The Planning Forum, in collaboration with The Gender Studies Cell, St. Stephen’s College, organised a talk, followed by a discussion, on ‘Breaking the Stereotype: The Truth about Feminism,’with stand-up comedian, writer and feminist, Radhika Vaz.
Having attended sleep-inducing lectures, Radhika Vaz’s talk came as a breather to an audience of close to a 100 students. Ms.Vaz kept the audience informed and entertained for over an hour, the audience swung from knowing smirks to roaring laughter. Inducing smiles and applause from the word go, she took the serious issue of feminism by the horns, albeit with generous dollops of effortless humour and sexual innuendos, leaving the audience hooked on to every dramatic gesture and witty quip.
Ms.Vaz emphasised on the view that feminism means standing for equality of the genders.
Indian society treats its girls like they are incapable of making sound judgements. “If you treat me like I’m weak, I’ll become weak and I’ll need to be treated like I’m weak because then, I’m fucking weak,” she quipped. In India, there is a pressure on the girls to be virginal and pure, but on boys, there is pressure in the opposite direction-they are expected to have sexual experience. “Who are they then going to have this experience with?” she questioned the hypocrisy. “Porn!They tried to ban it. Did anyone notice?” she joked.
According to Ms. Vaz, we will not have equality of the genders unless all genders accept that there is constant inequality that is part of the system. You don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist. Rather, men are a major part of the feminist movement and must stand up for the women. On the question of men and women being of unequal physical strength, she says that you don’t need strength to make better jokes than a man.
Brinda Kumar, a student at the discussion says, “It was her spontaneity and witty remarks that kept the talk going. She could grasp the sensibilities of the students and mould the conversation accordingly. However, certain ideas on feminism catered only to an urban, English speaking audience.” Radhika Vaz rolled comedy and feminism into a thought provoking, meaningful discussion on the issue, leaving the audience wanting more at the end.
Photo Credits: Prerna Subramanian