Bhuvan Bam on #MeToo: It’s a Mess in Which Almost Everyone is Involved
India’s biggest YouTube star gets candid about the revolution that is currently raging in the country, the need to believe #MeToo stories and why using slang isn’t the same as being misogynistic.
Bhuvan Bam has 10.7+ million subscribers on YouTube. (Image: Instagram/Bhuvan Bam)
He may be infamous for his slang-laden viral YouTube videos, but Bhuvan Bam stands in solidarity with the survivors of sexual abuse and urges his followers to not treat the #MeToo movement as a mere social media trend.
In a candid conversation, India’s biggest YouTube star (10.7+ million subscribers) talks about the revolution that is currently raging in India, the need to believe #MeToo stories and why using slang isn’t the same as being misogynistic.
Several comedians have been accused of sexual misconduct in the last few weeks. With such massive fan following, don’t you think you guys need to be more responsible in what you say and do?
It’s a mess in which almost everyone is involved knowingly or unknowingly. We are all aware of what is happening around us but we don’t know what to do with it. We haven’t yet learnt how to deal if someone tells their story to us. That’s where we are lacking. It’s important to create an environment where women are encouraged to share their experiences. There is no point in hiding.
With #MeToo getting worldwide attention, maybe it’s a good time for men to introspect?
Men are now scared. Everyone has some kind of a guilt. Everyone is having flashbacks of the times they went wrong. All that is happening right now was long due. But patriarchy is so deep rooted that we’ll never get out of this. We may be having a movement here, but it’s still the same in villages. Who is going to explain it to them? It all starts from there only. It’s a good wave but it shouldn’t be seasonal. It should continue irrespective of everything else.
Don't you think using cuss words to evoke laughter, especially the ones that are derogatory towards women, propagates a culture of misogyny?
I don’t think so. I live in Delhi and I have never seen two friends talk without abusing each other. I have also seen girls abuse. Everyone abuses. Using cuss words is a way to vent out anger, frustration. No one means it. You cannot take it literally.
The hypocrisy with us is that we love watching American Pie and Euro Trip, but if someone closer home in India tries to do something similar, we think it’s wrong. That’s the mind-set. Adult humour is a genre, in which many legendary films have been made. There is clean comedy and adult comedy. To dodge the line or not is a creator’s decision. To make an issue out of it is hypocrisy at its peak.
So you don’t think your videos are a bad influence on adolescents?
I don’t think ki mere gaali dene se log bigad rahe hai. I have had parents come to me and complain, but if 13-year-olds have access to internet without parental guidance, they have access to things worse than my videos. What I do is comedy and it is subjective. Don’t watch it if you don’t like it.
I don’t think a YouTube video can teach someone to abuse. We learn more from our environment, at our homes and in our peer groups. Out of my every 10 videos, two have a positive message that is meant to be a tight slap. If kids are learning cuss words from my videos, I am sure they are learning that too.
In the wake of #MeToo and Time’s Up, what would you like to say to your millions of male followers?
Please don’t think of it as a trend. This is not a Kiki Challenge. This is something that has happened to people and that’s is why they are speaking. Don’t negate it just because they are coming out after 10 or 15 years. Patriarchy was so severe 15 years ago, that even if someone would have wanted to speak, they would have been silenced. Today times are different.
Also, don’t think that they are doing this for publicity. It happens only in the rarest of the rare cases.
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