Vir Das “Losing It”- A Reaction

Vir Das created an excellent stand up special which was both funny and incredibly thoughtful, while raising great questions for society. I loved it. I just had some thoughts, specifically about the section on feminism. (I don’t want to spoil the whole special, so this may be a little disjointed, I’ve included the timestamps so that you guys can check it out).

First (46:00-57ish), gender is not a binary. If you’re doing more than ten minutes on gender and feminism, maybe be a little inclusive?

Next, let’s talk about this analogy (47:21-48:00), Vir claims that wanting women to have equal rights and believing women are equal to men is like wanting scientists to be equal to monkeys, with women being the scientists. I don’t think a woman’s accomplishments should be constrained to what a man’s is, because humanity is always capable of breaking the bounds of what is considered possible, but I also don’t believe women are inherently superior. I just believe that from a young age more is expected of women and women are more often held accountable for their actions. I want women to be perceived with all of the same range as men. If a woman publicly fails, I want it to be because she messed up or she’s didn’t have what it takes without it being a reflection of her entire gender. For example, in film, I want women to put out the same number of terrible movies that men do, without it being “a sign that women can’t direct.” Michelle Wolf did a great segment on the Daily Show about this (obviously, she’s joking at the end, and that’s not what I’m saying either). Also, I want the men who succeed to be just as extraordinary as the women and nonbinary people at their level. Women should not have to do triple the work to achieve half the recognition. Saying that women are inherently superior to men hides the amount of work that woman do everyday to be considered just “adequate” and it hides the way that society holds men to a lower standard. Holding women to be “scientists” while men are “monkeys”excuses male bad behavior and creates an impossible standard for women. Women shouldn’t be required to be better than men, they should just be permitted to be human.

Also, let’s consider the assertion (48:00) that feeling like a feminist and identifying as one does nothing. I think that it does mean something. A woman looking in the mirror each day and choosing to believe that she is valid, she is enough, she is equal, and she has a right to exist without penalty, is a radical thing. Changing that mindset does change our actions and society. Just like rethinking your masculinity is feminism, a woman identifying as a feminist is enough, changing minds leads to changing actions. Don’t hate on that important first step.

Next, on a slightly lighter note, about how women dress (51:20), Vir says that women don’t care about how women dress. Excuse you? I dress for myself and to get compliments from other women. That is a great feeling. Women supporting women with compliments on their clothes is a great thing. It’s the beginning of a lot of friendships. So many women will look at another woman’s clothes, think, hey I couldn’t wear that, but she looks great, I’m going to go tell her. Fashion may be something that society has coded as feminine and created stigmas and rules for, but feminism doesn’t mean women don’t care about it, it just means that we don’t have to if we don’t want to. Fashion is one of the ways that people have expressed themselves for hundreds of years. Women care, not all women, but many women care.

All in all, this was a good special, and I commend Vir Das for tackling feminism as a topic, but there’s always more work to do, for all of us.