PARIS DIARY

Bois Locker Room: Ruining the joy of being desired

We all need to do a better job with our boys, or else stop calling them our boys and ensure that they are cast aside to rot alone.

 |  PARIS DIARY  |  5-minute read |   07-05-2020
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First, we blamed it on inequality - the underprivileged, uneducated classes are angry and repressed and take out their frustration in heinous ways. Then we said it’s a sense of entitlement - the rich ‘educated’ brats of high society feel they can get away with planning murder, or worse, rape. They said - it’s the hot pants and spaghetti straps. We said it’s the male gaze. Next, we all said the problem is the pervasive permissiveness of social media. But long before the first cell phone, or electronic mail, boobs were squeezed and bums were pinched without permission.

Then we said, India has become a dangerous country full of sexual predators. But all the way in America, the only contender to the notorious feeler-upper in the White House, has a rape allegation all of his own. We put it down to men from a different epoch, men who felt that with power came the ‘right to women’. The men, nay boys, staking claim to this right, are very much from our era and frighteningly young, but certainly not naïve. They said girls need to be cautious of strangers in dark lonely alleys. But the girls get roofied by the boys they know and laugh with.

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I say enough, I’m done. I’m done with the excuses of circumstance, upbringing, demography, religion, clothes or the lack of them. I reject the pretexts of boys will be boys, it was only privately shared, it’s mere thoughts and words, not action. I’m done with anyone being allowed to look at me and think thoughts of violating me, or my daughter, or my girlfriends, while I am taught to look away. I am done, but the world I live in seems far from done. This makes me furious.

They shout, one bad apple does not spoil the bunch. Well factually, it does (the ethylene gas emitted from an overripe apple, or the mould from an infested apple will most definitely start a domino chain to contaminate the rest). If you are around a rotten apple, or even see one from a distance, destroy it or it will destroy you. Easier said than done. Take the current uproar in Delhi about the foul-mouthed #boislockerroom. So many in that group could see the rot and yet sat by quietly, fearing ostracism. Before you judge them, remember not everyone can be a crusader. Besides, for any adolescent, the guiding forces have always been peer pressure and the need to belong; these are not to be underestimated, they can render bright, caring teenagers from stable homes into suicide suspects, lifeless anorexics, or aides in the glorification of rape. This is where my rage starts simmering again. Rape used to be the lexicon of the bad guys, not the cool ones.

With access to the whole world at our finger tips, how did we become so parochial in our mindset? Posing sexily in a skimpy bikini is asking for more likes, not asking to be raped. When did this not-so-subtle difference blur?

I used to have this rubber dress when I was in college, it was so tight and short it left nothing to the imagination. My brother would smirk as I would leave the house wearing it, saying, “I think you forgot your skirt.” I would stick my tongue out and sashay away. I made no apology for wanting the male (and female) gaze on me. I am biologically built to relish attention.

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It is a quick fix for me (and for a lot of young people I know). Serotonin (one of the happy chemicals released in our bodies naturally) flows when you feel significant, or important. Nothing makes a young adult feel more significant than when they are desired. By adding a violent slur to this natural desire and attraction, it triggers panic of going from an alluring object of desire to being obnoxiously objectified. One such young teen said, “Now mama will be even more strict about me going out, or wearing a tank top on Instagram.” Don’t dismiss it; for the teenager, it’s her whole world – as it should be. 

It made a sad hole in my heart when every school or college-going kid I spoke with in Delhi affirmed that this kind of chat is normal - boys do it, girls do it and nothing is about to change. It’s true we’re all guilty of body-shaming and calling someone a whore at some point in our lives and isn’t it just a few steps from there to saying the lewd things these boys said? But they are steps that should not exist and words that should never be thought, even less, uttered. For a generation that only communicates virtually and lives their ups and downs on social media (long before the lockdown forced us all online), words (and pictures) are everything.

Now that families are locked in together, use the opportunity to fill the gaps in education, upbringing and all the other excuses you have for the men in your life. And you Indian women, stop treating your men like gods (let them get their own glass of water to start with), show them, rather, teach them, what respecting someone means. We all need to do a better job with our boys, or else stop calling them our boys and ensure that they are cast aside to rot alone.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: DailyOh! What Rabindranath Tagore wrote for Gautam Buddha, to who is Superstar Winter

Writer

Koel Purie Rinchet Koel Purie Rinchet @koelscouch

Professional Attention Seeker. Currently loves and writes in Paris.

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