Glasgow Comedy Festival

Zahra Barri: Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep... No.

Zahra Barri is a Stand Up Comic who travels the UK with her show 'Talk Like An Egyptian'. Zahra loves men and women. She’s not bisexual. She’s a Feminist. In this article she explores the concept of separately branding products for men and women. 

I’m a little bit confused about Feminism at the moment because last week I got dis-empowered by a man and I wasn’t sure whether I should hate all men because of it, or if I should just think that particular one was a bit of a knob.

I’m a little bit confused about Feminism at the moment because last week I got dis-empowered by a man and I wasn’t sure whether I should hate all men because of it, or if I should just think that particular one was a bit of a knob.
After all if the same situation happened with a woman dis-empowering me I wouldn’t have tarred all women with the same brush. I would have concluded that particular woman was just a bit of a knob. Or a tit, I mean I’m not sexist.
In the same way, then, if say an Asian person, dis-empowered you, would you then hate all Asians? Of course not. I mean unless you are a massive racist. In which case why are you reading my blog? Get out of my blog, you are not welcome in my blog and while you’re at it stop stealing other bloggers’ domain names.
 
You might find this hard to believe but I’m a Feminist. I know it’s quite unusual for a female comedian to proclaim this. I’ve been feeling like I’m one for a while now, ever since Bridget Christie won the Fosters Award for A Bic For Her. Before this, I tried to ignore my feministic urges like buying dungarees and smashing the ceiling of my Mum’s new conservatory, but I just can’t deny it any longer.  As well as Bridget Christie, I’d like to also thank Emma Watson for helping me see that it’s ok to admit to the world that you want men and women to be equal. Now when a man pays for my meal, instead of sleeping with him like I did before, I lean provocatively across the table and whisper seductively, ‘So you should, you get paid on average 21 per cent more than me’.
 
It’s not just equal pay that I believe in. I don’t believe there should be a disparity in the recommended daily alcohol units between a man and a woman either. I believe that we should get the same as men. I work so hard to advocate this right for women. For example, the other night I was in Weatherspoon’s, getting totally shit faced for this cause. I martyred myself out in Weatherspoon’s because just like Emmeline Pankhurst said, its ‘deeds not words’ that will change society’s perception of gender inequality. I can’t just talk about how women should be able to drink the same amount of alcohol a week, I do it. I ruthlessly and selflessly stipulate and advocate and emancipate this right. I have a dream that one day women will be able to freely write down 21 units a week on a medical form and not feel ashamed. Along with equal alcohol units and equal pay I also champion, equal orgasms. At the moment most women are getting a pathetic 14 orgasms a year through penetrative sex, as oppose to the average men’s yearly orgasm quota of 769. I call this the gender thigh gap. Because what’s happening between men’s thighs and women’s thighs is currently very different.
 
So back to my original dilemma. If a man dis-empowers me do I determine that Feminism still has a long way to go, or do I regard him as an individual, and pass him off as just a bit of a prick?
Now as I do with most questions in life, I ask the big man. Wikipedia. It was then, that I discovered Intersectional Feminism. Now, this has nothing to do with when a feminist cuts you up on the intersection. (Feminists aren’t as bad as women drivers).
Now let me break it down, (the term not the car). So, Intersectional Feminism recognises that every person identifies themselves with being several different things and is a product off all those things. For example, Feminist icon Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) doesn’t just identify herself with being a woman, she identifies herself with being Black and she also identifies herself with being a mother and she also identifies herself with being the first woman in history to have the last word with Eddie Murphy, after making him do a paternity test to prove that he was, in fact the father of her child. Go girl. She is the sum of all these things and all these things need to be taken into account when assessing her as a person, an individual. So in the same way, I realize, I believe that if a man is being an arse hole it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because of his gender but perhaps maybe it’s because he identifies himself with being an arse hole. In the same way that I do not just identify myself with being a woman, I also identify myself with being a member of the Jon Hamm Fan Club.
 
You’re welcome:
 
http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/jon-hamm/wikis
 
I do realise the irony of a Feminist fancying the pants off a man who plays misogynist, Don Draper. Hey, I come from a Muslim family, loving Hamm is so forbidden, which of course only makes me yearn for Hamm even more.
 
So Feminism! At the start of this blog I mentioned Bridget Christie and her award winning show A Bic For Her, which told the story of a female biro. Now whilst that may sound like the plot of the next Pixar film, it was actually a show built on her condemnation of patronising female branded products. Christie perspicaciously observed the chauvinism of society feminising products. I agree whole heartedly. I mean why should Barbies be for girls and guns be for boys or football be for men and tampons be for women? Give a 12 year old a pack of tampons, they will have hours of fun pretending they are grenades while strapping a sanitary towel to each ear, make believing they are some sort of World War 2 Action Hero. Now that’s a proper period drama.
 
So imagine my dismay when I heard about the new Seat car especially designed for women, sponsored by Cosmopolitan magazine. Baby you can drive our car. Beep, beep, beep, beep… No.
 
