Are you too wondering what is the whole hoopla around the trend called ‘Boys locker room’? From Instagram to Twitter to even the newspaper, it is everywhere. Well, let me simplify it for you. Boys (Bois) Locker Room is an Instagram group that unseemly objectifies minor girls, glorifies rape culture and encourages predatory behavior. It is a group where a few well-to-do, well-educated bunch of guys from Delhi casually have lewd conversations about women on a virtual social media platform. But what is this whole outrage about? Just because one of the million things that happen came into notice doesn’t mean this is new.
How did we mess up this bad? Where did we go so wrong? That these kids are making such online groups called ‘locker room’ and boasting about such sensitive issues. This account holds chats about discussions on these topics. There is a series of images being shared of girls (all minor, barely even 16). Obviously, these were evidently shared in utmost confidence and privacy. Also, it encloses instruction manuals on how to rape/gang-rape girls. Infact, boys talk about how ‘easy’ it would be to do so.
Where does it all start?
Remember those pre-puberty high school days? Where you had issues regarding your weird facial hair. When you’re figuring out which social trend you want to flaunt. That teenage time when guys are trying hard to speak to the girl they’re crushing on for months. That effortless attempt to look cool around your friends. Or trying to prove yourselves by being better at sports, studies or by mere bullying. An interesting influential phase in our lives that I’m sure we’ll all remember and tell our kids about.
But will we ever realize that that phase was exactly the time when we were supposed to be made aware about phenomena like the rape culture, eve-teasing, body-shaming, racism, domestic violence, cyber-bullying etc. and the brutality that accompanies them. The lines we need to draw or the lines that we are never permitted to cross. Why didn’t any of our professors enlighten us with the causes and further effects of the above mentioned savagery? And no, I’m not just talking about mere textbook knowledge or a moral science period.
I’m talking about the usual tete-a-tete and occasional mockery. I’m talking about that ‘friendly’ sneering by a guy when a fat girl passes by him. About that bike ride which is all about ‘teasing’ a bunch of girls standing by the road. Commenting on how they’re looking, whistling, touching and groping. Or about ‘humming’ a song with lewd lyrics just to make the girl sitting beside you uncomfortable. About that 360 degrees ‘checking-out’ smirk that they have on their face as soon as a woman walks in.
The influences and the ‘influencers’
“Tu cheez badi hai mast mast”
“choli ke peeche kya hai”
“chumma chumma de de”
“You are my chammak chhallo”
“Aja meri gaadi mei baithja”
“Ban mitra di whore, I mean mitra di ho“
“Hun moti da viah hogiya, tu rehe gayi kanwaari, Dieting karke hogi mari“
And the list could go on and on. Also, media has become a popular site of scrutiny for feminist scholars. Despite being a Bollywood fanatic myself, I never really paid attention to such cringe-worthy, misogynistic lyrics that somehow seeped in much later.
Not just in films where we undermine women and create uni-dimensional female characters, but also in the regular Indian television daily soaps, we center them around a household, majorly the kitchen and her duties towards her family members. Nobody talks about the struggles, inhibitions and insecurities. The sanskari woman is celebrated while the rebel’s transformation is inevitably brought about by the realization of the need to be sansakri. And it entails nothing but adherence to patriarchal norms.
Another major influencer of this culture are the ‘slangs‘ and abuses we use to look cool. Has anybody ever questioned why all abuses in our country are focused around women, and that too, mothers and sisters? It is so normal that we don’t think once while using them so frequently. We all pledge to protect the women of our house. But what happens when a girl on the street has acid thrown all over her, or when struggling actresses experience casting-couch? Even they belong to a family; they carry a heart and a soul too. How can anybody even believe that they have the authority to scar them for life?
Tracing the patriarchy!
According to Kamla Bhasin, one is not born a man or a woman; patriarchy transforms the male and female sex into man and woman gender, and that masculinity and femininity are mirror images of each other. As defined:
“men who don’t cry, do not show emotions publicly, treat women as their property, are dominant in the relationship, show physical and verbal aggression towards other men either individually or in a group are the ‘real men’ which can be understood according to the concept of hegemonic masculinity.”– Kamla Bhasin
We expect women in a patriarchal set-up to not have any desires and are only seen as a signifier for the male. Sexual abuse and harassment are the gradual consequences of imposing a silent image of women still tied to their place, leading the society constantly misrepresenting and unapologetically objectifying them. So tell me once again who can we blame for the Boys Locker Room incident?
However, the saddest part is that we start our mornings by worshiping them in a temple, and end our day by exploiting them.