This Instagram Account Is Redefining Misogynistic Slurs And Giving Them Modern Definitions
- IWB Post
- April 15, 2019
You come across a funny image about a movie character’s tinder profile. It is hilarious and you want to see more of the same so you tap on the account. And the page, Pop Cult Media, is filled with hilarious memes on Malayali pop culture, satirical headlines, fake horoscopes, Instagram pages of iconic movie characters, etc. Nestled amongst such light-hearted humour is an image containing the definition of the Malayalam word ‘vedi’.
For the non-Malayalis out there, technically vedi is Malayalam slang for ‘whore’. But this image defines vedi as ‘the woman who is way out of your league and/or doesn’t give a flying fuck about your 17th-century judgments’.
16.2k Likes, 245 Comments – Pop Cult Media (@popcult.tribe) on Instagram: “A gentle reminder that it’s 2019 folks, evolve!🐣 #PopCultDictionary #PopCult #PopCulture #Word”
Arya Prakash, one of the four members running the account, says that using satire to call out patriarchal mindsets was not intentional. When they started, they wanted to work with something they were comfortable with as content writers, and hence chose satire to post about Malayali Pop Culture.
“There is something about dry humour that people appreciate, so when we started doing these posts people noticed and they could relate. That’s what clicked with them,” she says.
When they started doing this pop culture dictionary, they just wanted to define words in their own way and hence started with words most commonly used in the Malayalam digital space. Giving the example of another such re-definition, Arya explains, “The word feminichi is used by many men in online discussions, it’s sort of the Malayalam equivalent of the word ‘feminazi’. The word achi is a very derogatory way of saying wife, and I think that’s how feminichi was formed, by combining feminism and achi. And it is used for any woman that those men don’t agree with. I redefined it as being a woman with an opinion because that’s what I feel about the word. The same is for the word vedi as well, vedi means slut. That is one word that so many girls are familiar with because we’ll be called that for various reasons, like for looking good or being friendly with more than one guy.”
Feminichis of the world, unite💪 #PopCultDictionary #PopCulture #PopCult #Feminichi #Feminists #Kerala
4,504 Likes, 48 Comments – Pop Cult Media (@popcult.tribe) on Instagram: “Feminichis of the world, unite💪 #PopCultDictionary #PopCulture #PopCult #Feminichi #Feminists…”
Redefining such derogatory terms is an effort towards reclaiming them, to not give them the power to cause hurt anymore. Any girl is deemed a vedi or a feminichi for a number of reasons the people feel like and these words leave deep mental scars on young girls. Arya says doing this was important because “When we did that so many people messaged us saying that it gave them closure. A lot of people were affected by such slut-shaming right from their teenage years and when a new definition was given, that was a comeback to all the misogynistic name-calling, they felt good and that made us feel good in turn. I’d say it was an act of closure. People have called me all these words and I think it’s my personal experience that adds to the honesty of these definitions.”
The effect this small act of theirs has had has been immense and Arya says that even if they haven’t changed a lot of minds, some people have started owning these terms and that is amazing. But where there are supporters, there are naysayers as well, especially in matters of feminism. And the team of Pop Cult had to deal with their fair share of them. Arya says, “A lot of people commented saying things like ‘would you have called your mother or sister vedi’ and it was heartwarming to see our followers engaging with them and saying that ‘we don’t have an issue and neither would our mothers and sisters because the definition of vedi is not what you think’.”
Nudge nudge, wink wink #Tinder #tindermemes #TinderForMovieCharacters #TinderBio #TinderProfile #malayalammovies #Malayalam #Kerala #Mollywood #Movies #PopCult #PopCulture
1,341 Likes, 9 Comments – Pop Cult Media (@popcult.tribe) on Instagram: “Nudge nudge, wink wink #Tinder #tindermemes #TinderForMovieCharacters #TinderBio #TinderProfile…”
Their page is a digital media channel about Malayalam pop culture but they wanted to make it universal so started posting in English and added translations so that the non-Malayali viewers would understand and relate as well.