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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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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Stereotypes exist for a reason. It won’t be false to say that our outfits speak before we do. Understandably so, we determine how a feminist should dress and what they should definitely avoid. After all, clothes are more important than character.

1. A feminist understands that pink is the colour of patriarchy. It is a colour that pushes girls to be soft and docile. If you believe in feminism, it is important to avoid any shade of pink. Only housewives can wear pink and we don’t want to be like them, right?

2. You can’t wear any clothing item that falls lower than your collarbone or raises over your knees. A true Naariwadi must wear worn out khadi kurtas, loose pants, a black bindi, and kajal. It’s imperative to stay in your line by taking care of your neckline and hemline. You can’t risk looking like a slut or a fashionista.

3. You’re not a real feminist if you do not reject the idea of bras, especially the padded kind. If you really like wearing bras then make sure you pick an unpadded sports bra, otherwise your feminist card shall be revoked.

4. A feminist can never be caught dead wearing heels. They hurt your sole, just as patriarchy hurts the soul. Wear flats, shoes, or loafers. Not only will they be comfortable but they will allow you to run away faster from misogyny and chauvinism.

5. Makeup sexualises women and we all know how women’s sexuality exists only to attract the men. Hence, a real feminist must never put any sort of makeup.

6. Most importantly, a feminist must wear a sarcasm detecting bracelet and never undermine his intelligence so that he can ignore advice that perpetuates narrow ideas of feminism.

For a long time, fashion and activism were seen as exclusive of each other, despite the fact that fashion has historically been used as a tool to express dissent. Thanks to internalised sexism, two different camps of feminists judged each other on grounds of being too frigid or frivolous. Each faction pushed for its own idea of emancipation, while completely forgetting that empowerment is not a monolithic experience or idea.

It’s about time that we, as intersection feminists, acknowledge that nudity and modesty both can be liberating. You can dress up like you wish, except in clothes that are produced by underpaid labour and cosmetics that are tested on animals. You can wear a bikini or a burqa without compromising your progressive credence because you are more than what you wear.  Similarly, makeup or no makeup, a feminist will stay a feminist even if they wear lipstick. Like Journalist Natasha Scripture sums it up concisely, “The notion that wearing makeup is anti-feminist is silly. Cleopatra pretty much invented the eyeliner, and she ruled a kingdom.”


Image Credits: Malcolm Paul Evans