The Stark Plight Of Women In Comedy Is Highlighted In This Twitter Thread. Female Comics Get Rape Threats Far Too Often

The Stark Plight Of Women In Comedy Is Highlighted In This Twitter Thread. Female Comics Get Rape Threats Far Too Often

The world has never been kind to comedians, especially the one we live in right now, which takes offence as often as we take in oxygen. With social media at their disposal, the offended even marshal the perfect weapon to scar (and scare) comedians for life by threatening them with verbal abuse and physical violence. If you’re a female comedian, you get the special quota of abuse reserved just for the 33% of you—body shaming, slut-shaming, acid attack warnings, the occasional beheading remark and of course, rape threats for you and your family. Basically, the point is, why can’t comedians leave religion and politics alone and joke about other, safer things?

And that there, amigos, is the best joke of the 2020. Yes, we’re laughing at everyone who thinks that if comedians joke about topics other than religion and politics, they won’t be trolled and abused, their venues won’t be vandalised and their families won’t be terrorised. 

FI Comedian Agrima Joshua Gets Violent Rape Threats

In the wake of the rape threat video that a random nobody made to teach female comedian Agrima Joshua a lesson for disrespecting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, lots of comedians expressed their outrage. Female comedians empathised with Joshua, because they have been there, threatened with rape like that. Male comedians sympathised, because they were devastated with what their peers had to go through on a daily basis. They too are trolled and abused, but this was a whole different level of rage.

Also Read: Comedian Agrima Joshua Got Explicit Rape Threats For Making A Joke. Why Do Indian Men Always Resort To Threats Of Sexual Violence?

As for the other party in this outrageous debate that shouldn’t even exist in the first place, there were some people who didn’t support the video, and remarked how comedians bring this upon themselves. “A rape threat is not acceptable lekin ladki bhi victim nahi hai!” Umm, ICYMI, everything that comes before ‘but’ is inconsequential. And that’s exactly what this Twitter thread by Ravina Rawal explains so succinctly. With nameless examples that you’ll too easily recognise (because they were made into a huge deal at the time), she illustrated that there’s really no such thing as a ‘safe topic’ to joke about for comedians.

See? Everyone’s so passionate about everything these days and so eager to take offence! Where is our sense of humour gone?

Telling the parents? That’s like the worst thing you can do to out someone, right? What beats me is why the families of these comedians have to suffer by association? Take a look at what’s happened with comedian Rohan Joshi, forcing him to go off social media, probably for some old joke that was dug up by trolls to add fuel to the fire.

So basically, everything under the sun is banned, right? RIGHT?

The AIB Roast was the must ridiculous case of ‘Begaani shaadi mein…‘. The people getting roasted had no issues. The ones watching it had no issues. And yet, there were court cases and a public hue and cry over it. There’s been much less rage about child pornography, for crying out loud!

As expected, there are trolls and the “You are right lekin…” gang dropping by in the comments here too. The arguments are the same old, same old. “Oh but nobody cracks jokes about the Prophet or Jesus or other religion’s Gods!

To which, I present Exhibit A: Comedian Sapan Verma’s joke on Twitter, from four years ago, for which he apologised and even deleted the tweet, has been brought up now and he is being abused for it.

This further proves the fact that comedians are more secular in their comedy than our entire country is in its behaviour. And none of them is targeting any particular religion because of a personal vendetta. They only talk about what is currently in the news!

Another popular argument is “The comedians from the previous generation, such as Johnny Lever, Raju Shrivastava, etc. had such clean comedy.

Why can’t these young ones do the same?” Well, that’s like saying your basic home-cooked dal roti tastes so nice, why don’t you just eat that everyday? Or why are you waging wars here on Twitter when you can just sword-fight in the battlefield like how our ancestors did? Much more efficient no? The world evolves, trends evolve, current events evolve and thus do our tastes. National and international politics is getting spicier and more ridiculous in its machinations with every passing day. And overzealous religious ideologies are disrupting peace. If comedians, who often use satire and humour to show a mirror to the society’s evils and express dissent, want to talk about it, why is that wrong?

And let’s not forget, some of the older lot of comedians think they’re playing safe by cracking jokes about nagging wives, body-shaming people in the audience, and even casual racism. But they are actually furthering stereotypes, spreading misogyny and actually causing more harm than humour.

Is any God’s glory so weak that they need defending from petty humour? If you ask me, thinking even for a second that Gods or historical figures have such brittle glory is actually more of an insult to them than any joke can be! And besides, do you think God even cares? As Albert Einstein once said, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

The final argument that nails this debate’s coffin shut is freedom of speech. It is in our Constitution, fellas. And if there is any speech that abuses this freedom, then the due course of action is legal, not rape threats and social media trials.

The fact of the matter is that no topic can be joked, debated, discussed or even broached without someone finding it offensive. Our sensibilities have become too delicate, our faith too easily shaken, and our anger too easily provoked. Taking offence cannot be avoided but how we react to it can be altered. It’s not a competition about who can get more offensive, because if it were, the trolls would win.

Also Read: Alia Bhatt’s Sister Shaheen Bhatt Reveals How Her DMs Are Full Of Rape Threats And Abuses. This Is Cyberbullying At Its Worst

Jinal Bhatt

A Barbie girl with Oppenheimer humour. Sharp-tongue feminist and pop culture nerd with opinions on movies, shows, books, patriarchy, your boyfriend, everything.

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