When the protest took place on Sunday, one would be forgiven for being thrown at the sheer number of debates that could potentially arise. There were several views expressed. The protests themselves were vehemently clear that sexist jokes and trivializing of narratives that had and continue to have serious repercussions for women in society should not be the subject of jokes. There was the expression of several counter-views that ranged from the downright deranged abusing, heckling and physical violence to some degree (I really don’t know the extent but a few of the protesters feared and if Scroll or Mumbai Mirror are to be believed continue to fear for their physical safety on campus which is frankly a deplorable state of affairs). Other counter-views were also expressed which stressed inter alia that the protest was justified in content but not form. Still more views thought that humor ought to be allowed to stand since it serves as a social commentary or a critique on all that is fucked up with society.
Our discussions can focus on the form of the protests and any problems we may have with them. But this situation allows us a unique opportunity to discuss the content of the protests and their reason. We live in a deeply fucked up society. Half of our populace are basically second class citizens in a society that feeds on the rhetoric of equality but in reality feasts on the historically downtrodden. We aim to talk a big game but when it comes to brass tacks, we barely scrape the surface of issues that shake us out of our comfort zone. Certainly, there are those that are more responsible and in time they shall be held accountable for it but in truth if you are looking for the guilty, you only need to look in a mirror. We have allowed this sad state of affairs for far too long. It is time we ask ourselves some difficult questions and take stances that aim to shake the rotten roots and outdated norms of the society we live in.
A question we ought to ask ourselves is what we have done to change it. We should also ask ourselves the roles we play in internalizing and perpetuating this divide. And it is at this juncture that we must think about the role humor can play, one way or the other, in perpetuating deep divides and historic domination. We must consider the source of the protests and debate whether their reasons were right. There are also discussions to be had on form but we must not allow these discussions to derail us from what should realistically be everyone’s objective – seeking a more equal society and asking questions that begin to lead us there however small the steps may be. In summation, please do not judge the book by its cover. You may not have liked the color scheme or the font but the words inside matter and point to an unshakeable and undeniable truth – the real debate is about how to kill sexism and it starts here.
I will be the first to admit that I may have lost track and not followed what I just wrote above. I hope, like me, you change your focus.