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Bois Locker Room: A Dialogue With Men

A few winks ago, Indians woke up to appalling news making the rounds on the interwebs — that of a surreptitious Instagram group called ‘Bois Locker Room,’ which comprised of teenage boys from some of South Delhi’s elitist schools. The main agenda of the group — to exchange morphed images and lewd chats on under-age girls, most of them classmates.

The now-disbanded group was in the eye of the news storm when an Instagram-user leaked chats from the group, including  derogatory comments and illegally posted obscene images of around 15 teen girls without their consent. What was even more shocking was that many chats also allegedly discussed members plotting sexual assaults on their classmates, which later turned out to be a different, unrelated incident. In a shocking plot twist, a second Instagram account was launched after the first one was shut down, to leak nude photographs of women who reported the perpetrators of the first group.

Following the huge public outcry, the police swung into action and on May 6th, arrested a student above 18-years for having started the group. Subsequently, the cops identified 27, mostly underage students from the group, even as 15 other students were called in for questioning. This Monday, a bench of Justices of the Delhi High Court directed the city police to speed up its investigation.

While many of the boys involved in the group belonged to rich, influential and privileged families, the schools reportedly have tried burying investigations. Many of the female students featured in the chats have reportedly undergone counselling, meanwhile, a separate probe is on with regards to 17-year-old involved with the group who jumped to death from his 11th-floor apartment in Gurgaon.

This heartbreakingly sinister incident is a wake-up call to all the parents of the rising dissonance and naïveté about understanding their own children. It’s a fact that for most youngsters, Internet and peers, not education or parental guidance, are the primary modes of sexual education. But, we as a society need to step up in a bigger way.

In India, women face prevalent misogyny, sexual objectification and discrimination as a daily reality. It is time for the men of this country to start having relevant conversations and becoming more vocal about where we stand on these issues. Sexual harassment is not a woman’s issue alone, it is a societal one, and we are all impacted by it.

Earlier today, the National Commission for Women Chief Rekha Sharma called for action to be taken against TikTok influencer and content creator Faizal Siddiqui with a following of over 13.4 million users who posted an objectionable video promoting acid attacks against women. But pop culture (cringe culture in this case) and Bollywood films have often been at the receiving end of influencing impressionable minds with misogyny and harassment depicted as acceptable. Take, for example, Kabir Singh which had “some movie in the misogyny”; the film became a raging hit with its heavy doses of misogyny, entitlement and gut-wrenching diabolical commentary.

Yet reel must be separated from real, and till a “child” isn’t mature enough to differentiate the two, parental supervision and entitlement are much needed. In the dark corners of the Internet, much filth exists, and with access to information at lightning speed, parents and educators have an even more important role to play.

Says luxury lifestyle influencer, consultant and content creator Rij Eaappen, “I think one of the most important issues that need to be addressed is patriarchal conditioning, which is passed down from generation to generation. Boys need to be taught from a young age, through words and actions, that respect for omen is non-negotiable, as is respect for other human beings. That women are to be treated as equals in every walk of life.”

He further adds, “Pop culture and cinema can’t bear the brunt of our collective ignorance. With trillions of terabytes flowing through the Internet today, censorship is no longer a viable option. Education and conservation are the need. Making sure that our children only access age-appropriate content is our responsibility. If you take your kids to watch movies 18+ or for example, let them watch Kabir Singh, you better be ready to have a conversation about understanding the difference between fiction and reality, and what not to emulate in real life.”

In his own words, the Bois Locker Room incident had a major impact on him because it revealed a mindset among the next generation that was supremely detrimental to the vision of a new India. “Most parents instil fear in young girls and tell them what to wear and how to behave so as to not invite unwanted attention. Why weren’t these boys not taught to respect women instead,” he asks.

Rij who recently put out an IGTV story — the first in the three videos of the series — touched upon the issue mincing no words. He concludes stating, “Art may imitate life, even the horrible parts of it, but it is on us as parents to ensure our children aren’t running to imitate everything they watch unfold on their screens. And they won’t if they know the difference. But how will they know if we don’t have that uncomfortable (sic) conversation?”

(Illustrations Courtesy: The Atlantic)

© 2020 Gut & Flow Media Pvt. Ltd.


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