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5 Ways The Girls Locker Room Is Different From The Boys Locker Room (While Neither Is Ok)

Posted: May 6, 2020

Soon after boys locker room became public, there have been people questioning similar girls locker rooms. While none is Ok, why is boys locker room worse?

Soon after the contents of an Instagram chat group, “Bois Locker Room,” were revealed, and trended, “Girls Locker Room” is now trending. This latter chat group, said to be of a group of girls, features equally disgusting messages that objectify boys.

Girls locker room is just as wrong

The contents of the “girls locker room” are just as revolting and objectionable as the content of the “boys locker room.” However, two wrongs do not make a right, and the cultural context must be considered, before we lose sight of the core issue –rape culture.

The screenshots that have been shared, in addition to showing comments that objectify and sexualize the boys, also show some seriously homophobic and racist comments as well. The original poster has claimed that the group regularly shares “dick pics, shirtless pictures of guys they know, guys from Instagram including me. Rating them, talking about the size of their arms, dick print, how they’ll look while choking their necks, etc etc.”

Let’s be clear about one thing: What the girls have done in this girls locker room is absolutely wrong. There is no excuse for it.

Nothing justifies treating another human being as a sex object, or homophobia or shaming someone for their skin colour etc. Nothing excuses ignoring consent. Such despicable acts have real consequences for those who are at the receiving end.

This post is NOT about defending the girls involved.

Why did the girls locker room come up only now?

However, it is not okay that the “girls locker room” is being used to derail the conversation about the “boys locker room.” It is not okay that this is being used to discredit feminism as a movement, by claiming that feminists don’t care about the boys, or that they are okay with homophobia or racism.

Which is why, let me say it, louder for the people in the back:
~ The basis of feminism is the equality of the sexes.
~ Feminism does not okay perpetuating the same oppression that women have been subjected to, on people of other genders.
~ Homophobia is not okay.
~ Transphobia is not okay.
~ Racism is not okay.
~ Casteism is not okay.
~ Ableism is not okay.
~ Discrimination on the basis of gender, sexuality, class, caste, religion etc is not okay. 
~ Also, two wrongs do not make a right. Just because girls also have indulged in such behaviour, does not make what the boys did less morally reprehensible.

Which is why the claims of “fake feminism” do not make sense.

The point is not to play “who is the worse offender?” but to get to the root of the problem –the rape culture that sustains and fuels such toxicity, and which harms everyone, but especially women, transpeople and those belonging to other marginalized communities.

However, without fail, those who want to discredit feminism, bring up such examples of men being sexually harassed, exactly when we are taking about sexual harassment of women. One would think that if they really were concerned about the rights of men, they would do this work at other times as well, without feeling the need to piggyback onto these conversations or attacking feminism.

Since it is out there, though, let me list the differences.

Normalization of harassment

No one is saying that what the girls in the girls locker room did is right. No one is saying “girls will be girls,” “we were all like that at that age.”

On the other hand, the boys from the boys locker room have been receiving support, even from some female peers. Somehow, the behaviour, which so clearly stands out as “wrong” for girls, is normalized for the boys. This is rape culture.

Victim blaming

No one is asking the boys who were objectified, “why did you share pictures like that?” “Why were you dressed like that?” “why aren’t your privacy settings stricter?” No one is telling them that they “asked for it” by posting their pictures online.

And that is a good thing, because victim blaming is wrong. Unfortunately, victim blaming is exactly what the girls are being subjected to, with every person questioning their decision to post their pictures online, as the young man does in this video. This is rape culture.


A lifetime of being shamed

Because the “honour” of men does not lie in their private parts, the boys who were objectified will not be considered “dishonoured.”

I am not denying that they may be feeling hurt, or ashamed at their pictures being used thus. These feelings are a normal reaction to a violation of consent, and they should not have to feel so.

However, society in general, won’t treat them like “spoilt goods.”

(There are other ways in which the attitudes of society towards men who have been harassed are negative, however. For example, they may not be believed. The idea is not to discount the suffering of such men, or to say that it is “easy” for them in any way but to point out that everyone who is harassed, suffers differently.)

Unfortunately, in our society, girls are supposed to guard their “honour” which is equated to their sexuality and their vaginas. Now, the girls who were objectified, will not only feel the same sort of shame, but will additionally have to bear the burden of “losing face.” Because of the aforementioned victim blaming, questions will be raised about their character, and they will be considered “loose” or “immoral.This is rape culture.

The consequences

There is an imbalance in the way the taboo around sex works in India. While it is a taboo for all, it is “understood” that boys have hormones and “such things happen”. Which is why, the boys of the boys locker room are likely not going to receive much punishment at all. Because boys talking about sex is “normal.”

