One stereotype I’ve never understood is the idea that feminists are dour and humourless. Most of the feminists I’ve known (and by that I mean women who actively characterise themselves as such, as distinct from women who believe in equality and empowerment and reproductive rights and so on, but don’t actually use the word, for whatever reason) have been very funny people. Especially the lesbians, they’re hilarious, and foul-mouthed too.
Granted, it’s usually a somewhat dark, gallowsy brand of funny, with a deep seam of absurdism, all the better to prick the pretensions of the patriarchy. And maybe that’s the problem; the people who find them humourless are probably the same people who characterise Morrissey or Harold Pinter as depressing. Arseholes, in other words.
Anyway, there’s a splendid manifestation of funny feminism going on in India at the moment. A group has formed to protest against the actions of a particularly repellent religious group called Sri Rama Sen, members of which were caught on camera beating up women who’d committed the outrageous sin of going to a bar for a drink. But instead of staging a grumpy demo, or writing angry letters to the press, the ladies, bless ’em, have formed a Facebook group called the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women, and plan to give pink underwear to Sri Rama Sen members this coming Valentine’s day. The underwear thing is an allusion to the characterisation of extreme Hindu bigots as "chaddi wallahs", or shorts wearers. (Wodehouse fans will, I trust, immediately note parallels with the asinine wannabe Führer Roderick Spode and his black-shorted minions/morons.)
Sorry, there’s no punchline to this one, except that it brings a smile to my face to think that on Saturday, hundreds of reactionary bigots are going to have to explain to their wives why these pink thongs have started popping through the letterbox. In the meantime, if you can, do join the Facebook group to express your support, because, let’s face it, sexist violence isn’t funny, but pants bloody well are.
PS: More info here. You know, if this turns out to be some kind of marketing wheeze by, I dunno, Agent Provocateur or something, I’m going to be bloody angry.