This has been a trending topic on the internet recently, and everyone around have been posting literally anything about it. For those who still have no clue of it, I shall explain in brief about the incident and carry on with my understanding.
Boys locker room is an instagram account of a group of boys, where they talk nasty about women (known and unknown). Nude pictures of several women are shared among them, and they enjoy their dirty secrets together, for example topics like how many men could engage in sexual relationships with multiple women are discussed, and so on. Now this news was in the highlights just a week ago, because some women shared ‘alleged screenshots’ of the boys locker room chats in social media. The women had revealed that one of the men from the boys locker room account had sent the screenshots to these women, when he realised that extremely problematic things were happening in the group. The news was spreading like wild fire and almost all of the nation, who were on social media were aware of it. Even media channels and the Police intervened to further investigate the situation.
Amidst all of it, many men and women on the internet, were trying to push the narrative of presence of a Girls locker room account as well, because some alleged screenshots of the same were leaked on the internet just a couple of days after the boys locker room news. Now that girls locker room account has found to be fake, but that isn’t my point here. My argument is against this trial of pressing on a flawed narrative that these kind of crimes are not gender specific because both men and women have locker rooms. There might exist a girl’s locker room account somewhere, but what do they propagate through their chats, and how many of them exist, is my question? I want something to be very clearly expressed through my writing that, rape culture is propagated by misogynists, and it is fairly common in this patriarchal society. Rape jokes, objectification of women are all part of the boys locker room, which has been present in the popular culture for centuries. Quotes like, ‘Men will be men’ legitimise the horrific propagation of the rape culture in the society. People equating this with women gossiping about each other’s bodies, and how they find someone attractive and someone not, is not only problematic but funny at this point. Although objectification is never justified and I am not defending any kind of objectification, but one must understand the gravity of certain situations and history of certain discourses. Whenever someone speaks about women’s safety and sexual harasments, someone else from nowhere jumps in and says, “Not all men”. Like we know, that it’s not all men. But what are you actually fighting for? In a country like India where one woman is raped every 15 minutes, you want to argue that all men are not the same rapists. I know that, we know that. By ‘I’ and ‘we’, I want to mean that the, ‘Feminists’ know this. Also these people never have any sympathy or anxiety when another man was recently raped by 4 men, they exhaust their energies in hiding their male chauvinism, by bashing feminists and feminism. I ask you all, have you read a single journal of feminist theories? Do you know how many schools of feminism exist? Do you understand that matriarchy doesn’t mirror patriarchy in its practice? Don’t say that I am propagating academic elitism, because I know who I am talking to, and you can very well read about the things I mentioned.
To give this thought a context, I shall have to narrate the recent revelation of the boys locker room case. The police investigated and found out that, out of all the screenshots of the boys locker room circulated on the internet, one of the screenshots, where a man called Siddharth was provoking another man to rape a particular girl, to which the other man didn’t reply in affirmation, it was found out that ‘Siddharth’ was a fictitious name, a fake account precisely, which was made by a girl. She was asking her friend to rape herself through a fake account. Police said that it was juvenile on the girl’s part because she faked an entire account just to test the character of her friend and ensure her safety with him. Now again social media trials started, people had opinions of putting the girl behind the bars for inciting rape, some even questioned gender neutrality in our law, and assumed that if a boy did the same as the girl has, he would have been punished and so on.
I therefore want to break it up for everyone to understand this better.
1) You cannot reverse this case in particular, because the girl who did a character test on her male friend to ensure her safety with that man, has a rationale of it’s own, and that is women’s constant fear of getting sexually harassed, getting raped and murdered as well, which definitely is not the same if the genders are reversed. I mean, which cis man shall be threatened by his female girlfriends to this extent that he would even be scared to be raped by a woman? How many women can you list out, who have raped cis men, in the whole world? I am not in support of the girl’s action at all, any sane human would not support the girl’s immature juvenile act.
2) Law is definitely gender neutral and that is why the minor girl of age 15 who faked an account and chatted about raping herself with a friend, was not charged, as well as all the other minor boys of the locker room incident, because they are all juvenile by the court of law. Also if you have forgotten by now, but the juvenile who had raped and murdered Nirbhaya was also released, and now he is roaming around in this country, even after he committed such a gruesome crime. Men’s rights activists, can’t you see that? And here you want punishment for the 15 year old minor because she talked with her friend about raping herself? She was ensuring her own safety in a foolish manner, I agree. But does that tantamount to a crime? Could it be equated with the boys’ locker room happenings where they share nudes of other women and find it funny to talk nasty about them?
Social media trials are definitely not the correct way to ensure justice. But one must also not forget that a survivor has every right to put out his/her narrative. Another case of a boy’s suicide, named Manav, went viral on the internet. According to the posts, he committed suicide because he was humiliated and threatened online, because a girl had accused him of rape. Now I really do not know who was innocent and who was guilty. The death of the boy is really saddening and unfortunate. But I want to point out 3 important points in this context.
1) It is a crime to bully, harass, and threaten people online or offline. Nobody gets the right to be the justice maker, we have a court of law for that. Therefore I am against all kinds of media trials.
2) It is absolutely fine to put out your narrative of trauma or harasment on the internet, even if you don’t have proofs to establish it. We need to respect and believe in the survivors, it takes alot of courage to come out in open and share one’s narratives.
3) Even if someone commits suicide, it doesn’t ensure his innocence. Do not forget that Hitler also had committed suicide. Even one of the rapists and murderers of Nirbhaya had committed suicide in the jail.
Most importantly, we all have our opinions and we should voice them. Freedom of speech gives us the right to do that, but don’t you forget that your opinions or words is your own responsibility. You should not just write anything and everything on the internet because you are frustrated or you think that you are correct. We only know the fragments of the multiple realities out there. There are several narratives, alternate realities which we are not aware of. In my opinion therefore, one should refrain from commenting or expressing views which are derogatory or problematic. There are several articles available on JSTOR, which you can read for free and enlighten your knowledge system, so that from next time you don’t say that you are not a feminist. Because if you are not one, then you are a supporter of women’s oppression and subjugation.
Also please don’t come up with the idiotic concepts of being a humanist and equalist, and say feminism is unnecessary. To make it easier for you, humanists or equalists deal with what? Absolutely anything which shall be about equality and humanity. But inequality comes in many forms, for example class based inequality, caste based inequality or inequality on racial terms. What kind of inequality are you fighting against? Here I am fighting against the inequality propagated by the patriarchy and therefore my movement is named ‘feminism’ because it were the women who were oppressed as an entire gender for ages, and it shall be the same for another eternity if people like us do not understand this soon.
Lastly feminism deals not only with women’s rights, but rights of trans and cis men, masculinity, multiple sexualities and the huge spectrum of gender we have, which keeps evolving. Also, feminism definitely is not about propagating misandry but it is about opposing misogyny. I hope that I could pen down some important and useful insights about the whole boys locker room incident as well as feminism.