In the popular imagination however, women and girls don’t have desires. Sex is not something they do, but something that is done to them. Women who talk openly about their sexuality are scorned and called all sorts of names. Which is why, the girls of the girls locker room are going to have hellfire rain down on them, because “chee chee, unsanskari girls.”

Again, the way both the groups spoke about sex, and objectified the opposite sex was wrong. However, sex and attraction are not wrong in themselves, and there are appropriate ways to express the same. It is a lack of inclusive sex education, and repressive attitudes towards sex, that make the problem worse. This also, is rape culture.

The fallout

The boys objectified by the girls are not going to be asked to quit social media. How they dress, where they go, who they meet etc won’t be policed. Parents are not rushing to “protect them” by drawing boundaries around them.

As opposed to this, girls who simply belong to the same school/college as some of the girls who were harassed are now being targeted by trolls, seeking to push them out of social media. Girls everywhere, not just the ones at the receiving end of the harassment, are being asked to shut down their Instagram profiles. Their clothes, their friends, their hobbies –everything is coming under scrutiny, under the guise of “safety.” This is rape culture.

This is why they are not the same

Which is why, the girls locker room, while horrible and disgusting, is not “the same.” The objectification is just one part of the harassment. No one is defending that –no one should be harassed, irrespective of gender, and it was wrong of the girls to do so.

One must however, consider how incidents like these fit within the larger systems, and realize that harassment is fuelled by rape culture, which affects women, transpeople, people from the queer community, and people from other socially marginalized groups differently than upper caste, cisgender, heterosexual men.

Rape culture affects everyone. It assumes that women are always to blame. It refuses to believe that men too, can face harassment, or that men who have been harassed are somehow “less masculine.” After all, toxic masculinity is a big driver of rape culture.

That then, should be our focus –to create a world in which people of all genders and sexualities feel safe. To move from an “us versus them” paradigm, to a “we’re all in this together” paradigm.

I sincerely hope that day comes, when articles like this one won’t have to be written, when both “boy’s locker rooms” and “girl’s locker rooms” don’t exist.

Image source: YouTube

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  1. They’re exactly the same.

  2. Esther Godfrey -

    Who put cellphones in children”s hand?

    Why do parents never ever have time for their children? Where are they spending their time?

    Why cant the parents who gave birth do not think that it is their responsibility to regulate and monitor TV time?

    Why aint children watched and guided to develop healthy hobbies?

    Look at the vulgar content boom on the internet in the lockdown time. Just because you know that ppl will go bonkers while self isolating, does that mean that ban on porn is removed and you begin filthy netflix and other violent content serials.

    Thank God for the Ramayan and Mahabharat that came to rescue a wee bit.

    Dont blame children. They are young blooded and hot blooded and daredevils without fear, not because they are evil or bad, but just because they are highly inexperienced and still learning vice vs virtue.

    Someone had commented larkiyan dhood ki nhi dhuli hoti. Really, and how about the parents. Some of the parents themselves have led immoral lives and continue in immorality.

    Moral science classes can never rectify. A drastic change in our society is required. Not just in India. Since everything is global these days, if India alone changes, still the western influence will corrupt young minds. A global effect just like the pandemic effect that can change things overnight – it’s very astonishing to see how at least the middle class is social distancing and keeps people far away and dodges to avoid contact. At least, I do and observe many around me follow suit. Anyone comes anyone within 3 feet of me, I ready to strike people with my umbrella. This fear psychosis has taken root, definitely 60% of the population may diligently follow it. Many still dont want to practice social distancing and maybe once the virus is gone, memory of social distancing is going to be short-lived.

    That said and done, if even the pandemic cannot change a society, what will? Fear of death can motivate great changes. It took a pandemic for the world to finally raise its voice against the red dragon as evil. They kept doing evil wicked deeds against humanity and no one dared to put a stop to it.

    When everything else fails, parents fail, education system fails, leaders of the nations fail, then Mother Nature knows to take over in the best possible way to hurt just below the belt where it hurts most.

    Let Mother Nature take over. Those who do not listen to the voice of conscience and keep a heart of discerning spirit burning within them that guides man’s action, let the bit and the bridle govern and guide mankind.

  3. i thick male harassment is also not ok . we should not say that males do not face problems related to harassment. we should go against them equally “However, it is not okay that the “girls locker room” is being used to derail the conversation about the “boys locker room.” It is not okay that this is being used to discredit feminism as a movement, by claiming that feminists don’t care about the boys, or that they are okay with homophobia or racism” what does this mean above in the post………..please dont defeat the purpose of feminism…………if boys go against wrong they are not doing this to discredit feminism.

