FEMINIST FRIDAY: Indian Male Comedians Using Their Platforms To Talk About Feminism

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Welcome to our very first Feminist Friday for 2017! In this edition we are dubbing a “male allies” edition, we’re giving a shout-out to a few Indian male comedians. Thanks to an article from Nashmina Lakhani on iDiva.com, we now know that it’s not just women who are standing up for equality, feminism and social justice in India, there are men who aren’t afraid to call themselves feminists.

We’ve spoken about men like Aamir Khan and Farhan Akhtar, but there are also a number of comedians who are using their platform to talk about feminism and important feminist issues. The first video comes from Youtuber and Comedian Sorabh Pant, who is the brother of feminist author Meghna Pant.

He is part of the East India Comedy collective, and in this video titled ‘EIC Outrage: F**k Feminism!’ he deliberately misleads his online audience with the clickbait headline, as he clearly knows the cesspool of sexism that exists on such a platform. Just look at the comments below his video if you click through to Youtube, and you’ll see what we mean.

Sorabh’s take on rape apologia, sexist stereotypes in movies, gender violence, and Justin Trudeau, is as hilarious as it is brilliant. Take a look:

Next up is another comedian who is becoming quite the internet sensation in India, most notably for his unapologetic public stance on feminism. Tanmay Bhat is a member of the All India Bakchod comedy collective who regularly posts videos on Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube. The following video was a spontaneous video taken on his iphone, and originally shared on his Facebook page.

In it, Tanmay rants about the annoying number of anti-feminist statements he hears on a daily basis, and it is quite refreshing to hear this from a male perspective. Two main aspects of his rant that we love are when he explains how ridiculous it is that women who perhaps have never faced sexism are content to believe it just doesn’t exist, and that anyone who believes in equality for all people but shuns the word feminism need to get over it. The video has been shared over 260,000 times on Facebook and has widened his audience beyond India.

The final video comes from stand-up comedian Daniel Fernandes, who regularly discusses hot-button issues on stage. On his Youtube channel he has a video of a set where he spoke specifically about feminism which you can watch by clicking here, but we were really interested in his set about the issue of marital rape in India.

Here’s why this topic is important. While rape itself is a crime in India, and the definition has been widened following the horrific gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi in 2012 to include forced penetration by any object in any orifice (which was a sickening aspect of Nirbhaya’s rape), the law has yet to include husband. Yep, marital rape is still not a crime, despite growing pressure.

We ALL know this needs to change, and widespread cultural shifts don’t happen overnight with pieces of legislation or landmark jail sentences. This is where comedy can play a big role. It is largely seen as a non-threatening medium that has the ability to unite people of all backgrounds and use sarcasm or jokes to discuss important topics, like marital rape.

In the following video, which has close to a million views, Daniel goes through the various scenarios, typical statements and popular discussion points being made that show there is still a long way to go until all men in India recognize rape can happen between a married couple also. Surprisingly, if you click through to Youtube, you’ll see a decent amount of the comments are positive and affirming of Daniel’s decision to tackle this difficult subject. This is the power of comedy and art.

Again, H/T to Nashmina Lakhani from iDiva.com for sharing these videos.

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