GIRL’S LOCKER ROOM
Early May 2020, screenshots from an Instagram group chat called ‘Bois Locker Room’ with hundreds of boys from Delhi were revealed. The group was allegedly used for sharing photos of underage girls, objectifying them, and promoting rape culture. The incident caused outrage in Delhi, which is already known as the ‘rape capital of the world’.
Screenshots showed the underage boys were ‘planning to gang rape’ several girls. Crude statements like “We can rape her easily” were discussed on the group. The boys even threatened to kill and gangrape several girls if they did not send them nudes.
A girl is raped every 4 minutes in India, however this is hardly ever spoken of. The struggles of WoC, working class women, non-American women, Muslim women, trans women, poor women are never talked about. This has racialized the very concept of “woman” in the public discourse, and marginalised WoC across the globe.
The exclusion of women from all-male platforms like ‘Bois Locker Room’ promotes male chauvinism. Men have an important role in the struggle against gender violence- the duty to confront gender violence and expressions of misogyny. To ignore boastings of sexual predation, remarks of chauvinism, and other forms of blatant gender disparity in daily life is to silently condone the behavior, and men must be proactive in their efforts.
The burden of ‘parenting’ and ‘protecting’ falls solely on the parents of girls. From a young age, girls have their freedom curbed because some parents didn’t bother teaching their sons. This goes out to parents and teachers likewise. Teachers need to unlearn heteronormative patriarchal norms themselves. Young girls are sent home from school for wearing skirts barely over their knees, however boys are never taught to never make a girl uncomfortable! This sort of convenience oriented teaching strategy has conditioned an entire generation of men to think that they can say/do anything to women who don’t meet the socially acceptable number of male friends, of skirt lengths, and who apparently post photos on Instagram so boys ‘lust after them’.
What terrifies me is that for the next few weeks, these boys will change their Instagram usernames, deactivate their accounts, and hide behind their social status- all having come from south Delhi’s affluent, influential families. However, the girls will be objectified and humiliated- they will be traumatized to the extent that posting a photo or trusting a man ever again will invoke self-doubt. Society polices girls and praises them for virginity, but boys? Boys are glorified for losing their virginity. We are raised to think of women as inherently guilty- and that is something we must unlearn. If any of the men reading this is feeling attacked, I encourage you to introspect, you are a part of this cycle.
Our entire lives as women, we are taught to protect men and abusers and justify their actions because it is ingrained in us to do so. We are constantly subjected to misogyny to the extent that we think it’s normal. While I understand it is difficult to unlearn/overcome such deeply embedded internalisation, we must do it- for each other, and for ourselves.
Call out perpetrators, bystanders, and people who are complicit. Reach out to women, to help them understand. It is integral that we become aware of our own internalisation and oppression so we can subvert the patriarchal paradigm. When women say no to heteropatriarchy, then we do not wish to be assimilated into a misogynistic heteropatriarchal society. We do not want to be ‘equals’ in a society that marginalises our existence at its roots. What we want is to challenge heteropatriarchy at its core.