  4. The Equalist -

    Things written above are 100 percent true. Still you forget to mention a very important difference between the both. Has any member in the girls locker room been been arrested ? Have they been charged with the same charges as their male counterparts ? Can they be charged with existing gender biased laws ? You just mentioned that both are equally wrong, then why are we ok and not raising voice when they are being punished differently. Yes society treats women differently and yes laws treat men differently.

  5. Thanks for this post. Someone had to say this. Well said.

  6. Author has try to make defence for offender #GIRLS #GIRLLOCKERRROM. but their defense is baseless. By this post Once upon this is prove how feminists have racist mind and how they promote sexism and racism . specially when they make defence that till this age all things is normal if all things is normal done by girls #Girlslockerroom then why you blame on Juvenile boys when #Boyslockerrrom has release . Means अगर लड़कियां दूसरे पर भद्दी टिप्पणी करती हैं तो यह सामान्य होगा (लड़कों और लड़कियों सहित) और यही बात अगर लड़के करेंगे तो वह “नस्लवादी” घोषित करेंगे।Wow once and while you prove by your thoughts that you are more worse then racist people around world or you have more racist mind than american or british such people .

  7. 1. Normalization of harassment: Many of the girls have come to support those girls, saying that was a private chat, meant for girls, you can’t publish private chats, they were not morphed, etc. If you choose to turn a blind eye to those defence statements, you’re being biased against boys.

    2. Victim Blaming: Me personally and many other friends of mine have claimed that they are disciplined about their online activities by their parents specially their mothers. You say girls are talked to stop their social media presence, one reason of this is that probably their parents are concerned about them apart from other reasons, whereas probably they are not the same concerned for their sons the same way. Why? Kyuki ladko ki izzat kaha matter karti hai, wo to hote hi besharam hai, kya fark padta hai.
    Talking about people other than parents and relatives, wo ladke aur ladkiyo dono ko gaali dete hai. If you look closely you may find it too. But by ignoring that, you’re being biased against boys.

    3. A lifetime of being shamed: Men’s honour does not lie in their private parts. You just don’t know about it. The thought of having or being shamed for a smaller size of the penis, inability to last long in bed, unable to satisfy their partner, etc makes a man unable to look into the mirror. His peers make fun of him if shamed publicly. All this doesn’t go away easily. Women talk about periods and are getting support, are men getting support for what I mentioned. Actually it isn’t even recognised as a problem. Men are not good about talking of their weakness because of the society, many commit suicide because they have no one to talk to and no one’s support.
    You completely ignored this and by doing so, you’re being biased against boys.

    4. The Consequences: The boys won’t get even punishment? Please go and have a look at what happened to the boys in the bois locker room group and the snapchat girl. Was the girl even counselled to not do such a thing? Other girls defended her by saying she is a minor and didn’t intend to do anything. But what about the dignity of a man, that was questioned, his character was questioned? Imagine if a girl’s character would have been questioned the similar way, would you have left it? Leave about the action being taken against the girls of the girls locker room. The law is biased here. For the same crime, girls get lesser punishment.
    You didn’t consider any of this, and by doing so you’re being biased against boys.

    Sex is something that is done to girls. The chat of the girls locker room didn’t look like that. You talk about girls being callede unsanskari, are the boys called sanskari on normal days, never. They were always considered shameless or at least having less honour than girls.
    You didn’t talk about this mindset of the society and by doing so, you’re being biased against boys.

    5. The Fallout: Well, this is just a repeated point. Boys too are questioned when they go out, and also questioned when they return late. Boundaries are drawn around them too, they just don’t talk of these thing like girls. You talk about friends, clothes and hobbies of girls being questioned. When a boy is wrong, the first thing that is questioned are their friends, the places they go, the money they spend on, everything is scrutinized. Girls are questioned for their clothes, one of the reason is girls have different types of clothes, short, long, party, etc whereas boys dont have such diversity. Yes boys are not questioned for clothes, boys don’t have many and mostly are covered. For girls, its not just boundary of freedom, but of safety too. Parents ask them not to dress in short clothes as they fear that their daughter will be eyed, teased or stared. This reason is not invalid. And this was about defining boundaries, so I’ll consider only parents here. Also girls are questioned on clothes when there is something threatening done towards them and not when girls are doing something wrong. For other people(men as well as women), they’re no one to judge girls and ask them of anything to do. If they do they are wrong.
    You failed to consider all this, and by doing so you’re being biased towards boys.

    When you say, the boys are talking the girls locker room as a defence or counter of boys locker room, you can’t be more wrong than this. We don’t want less punishment for the boys or anything for that matter, but we are aware of the biasedness towards boys and specially in the eyes of the law. As I already mentioned, for the same crime girls receive lesser punishment, on behalf of all the sane minded boys, what we want after all is equal punishment for the girls for the very same crime.



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