, where Swara was joined by several people, including a lawyer, a teacher and a stand-up comic, saw the actress discussing with her fans issues like toxic masculinity that is all-pervasive in our society.
‘These chats propagate toxic masculinity and rape culture’
Talking about the language used in the chat room, Swara said, “These chats propagate a very toxic rape culture where the boys talked about these girls as if they are not even even human beings. I think the other big issue that it brings to the forefront is the issue of consent.
Aap without consent pictures share
kar rahe hain, which is also very problematic, and the kind of tone that they used is dehumanising.”
When a user asked her if Bollywood has also normalised this toxic masculinity, Swara replied, “It has. The chats highlight the mentality that in order to look macho, masculine, you need to objectify women and talk about them in a demeaning and disrespectful way.”
She added, “Not just Bollywood, but this involves our family values as well, which do not treat boys and girls equally. There is a sense of entitlement,
ki raja beta bachpan se jo kare woh sab theek hai, it is a culture of forgiving mistakes (of boys), however horrifying those mistakes are. This is how we normalise toxic masculinity.” She also said “that apart from moral education or sex education in schools, it is also about parenting. Teach kids about these things without waiting for something like this to happen.”
As the chat continued, people also asked Swara about groups like #girlslockerroom. Swara said, “There is nothing wrong in talking about your fantasies. But whether it is girls or boys, sharing nudes, talking about rape, gang-rape or inciting rape is very wrong and is a crime.
About sharing of such pictures, the actress said, “It is a personal choice to send such pictures but I think it is very unwise. Even if you love someone, why would you expose yourself to such a level? But if someone
is sending such a picture to you, don’t forward it. Why can’t you stop yourself from forwarding them?”
Towards the end of the chat, Swara told her fans, “Let’s use this as the time for reflection, question each other, and boys, please, stand up, do the decent thing.”