Battling the ‘locker room’ mindset| HT Editorial
Disturbing screenshots of conversations on an Instagram group called “Bois Locker Room” have recently surfaced on social media. The group, believed to be run by class 11 and 12 boys from schools in Delhi, shared photographs of teenage girls, discussed gangraping them and made sexualised comments about their bodies. Some of these boys and girls are underage. Following social media outrage, Delhi Police registered a case under 67, 67A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, and various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The Delhi Commission for Women also issued a notice to Instagram. On Tuesday, one boy was questioned.
While action against the boys is imperative in the course of justice, this episode points to a larger societal problem. The conversations followed a familiar pattern of sexual violence against women and girls — of shaming, vile objectification and an assertion of power over them. These boys do not live in isolation; they are the product of a patriarchal society that has allowed “locker room talk” to go unchecked. For a long-term solution to ensure the safety of girls and gender equality, it is incumbent on society — parents, teachers, classmates, friends and peers — to rid young boys of the sexism and misogyny that are often embedded in this culture. Make no mistake: This is not just a Delhi problem. This is not just an Instagram problem either.
Patriarchal societies excuse young boys for predatory behaviour and contribute to a rape culture. The incident points to how this culture has percolated down to the new generation. It can be only be fought by changing the very mindset that encouraged this violent behaviour. Adopt a policy of zero-tolerance and make it unacceptable.