And yet one more time, sexism and misogyny takes the center stage. As the drama of “locker room boys” unfolded we are all stunned at how much we, as a society, have failed. Though this case in particular happened in India, there is a 100 percent chance of similar groups existing in any other place. In disguise of humor or “just a joke” the prevalence of casual sexism in pop culture is disgusting or should I say amusing, I am not even sure. Especially the South Asian society which demeans consensual sexual relationship between two people but allows patriarchy and sexism to exist and in fact thrive. A society where sex education is barely a chapter or two in some corner of a Health Education book, but marital rape, victim blaming and honor killing are justified. I don’t know till when we will overlook these issues by merely stating “men will be men” instead of realizing that this is a problem with our mindsets and the society where these men are raised and not men themselves. Mass media, be it TV or internet, only catalyzes all these problems.
Wrong ideas of feminist activism online, has made misogyny and sexism worse in the past decade. They prevail in forms of jokes, irony, humor or sarcasm regarding a woman’s choice of clothes, her body type, size or her lifestyle and we let it slide easily. A simple “LOL” at the end of any demeaning remark and it is considered harmless. All this fueled by social media has made the youth uncontrollable. The same medium which is used by many women to assert their expressions and the rights to their bodies through posts and pictures, has also become a medium for sick-minded people to morph them and circulate them with intensions to objectify and degrade women.
Casual sexist jokes are also thrown here and there between movie dialogues or our so called “family entertainment” shows on TV and we watch it, enjoy it, all in presence of children cause who cares what they are learning from it, at the end of the day it’s “just a joke”. What’s worse is being woke amidst all of this. For one you don’t find it funny and for another you get labeled as a Feminist Nazi or in simple men-terms “a stuck-upb*tch” for not laughing it off.
What is the solution then?
For starters, stop forcing gender roles to kids. Stop telling them things like pink is for girls blue is for boys or boys don’t cry or force boys to play with guns and girls with dolls. Let kids make their own choices on what they want to play with at least. Stop considering sex a taboo and instead introduce sex education in the syllabus. Growing children are bound to be curious. So instead of just two chapters about genitals and reproduction that the teacher barely explains while boys in the class pass on jokes among each other and girls just sit their with their heads down in shame, schools should include things like the chances of STIs, how to prevent it, pregnancy prevention and all age-appropriate topics so that kids don’t resort to materials that wrongfully depict sex in order to curb their curiosity. Changing a society and its mindset is not something that will happen overnight. But if we check what we are teaching our younger generations in school and at home, maybe, just maybe we have a chance at creating a better future where women don’t have to live with the fear of being objectified and threatened all the time.