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Would You Ask a Man That? From Mithali Raj to Sania Mirza, Indian Sportswomen Slam Sexist Remarks

They shoot past trolls, sexist remarks and emerge victorious despite all odds.

The whip of sexism struck yet again!

But Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj had the perfect clapback to a reporter at the pre-event dinner of the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup on Wednesday.

mithali raj and other indian sportwomen clapback sexist comments

The skipper was enraged when asked who her favourite male cricketer was. Mithali shot back by asking, “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?”

“I have always been asked who’s your favourite cricketer but you should ask them who their favourite female cricketer is,” Mithali said.

Despite being one of the most popular sports in the country, Indian women’s cricket has received a step-motherly treatment over the years. “Mithali felt they should not be compared to their male counterparts and lamented the lack of recognition despite representing a country where the sport reigns supreme. She pointed out that the Indian women did not receive the same amount of publicity as the men,” reported The Hindu.

The years have seen Indian sportswomen shoot past trolls, sexist remarks and emerging victorious despite all odds. Here’s a list of a few other Indian Sportswomen who successfully shut down sexist questions and remarks in the past.

1. Sania Mirza

In 2016, Sania launched her autobiography titled ‘Ace Against Odds,’ which was released on July 13 in Hyderabad. In an interview pertaining to the book, Rajdeep Sardesai asked her, “Amidst all the celebrityhood, when is Sania going to settle down? … What about motherhood? Building a family? I don’t see that in the book. It seems like you don’t want to retire yet to settle down.”

“You don’t think I’m settled? You sound disappointed that I am not choosing motherhood over being No.1 in the world at this point of time. But I’ll answer your question anyway. This is one of the questions, as women, that we have to face all the time…Unfortunately, that’s when we are settled and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or No.1s we become, we don’t become ‘settled,'” shot back Sania.
Sardesai apologised immediately on realising the poor construction of his question and also admitted that he would never have asked the same question to a male athlete.

She summed up her reply on a powerful note saying, “I hope a few years from now, a girl, when she is 29 isn’t asked the question about when she is going to have a child when she is No.1 in the world.”

2. Jwala Gutta

The shuttler has won India several accolades including medals at the Commonwealth games and Asian games. She fought back the perverse derogatory comments and body-shaming on her social media in an interview with Sportskeeda.

“If I look a certain way, it doesn’t mean I am ‘fast or active’, which are milder comments among the lot. It’s a personal choice. So how does that make me easy to get and all the other prefixes that are being attached? I dress for myself. I don’t care how other people view what I wear or how I wear and most of certainly, I know how to shut such advances down.”


Read more: Mithali Raj on Her Love for Cricket, Bharatnatyam, Childhood Memories, and More


“The ‘you-will-never-be-a-looker’ debacle”

When French tennis player Marion Bartoli won the women’s singles title for Wimbledon in 2013, she was appreciated and put down by the international media in the same breath right after her win. The reason being: She did not fit into the ‘good looks quotient’. A British media person went on to comment on her appearance moments after her victory saying, “Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘You’re never going to be a looker, you’ll never be a [Maria] Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight’?”

These Indian sportswomen fought back for her.

– Former captain of the women’s Indian cricket team, Jhulan Goswami criticised the hypocrisy saying, “We are living in a civilised society and such comments are not acceptable. When it comes to men, people hardly bother. Why is it that only women players have to be scoffed at if they do not look good? It is ridiculous. People should appreciate the win instead of ridiculing someone on her looks.”

– Badminton star Saina Nehwal said, “We are players and not actresses. Our job is to play and not please spectators with our good looks and perfect figures. Only people with a sick mindset can come up with such comments.”

“Of late, only good- looking sportsmen are getting more sponsorships and endorsements. The beauty criterion has crept into all the sports. But it is up to the sportsman to look good or concentrate on the game. Internationally, tennis is one of the best sport but it is not right to judge someone based on only looks,” she added.

– Former Indian Cricket Team captain Anjum Chopra said, “Winning the Wimbledon is a style statement in itself and it can never get overshadowed with people’s personal comments. Champions are idolised and they make their own statements.”

More power to you!

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