Male Ego FTW! Virat Kohli stands on stool besides female tennis star
08 Oct 2018, 15:58
Ace Indian cricketer and Anushka Sharma’s husband Virat Kohli has been making the news recently—partially for reasons he’d rather not be known for. You see, at a promotional event for a watch brand, he stepped on a platform to look taller than the woman standing next to him. The woman in question, tennis player Karman Kaur Thandi, was wearing heels and was looking taller than him. Naturally, images of Virat standing on a stool to appear taller for the photographers have now taken over the Internet, reports the idiva.com.
Chalking it up to the fragility of the male ego, Twitteratti blasted Kohli for the move, earning him more than a little ridicule. But the truth of the matter is that neither men nor women in India have sufficient social space to put aside their ascribed gender identities, and go against what is traditionally expected of them by our patriarchal society.
If a hero looks shorter than the heroine, mass ridicule is what he will face from the audience. If a woman is tall or large, she will be demeaned for it. Our largeness and smallness are not just matters of size—but very much a part of our gender identity, which we are burdened to function within.
The intellectual and elitist space of Twitter can mock a Virat Kohli and so shall we, but let’s not forget to also deride the cause for his actions. Before we bash Kohli, we should also take a second to bash our attitudes. Perhaps stifle the judgement when we see a short man with a tall woman. Perhaps understand that women can be large, we can woman spread.
Men already have the benefit of being bigger than us in our current sexist set-up metaphorically. We all know that femininity is associated with smallness, with shrinkage. Masculinity has to be the opposite of that in order to maintain these gender roles we are circumscribed in.
There is, after all, a reason Aamir Khan wears platform shoes. There is a reason Katrina walks in flats next to Salman, and Sushmita goes barefoot while dancing around trees with Shah Rukh. Our mainstream entertainers are not just catering to their own male egos, but the larger social pride India takes in its macho men. There is this assumption that Kohli is an aggressive player, and that that machismo is what makes him good at what he does. This image would be smashed if a woman towered next to him- or such is our thinking.