casual sexism


Instead of speaking up against sexist jokes and locker room talk, it is now easier to remain quiet and be passive partners, read more to find out why this is incorrect.

Today’s times have made us realise how problematic things have been normalised by us knowingly and unknowingly. Sexism being one such thing has been so intrinsic to human nature and thus reflected in our actions. One such action involves humour. Men have now created a ‘safe space’ for themselves in each other’s company where this sexist humour is found. Where this is not considered offensive, where they can make fun of serious issues like MeToo, where they can objectify women in their locker-room conversations.

Whatsapp forwards are now a common source to pass on wife or girlfriend jokes. These jokes go beyond being funny or light-hearted because under this garb they persist ideas like how scary or controlling women are, how men are mere sheep in front of them, how everything in the household is a “woman’s domain” and so “men should stay away from it”.


While the society becoming aware has helped us all come forward, now these ideas are simply better hidden underneath the façade of being a woke boy. These jokes, of several kinds, have the same underlying idea- sexism. Many people have often responded to this view of mine with a sound of annoyance. Seeing me as “feminist girl” which is now equated to someone who “cannot take a joke” or “will start off”. This annoyance then develops into a retreat as given the environment around such issues people prefer refraining themselves.

A friend of mine on seeing my bio on Instagram (I though understanding Math was tough, then I saw men struggling with consent) remarked, “oh, you’re the feminist types, I should stay away from you yaa”. On another occasion, a friend shared how while making her Tinder account she deliberated whether writing ‘Feminist’ in her bio would reduce those who swiped right. Sanjula Gupta, of Kamala Nehru College, says, “It’s high time that we realise these aren’t just jokes, they display our mindset and perpetuate centuries-old misogynistic ideas and stereotypes which have been used to discriminate against women.”

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Image Credits: Pinterest


But what shuts down other people from speaking up? Apart from the reactions social pressures also play a strong role. Often boys standing up to this are said to be weak or face social boycott. The ideas of masculinity and societal expectations often prevent men from speaking up. Initiatives like ‘Man Enough’ by Justin Baldoni try to sensitise individuals towards this toxic masculinity. This idea is yet to make an impact to bring down such super-structures like patriarchy, but we can see this as a start.

We can often find these wife or girlfriend jokes being discussed at family get-togethers where no regard of what children will learn is taken into consideration. This can have grave impacts in terms of what he or she grows up to think. These jokes are not funny. These jokes are not to be enjoyed in secrecy. These are simple regressive thoughts being expressed under the garb of humour.

Humour can be true humour only when it does not grow from putting someone else down, comedians like Hasan Minhaj or shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine have set a precedent to this. Beyond this, I encourage and applaud every other person who despite these responses has spoken up and stood by these values. Until the day where this invisiblised sexism does not exist, I will continue to disassociate from such problematic individuals, I will clap the loudest when a Feminist theme comes up in a Parliamentary Debate. We will not laugh at a sexist joke to fit in.


Feature Image Credits: Huffington Post

Shivani Dadhwal
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An account of a day’s happenings involving Hindu College students, politics, and social media.


Sometimes in the light of humour and candidness, people tend to cross the line of what’s appropriate and what’s not. A string of sexist remarks had fermented a social media battle in Hindu College since yesterday. It all started with a Physics Hons student’s Facebook post. Sachin Gupta in a post on the social networking site started out with the lines ‘Just saw two chicks wearing short skirts and high boots…’.He mocked how such girls tend to wear short clothes even when the city’s thermometer is on the extreme low, a particular phrase in his post being ‘…they had to show off their thighs which weren’t thicc at all…’.

Well, this country has the freedom of speech so Sachin expressed himself casually expressing his judgemental sexist views. However, students from various departments in the college expressed their disgust and displeasure towards the Physics student’s views with the majority feeling freedom of speech does not imply to openly let out demeaning thoughts. However, this post was just the start.

This was followed by a string of ruder comments, a prominent one being by another Physics student and one of the Person with Disabilities (PwD) secretary of the Hindu College Parliament, Devashish Singh who commented ‘These species don’t feel winter- 1) Penguins 2) Polar Bear 3) Whores’. Naturally, the post and the comments sparked off an upsurge and began to be shared repeatedly amongst students. When asked about his comments, Devashish followed up with another comment stating ‘…I will keep my mentality with me cos I don’t care what they say about me.’. Other comments by some more people were equally uncultured like take ‘Photo khinch lena tha’ (You should have clicked a photo), for instance!


Holding a Cabinet position in the college parliament and being involved in such tussles is a risky move as the students would start questioning the whole parliament too who didn’t bring out an official statement in response yet.

Devashish, who was yesterday boldly proclaiming his freedoms and adamant nature to express himself, became an apologetic post holder today. Both Sachin and Devashish posted long apologies on their Facebook walls, ‘clarifying their stance’ and ‘apologising sincerely’ for their comments in a subdued tone. The Canteen Secretary, Utkarsh Sharma, also took to social media saying that he acknowledges that this is the sort of behaviour that is symptomatic of male chauvinism and male privilege.  “I hope that Hinduites will have a fair judgement on the matter,” Utkarsh added.

The students are still not satisfied with this sudden mood swing. Many are of the view that Devashish just posted a formal apology because he fears losing his seat in the parliament. Rishabh Chaturvedi, an English Honours student college fumes in anger, ‘He deserves no second chances. He deserves to be removed from the Parliament.’

