By: Unnati Khubyani
Screenshots of a boys chat group #BoisLockerRoom on IG was leaked out last week. Reportedly, the group members were 11th and 12th class students who were caught morphing, sharing and objectifying the pictures of girls in their class. It was disturbing and instantly caught attention, abounding social media with opinions, rage and criticism.
It has been noticed while scrolling through IG stories and post, that most men took locker room incident an attack over their morale. And as a part of their defence mechanism, they started posting ‘not all men’, this explicitly shows their resistance in acknowledging the wrong. Do you even realize, ‘not all men’ is too a sexist remark. Firstly, it’s not a blame game, so it’s better to accept rather than defend.
This triggered me even more, since it’s been years of mansplaining, mistreatment, misogyny, bullying, sexist remarks and toxic behaviour towards women that if men don’t come forward and choose to debar this time, things would remain same as ever. Being a man, no matter you indulge in chauvinism and misogyny or not, if you don’t raise your voice against this, then you are probably ignoring red flags and becoming a part of the colossal problem.
Using the phases like ‘Not all men’, ‘Boys will be boys’, ‘Not boys alone, girls too’, ‘Boys are too young to punish’ people are normalising the gravity of their offence. By this what people are trying to surface is, that men are impulsive and aren’t mature enough so women being sensible as ever should let this go. The benchmark of morals, beliefs and decency are way different for men and women. So for the same act where men are not held accountable, women will be questioned and accused.
Another ideology with which most of the women are raised and was even told by my parents is ‘society is not good so it’s better you step back and take care of yourself’. As I mentioned earlier, the onus for a safe environment is not on men but on women. Men can abashedly roam around, doing whatever they are capable of. Being a women you will be given deadlines of timings, you dreams will be on stake and so will you desires and freedom.
Not Bashing the ideology that insolence women, comes from the society in which we have been raised, where you would rather shame women for causing inconvenience rather than calling out men for their misogyny.
‘Don’t go out, streets are not safe for girls’, but are they safe during the lockdown? This boys locker room has out rightly shown that in our society women are not safe be it on streets or locked inside the homes, unless men stop obsessing over them and look upon them as fellow beings. IG is bombarded with videos of feminist’s opinions over this but so is abounded with men saying ‘Yes, we agree that boys did wrong, but women should also stop hoeing around. Why don’t they see Ramayan on DD and dress like Seeta’
If we want to address this issue, we have to delve into roots of this behaviour. Family upbringing and schools are equally responsible for their mental conditioning. From the very tender age in schools, girls are asked to wear shorts under their skirts, tie a ponytail as open hair would attract more eyes, skirt should be below knees and of course no lip colour or kaajal, you are not supposed to look beautiful. So the onus to protect from men eyeballs only lies upon women. How many schools teach their students about sex education, gender sensitivity and prevalent rape culture in India? Hardly any. Avoiding the subject doesn’t eradicate the problem of women.
Similarly, in most of the brown households, parents keep justifying the misbehaviour of their son, with their bang line ‘boys will be boys’. How does every sin committed by men can easily slide under this? This is problematic at many levels.
I can still remember when Season 2 of Four more shots was dropped by Amazon Prime. I read strings of comments, memes and posts circulating social media, claiming it to be a bad taste since it was women centric. And they partly gave this reason for choosing to not watch the series. Even during MeToo movement men became all defensive and started criticizing women for accusing every man. Why do the men in our society get insecure when someone point out at their entitlement and privilege? Why is it uncomfortable for men to watch something in which women are shown as a dominant character? Overtly, as it challenges the patriarchal notions with which they were brought up with.
Thanks to social media activism, which has at least rendered women a platform to brazen out and indict years of misogyny and sexism they had to undergo. But only women were the ones speaking, posting and raging more over the issue, of course they are the ones targeted but the men not posting and being ignorant apparently shows this will too end in vain.
I am not accusing every man; neither am I saying that all men are part of such lethal groups. I am stressing on the small behavioural pattern, privilege and the random comments men pass in their everyday lives that has normalised this sexism. Ironing the misogynist acts of men won’t lead to stoppage of propagating this into something catastrophic. Men should acknowledge and so does the society for promoting them to do so.
These notions are so deep rooted in our patriarchal society, that it comes back and forth timely in the forms like the lately, boys locker room. It’s the high time for men to come ahead and bear the onus to render safer environment for women rather than defending themselves by ‘Not All Men’.
(Unnati Khubyani is a student of AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, pursuing MA Convergent Journalism.)
(The views expressed above are the author’s own. Newsd neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)