#BoysLockerRoom: Instagram group chat promotes rape culture

On Sunday afternoon, screenshots of a group chat named “Boys Locker Room” went viral all over Instagram. The group was initially made a couple of months ago for sharing memes, however, the topic noticeably shifted from that to girls. This group consisted of teenage boys ranging between the ages of 16-18.

Certain photos from the profile of girls on Instagram were being sent in the group where these boys objectified and sexualized them showing their “toxic masculinity.” The girls being objectified in the photos were all underage school-goers. There was clear use of obsolete words to describe specific parts of a girl’s body.

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Two popular Indian influencers on Instagram, Ashna Sharma and Anuva, exposed these screenshots sent by one of the guys added in the group.

After Ashna Sharma posted these screenshots on Instagram, thousands of her followers supported her by raising their voices. With such chaos, the boys involved in the shameful activity were caught off guard. They created another group on Instagram to find a way of defending themselves. Screenshots from that group chat were also leaked, and soon, everyone on Instagram was outing these boys. Soon after sharing these screenshots on Twitter, Ashna Sharma’s Instagram account got hacked. One of the boys sent vulgar texts and even circulated nudes of the girls who were putting up stories to support such a cause.

Screenshot from a story on Instagram

This group chat is a huge fragment of rape culture. The main reason as to why these chats have disturbed so many women is not because discussing who you like is inappropriate, but because the tone and intent behind those conversations are extremely violent and motivated by an inherent disregard for the female peer’s privacy and dignity. The purpose of such conversations has always been to operationalize a ‘hunt’ for women who are considered to be ‘easy’ or ‘desirable.’

The problem is not that they are vocalizing who they wish to date or sleep with, but the intention to conquer these women, only to further feed other men the stories and evidence of their sexual exploits, is clear sexual harassment.

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This one group, although, extremely disturbing, is not into question. This is a group that got caught due to the diligence of a few active people. Without a doubt, there are many more groups like this one. The phrase used by the better men has always been, “I don’t like it, so I walk away.” Even the best of men walk away instead of correcting the source of a joke that reflects misogyny.

As a joint effort put in by thousands of people on social media, spreading awareness about such an issue has worked in favor of women as the Delhi police have decided to take legal actions regarding this case.

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