Bhagyashree, a first year Political Science Student, lamented on how such people are making Hindu a shameful institution. After the Facebook apologies were put up, Bhagyashree boldly mocked these statements by putting up a photo on Instagram, a photo of her leg in a fishnet stocking writing ‘Comment karo ji’’. The Women’s Development Cell of Hindu College also made their displeasure evident through a post condemning the sexist statements.

It might seem like a minor unrest but in the end, it is connected to larger issues whose origin all lies in the attitudes of people. Would such casual sexism be eradicated through such active opposition from the students or would Hindu College continue to be defamed because of such chauvinistic attitudes? That, only the students and time will tell.


Shaurya Thapa

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A page in CB Gupta’s book, Basic Business Communication, for Semester VI for B.Com (Hons.), University of Delhi recently sparked debate, as it unequivocally equated certain gender norms and misogynistic views with the acceptable rules of the business world. The text seemed to put forward an undertone of ‘casual sexism,’ brimming with what a woman should and shouldn’t do.

The content in the textbook


On this page, highlighted is a text about how email etiquette should be followed. Under brief, it has been stated that- EMAILS SHOULD BE LIKE SKIRTS- Short enough to be interesting, long enough to cover all the valid points.   

  1. Long skirts: Covers all valid points but doesn’t arouse interest of people.
  2. Miniskirts: Arouses interest but doesn’t cover all the valid points.
  3. School skirts: We have them as a part of our school uniform. Are they short enough to keep things interesting, sir?


Here is a line in a passage in the book about Inattention:

A clerk does not listen to his boss’ instructions attentively as his attention is distracted by the attractive make-up of the lady typist, who has just entered the office.


And, the following lines in the passage about Silence are reeking of fallacies:

Sometimes, silence can most effectively express the response or reaction to a communication. For instance, a youngman proposes to his beloved. The girl says nothing but blushes or smiles. She has accepted the proposal without uttering a word. Nothing can express her reply more effectively than her silence.

Let’s break down the erroneous tone of this text

The benign field of education, in its absolute existence devoid of any corrupting dynamics, is magnificent. A generation of children, teenagers, young adults, and adults brimming with ideas, questions, visions, and passion should ideally channelise a rewarding avenue of knowledge exchange. Cut to 2017, where the realms of knowledge are most strategically ruled by numerical competition and an increasingly myopic vision. How did we come about this transition to value the disadvantageous ways of rote-learning is a question for another day; what perturbs me is a matter graver. Fact #1: Everything which occupies a position in the social, cultural, and political milieu is greatly dependent on the functioning of other spheres. Why? Societal construct, nothing takes place in a vacuum environment, and is influenced by innumerable issues.

This finally brings us to answering why education is the way it is today. The minds which write, the minds which teach are the product of centuries of learnings and ideologies interpreted by them in a particular manner. Fancy a shade of idea to be a white light, which passes through a prism only to emerge in seven different shades of meaning. Only in reality, the nuances of meaning and understanding spill into a number more than seven. While some literature can thus be termed to be progressive, others might still be grappling with regressive norms which flourish without any rhyme or reason.

The apparent power dynamics riddling gender relations is a cyclic truth which presents itself in waves and instances; often denied and disguised by those who are in possession of a greater degree of power. Nevertheless, the rhetoric of ‘because you’re a girl/boy’ or ‘girls/boys are supposed to act in an xyz manner’ have been iterated and reiterated over time, with a growing consciousness of their extremely problematic nature. We’ve been told what to say, what to eat, how to act, how to react, how not to express, how not to behave, how to accept the century-old pieces of undermining texts as tradition, and how to fool ourselves into believing that the choice remains to be ours.

Returning to the idea which the text seems to propagate, who is equipped to answer the shortness of a miniskirt or the longitude of a decent skirt? By preaching that miniskirts only serve the purpose of arousing interest but fail to cover the moral quotients of importance, why is this noble tool of education being turned into yet another way of repressing and subservience? In the last example, there is only one thing that can more succinctly express her reply: a ‘yes.’ This snippet of a romantic tale needs to be seen in a different light. It marks the harmless spawning of an erroneous culture. The very idea that it is acceptable for a woman not to utter a word about matters concerning her marriage bears a semblance of the stark reality.



The book is riddled with inconsistent instances, experienced personally, but aimed to showcase it for the students to read and deliberately conform.

The author’s say

When speaking to a popular national daily, Professor CB Gupta expressed regret and commented, “I have already deleted the statement from my book. I will also advise the publisher to remove the content before publishing a latest edition.”

“It was not to hurt anyone. I took the analogy from an article written by a foreign author,” Gupta said, when asked about the basis where this analogy stemmed from.

“A textbook should be neutral and provide balanced viewpoints and leave the rest to the student to form an opinion. Such controversies will create more awareness among textbook authors,” said a DU professor who wished to remain anonymous.

The road ahead

The distinguished Greek philosopher, Socrates, has a plethora of teachings to interest the readers of today. The one which stands out starkly opines, “People can arrive at the truth through questioning.” And this is the revival today’s educational milieu needs. The text preached a deeply contentious idea and floated it to be assimilated by thousands of impressionable minds. The counter action fairly calls for a profound manner of learning, one which seeks to question and contest. We ask anyone who proudly propagates this deceptively innocent theory: which orthodox and misogynistic repartee do you seek to disseminate by equating the length of our skirts with the appropriateness of an email?

Ask, and only then you can arrive at the culturally biased and prejudice-tainted ambit of truth. This is the misogyny-riddled education of today, welcome.


Feature Image Credits: Allbooksonline


Saumya Kalia

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