This Sunday, I woke up to one of the most horrifying news pieces in recent times. The term “Boys Locker Room” was making rounds on social media. When I dug in to find out what the fuss was about, I was shell-shocked.
“Boys Locker Room”
An Instagram group named, ‘Boys Locker Room,’ was exposed by some women, who shared the screenshots of the group chat. The supposed “boys” of this group were sharing unconsented pictures of girls, some of whom were underage.
To my horror, these boys were passing lewd comments and objectifying these girls.
I did my schooling in an all-boys’ school. Six years later, I’m still part of my school WhatsApp group. Contrary to popular belief, my all-boys’ group, although not perfect, is not toxic. Thankfully, I haven’t read even one misogynistic message in my group.
Reaction to ‘boys locker room’
Thread: Students who are 16, 17 years old, are casually talking of gang raping girls and women, swapping nudes without the consent of these women on Reddit, with not even a hint of fear of exposure. The dire crisis of rape womxn face, starts with this rape culture #boyslockerroom
— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) May 4, 2020
Naturally, the screenshots of these conversations received a strong reaction when they were first shared on Twitter. Objectively, we should all agree that this is wrong, right? Right?
Well, a few screenshots of an antithesis “girls locker room” surfaced and the conversation took a turn towards ‘hypocrisy’ lane.
“Girls Locker Room”
Just when we were actually wrapping our heads around the conversations of the ‘boys locker room,’ we received the news of an existing ‘girls locker room.’
The “girls don’t do it” narrative
As we were all outraging over the ‘boys locker room’ conversations, a girl on my timeline posted about it. In her captions, she wrote something on the lines of, “GiRls DOn’t dO thIS. BoYs bAd. It’S gOoD bOys’ faULt foR nOt kEEpiNg a chEck oN bAd bOYs.”
While I agree with most of what she wrote, there’s one thing that she got wrong. And that’s the problem.
Women can be perverts, too
As a matter of fact, I have seen perverts of the opposite gender. We all have. Remember that time when women in their 40s were posting their graphically sexual tweets about a 14-year-old Justin Beiber? Yeah, sickening, right?
We can all agree to the fact that the boys/men who sexualize girls on social media should face consequences. But that doesn’t get you to shove your righteousness when it’s clearly fabricated. (But more on that later.)
The issue is about these 16-17-year-old boys of the ‘boys locker room’. So, let’s focus on that, shall we?
Misunderstood notion of feminism
I pride myself on being a feminist. And I can go on a limb and say that I know more about feminism and its history than any of these girls pretending to be feminists. (I’m looking at you, girls locker room.)
When the misogynistic and perverse screenshots were shared, one “NoT aLL MeN” group uploaded a post that was equally disturbing. A girl confronted one of the guys in his Instagram DM and started name calling him. These included homophobic and transphobic slurs.
I never say this, but I agree with the “NoT aLL MeN” admin. Just because you identify as a feminist, it does not give you a right to ridicule a community that isn’t yours. You are part of the problem, as well.
Feminism doesn’t give you a right to demean other communities
Another grown-up woman on my feed, who identifies herself as a feminist, wrote a piece on ‘Feminism v Pseudo-feminism.’ I couldn’t believe my eyes when one of her pointers in the ‘pseudo-feminism’ section said, “obsessing over pronouns is pseudo-feminism.” WHAT?
As the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the bunch. Feminism gets a bad rap because of these women. Get your feminism checked because nobody ever wants to say, “I agree with this ‘NoT aLL MeN’ guy.” Especially, me.
Be a whistleblower in your group
As I mentioned earlier, I am also part of an all-guys’ group where the events that transpired in ‘boys locker room’ never happened. And they never will. The reason for my surety is because some of my friends are vigilant.
You can follow these guidelines, in your own WhatsApp/Instagram/Snapchat group:
- Flag down any remark or content that is hinting at a misogynist, racist, sexist or homophobic route.
- Banish anyone who shares a picture of a random girl/boy without their consent.
- Confront them in private if the sender is violating any rules.
- Make the group realise the legal consequences of sharing any pictures or videos, irresponsibly.
- If they still don’t learn, let the police take care of them.
If you’ve ever seen an all-guys’ peer group, you’d notice there are no established boundaries. However, there’s an unspoken rule that implies you’re never allowed to cross the line and linger where you’re not welcomed.
And the same applies to girls. If a girl is objectifying and acting like a pervert, call her out. Involve the authorities if she doesn’t back down. Let her face the music. However, don’t look at it as ‘if she can, so can he.’ Because at the end of the day, what you’re doing is not only morally but also legally wrong.
So, let’s take this year to learn and respect each other’s boundaries.