Now I’ve failed my driving test 13 times and lived in Saudi Arabia where women can’t drive (that’s a law not just an opinion) but even I found Seat’s female friendly car offensive. And that was after I’d put my glitter pink candy floss air freshener in to get rid of that weird new car smell.
 
Giving the car a gender only reminded me of  a Channel 5 documentary that I watched about a man in the States who was in love with his car, married his car and had sex with his car. If he saw this car he would literally have the ride of his life.
 
What have they done? Put eyelashes in the headlights like my mobile bikini waxer does? Has the steering wheel got a fluffy pink cover on? Does it have Harry Styles voice on the Sat Nav? Actually that all sounds rather good. But no…
 
We need to stop genderising (it’s a real word*, like ‘tenderising’, meaning to ‘pull apart’) products. Living in a binary society is restrictive and unnecessary. I don’t want to be pigeon holed. We are individuals. It’s like that feminist icon, Maggie Thatcher said, ‘There is no such thing as society’…..wait no. What I’m trying to say is we are not within the limitations of our gender expectations. I will not be manipulated and controlled. I am not a lemming. I’ll climb trees and do my nails, whilst listening to the footie results, wearing an apron, cooking dinner, whilst waxing my upper lip god damn it!
 
Come on Seat! Cosmopolitan? I expected more from you!
 
Well actually, I didn’t.
 
I read Cosmopolitan when I’m feeling like psychologically self-harming myself.  It’s funny how a magazine with such a modern forward thinking name is so stuck in the dark ages. I’m surprised they even know what a car is. They probably think it’s a new type of Penny Farthing. I way prefer the alcoholic beverage to the magazine.  You get less of a hangover too. I think if Seat got the alcoholic cocktail, Cosmopolitan to sponsor their car for women, rather than the magazine, it might have a less patronising feel to the campaign. Less patronising, more pro drink driving, but hey, you can’t win every humanitarian cause. Its Feminism or Drink Awareness. You decide. I also prefer the ice cream to the magazine, you get less brain freeze.
 
Alas, back to my main point, this sexist Seat campaign unnecessarily puts gender on their agenda when really there should be no such thing as gender because it’s a car, it’s inert. The car has proved that Feminism may have a long way to go, but it certainly won’t be getting to its sociological destination in a Seat. It will be getting there like most women get places, by wearing hot pants and hitch hiking in return for sexual favours. Just kidding. (An Uber Pool, which also doubles as a dating app. )
 
*The draft of this blog was written using a Bic Biro ‘For Her’. 
 
*O.K so I lied because I’m pretty sure ‘Genderised’ isn’t a word, but neither is YOLO and that’s just been added to the Oxford Dictionary.I’m a little bit confused about Feminism at the moment because last week I got dis-empowered by a man and I wasn’t sure whether I should hate all men because of it, or if I should just think that particular one was a bit of a knob.

After all if the same situation happened with a woman dis-empowering me I wouldn’t have tarred all women with the same brush. I would have concluded that particular woman was just a bit of a knob. Or a tit, I mean I’m not sexist.

In the same way, then, if say an Asian person, dis-empowered you, would you then hate all Asians? Of course not. I mean unless you are a massive racist. In which case why are you reading my blog? Get out of my blog, you are not welcome in my blog and while you’re at it stop stealing other bloggers’ domain names.

You might find this hard to believe but I’m a Feminist. I know it’s quite unusual for a female comedian to proclaim this. I’ve been feeling like I’m one for a while now, ever since Bridget Christie won the Fosters Award for A Bic For Her. Before this, I tried to ignore my feministic urges like buying dungarees and smashing the ceiling of my Mum’s new conservatory, but I just can’t deny it any longer.  As well as Bridget Christie, I’d like to also thank Emma Watson for helping me see that it’s ok to admit to the world that you want men and women to be equal. Now when a man pays for my meal, instead of sleeping with him like I did before, I lean provocatively across the table and whisper seductively, ‘So you should, you get paid on average 21 per cent more than me’.

It’s not just equal pay that I believe in. I don’t believe there should be a disparity in the recommended daily alcohol units between a man and a woman either. I believe that we should get the same as men. I work so hard to advocate this right for women. For example, the other night I was in Weatherspoon’s, getting totally shit faced for this cause. I martyred myself out in Weatherspoon’s because just like Emmeline Pankhurst said, its ‘deeds not words’ that will change society’s perception of gender inequality. I can’t just talk about how women should be able to drink the same amount of alcohol a week, I do it. I ruthlessly and selflessly stipulate and advocate and emancipate this right. I have a dream that one day women will be able to freely write down 21 units a week on a medical form and not feel ashamed. Along with equal alcohol units and equal pay I also champion, equal orgasms. At the moment most women are getting a pathetic 14 orgasms a year through penetrative sex, as oppose to the average men’s yearly orgasm quota of 769. I call this the gender thigh gap. Because what’s happening between men’s thighs and women’s thighs is currently very different.

