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There is sexism in the comedy industry – and plenty of it. Watch this video by Daniel Fernandes, in conversation with Aditi Mittal and Karunesh Talwar.
One thing that stumped me when I learnt about the prevalence of sexism in the comedy industry was how deeply rooted it actually is – and it’s everywhere. Before these conversations and the revealing of sexual harassment charges against Arunabh Kumar from TVF, I was in the happy delusion that the comedy industry was a place where people were socially aware, decent people, not racist and definitely not sexist.
I believed these were the responsible people of the society who spoke against these stigmas with the aid of comedy. I thought that since these ‘newer’ people started calling out sexist jokes, they obviously wouldn’t be sexist people. Now I realise how ridiculously ideal were the notions I had about these people.
There was and has been a lack of women in every industry and I believed this was the case here too and it would remedy itself with time. However, with time the only thing that seemed to happen was that the ugly bits came loose.
In this video, the three comedians talk about ‘boy gangs’ and how these groups of men have become an army for validating each other instead of being welcoming and helping the scene grow. Funnily enough, if a committee has even 50% of females, it is generally referred to as ‘womanly’, ‘women dominated’ and how the men working with them are ‘outnumbered’ like they were being hunted upon by the women. And if there is a group of women, they are generally called the ‘clique’ and ridiculed for being one.
But if men do it, it’s the ‘usual’ and nothing out of the ordinary. I thought this level of hypocrisy did not exist in the comedy circuit; surely the people I watched on YouTube and follow on Instagram would not be a part of it? Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t but it was oddly disappointing for me to see this in the group of people that I relate to and laughed with.
Another thing that is talked about in the video and made me tremendously sad is that the scene has become worse for young women after these revelations, instead of becoming better. The only silver lining to these incidents was that the picture would improve for female artists and now even that looks dodgy.