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Too Much Equal? Feminist memes and Instagram

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The discourse on the Instagram page ‘Too Much Equal’, dedicated to feminism, has more male contributors

When actor Shane Nigam acknowledged male privilege he was applauded for being gender sensitive. The Instagram page Too Much Equal posted the video on its page, with a ‘thank you’. A couple of days later they followed it up with a video grab of Rima Kallingal’s TED Talk where she spoke about sexual harassment, and social media abuse in particular, Too Much Equal put in a reminder of how viciously Rima was trolled in its aftermath. “Shane’s reaction was shared multiple times, while Rima was trolled. What she said made sense, but nobody bothered to listen. We are just holding up the mirror to the behaviour,” says Rose Mary who founded the page which posts feminist memes.

With it she says she ‘trolls’ the “culture of patriarchy rooted over years of conditioning, which will take time to change.” The above post is one of Too Much Equal’s serious posts, the others are humorous but by no means light-hearted even those targeting casual, everyday misogyny. The name of the page, she adds, is a nod to the perception that women have too much equality.

Rose Mary, a post-graduate in Local Governance and Development, is district co-ordinator, Kerala Institute of Local Administration and is based in her home town, Perumbavoor. A huge fan of meme and troll pages, she realised some of the humour in these communities derived from gender insensitivity and sexism. So when she started out a year ago, in November 2018, she wasn’t sure how a page dedicated to feminism would be received. She wondered if people would pay attention. The initial content was testing waters to suss the response. She generated the content that was more a random commentary on current political/social topics.

Too Much Equal? Feminist memes and Instagram

However, when her memes appeared on Dankmemesmalayalam’s Instagram handle her page started getting traction. The team has grown to include four others— Nithin Mathew, Keerthana Sukesh, Azmia Riaz and Neetha Shenoy. While Azmia and Neetha are friends, the others she met via the page. In fact Keerthana started out as a follower who turned contributor. Now all of them generate content, besides contributions by followers.

Too Much Equal? Feminist memes and Instagram

Some of the memes are hard-hitting, and she has had people questioning her about being extreme. “But sometimes you have to be, to get the point across,” she says. She believes humour is an effective tool to get a message across, “if an unpleasant fact is pointed out with humour, it might be more effective than blaming or assuming an accusatory tone.” The comments under some of the memes frustrate her, but over the last one year she has learnt to let go and not get overly affected. In a happy turnabout, and the best possible feedback, men are among the largest contributors of content, “which shows that there are more feminist men, the change is perceptible.”

Too Much Equal? Feminist memes and Instagram

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:27:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-discourse-on-the-instagram-page-too-much-equal-dedicated-to-feminism-has-more-male-contributors/article30265094.ece

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