Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits

— Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal

For their first day at their new job, when that job happens to be that of Member of Parliament, Bengali actresses and first-time MPs Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty might have expected many challenges. They were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media, except that they hit a wall of misogyny first.

Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many. “You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were just some of the nicer things people wrote online.

At 29 and 30 respectively, Nusrat and Mimi are among the five youngest members to be sworn in to the Lok Sabha. They gave their party, the Trinamool Congress, much bigger victory margins than the last elections, and are part of the biggest female contingent marching into Parliament so far (at 78 women among 542 MPs, it’s still not much to write home about, but life’s about small victories). But screw all that. Itnafashion kaise kar sakte hain? How can they celebrate their historic victories with the victory pose?

Clothes maketh women netas – only women netas. Gautam Gambhir wore jeans to his first day in Parliament. From Paresh Rawal and Anurag Thakur to Babul Supriyo, several MPs have deemed denims to be appropriate for the workplace. If you’re having to Google their pictures now, you’re proving our point – no one remembers it because no one gave a stitch. And what’s wrong with trousers? Are the haters seriously saying every single male MP only shows up for work in kurta-pajamas? But being swathed in yards of khadi is apparently some people’s idea of a punch-in card for women parliamentarians. Double standards make the rules even for our lawmakers.

Thankfully, better sense still lurks in many corners of social media, as several users came to Nusrat and Mimi’s defence, including politicians from rival parties. Celebrating the West Bengal MPs for injecting fresh blood and a fresh style into the Lok Sabha, they silenced those who still judge women for what they wear to work, not for their actual work.mimi

On their first day at the Parliament, the two MPs took to their social media handles to share their excitement and showed off their IDs

CLOTHES MAKETH ONLY WOMEN MPS

Gautam Gambhir wore jeans and a T-shirt for his first day at the Parliament, and posed with his ID (exactly like Mimi). Sunny Deol also chose jeans and a white shirt when he attended the NDA meeting at the Parliament. However, we are yet to see their political competence being questioned