6 August 2020 12:11 PM

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RASHMI OBEROI | 11 MAY, 2020

Bois Locker Rooms Start At Home

Patriarchy normalised


As a Mother of a 21 year old daughter and a 25 year old son and as my role as an Aunt to their friends and as a Colleague to many young adults whom I’ve worked with or interacted with… The Bois Locker Room revelation has been nothing short of revolting.

I was of course clueless about what had happened till the next morning when my daughter brought me up to speed. My Instagram life revolves around nature/food/music and writing…who knew this evilness lurked in the same happy place that I wafted in to. I was soon privy to more details coming out which gave me goose bumps and a nauseating sensation within.

Soon the shit hit the fan…all the dark secrets came tumbling out. The disastrous consequences of such a group in existence led to a perilous situation. Social media was ablaze…young girls and some boys were quick to come out in favour of the whistle-blowers and rightly so.

Screenshots went viral of chats between a group of South Delhi teens (mostly schoolboys) who created an Instagram group called Bois Locker Room…where they shared photos of women (many of them underage) and the discussions were primarily based on objectifying women and graphic sexual language.

The chats that were leaked and posted online by some of the victims had morphed pictures and also derogatory and explicit comments on women and their bodies with conversations on rape culture, sexism and consent. Their sick minds bespoke misogyny bordering on bravado with threats of retaliation against the ones who had blown the lid.

Once again, this throws light on how the Internet is widely used to degrade and attack women. Cyber-misogyny comes in many forms: sexting, revenge porn, gaming, men raging at specific women or women in general in the darker corners of the ‘manosphere’ describing grisly fantasies of rape, murder, and other violence against women.

It can be found in posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit, on countless websites, in emails, and in online games. The relationship between traditional masculinity and misogyny is complicated. Technology, if not a cause, is certainly an enabler of men spewing vitriol about women.

A few things hit home: Not many men have condemned this or chose to be silent. People have blamed the education system...our patriarchal society…our wishy-washy laws, our policing, and our mind-sets etc. etc. Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women took suo moto cognisance of the case and sent notices to Delhi Police and Instagram.

The Delhi Police Cyber Cell then filed an FIR against unidentified persons under Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the IT Act and this became the first legal case to come out of an Instagram chat in India. The Delhi Police's Cyber cell has now arrested the admin of the Instagram group 'Bois Locker Room'.

In reality, the ugly truth is that the problem starts and ends at home. It is the parents who need to be held responsible and accountable before fingers are pointed elsewhere. Parents have to be in charge and take the matter in their own hands – they have to teach their sons respect for the opposite sex and the simple concept of consent...and how not to cross a line! Both sons and daughters need to understand what mutual respect is and how not to overstep personal space.

It is only parents who can teach children what is right and wrong and this starts within the walls of a home from the time a child is born. You decide to have a child… Good! Then here comes the responsibility package and dare you shrug it off. Talk to your children…spend time with them…teach them…guide them. Do not spoil them with expensive gifts…money…gadgets…unmonitored time and giving them the freedom to do whatever the hell they feel like. All this comes at a cost and that price is too expensive to fathom.

Children may be rebellious…they may have streaks of violence…they may be moody but other than the parent, no one else can tame the monster within. The dark side of any child has to be handled at home – no one else is going to do it nor is it anyone else’s responsibility. Yes, parents want the best for their children but that comes with rules and regulations that have to be in place. Today, there is over exposure to the internet, discussion platforms, TV channels, porn hubs, social media and technology.

It is time for parents – since you have taken the decision to be one – to be responsible to their children. Address the elephant in the room…talk it out…do not brush it under the carpet. You have to make time for your children and you

have to be there for them. Substituting absent parenting with ‘gifts’ is the reason why we are seeing such days and incidents. The over-exposure to anything and everything at a young age is disastrous. Children may want to be ‘cool’ but not accountable for their actions – how is that possible? We are all paying the price of galloping progress and modernity.

Parents need to set an example themselves and the children will follow. They watch and learn from what they see and hear. Equations behind closed doors, mutual respect, affection, understanding, good virtues, manners, discipline is all home taught. Without guidance and being good role models, the chances of your children going haywire are very strong. One needs to practice before you preach in any case.

With Mother’s day on Sunday, 10 May 2020, I am still ‘celebrating’ being a mother in the current situation. Motherhood is not easy but it is brilliant in a zillion ways. This is one job that comes with no off days. And while evil lurks in every corner, I can only wish that I have passed on the baton of the fundamentals of mutual respect between all genders/ethnicity/religions/diversity to my children.
 

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