Why I Stopped Watching Comedy Nights With Kapil?

Recently I read a post by Kiran Jhamp called Alarmed By A TV Show : Patriarchy Nights With Kapil? on the Women’s Web website. The post reminded me why I stopped watching the show long back.

Almost two years back, in 2013, a Punjabi friend of mine asked me curiously if I had been watching Comedy Nights With Kapil Online. (We both are in the UK, we watch it on laptops, not the TV).

I didn’t know what it was about but the way she talked about it made me definitely curious to try it out. I did. But for very short time.

I would be lying if I said it did not hook me. The characters, the jokes, the set, it’s all a fresh approach to comedy from the monotonous comedy shows with one stand up comedian and 3 judges.

But it didn’t hook me long enough and I quit watching the show after just a few episodes. I had been meaning to write about the reasons but for some reason it slipped and reading this post by Kiran pushed me to give my specific reasons.

1- In the episode where Sonakshi Sinha is promoting some movie, a random guy from the audience asks her boldly “when are you going to loose your weight”?

This horrifying question coming from a random man in the audience is not surprising considering Kapil and Siddhu constantly mock over weight people in the show; mainly in the audience. To me this is astonishing that how can a random man try to fat-shame an actress on a national platform and not get social bashing for his stupid question. Why would this man or any man or WOMAN for that matter, consider that it is OK to point out/mock/ask such a question to a woman on the stage?

2- Secondly, as Kiran mentioned, the constant put downs by Bittoo of his wife are truly annoying. Is that how Indian men feel manly or proclaim their manhood; by making fun of their wives and her family? No wonder Indian guys think it is ‘normal’ to abuse swear and mock the girls’ family. Personally experienced; whenever I was on the girls’ side in a wedding, it was always humiliating. And we wonder why that is… why gender stereotypes are so deeply ingrained in our society…

3- Thirdly, the norm that Bittoo can and does flirt with every woman he can while his wife cannot and does not ; shines light on the double standard of the patriarchal society we live in. Why is monogamy just for women? And sorry if this feels like a feminist rant but it is about equality. Why isn’t a married man equally looked down upon for hitting on women as is a married woman? Forget about married woman, even single women are not allowed to flirt and date and choose their own life partners. Forced weddings, honor killings and domestic violence is rampant in our communities and it all begins from a joke- an innocent looking, sexist, demeaning joke!

4- Fourthly, the character of BUA is funny but in a very demeaning way. Don’t get me wrong. I have seen and loved Upasana Singh from the movies and her comedy is always flawless. I specially loved her role in Andaaz- Priyanka Chopra stared movie. And she is doing a great job in this role as well. But the role itself is portrayed as that of a desperate to get married spinster.

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Single women in our society already have their plateful with their own struggles. But families watching this and society subconsciously getting this idea that single women are desperate and worthless- is way more damaging and actually a huge obstacle to the advancement of women in India. Read my post Why Are Single Independent Indian Women An Eye Blister For Their Families?

I totally agree with Kiran’s take on how much impact these TV shows and entertainment have on our way of thinking and living.

Hence I stopped watching Comedy Nights With Kapil as soon as I got annoyed and realized these are patriarchal jokes mocking women wrapped in a new cover with different faces.

Would it shock you if I tell you that when I want to watch and enjoy some real comedy stuff, I watch

Ye jo hai zindagi (1980s)

Ankahi, Tanhaiyyan, Angan Terha (80s,90s Pakistani comedy dramas) The jokes are not only humorous, they also provoke intellect and appeal to your real fun side. You’ve got to watch it to believe it.

and most recent ones Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls and The Mindy Project. Although have raunchy, edgy comedy but still not sexist, racist or demeaning to women. The latter two, both actually have women in the main lead. Try them out.

From some of the comments on Kiran’s post, I can see why people try to say things like “lighten up” or “it’s just an innocent joke” or “Kapil also gets mocked at” etc.

This is a very common reaction from PEOPLE WITH PRIVILEGE. In pure psychological or psycho-social terms, its called A BLIND SPOT!

It’s a situation when you cannot see your own biases because you may be standing in a privileged position. Look at this for example:

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Yes Bittoo Sharma gets mocked at but NOT for his gender or marital status. And mostly by the end of show, he gets his fame status back.

May be this will help:

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(comic link)

Good luck and if you watch Comedy Nights With Kapil….. I feel sorry for your sense of humour and  as Kiran said- it’s more like PATRIARCHY NIGHTS WITH KAPIL!

Arios!

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Why Are Single Independent Indian Women An Eye Blister For Their Families?

Yes, I’m talking about that one…

The one that doesn’t care about her ticking biological clock as much as the next door neighbor,

The one that rolls solo and is proud of it,

The one who doesn’t shy away from dating and keeping her standards high,

The one without an account on e-harmony, tinder or cheat-on-your-spouse. com…

Yes, I’m talking about the society’s nightmare- THE SINGLE, INDEPENDENT WOMAN! a.k.a me 🙂

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Earning her own income, renting her own place, paying her own bills and buying her own groceries. What’s so wrong with that?

