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#BoysLockerRoom: The twisted way young men are talking about women

For generation after generation, fathers and mothers have passed on in the name of inheritance, to their sons, a sense of entitlement. Entitlement to power, superiority, and just about anything under the sun. The same parents, to their daughters, give gift bags, of the virtues, of silences, compromises, and guilt trips.

While many argue competitively of the changes and the so-called progress that we seem to have made over the years into the 21st century, but each time, we’re only proven right that women, and their progress is really minimal, as is the sensitisation of boys.

Boys who, given an opportunity, still ardently utilise the entitlement that society so generously bestows on them. These days, it’s found most often in the name of ” Boys’ locker room ” talk, where all kinds of inappropriate comments, snide remarks, and objectification of women, like nobody’s business although it shouldn’t be theirs either. A latest, of the show, has boys, aged from fifteen to seventeen or eighteen, ‘discussing’ underaged girls in an Instagram group. The conversations have gone viral and to say the least, they are disturbing.

From sexualising girls aged well below 18 to stalking and proliferating nudity, propagating forced sending of nudes, and assaulting the modesty of a woman, the boys have done it all. Private chats had been leaked, as well as secondary records to screenshots of nudes having been sent out to do the rounds. Having been snitched on and having had their conversations leaked from the said group, with the names of all participants, active or passive, the group went into a frenzy, and what’s shocking is not that they weren’t apologetic about said conversation, but were instead rather vengeful and even more disgusting. Like the objectification wasn’t enough earlier, the intensity only increases, to a point that the lady @niskanagpal, who chose to oust them, is shamed, and discussed in beyond vulgar manners.

When she dug further, the murk only got murkier. Girls, of the ages of as young as fourteen, were being abused, talked about, and stalked, with their pictures shared and leaked. The girls are barely hitting puberty and they’ve been smouldered by these vulgarities, and they can’t seem to even understand where to start and end this with.

And unfortunately, another group with girls on it, sees these girls dissect their friends’ acts and justify and defend them, and when the going got difficult these boys chose to change usernames, and deactivate their accounts, and move to other platforms, after exhibiting their entitled power and pushing out bravado acts of threats going around, ” I’m going to make some calls and turn this around. “

Upon moving to another platform, Snapchat, the vulgarity, now goes up a notch and finds in itself rape plans, and other threats to those, both sharing as well as leaking the screenshots from the conversation.

While many of these boys come from urban elite households, that treat their privileges as their birthright and find for themselves entitlement in about everything that they cross paths with, be it power, women, or even the law, I presume.

If there is anything that these boys have put across successfully is that the ardent love for patriarchy that society holds is far from ending and that this sense of toxic male entitlement finds itself in the majority of men across the globe.

While there is the pressing need to change the system, the mindset is what’s most difficult to even penetrate into. Whether directly or indirectly, these men have all been part of the sexist, misogynist culture, and find it absolutely normal to casually degrade women, and launch assault after assault on their modesty.

While this is worrisome, even as a one-time event, imagine the magnitude of the issue when these “boys locker room” chats are normalised to an extent, that there are probably hundreds more of the same, that are functioning while this is being typed. This casualty of women has become part of the fabric of the psyche of fragile male egos as a means of collateral damage to boys and their growth, so much so, that this is a recurring pattern. Ask any boy or man you know about this and their hesitant responses will make my point for me.

Upon posing questions and raising voices, women are branded as feminists and ” activist types ” and a bunch of females that cannot take in a joke. Most men, never, not once in their lifetime, acknowledge this and have a strong suit in having normalised this sort of activity, and even actively glorify it in the name of being manly.

In the 21st century, we are still fighting for women to be treated with the dignity of a mere human being, instead of that of an object bought off from the market shelves. If this does not make parents role reverse their upbringing, and teach their daughters to stand up and fight, and their boys to inherit basic decency and humanity, I wonder where we are going.

I’m a 22-year-old woman writing this, at 5 A.M., disturbed out of my wits, to realise, she is unsafe, anywhere but in her own home, and yet privileged to still have a home that is safe.

If what has come to light does not make you question your friends, boyfriends, sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers — maybe even yourself, about whether you’ve helped perpetrators, silently or otherwise, what will?

Will you wait until it’s you on the line?

Upasana Ranjib


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