It seems that in today’s time calling out any popular thing is literally asking people to come over and beat you up or at the very least threaten you.
The recent incident to happen with Aayushi Jagad, a comedian and one of the two people from the viral video ‘How AIB Uses Feminism’, is just a small glimpse of how daring certain people have become and how much of a low tolerance they have for anyone that argues against their ‘heroes’.
While on the way to host a show, Jagad was followed and then abused by 2 men who recognized her video. This prompted her to post about her experience and it even prompted a response from AIB’s core team’s Tanmay Bhat.
However, a lot of people are still confused as to what exactly is the matter, so let us break it down for you in a chronological manner:
The Video That Went Viral
On 21st February 2018, a video titled ‘How AIB Uses Feminism’ was uploaded on Aayushi Jagad’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The video was made in collaboration with Sumedh Natu and instantly became a big hit with it amassing almost 270,000 views on Facebook and over 95,000 views on YouTube.
The video being a good 8 minutes long took an in-depth look at the various kinds of sketches that AIB has done and the involvement of women in them.
They even found a ‘lamp technique’ where they tried to replace the woman in a scene with a lamp and it made no difference.
But they didn’t just target AIB, they also talked about Filter Copy, East India Comedy and more in order to make a good argument.
How AIB Responded
Not long after the video was posted, it came under the radar of AIB itself, who shared it on their wall on Facebook and even left a comment saying:
“So we just saw this superb, very well-argued video by Aayushi and Sumedh. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link. If you’re not going to watch it, the TL;DR is we don’t cast enough women in our sketches, and if and when we do, they’re either in a decisively “feminine” context (e.g. mother,sister), or put in situations that seldom pass the Bechdel test. We want to say that we hear you, we really do.
We will actively work to fix this across our content, not just for the sake of social currency or likes, but because representation matters. We’d like to think we try hard to be inclusive, but we recognise that we fall short in some ways, and also that our own privilege stops us from seeing it. So thank you Aayushi and Sumedh for calling us out about this and forcing us to confront it. Creating more inclusive content is a constant process of evolution, and we’ll work much harder to tell stories that are representative of more.”
The virality of the video and no matter how well received it was by AIB itself, did bring a few haters to the creators who tried defending AIB and how they are not as wrong as you might think.
But it was not limited to just harmless posting but instead transferred over to the real life when Jagad posted this on 24th February 2018 on her Facebook profile:
“I was on the Baner Pashan link road yesterday, headed to host a show. A couple of guys on a splendor recognized me and followed me to the next signal, stopped right beside me, and said “Tuch hoti na video madhe” (You’re the girl from the video aren’t you?)
He paused. And then he said, “He sagla feminism vagre tujhya pucchit ghal” (Shove all this feminism up your cunt) The guy sat behind him on the bike giggled, the rider spat at my foot and drove away.
I was shook. And crying. And I didn’t know why. I hadn’t been physically attacked, but I also had never been reduced to such small an entity before. I reached the venue, tears streaming down my face. I called Sumedh, and because he is a kind person whose empathy astounds me, he wrote me this, because I didn’t want to post online.
“About an hour ago, Aayushi was on her bike to host a show in Pune. A couple of guys on the road recognised her and followed her.
We made a video. We weren’t abusive. We didn’t say anything derogatory. We were respectful. We were honest.
That’s all it took for a dude to be abusive. That was enough of a threat for two guys, to shove their disapproval in her face. You know why this upsets me even more, because I’ll never feel what she felt. I’ll never, ever have to experience fear at the very idea of writing a script. I will never have to think twice before uploading a video online as a man. While I sit at home in comfort, she’s out there right now, beyond shocked at what just happened. She has to host a show and make people laugh, because if she doesn’t there’s going to be ten freshly created shitsacks out there chanting – ‘Women just aren’t funny ya’
If you ever have the gall to go out there and tell a woman she isn’t funny, try living in fear at the idea of being funny to people and see how many punchlines you can reel off your mouth”
I hate that I can’t blame anyone. And I’m filled with such anger, waiting for this post to turn into yet another “burn her where she stands” because I’m a “feminazi bitch who cried wolf.”
A 2nd Response By AIB
After taking a look at Jagad’s post, AIB’s Tanmay Bhat the next day on 25th February 2018, shared it with this caption:
“Alright, we’re sick to our stomachs about this. This sort of behaviour, intimidation and threat to anyone is unacceptable. This sort of behaviour is a huge part of the problem. One person tries to start a dialogue and they’re immediately met with threats, intimidation and a violation of their personal space and safety. So, we want to say this in no uncertain terms. Disagreement is your fundamental right, whether it is with feminist ideals or anything else. But, if you cannot express that disagreement without threat, violence and intimidation, please remove yourself from the conversation.
If you do or have ever called yourself an AIB fan, or if this is something you think you’re doing in our name, you’re not. We reject this sort of behaviour, and we condemn it. Fuck money, fuck commercials, fuck followers, fuck likes, fuck it all. Participate in the conversation in a way that is healthy and safe and constructive for everyone. Stop being a dick. Or fuck right off. We’re with you on this Aayushi. And it fucking sucks that this happened. And if the two dudes who did this are reading this, go fuck yourself.”
Perhaps more than anything, it is the final response by Tanmay Bhat and even the AIB page calling out their fans even with a chance of losing viewers and followers that is impressive.
While Jagad has definitely taken a very good stand, by calling out the men and not letting it pass away, AIB in the bigger picture could have just remained silent since they do have more to lose. Getting angry at one’s own fans and saying that they are wrong could backfire on them later on, but it is good to see that that fear did not stop AIB and even Tanmay Bhat from standing their ground and calling what is wrong, wrong.
This also shows a very good and much-needed mentality that we need to adopt towards criticism and disagreement. Not everything needs to be defended till death, instead actually seeing the point of view by the other party and acknowledging them if they put it in a logical manner is what we should go for.
Image Sources: Google Images and Facebook