A while ago, I was having s causal phone call with my Mom across the oceans as she is in India and I’m in the UK currently. And we were discussing something about my next move when she said “tumhari bhi shadi ho jati to ham logo ki tension door hojati”…

Translation: “Oh how I wish if you had gotten married, our tensions and stresses would melt away”!!!

Few weeks back I heard another comment when it was my birthday and I was going out for dinner and a movie in the middle of the week when just the weekend before I had been to the open air cinema in town. When Mom called I mentioned this cinema thing casually when she said “you’re really enjoying your freedom huh? Not having to ask for permissions, going wherever you want, whenever you want”. I said “mom, this is my 20 something birthday!, I’m a grown woman, matured, adult….why do I stillsingle-woman

need to ask for permissions?” To which she didn’t respond and changed the subject.

I tried this thing to slide over gradually but it stayed in my mind longer than other things. Pondering deeply over her occasional dialogues over my freedom, I can say for sure that my family resents my independence.

Compare my situation to that of my sister who is 3 years older than I am and was desperate to get married when she was 23 and by now she is getting over her second husband already. She has one child, has never worked a day in her life despite being a qualified dentist and now because she is a single mother, she started devoting sometime to my Dad’s business, only because she is now considering the importance of financial independence.

Even with that, she lives with my parents, like all, usual, Indian women and has depended on them for getting a paper photocopied from the copystore (there’s no printer, or computer for that matter, they use smartphones at the moment)!

During the times she was married, she had in-laws and husbands who would schedule her visits and phone calls to home and the control-freak husbands would never allow her step outside the house for leisure. Friends-what? what does that word mean? Oh, Indian wives are not allowed to have that in word in their vocabulary.

On the other hand, I travel 3 aircrafts and 1 bus journey of 48 hours in total all by myself every time I go home, not to mention travelling locally in the UK and Europe for conferences, events and education.

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Patriarchy has long and deep roots in our culture where one happy single woman is the equivalent of 100 unhappy victims of domestic violence. What I mean is if I get married, squeeze out a baby or 10, get beaten up by the guy, get controlled by his family, spend my life washing their dirty dishes, serving them like an unpaid slave; that would be GREAT, SUPER, FABULOUS for the family!

Someone who doesn’t know Indian culture might not understand this but if you’re Indian, you know what I’m talking about.

You see, when you suffer in silence; society doesn’t know. Your neighbors are not asking creepy questions about you to your parents…there’s no scandal related to you just because you’re single, you make your own money so people always have doubts about what exactly it is that you do even though you’ve a freaking PhD!!!

One of my neighbors, a 25 year old woman, my friend was trying to convince her mother to get a job when her mother proudly declared that ‘only loose women a.k.a whores’ step out of their houses to work. Decent women stay at home and learn cooking and cleaning. This is coming from a woman whose own mother was a working woman by the way- the old lady used to work as a Government teacher all her life and recently retired.

It all feels useless at one point. After all this struggle, being independent, making a tiny dent in the world, showing, literally proving that I can make it on my own… I’m still treated like a clever sheep that ran away from their traps, NOT SOME HUMAN BEING THAT DESERVES TO LIVE LIFE THE WAY SHE WANTS!

You can protest against the whole world but how do you go against your mother… how do you make her understand that you’re just living your life, not committing a crime. How can you make your mother NOT RESENT your freedom?

When you talk about something like this, normally people say why do you seek their approval. Just go ahead and do what feels right. Don’t bother about others.

I’m miles away from home because that’s what I did. Instead of seeking approval, I tried to convince them just enough to let me go away and then every time the word ‘marriage’ comes up, I clarify my stance about it.

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But this is not just society or your nosy neighbor. No matter how much you ignore, at some point you’d hope that your parents felt proud of you,not ashamed. That they see your freedom as setting up an example for the rest of the girls in the family. That they feel content that their daughter is not dependent upon them or someone else for her food and rent. She pays her own way in this world and is strong enough to support her life choices instead of being a parasite like many others.

What would you do? Would you give in to your parent’s idea of life and end your free, independent life and become a slave to someone? OR you would try to explain how wrong they are OR would you ignore them completely OR would you come up with a new solution?

Tell me what do you think?

If It’s Marriage,Then How Can It Be Rape???

