We’re accustomed to reading tales of female heroes who break the Glass Ceiling, and challenge men by becoming successful and powerful.
But why settle for this hackneyed trope when other, alternative hero-figures are available – specifically, the female serial killer.
We find this in Quartz India:
Kerala’s men can’t accept that a woman can be intelligent and deadly enough to be a serial killer
Joseph’s arrest on Oct. 5 and reported confession has left Kerala stunned, not only because serial killings are a rarity in these parts but also because, in a state wallowing in machismo, a woman’s the perpetrator.
Not surprisingly, this has opened the floodgates in Malayalam (the native language) social media for a deluge of wickedly humorous memes. These jokes dub an entire gender as evil by doubling down on sexism and misogyny using the women-in-kitchen trope…
When Joseph was brought to the local police station for questioning, huge crowds flocked to see her and often hooted and howled at her. Social media reflects this shock and awe, besides an element of fear and nervousness from the male perspective.
What’s strange is also the media obsession with Jolly’s apparent lack of remorse. Reporting from within a patriarchal culture, journalists seem to incessantly search for cues to fit her into a stereotype.
“Women are expected to be helpless, docile and pure…it’s these women who have done all the household chores and cooked for these men all these years…It’s ironical that now they are afraid to drink mutton soup or eat what they are served,” said Bindu Thankam, an activist working for the welfare of Dalits, a group of sub-castes formerly deemed untouchable.
These attitudes sit easily on the deeply embedded patriarchy in Kerala, otherwise globally famed for its model of development based on high social and development indices. The state’s traditional sexism is best demonstrated in its movies, wherein the biggest of superstars mouth deeply anti-woman lines—and evoke wild applause.