10 hilarious memes that break gender stereotypes and feature regular women | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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10 hilarious memes that break gender stereotypes and feature regular women

A Facebook campaign that makes you laugh, and then think about gender inequality.

art and culture Updated: Jun 23, 2017 09:58 IST
The campaign’s memes feature real life women and their stories.
The campaign’s memes feature real life women and their stories.(facebook.com/spoiltmodernwoman)

Women don’t know how to drive, aren’t good at math, and definitely can’t play a sport. They’re also talkative, with a fondness for gossiping and of course, shopping. These are just some of the everyday stereotypes women around the world have to deal with. To counter the prejudice, an online campaign called Real Life Superheroes uses humour to turns a stereotype on its head. How? By creating memes — the average millennial’s choice of drug.

via GIPHY

The memes feature photographs of regular women who sent in their pictures to be a part of the campaign. They start off with a clichéd statement and then end with an unexpected twist.

Real Life Superheroes is run by the Facebook pages Social Justice Superheroes and Spoilt Modern Indian Woman, both of which spread awareness about gender and human rights. HT talks to the co-founder of Spoilt Modern Indian Woman, who goes by the pseudonym Bruce Vain. While the first part of their campaign was launched last year, phase two went live recently.

“The idea of our Facebook pages is to reclaim the narrative. We aim to break stereotypes through actual people and their real stories of empowerment — one meme at a time,” Bruce Vain says.

The process of creating these memes begins with Bruce having a conversation with the participant about their profession and views on gender-related issues. This ensures that their life story is incorporated in the meme. “I send them the text I come up with and often, they have their own inputs.”

The campaign has even seen support from celebrities such as hair stylist Sapna Bhavnani and rapper Sofia Ashraf (of Kodaikanal Won’t fame). Bruce says, “I reached out to these societal leaders only with the knowledge that they feel strongly about the same issues. They were eager to not just participate, but also contribute to the process. Their endorsement has been a big shot in the arm.”

Bruce leaves us with some food for thought: “Media plays in a crucial role in furthering cultural and social stereotypes. For most part, we as audience just consume this content as status quo and it conditions the way we think and act. That’s a damaging trend.”

“People who challenge this trend with dialogue and debate are attacked with jibes and ad hominem. Today, terms like secular and feminist have become derogatory references for some. We are here to change that.”

Where there is discussion on feminism, trolls aren’t far away. In this case too, there have been trolls who digress, derail and even attack the participants at times.

But the support, Bruce says, has been much stronger. “People who have loved and supported this concept have come forward to shut these trolls down without the page admin even having to intervene.”

Even men have pitched in with their ideas and have been happy to be featured.

Now, there are plans to turn the Facebook pages into a social enterprise. Bruce and team are currently working on a line of stereotype-breaking merchandise items made using upcycled material. They will also provide entrepreneurial opportunities to women from marginlised sections.

Additionally, they will soon hold events and workshops. “The aim is to take the conversation offline, and create a model that works to resist stereotypes, reshape and reform opinions, redefine the dialogue and of course — reclaim the narrative,” Bruce says. Amen to that.

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