Last night I saw the YouTube series by Yashraj Films called Man’s World.
If you haven’t seen it already, you must waste not one more second.
In the first episode when Kiran, the protagonist is frustrated with feminism and women’s rights, he has a chat in the pub with his friend about marital rape where he fails to understand what it is. He blatantly says;
If It’s Marriage,Then How Can It Be Rape???
In the last episode when the world is flipped and women enjoy the privileges that currently men hold, ‘marital rape’ comes up again.
Only this time it’s not in just a conversation but in action.
You can watch the last episode here:
The entire series have been nothing short of an Oscar level performance for screenplay and plotting. Each oppression of a young woman’s life is so well defined and relevant. Indian men never have to live through it, they have no idea what it’s like to sweat in the kitchen for hours because they haven’t been there for more than 3 seconds.
But speaking particularly about ‘marital rape’…
The director has portrayed it as what it is. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and in the digital age, a 3 second video is worth a thousand pictures.
Being helpless, having no say in your life and having no consent makes a person less than human. It becomes more of a master and his property relationship. Sadly, millions of Indian women go through this oppression but never say a word about it.
The very few who have dared to speak on the subject are the ones whose husbands were not only raping them but also using lethal objects to injure their bodies.
Since in this scene from the series, there is no injury or beating up or marks of violence, one can easily assume it’s NOT rape.
People forget that what differentiates a rape from sex is consent. You and I or the Police or the court has no idea if the person had consented for sexual intercourse or not. We can never assume consent on the basis of:
  • their dress
  • their relationship
  • their location
  • their lifestyle
  • their habits
  • their sexual history
  • or any god damn thing in the world….
Only the two people between whom this happens, know whether there was mutual consent or not. And most of the time when someone say they didn’t consent but were still forced, they are NOT LYING!
We began MAKE LOVE NOT RAPE because our society doesn’t even see marital rape as something real just like the protagonist of this series Man’s World.
Hence one of the purposes of this campaign is to raise awareness about the issue of marital rape and create enough noise to echo the pain of victims and survivors loud enough for  the government officials who can put a law in place. WE HAVE NONE AT THE MOMENT!
If this video series Man’s World has changed you in anyway, please sign this petition and help us make a difference.

BASED ON A TRUE STORY- The Unsung Feminist Friend Who Saved a Life, May be Two…

A guy friend of mine recently sent me a message (as we live oceans apart) about something he was freaking out about.

He had a very close male friend who had a girl friend. He had known his friend for a long time and had all those dude code, bro loyalty feelings for his friend. But on the inside he wasn’t happy.

He had seen this friend of his drink excessively, steal money from his girl friend, make her pay for his expenses, beat her up violently and to top everything off… sleep around with other women behind her back.

This had been going on for a while and he was just one of the spectators in their guy group of friends who had all been watching this. The violence of this guy had been growing substantially and at few points when he said to my friend that he might end up killing his girl friend in anger… my friend got worried.

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He actually got so worried that he approached the girl behind his friend and told her about the cheating, the stealing etc. Now before you start to judge why do women stay with violent men, let’s just not forget that the guilty one here is the violent man. There could be a million reasons why she stayed and lack of support might be one.

As he said, there were so many other guys in their group who were spectators of this drama but none intervened. Even at times when they heard him beat her in the next room, no one bothered to ever be an active bystander and intervene. (This doesn’t imply that women need rescuing and are weaker and all that BS…it simply means that we all are vulnerable at some point in life and having a shoulder to cry on or another set of eyes to give us some perspective can be very helpful).

My friend finally did and when he did, the girl felt so supported she decided to escape from this control freak forever and leave the country. They decided the date and time and finally he helped her with her luggage and dropped her off to a safe new life in another land.

He told me all this because he was worried that he violated the bro code by taking side of the girl. In fact he was kind of terrified that if any one in his group came to know that he helped the girl escape; they would give him a hard time and go to any extent to take revenge. Despite all the danger and fear of ending up alone, he decided not to curb the urge to help her.

When he discussed it with me, I convinced him not to feel guilty because he did not betray his friend, he probably saved him a prison sentence considering the increasing violence and the recent police involvement. If anything he should be happy that he did the right thing.

He still seemed confused so I said-

“Imagine the guy had killed her. She could be gone from the face of earth forever. Her parents would loose their little baby girl forever. A human life erased. Would you ever forgive yourself knowing that you knew about it, you had a chance to stop that from happening, but you didn’t? “

I’m sharing this story with my readers because so many times we favor people just because we know them better than the others. Doing the right thing is always hard. But specifically in a relationship, when you see one person being violent and controlling towards the other, you cannot just make an excuse by saying “it’s their private business”. 

Domestic Violence is NOT personal business, it’s a social problem. 

And I was shocked to hear the attitude of his male friends about it who would still blame him for helping the girl and see this act as a betrayal.

I cannot express how proud I am of my friend. It is guys like him who bring back faith in ‘mankind’ and make me say “they are not all bad”!

When it comes down to domestic violence and rape, people instantly make it about men vs women but I urge you to think farther than that.

Because I have seen women encourage their sons and brothers to be violent with their wives!

And I have seen men get hurt and die saving their female beloved ones from rape and assault!

The truth is- crime has no gender.

If I could praise my friend openly and reward him the best guy of the year trophee, I truly would. But at this point his safety and privacy is of prime importance, hence all I can say is

please be the guy like my friend and inspire others to break off from being mute and dumb spectators of violence and bravely step in to do the right thing.