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The fine line between mean and meme

What if there was a daily limit to speaking? Most of what you come across on op-eds or your social media timelines that are longer than 50 words is most probably a knee-jerk to something offensive tha

Published: 13th May 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2017 10:34 PM   |  A+A-

What if there was a daily limit to speaking? Most of what you come across on op-eds or your social media timelines that are longer than 50 words is most probably a knee-jerk to something offensive that the writer came across. And on most occasions it ends up being a rant; sometimes, the writer of the column even manages to subvert readers into believing that the issue they are referring to is a bigger problem than it actually is. Where I am getting at is, I am going to be a run-of-the-mill columnist today, but I’ll try keeping the subversion low.

I came across a photograph that was very well shot, well-modeled and the well-lit photograph of a family with a husband, wife, a son, and two daughters. It was a portrait of a young happy family with the kids ranging from three to seven years old. Probably I’m only judging and assuming. However, what caught my eye was how the women and two little girls in the photograph had their lips taped while the father was holding a card that said “Peace on Earth” and the son fist-bumping the camera. The photograph was a nuanced commentary on women being chatter-boxes and how peace would prevail if they just shut up.
A number of acquaintances on my timeline shared the photograph with well-articulated thoughts attached like ‘so true’, ‘lolgirlz’, and ‘gossip women’.

I must say that the photograph was indeed hilarious and not problematic at all. What if this outdated stereotype still prevails? Even though there is no scientific or statistical evidence proving that women banter or gossip more, why bother? It’s a hilarious post, right?
The sarcasm is strong with this column. Given how this world is rightfully ruled by men and patriarchy is every man’s birthright, how would a man put an end to the problem of women speaking too much and disrupting world peace? Is it by restricting freedom of speech and speech itself?
The men of the world will come together and decide on a daily word limit for women that wll help them control women’s ability to speak and in the process, achieve world peace. Provided that men perfectly understand equality of the genders, we will make sure the word-limit will be not only for women, but also for men.

However equal the genders are, men will be men and boys will be boys. Therefore, the limit will be higher or negligible for men while the women will have to put up with this new speech diktat. Oh, please don’t ever mistake us taking advantage of our gender. It’s just that we have never had the chance to internalise our privilege. So, it technically isn’t privilege when we don’t even know it exists.
In a month, we would have achieved world peace. All women will have their lips taped to prevent them from speaking. All potential wars would have ended; poverty and hunger would have been eradicated and in the end, the men would have proven right once again for taking a stereotype seriously and riffing off of it.

I hate doing this, but there’s a need to do this. All of that was indeed sarcasm. No, we will not achieve world peace if we prevent women from speaking. The stereotype is sexist and it has been conditioned enough into our wonderful man brains and is now a part of our belief system. There is no scientific or statistical basis to any of that. Stop thriving on outdated sexist stereotypes by making memes about it.

(When he isn’t writing this column, the creative producer with The Rascalas watches a lot of ‘cat videos’ on YouTube)

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