Kerala, Feb 11, 2019 : Wedding photos are often objects of great joy and affection as reminders of the special day and also of the promise of lifelong togetherness. However, a Kerala couple’s wedding photo recently turned into a nightmare for them after trolls found it and started spreading sexist and body-shaming rumours about the couple on social media, News18 reported.
29-year-old Anoop P Sebastian and 27-year-old Juby Joseph tied the knot on Feb 4 in an initimate ceremony with friends and family in Kannur. A photo of them as a newly married couple was published in the matrimonials section of a local newspaper. The harassment began soon after.
According to a report in The News Minute, the couple’s photo was taken from the newspaper advertisement and ciculated on social media with vile, sexist messaging that aimed to propagate lies about the couple.
Soon, the WhatsApp messages went viral and the couple and their families started getting abusive messages and phone calls. But what was the content of the forward?
The message along with the photo read that the woman in the photo was 48-years-old while the man was 25. “Woman’s age 48… Man’s age 25… Woman’s asset worth Rs 25 crore… Dowry 101 sovereigns Rs 50 lakh… The rest will follow… A marriage that happened in our own Cherupuzha.”
Ever since the message went viral, Juby and her family have been flooded with harassing messages from strangers on social media, most of them fat shaming her with sexual overtones. So much so that the couple were forced to lodge a complaint with the police.
The police noted, according to a report in Times of India, that the case was one of body-shaming with intention to harm a woman’s modesty. Five persons have since been held in response to the complaint. Anoop and Juby’s family both denied knowning the five accused and were unsure as to why they would spread such rumours against the couple.
Many on social media also noted that the messages were aimed at body-shaming the bride through sexist comments about her age and assets.
This is not the first time that an incident of body-shaming on social media has gone viral from Kerala. In October last year, travel and food vlogger Sujith Bhakthan came down strongly on social media trolls for body-shaming his wife who often appears in his videos.
Body shaming also became a political issue last year when former Rajasthan Chief minister Vasundhara Raje filed a complaint with the Election Commission, accusing Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav of fat-shaming her during an election rally in Alwar. Videos of the same went viral on social media.