Comedy has never had too many takers in India. But our new-age, millennial, Hinglish-spouting comics are changing that, and how! With popularity comes influence, with influence comes power and with power comes responsibility. Comics today are holding up that responsibility proudly, using their shows to espouse values of feminism, religious acceptance and tolerance.
Funny & Feministic
Comedy collective AIB’s recent Harassment Through The Ages, seeks to call out Bollywood’s problematic glorification of “casual” stalking, as seen in R..Rajkumar, Main Tera Hero, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander and in most Dev Anand movies. By calling out misogyny, objectification and the reduction of women to props or trophies to be won over in our movies, AIB is rousing the collective consciousness of a new India, imploring us to stand up against what’s wrong.
East India Comedy’s I Am Not A Woman has a series of men apologising to women for all the staring, groping, pinching, objectifying and discrimination they go through on a daily basis. Similarly, Fuck Feminism extolls the normality of feminism, dissing the many reasons sexists present for not being one. If you’re not a feminist, you’re sexist. It’s as simple as that.
Comics like Radhika Vaz, Sumukhi Suresh and Aditi Mittal, have been shattering womanly taboos in their shows, bringing the rhetoric on sex, bodies and sanitary napkins out into the open.
Here’s what Aditi Mittal has to say on comedy and feminism- “I was amazed with how things were different for me as a girl, like how my brother could stay out for long and I couldn’t. I remember thinking a lot about it. When I came to know of feminism, I was so excited to find that there is finally a word for this. We are living in a delicate time and comedy sometimes, can be very unforgiving and extreme.” You can watch the entire discussion here.
Using comedy as a sugar-coated pill to protest against the bitter constructs of society is a very, very smart idea. Don’t see how? Consider this.
Imagine the average Honey Singh fan. Would he be more inclined to read a long treatise on the benefits of feminism, or watch a digestible, 7-minute funny video that rams the point home using a combination of humour and sarcasm?
Naveen Richard’s Better Life Foundation, a web-show modelled on The Office, lets the angry and much more competent Sumukhi take centre stage and rule the office with her iron fist, while her (male) boss fumbles, flounders and struggles to speak Hindi. While not overtly feminist, the show is a tacit nod to competency winning over gender in the workplace.
AIB’s Times of Boobs brought out national newspapers’ obsession with sensationalism and sex (read: the objectification and scrutiny of womens’ bodies) to the forefront. A much needed depiction, specially after TOI’s upskirt pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, and their ground-breaking? coverage of Deepika Padukone’s cleavage.
With 2 million subscribers, it is clear that Youtube stars are among the most watched by young India. That, in particular, makes comedy a wonderful medium to educate, liberalise and promote the right kind of values.
Looking for more feminist rhetoric? Watch AIB’s The Watchboyz (featuring Kamla Bai), Schitzengiggle Comedy’s (SNG) If Honey Singh Was A Feminist, or any of Radhika Vaz’s clips on womanhood, hairiness and farting.
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