Sexist memes are not just memes. Sometimes they are the mirror of society you live in. They are the reflection of reality. But, why am I suddenly talking of memes? Because this conversation needs to happen.
I have received sexist jokes (where wife is always using the husband by not working and spends all the money in shopping or husband is just waiting for wife to go to her parents’ home) in past as #Whatsapp forwards and after challenging those, apparently I was the one with fault and a lack of sense of humor as they are “just jokes”. Thankfully now not being in such groups has proven beneficial. Here is a thinking exercise for you: Have you thought why wives are selfish in these jokes as they don’t earn money, only spend it and husbands are always dying to get rid of them? Why do women in these jokes always cook and men just criticize the food? To be honest, I never received a joke with reversed roles.
Just to be clear, these forwards were not from the older generation. These were people who go to work in the 21st century and see working women and men who are chefs. But, I am the one who lacks humor.
Buy Plot and Marry Kashmiri Girl
Moving on to the present-day situation. Article 370 that gave Kashmir a special status, was revoked. As a result to that, memes came like a flood. Memes regarding people willing to buy a plot in Kashmir and an authority that men can now marry “fair Kashmiri girls (गोरी कश्मीरी लड़किया)” as if women are properties which people can just go and make their own. As if women are just standing there, waiting to get married. So much so that an MLA from the ruling party said in a video that his party workers can now go and marry and fair girl in Kashmir. Some men even shared the memes with pictures of Kashmiris women because they think that any woman’s photo can be shared just like that.
Do you see a pattern here? Every meme, every joke mentioned the word fair Kashmiri girls. Here is a truth. Fair skin is an obsession of majority of Indians. Parents want their son to marry a fair-skinned woman. Television sells Fair & Lovely every five minutes. Young girls are told not to play in Sun else they will lose their skin complexion. People are used to passing comments like the bride is fair and beautiful when they attend weddings. Very casual. You see.
“Silencing women silences justice.”DaShanne Stokes
These boys and men have seen this sexism in everyday life, casually exercised by the older generation and society which is not the excuse that they can carry on with it. They need to be called upon. They need to be educated if their education wasn’t enough to educate them and you know, who needs to do that? Each of us.
That forwarded meme which is smelling of sexism and stereotype, You need to stop that chain of forwarding. You need to put an end to this culture which thinks women are objects. Sadly worst things going on in men only WhatsApp groups.
But, You might be thinking why you need to be the saviour. Here is the answer. Today it’s some woman’s photo, tomorrow it can be the photo of your loved one.
Is that reason enough to speak up?
I am all ears.