Whenever a widely known person hits a milestone in life, it becomes a national story—story to comment on, to gossip about and/or to take as an inspiration. Recently, one of the most popular and controversial YouTubers Salman Muqtadir has tied his knot with his longtime friend Disha Islam. The news of Salman’s marriage itself is a buzzing story since this youngster has long been stigmatized as a ‘playboy’ due to his personal relationships. However, the news turned out to be even more exceptionally juicy because his beloved wife Disha Islam has two beautiful daughters from her previous marriage. In a word, Salman Muqtadir, an ex-playboyish bachelor, married a divorced mother of two—this is how netizens captioned his wedding photos! I watched a few of his interviews on YouTube where he was repeatedly asked about his marriage. Now that he has married, netizens have again a plethora of questions about the same issue. This time, it is a different agenda. I wonder what exactly people want to see! Salman’s case is public as he himself is a public figure. This is why we can see people’s reaction in the public e-platforms. However, as I proclaim, the cultural discourse of bashing people based on their marital issues is what we have been doing, living in and culturing for years. One person’s marriage causes many people’s headaches.
Tony from “Sanvee’s by Tony” is another unconventional example. She married a man much older than her age. They live happily. They love each other. And they do their work without causing any harm to anyone’s life and business. Still, Tony gets a lot of hate comments on a daily basis. Did she do anything wrong? Why do some people make fun of her husband? Is it because he loves and supports his wife? When haters write abusive comments on her Facebook live posts, Tony resists those hateful comments with equal hate and disgust. Then again, she is trolled for using abusive language to verbally fight against her abusers. Personally, I have never seen her talking rubbish while doing her job. She only uses such language as a shield and defends herself. There is a proverb, “Tit for Tat”. When Tony fights back, I see Medusa laughing at Neptune. In Tony’s case, there are countless Neptunes.
Coming to the point, marital issues have always been one of the most discussed topics in human conversations. I am sure my readers can relate to this. Whenever single men and women visit public gatherings of friends and family, the most common question they face is: “When will you get married?” Once they declare their marriage publicly, people get the chance to talk about their marriage ceremony, spouses, their families, their past lives and so on. Getting the chance to discuss one’s personal life and having an agency to disrespectfully comment on it are two different things which we, as a human race, do not bother to care. Talking ill about others’ marital lives is not only humiliating for others but also neurotic in its own place. The gossip seems juicy, but it turns the doer into a sadist.
Why do the abusers seek sadistic pleasure by gossiping about others? When there are people, there are many chances of having different kinds of communication. Among all kinds of communication, why do they choose to demean others on the basis of their personal and conjugal lives? If we notice carefully, we can clearly see that not everyone speaks ill about others. There is a group of people who do it. Who are they? They are the people who feel insecure about themselves, their lives and the consequences they face for the choices they make. Delivering bad comments is simply a way of protecting their own insecurities onto others. Those who do not feel good about themselves feel better by calling others bad and unworthy. They are sad, lonely and isolated people who are intolerant of differences and loaded with prejudices. They long to be part of the gossip-group to feel superior and take gossip as a charged site of weapon to humiliate others. They are mostly unknown and anonymous who call for attention but end up being isolated, unidentified and neurotic. They are not just causing mental harm to the celebs but also ruining their own personal lives. The toxicity they hold in them causes multiple kinds of disturbance in their own personal relationships.
Also, interestingly, toxic people have no specific gender group. Not only men but also women take active part in gossiping. When Salman praises his wife Disha wholeheartedly, many married women look at their own unappreciative partners and feel jealous of Disha. Then they wish bad for the newly wed. From the conventional perspective of the patriarchal society, people think divorced women do not deserve to be praised and loved. Tony’s husband is trolled several times for having a “sundoribou” at his age as if it is unnatural for a man of his age to get a beautiful and fit wife. They even called him “sugar daddy” without knowing that Tony herself is a hardworking and self-made woman. Also, I find the statement “he/she is lucky to get her/him” very problematic. Why would Disha be lucky to marry a single man like Salman? Why would Sadad be lucky to get a young beautiful wife like Tony? In a conjugal relationship, the husband and the wife complement each other. They are compatible. If we refer to luck, then we must change our discourse. Let’s say, both husband and wife are lucky to get the right person for each other in the era when partners are generally incompatible in many aspects.
To conclude, I’ll refer to one of her recent interviews in which Tony said that teaching the manner of not gossiping about anyone’s personal life is something our curriculum should add to its disciplinary policy. I absolutely agree with her. Instead of just teaching ABC, it is high time we practiced code of conduct from an institutional level. Common sense can be taught and learned. And then these toxic people will understand that one person’s marriage should not cause many people’s headaches. If we cannot wish good for others, we should never wish bad for them. Public gossiping should be stopped. It is like opium that is ruining the consciousness of the young generation. Can you expect your children to have clear minds when they listen to rubbish talk throughout their childhood? Please stop gossiping and shower the newlywed with blessings and love. Revive the fairytale line and let’s say, “And they lived happily ever after”! Best wishes to Salman and Disha. Best wishes to Tony and Sadad!
The writer is a PhD Student in Rhetoric, Writing and Culture and Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of English, North Dakota State University