I watched a comedy show last night. I got offended. Before I tell you why, let me set the context.
I had wanted to spend a good night with my friends. I’d heard of how hilarious ‘The Improvisers’ were and decided to see for myself. I was sure in for an eventful night. The first 45mins they kept me laughing and after that I just ended up exchanging glances with my friend wondering if we were the only ones in the room feeling awkward. It started with Mr.Kannan Gill, on a more serious note (Thank god for that) revealing the fact that anyone could buy a prostitute in Kolkata with just Rs.7. But then things got ugly, at least for me and my friends. They took turns, Abish Mathew, Kaneez Surka, Kannan Gill and, the man of the hour, Mr.Kenneth Sebastian, to make an attempt to tickle the crowd by dragging it to a whole new level. They wondered out loud, what a prostitute could serve a man for Rs.7. This made one of them answer that she gives him one ‘shot’ which if I rightly understood means, one ejaculation. So they went on to wonder what Rs.49 would give them! Not yet offended? Wait, there’s more. In their act, the boyfriend and girlfriend walk into the prostitutes area only to encounter the mother of the girlfriend, who apparently has been working there as a prostitute. This encourages them to pursue an improvised dialog session where one of them asks the mum “How was your day?” and the other person (that is, the mum) responds, “Oh I’m so fucked.”
Personally, I cannot stand and watch people talk about women that way. So I messaged Mr.Kenneth Sebastian, on Facebook, saying I enjoyed the first half but felt that the second half got a bit sexist. He replied instantly and this led to us having a heated conversation where he kept assuring me that he is NOT offended but had to go on explaining what he thought of ‘people like me’. Not to mention, he ends the conversation by telling me how busy he is and how his time is extremely precious and that I shouldn’t go watch the show if I get so easily offended. Basically, he brushed me off by saying ‘Take a joke woman!’. He blocked me after this. In a minute my friend told me he’d posted a screenshot of our conversation with a caption that read:
You are not a real comedian till someone accuses you of being a sexist
He posted this on twitter and on his Facebook page and profile. There are a couple of things that are disturbing here.
Firstly, he is proud of being a sexist? And this, readers, is our ‘broad minded, liberal thinking, slightly famous’ Indian. Secondly, it’s cheap beyond belief how he posted a very convenient part of our conversation, the part that would boost his ego. Thirdly, this is a huge breach of privacy. There is a reason why there’s an option to post on the wall and send a message Mr.Kenneth Sebastian! You should have at least had the basic decency to crop out my name if you were so desperate to soak in the glory of being called a sexist. Fourthly, He blocks me. Ha! If you really had the courage Mr.Kenneth Sebastian you shouldn’t have blocked me, you should have been brave enough to face my backlash at you. And let me remind you readers, this was from the man who claimed not to be so easily offended by some ‘random stranger’ on Facebook. I mean, clearly this man can’t handle criticism of any sort. Keeping quiet and not responding to me at all would have earned him more respect than portraying himself as an immature attention seeking person.
I’m also shocked by the audience! They were all, I’m sure, coming from a decently educated background and I looked around and these men and women are laughing their heads off at such a derogatory joke. Yes, I know some of you out there believe that one must leave their brains home while going to watch comedy. I’m sorry, but I won’t leave my self-respect or morals back home even if it is to watch comedy. Some say, I’m being a spoil sport or over analysing. Let me clarify to you here, that I love comedy. But do it with some class. And putting a price on a woman is NOT classy! I enjoy witty jokes. And making derogatory perverted jokes does not make you witty!
Anything that involves addressing a mass audience has been proved to have the power of mobilisation. Be it a political speech or even mere comedy. And people who do address the audiences in any which way must have some sense of moral responsibility. I emphasize again, there’s nothing wrong with pulling someone’s leg and enjoying a joke. But there is a line you draw. We are all at a point where we are witnessing and being part of this revolutionary movement of attaining a just and equal society. How easily we blame the judicial system or the government of this country but we fail to remember that to attain a society like that it is most important for us to have an attitudinal shift not a mere altering of some laws. And, attitude comes from what you see, what you experience, your culture, the kind of people you spend your time with and even from something as small as what kind of jokes you laugh at. There is a deep rooted conditioning that gets drawn from these attitude forming patterns.
After reading the comments a man (whom I hold respect for, because he was the only one who chose to listen to my side of the story) messaged me and expressed that it’s difficult now because he really has to filter his thoughts before talking. I’m saying, if you are a non- sexist you won’t have to filter. You will just be a non-sexist.
Mr.Kenneth Sebastian, I know new found fame does give you a high. It probably makes you feel more powerful as compared to ‘some random stranger’ on Facebook. You have no basic decency, can’t handle criticism and seems like you’d stoop down to any level for some more of that tasty fame.
And let me get this straight. I am NOT a feminist who has misunderstood the word ‘feminism’. I AM NOT a feminist asking for superiority of women but a feminist seeking for equality for women.
Readers, I recommend you go read the comments below Mr.Kenneth Sebastian’s post on his profile (not his page) which is even more disappointing. The kind of response people have been giving is unbelievable. Some of us just got attacked by the male chauvinists of this nation (and that too, just a handful of them).
Since you(Kenneth Sebastian) anyway don’t believe in privacy, I’m sure you’re okay with me posting our entire conversation.