Restricting the freedom of your daughters to keep them “safe” is violence. Take the perpetrators to task instead of taking the easy way out.
The boislockerroom shocker has sent the country into a tizzy. But we hope this does not lead to parents policing the online activities of their daughters. This is not on the girls who have every right to express themselves as they wish online and elsewhere.
In relation to spaces, streets and the internet, parents often restrict the movement of their daughters to keep them “safe”. This is a form of violence.
The #boyslockeroom IS violence and sexual harassment, and must be addressed. But by the BOYS and THEIR PARENTS.
Some people have pointed out that here is an anxiety about what girls post online with the fear that once it’s out there, it’s there to stay. This is linked to slut-shaming.
The problem in #boyslockeroom is not the girls clothing, but the boys’ gaze.
The internet and social media belong as much to women and girls as they do to men and boys. Get used to it. We will be in the online public in our shorts and minis and kurtas and sarees and head scarves and whatever we like. Misogynist men, like those in the #boyslockerroom had better get used to it.
The #boyslockeroom is a form of misogyny that is not new. But it must be addressed and NOW. These are boys and they think it’s ok to slut shame girls and talking of violating them.
This can’t be brushed off as “boys will be boys” This is part of rape culture. Let’s make no mistake about it.
It is because boys and men are taught that they can get away with it that girls and women are rendered immobile. Globally we are in a lockdown. But some kind of lockdown is not new to women. Women’s movements are restricted every single day.
#boyslockeroom is a reflection of toxic masculinity. The increased domestic violence during the lockdown is also part of it. These acts of violence co-exist and are part of the same structures of patriarchy that seek to control women’s sexuality.
We appeal to parents across the spectrum, do not restrict your daughters’ use of media. Do not tell her what to do. The worst thing you can do in the wake of #boyslockeroom is to hold it against your daughter.
#boyslockeroom is one form of violence against girls. Restricting their movements is also a form of violence.
As parents we get that you want to protect your daughters. Restricting their access to social media is not protection. It is violence.
What your daughters need now is parents who are willing to sit down and discuss that this is violence. That this is scary. But that they, the parents always have their daughter’s backs. Show them that you are on their side. Tell them it’s not their fault.
Tell your daughters that #boyslockeroom is about the boys and their misogyny.
Tell them that they “never ask for it”.
Tell them they have the constitutionally given right to free speech and expression.
Stand up for your daughters NOW.
Image source: pexels
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Shilpa Phadke is a sociologist and co-author of Why Loiter? Women and Risk on
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