Earlier today, this video popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. I won’t embed it here because it could be disturbing for some, but it was accompanied with the caption “Visuals of villagers thrashing the 2 auto drivers who tried to rape a woman in AP.”
The video depicts two men standing, bound and naked other than unbuttoned shirts and socks covering their privates, being beaten by several women with shoes, brooms, and other miscellaneous items. Allegedly, they attempted to rape a woman and got caught. (I say allegedly because I did not look into the story — in no way am I saying they are not guilty, I simply don’t know for certain.)
I admit that I have extremely limited knowledge when it comes to other countries, but from what I’ve found ‘AP’ is Andhra Pradesh, a state in India.
A friend of a friend posted the video — the only reason it showed in my newsfeed was because my friend commented on it. But I was intrigued, so I watched it. Of course, I thought several things: rapists deserve this; this is cruel and unethical; India needs to do more about rape; this shouldn’t be happening in the first place. But I didn’t let myself think too much into it, because my brain was simply not prepared to get into the internal debates present, let alone public conversation.
Then I saw a comment. And my brain went crazy. (I contemplated posting the person’s real name and photo, but I don’t know him — and his Facebook name is not his real name — so I’ll show some respect.)
First, starting out any phrase with “I’m not being racist, but . . .” means you are being racist. If we had some world-wide, all-time record book of every time someone uttered that phrase, maybe 1% of the words following it would be truly non-racist comments. So yeah, dude, I can assume you’re being racist right off the bat.
What’s really disturbing is that the first thought that entered his mind — the thought which he felt he needed to publicly share — after watching a video that raises so many important questions/concerns/opinions, was this:
“None of those ladies in the video are even bangable.”
Bangable?! THIS IS A VIDEO PUNISHING RAPE AND YOU’RE CONCERNED WITH WHETHER THE WOMEN DOING THE PUNISHING ARE BANGABLE? Seriously?!
I went to the original source of the Facebook video (that my friend of a friend shared, probably not the true original source) and found comments displaying support, wishing this happened to all rapists, telling other countries to take note, even wishing worse on the men. I found comments plagued with outrage over how people took the law into their own hands, disgust over how the men were treated regardless of their actions. I found comments questioning the validity of the alleged rape attempt, stating there should be a proper trial, telling us we can’t possibly know what actually happened. Many even said the women weren’t suitable to administer the beating, but other men should have done it because they’re stronger, or something.
I found every thought that entered my mind and more in that comment thread. I found some I agreed with and some I did not. I found some offensive. What I did not find was one single person who said the women were not ‘bangable‘. I did not find anything as offensive or degrading as approaching this issue with a joke about ‘bangableness,’ ‘ugliness,’ and porn.
“So did these guys pick a winner . . .”
A WINNER? There’s a winner in rape?! Is this guy for real?
“Oh don’t worry, you’re about to be forced to engage in (probably gross and painful) sexual activities, but that’s okay because you’re a winner! We picked you out of all the other women we could have assaulted, so feel special!”
No. There is no winner in rape. Especially the victim. Being assaulted does not make one feel attractive, or special, or good about themselves. Rape leaves lifelong scars and often causes the exact opposite of feeling like a ‘winner’ — feelings of unworthiness and self-blame and of being defective. These are not good things. These are never good things.
Let me repeat myself: there are never, under any circumstances, any winners in rape.
“or are these ladies like ‘[what] the fuck is wrong with you look at us , why wouldnt u just watch [sic] a porn or some shit ‘?”
So what you’re saying is, these women are so ugly they are not worthy of being raped. I’m almost speechless. This man actually implies that the whole reason the women are beating the men in the first place is because the women are so unbelievably unattractive that they cannot fathom why anyone would ever want to touch them. He’s belittling this horrendous issue by joking that the women think the men should just watch porn instead of raping them, not because rape is fucking horrible, but because they are not pretty enough to be graced with the gift of a man forcibly assaulting them with his penis.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
It’s not enough for him joke about something serious. It’s not enough for him to pull the whole “I’m not racist, but . . .” thing. It’s not enough for him to imply that women who get raped should be happy, because they’re winners. Then he has to throw this shit on top.
I really can’t find the right words to express my outrage over this.
Everyone is beautiful. Whether or not they are attractive to you doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean that they are any less of a human being, and it doesn’t mean you should go around spewing your hate speech. It doesn’t matter if they’ll never see your words. I saw your words, and other, often impressionable people will see your words. And they’re fucking disgusting.
No one, NO ONE, deserves to get raped. We hear that all the time. But also, NO ONE IS NOT WORTHY OF BEING RAPED. No one IS worthy of being raped. Rape is not something you throw around like a fucking bouquet of flowers. Rape is not a goddamn compliment. Rape is not a joke.
This whole ordeal sparked something in me.
I’ve never really considered myself a feminist. I mean, I believe in everything they stand for, but I guess I just had too much going on to worry about yet another label. I follow many feminist bloggers, but I admittedly thought the label came with too much extremism. I’ve found out over recent months how very wrong I was.
Just like everything else in the world, there are bound to be varying degrees. For instance, take dog lovers. We have those who simply love dogs, and take them in, but only have a few and love them like a human loves their pet. And then we have the extreme dog lovers, who hoard 40 dogs in one house and maybe engage in some bestiality. Or, on the other end, people who say they love dogs but fight them or mistreat them.
Are we going to shun all self-proclaimed dog lovers because of the extremists? Of course not. Because that would be crazy. We might shun people who are into bestiality or dog fighting, but we don’t jump to the conclusion that everyone who ever tells us they love dogs falls into one of those categories.
But that’s what so many people are doing with feminism.
Like this whole Women Against Feminism thing.
(The tweet above shows that too many people don’t even know what feminism is.)
You are absolutely entitled to your own opinions, Women Against Feminism. But, despise what you’ve been told, it is possible for your opinions to be wrong. For instance, if you’re basing them off the wrong information. Like saying you’re against feminism because you believe in equality (yes, that’s a common reason). Here’s a brief learning opportunity for you: feminism = equality.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the exact definition from Merriam-Webster:
: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
If you’re basing your anti-feminism opinions on the idea that feminists hate men and belittle women who choose to be wives and mothers and shave their legs, you are sadly mistaken. You are not against feminism; you are against feminist extremism. You’re against the dog-lovers who engage in bestiality. And you’re just as bad; you’re an extremist yourself. Instead of realizing one subgroup can’t speak for the whole group, you assume every feminist is extreme. You assume all dog lovers mistreat their pets.
You’re judging based on the extreme lengths some people have gone to in the name of feminism. We never asked them to use that label, they just took it. You’re not against feminism itself — in fact, you’re probably against the same exact things we are.
So, WAF, we need feminism because when a man sees a video of two men being beaten with a caption explaining that they are attempted rapists, the first thought in his mind should not be about his own sexual desires. The word “bangable” should never be used when responding to something regarding rape.
He needs feminism — to teach him that his comment was not okay. I need feminism — to have the right to stand up to him. Girls all over the world need feminism — so they have somewhere else to turn when they read words like his.
So while you’re out getting your men to open jars and lift heavy things, I’ll be here fighting to teach them that your worth is not in your ‘bangableness’. (And you that their worth isn’t in their hand strength.)
Because I am a feminist. And I’m proud.
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What do you think? Am I overreacting? Underreacting? Are you focused more on one of the other aspects of this story? Have you ever experienced or heard someone say something wildly inappropriate?
Let me know!