By Ishani Chakrabarti
They’re coming for you.
In the year 2017, internet memes are all over the web and they’re only becoming more and more popular with every passing minute. To assert the same, Northwestern University, UK recently made it to the headlines because they’ve started offering a major in meme studies (Yes, it’s that crazy).
They’re all over your news feed in a matter of only a few seconds. Memes are meant to mock everything/everyone and thus they’re coming for you. They don’t spare none. But when it comes to women, the relentless mocking turns to sharp criticism which then takes an ugly turn.
Let’s take this for instance:
It’s not over yet,
Overly active on social media? Not so active? Just love scrolling through posts kind of person? You’ll recognize it nonetheless. For instance:
Now you get the point, don’t you?
Here’s the most important aspect of it- a woman (aunty) swearing and hurling cheap abuses? A 40 year old “aunty”?
Definitely calls for a feature. Now visualize a video of a man (should we call him an uncle then) castigating the same way. Yep, that’s right. We wouldn’t bother to look at it twice.
But that’s how things generally are (look, how casually we used the term “generally”). That’s exactly what we are used to- a water tight compartmentalization of the gender categories and a fixed demarcation of gender roles have never surprised us.
Let’s take the concept of the ideal “bhadra mahila” for instance, that emerged during the nationalist movement in Bengal. How women were (or should I say, are?) expected to follow a certain norms because that’s just how we’re supposed to be.
I’m sure they covered it up with several fancy words like feminine, effeminate and ladylike. We know how that dictionary works- submissive, patient and tolerant?
Somewhere between how things are and how they are supposed to be, we’ve all succumbed to what is “acceptable” by the society. But, this lady right here subverted the norm and because it’s an anomie for a lot of people, it’s gained the popularity we think she rightly deserved.
Not just because she is identified as a “woman”, not just because she beat the s*** out of the government (Yes, government). But because of all the right reasons ever, we think she’s quite the badass we all secretly admire. Am I right or am I right?
And with this we should take a moment to appreciate THE aunty’s humor. Long live the slang revolution!
We’re all guilty of laughing at things we shouldn’t, aren’t we? But before you hit that share button, here’s something we want to tell you. “Memes make sexism easier to swallow”, agreed. You know why? Because these very memes place women in stereotypes we’ve all been a victim of.
The meme creators are simply giving the audience what they want – from”hoes” to “housewives” and everything in between. With a simple barter in mind- likes and shares. It’s a shame to admit that they’re actually doing a great job there.
It’s actually sorrowful that these memes can easily be dismissed as “just a joke”. We quietly observe how the sexist themes of these graphics can pass for humor. In the present day, we hardly find accounts that are women positive i.e. cherish womanhood, empower women and thus make world a better place.
There is no solution to put an end to this sexist thought or attitude. But the least we can do is put an individual effort to stop sharing and liking the derogatory women memes that have no sole purpose other than mocking womanhood.
Let’s take this step for once and for all!
You’d also like to read: Was That Supposed To Be Funny?!