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New TVF video ‘Girliyapa’ misses the point about lechery

A satire about two women who want to be cat-called falls flat.

If you’re a woman living in India, there’s no doubt you’ve had a fair share of creeps staring you down in the local train, or standing too close at the bus stop, or checking you out shamelessly. And you don’t need to be typically “hot” to feel like a donut at a patisserie.

Which is why it’s surprising that Mallika Dua and Shrishti Shrivastava are getting so riled up about not being leched at in Girliyapa’s first episode, titled Why Should Hot Girls Have All the Fun? The video is a part of The Viral Fever’s new venture that features content centered around and driven by women.

The video features two women who get angry when they find a guy staring at their friend at a coffee shop. They decide to tackle the matter head-on, and this is where the twist lies – they aren’t pissed off at the man for ogling at their friend, they’re pissed off at not being the ones ogled at.

‘Why Should Hot Girls Have All The Fun?’

It is funny and starts off right – two sarcastic women calling out social stereotypes in a sketch that seems like it is aimed at putting the lecher in his place. But it loses the plot very soon.

The women ask the man why he didn’t choose to leer at the two of them instead. They tell him about their dreams of being stalked, followed, whistled at and catcalled. You keep waiting for the setup to lead to an effective and even mildly amusing punchline, but the elaborate joke only disappoints.

One of the two actors in the video is Mallika Dua of Shit People Say: Sarojini Nagar Edition fame. She is hilarious. That she can act and make us laugh was evident, but even with her flawless portrayal of a girl-less-leched-at, this video doesn’t feel right.

‘Shit People Say: Sarojini Nagar Edition’.

I chuckled and even laughed out loud at many points in these short five minutes, but by the end of it, the feminist in me was troubled by the blatant ridicule of feminism and the celebration of lechery. The video has received more positive comments than negative. Those who found it offensive have obviously been asked to lighten up. Maybe that’s the case. Maybe I need to lighten up and see the humour. Maybe it lies in this total inversion of the reality of everyday ogling. But how is ripping on your friend because she is hot, funny?

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