“||Superwoman||” Lilly Singh has become one of the world’s most famous YouTubers over the last few years, with over 10 million subscribers. Her vlogs and videos, focusing on various aspects of Punjabi culture and everyday life in general, are sharp, sarcastic, funny takes on things a lot of people take for granted. She has also met with success as a rapper, even providing music for Bollywood films. But as with all women, no matter how successful, Singh also deals with the ubiquitous monster of sexism. Particularly, in this case, sexist commenters on her videos, of which there are oh-so-many.
Singh starts this video, “How to make a sandwich”, by reading out a sexist comment she received on another video, where the commenter asserts that comedy is beyond women, and that they should be making sandwiches in the kitchen. Based on the age-old regressive idea that a woman’s “place” is in the kitchen, and that any aspirations she has outside of that are invalid or out of her reach, its presence is especially seen on online forums.Take almost any sufficiently large comment thread on feminism, and chances are some man has turned up somewhere with a burning hunger for some bread and patty. According to Singh, it’s the comment she receives most often on her videos. Like, with all the emphasis sexist men put on self-sufficiency, masculinity, and survival skills – you’d think they would have taught themselves to make a goddamn sandwich already! Is it really that hard?
Well, for those sexist men who are still culinarily challenged, Singh has decided to abandon her light-hearted “unicorn” persona to briefly assume her “savage” side, and put together a handy little guide to what is essentially putting some meat between two slices of bread. With characteristic wit and panache she destroys the sexist sandwich-cravers at every step.
However, one must note that the video isn’t free of its own little squiggles that some viewers might find… problematic. The repeated references to the commenters’ ‘manhood’, including several dick jokes, reinforce the very patriarchal stereotypes that Singh is trying to fight. Admittedly, they make for some very gratifying catharsis, hitting the sexists and the chauvinists where it hurts the most (no pun intended), and it’s understandable why anyone would find such comebacks very tempting (I certainly do). But it does make you ponder – is this really the best way to get the point across? Maybe a different approach wouldn’t have required Singh to clarify at the end of the video that she’s not targeting *all* men, just the sexist commenters. Because the problem isn’t just with the commenters – the problem is structural.
Still, if you’re feeling particularly harangued by chauvinists today, and need some relief from this sexist world, make yourself a sandwich and tune in: