Her name resonates the sound of respect and immense boldness, at the same time. She can…Read More →
When Feministaa sat down in a candid chat with funny woman, Radhika Vaz, we instead got to see her serious side. The popular comedian and writer talked about the lack of role models, her content being about the ‘obvious bias’ and how ‘being a feminist in India today’ is rather revolutionary!
“Why do you have to bring feminism into everything?”
For a long time, Radhika accepted that and allowed it to affect her. She claims how she didn’t identify with her issues and hid behind the expression that she personally had not experienced in a deep way. Raised by ‘feminist parents,’ she didn’t have a typical Indian girl child upbringing. Hence she didn’t really have anything she would be angry about. But this was exactly her becoming when she realized, how she was not an island, whatever happened to other people could also happen to her.
“I wanted to get married so badly. Because I just thought that was what I had to do as a woman. Otherwise, how would people respect me?” She could’ve just married anyone.
Talking about ‘sexism bleeding into our lives’, she holds, “Why shouldn’t I rebel against it? Why shouldn’t I speak up and say we don’t need to do any of these things.” After all, it could put somebody else’s mind at ease.
“What a man can do, we can do better. I’m gonna get louder, I’m gonna get more obnoxious, I’m gonna get worse and worse and worse until I feel it is 50/50.” Right now it is not even 95/5.”
Over the years, Radhika has been receiving negative reactions just for calling herself a feminist outright. What’s worse, or as she calls it sad, is that being a woman if one refuses to call herself a feminist, they are refusing to identify with their issues, and that’s equally sexist.
“Lots of actual feminists, like who believe in equal rights and gender equality, don’t want to say that they are feminists.”
Radhika bluntly claims how her source of confidence is definitely all women who come up to her and acknowledge how her work had actually helped them. The fact that she is not wasting her time but contributing in a good way keeps her tuned to her passion.
“Most confidence comes to me from other women and other fighters of the cause. They give me confidence that I am not doing this on my own.”
Radhika grins as she says how age does give her further confidence, not shying away about being in her 40s. But the prettier you are the worse it is to age, she laughs out loud!
“I never felt like I wanted to be a mum.”
Radhika holds that there is a big distinction that is needed to be made between motherhood and parenting. Motherhood is glorified and romanticized in India. The real thing is being a parent.
“Whether you are a man or a woman, you can start to say, do I want to be a parent? Do I want to be one of those people who brings the next generation of workers into the world?”
The focus should be parenthood. A lot of parents attach ego into parenting, that’s not good. Their job is to raise kids in a certain way, educate them with ideas that are modern, forward thinking, and community-based. It is a sacred responsibility and requires great effort which not everybody is cut out for. Her own purpose she felt was rather impacting young people’s minds in a way that it allowed them to parent her back instead.
Tracing her own childhood of growing up in the Air Force and moving cross-country, Radhika says that the ‘Air Force lifestyle being grounded’ had a great positive impact on her. She grew up with no concept of a divide, be it region or religion.
“It is always about, I do, and you do. But the moment you travel around, and you live with all those different types of people, you realize everyone’s going to do their own thing whether you like it or not. You just become a little bit tolerant.”
But interestingly, she never really had a fore-vision that she would be a professional comedian when she grew up, although she did love being on-stage.
“I never looked at it like it could be a real career for me. But I think part of it was just role models, I didn’t have female comedian role models growing up.”
So when she first started working, she joined advertising. She says how she had a good time making good money and meeting interesting people. She enjoyed the fact that she could express herself in so many different ways.
But she does also accept how her shows are not well received by a certain section of society. “The only people, who seem to have a negative reaction to me, are people who know I am speaking the truth and have a problem with that truth.”
She speaks without blinking, that the general trend has been that housework is a female thing. A part of the problem is us (women), we think we can take it on and that’s the actual conditioning. Feminism is everybody’s responsibility.
“The content of my shows is typically pointing out the obvious bias.”
The issue is not that they are not outright conditioned; they just refuse to acknowledge the problem. She points out one instance when a guy tried to ban her show in Bombay via a petition. And most times, how men actually came up to her post her shows and said “That was very interesting”, with more sarcasm then praise.
For comedian Radhika Vaz, her true inspiration is fellow women.
Voraciously outspoken and using humor as the perfect weapon, comedian Radhika Vaz is unstoppably funny on her fight against the entrenched sexism in society. Radhika’s boldness and flat honesty helps create the space for other women to speak out, and loud! Watch out for the serious side of this funny-woman unplugged!
Honestly raw and terribly funny, popular comedian and writer, Radhika Vaz talks about being a feminist in India today, parenthood over motherhood and how the content of her shows are about the obvious bias! Listen to her unplugged as she holds, “Why shouldn’t I rebel against it?”
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