So back to my original dilemma. If a man dis-empowers me do I determine that Feminism still has a long way to go, or do I regard him as an individual, and pass him off as just a bit of a prick?

Now as I do with most questions in life, I ask the big man. Wikipedia. It was then, that I discovered Intersectional Feminism. Now, this has nothing to do with when a feminist cuts you up on the intersection. (Feminists aren’t as bad as women drivers).

Now let me break it down, (the term not the car). So, Intersectional Feminism recognises that every person identifies themselves with being several different things and is a product off all those things. For example, Feminist icon Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) doesn’t just identify herself with being a woman, she identifies herself with being Black and she also identifies herself with being a mother and she also identifies herself with being the first woman in history to have the last word with Eddie Murphy, after making him do a paternity test to prove that he was, in fact the father of her child. Go girl. She is the sum of all these things and all these things need to be taken into account when assessing her as a person, an individual. So in the same way, I realize, I believe that if a man is being an arse hole it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because of his gender but perhaps maybe it’s because he identifies himself with being an arse hole. In the same way that I do not just identify myself with being a woman, I also identify myself with being a member of the Jon Hamm Fan Club.

You’re welcome:

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/jon-hamm/wikis

I do realise the irony of a Feminist fancying the pants off a man who plays misogynist, Don Draper. Hey, I come from a Muslim family, loving Hamm is so forbidden, which of course only makes me yearn for Hamm even more.

So Feminism! At the start of this blog I mentioned Bridget Christie and her award winning show A Bic For Her, which told the story of a female biro. Now whilst that may sound like the plot of the next Pixar film, it was actually a show built on her condemnation of patronising female branded products. Christie perspicaciously observed the chauvinism of society feminising products. I agree whole heartedly. I mean why should Barbies be for girls and guns be for boys or football be for men and tampons be for women? Give a 12 year old a pack of tampons, they will have hours of fun pretending they are grenades while strapping a sanitary towel to each ear, make believing they are some sort of World War 2 Action Hero. Now that’s a proper period drama.

So imagine my dismay when I heard about the new Seat car especially designed for women, sponsored by Cosmopolitan magazine. Baby you can drive our car. Beep, beep, beep, beep… No.

Now I’ve failed my driving test 13 times and lived in Saudi Arabia where women can’t drive (that’s a law not just an opinion) but even I found Seat’s female friendly car offensive. And that was after I’d put my glitter pink candy floss air freshener in to get rid of that weird new car smell.

Giving the car a gender only reminded me of  a Channel 5 documentary that I watched about a man in the States who was in love with his car, married his car and had sex with his car. If he saw this car he would literally have the ride of his life.

What have they done? Put eyelashes in the headlights like my mobile bikini waxer does? Has the steering wheel got a fluffy pink cover on? Does it have Harry Styles voice on the Sat Nav? Actually that all sounds rather good. But no…

We need to stop genderising (it’s a real word*, like ‘tenderising’, meaning to ‘pull apart’) products. Living in a binary society is restrictive and unnecessary. I don’t want to be pigeon holed. We are individuals. It’s like that feminist icon, Maggie Thatcher said, ‘There is no such thing as society’… wait no. What I’m trying to say is we are not within the limitations of our gender expectations. I will not be manipulated and controlled. I am not a lemming. I’ll climb trees and do my nails, whilst listening to the footie results, wearing an apron, cooking dinner, whilst waxing my upper lip god damn it!

Come on Seat! Cosmopolitan? I expected more from you!

Well actually, I didn’t.

I read Cosmopolitan when I’m feeling like psychologically self-harming myself.  It’s funny how a magazine with such a modern forward thinking name is so stuck in the dark ages. I’m surprised they even know what a car is. They probably think it’s a new type of Penny Farthing. I way prefer the alcoholic beverage to the magazine.  You get less of a hangover too. I think if Seat got the alcoholic cocktail, Cosmopolitan to sponsor their car for women, rather than the magazine, it might have a less patronising feel to the campaign. Less patronising, more pro drink driving, but hey, you can’t win every humanitarian cause. Its Feminism or Drink Awareness. You decide. I also prefer the ice cream to the magazine, you get less brain freeze.

Alas, back to my main point, this sexist Seat campaign unnecessarily puts gender on their agenda when really there should be no such thing as gender because it’s a car, it’s inert. The car has proved that Feminism may have a long way to go, but it certainly won’t be getting to its sociological destination in a Seat. It will be getting there like most women get places, by wearing hot pants and hitch hiking in return for sexual favours. Just kidding. (An Uber Pool, which also doubles as a dating app. )

*The draft of this blog was written using a Bic Biro ‘For Her’.

*O.K so I lied because I’m pretty sure ‘Genderised’ isn’t a word, but neither is YOLO and that’s just been added to the Oxford Dictionary.

Catch Talk Like an Egyptian on Saturday 11 March at Glasgow International Comedy Festival at Yes Bar at 2:15pm. GET TICKETS HERE!