Growing up, I used to hear a lot of my friends use the term “boy talk” for any conversation they did not want me to be a party to, or hide from me. It felt like a “pinky promise”, but for boys only. And like we all do, I would brush it off because I didn’t care enough to know what went on inside these ‘locker rooms’.
Time passed by, and we all grew up. But the tradition of “boys locker room talks” continued. With time, I realised maybe it wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t interested in what these boys were talking about, but more towards my fear of knowing the truth.
I never really got an honest answer from any of my male friends, but what I did figure out, with time, was that this “boy talk session” would consist of talking about girls, not just about how they look or who they are, but flaunting about their “sexual” experiences with girls and what they would want to do to them.
In high school, I overheard that some seniors had a group where they would send pictures of girls and judge them; what’s surprising is that it wasn’t just boys who were a part of this group, but girls too.
And these girls would go ahead and label them as “sluts”, “whores” or whatever it is they felt was apt.
Calling Me Out on My Clothes
I have, in the past (or maybe even in the present?), been a “subject” of these conversations, where people would circulate pictures of me trying to call me out on the kind of clothes I wear, or the boys I talk to; but, they wouldn’t stop at that.
They would go beyond and make insinuations about my life or my “love interests”.
A lot of my friends often call me a “buzzkill” or tell me that they’re scared of talking “freely” in front of me because I might call them out or question their morals. And you know what? I’m really glad that they felt that way.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all stopped for a second and thought before cracking an insensitive rape joke or slut-shaming someone?
Not because your friend would call you out, but because you know it’s morally wrong to do so.
Leaked Message & Trauma of Million Girls
Which brings me to the last bit, these teenage boys, who not only called these underage girls terrible things but also threatened to ‘rape them’ when their “locker room conversations” got leaked.
To these boys, I hope you realise the mental harm that you’ve caused not only to them, but to millions of girls out there.
You might get away with changing your names or deactivating your handles for a while, but the girls who have been put through this will never get over the trauma. And I don’t blame them for feeling unsafe, because no one taught them that looking good or dressing up is a curse.
Be ‘That’ Friend Who ‘Reprimands’
In the end, all I’d like to say is be that friend. Stop them when they say something problematic, be it a man or a woman. Reprimand them when they crack an insensitive joke, question them when they joke about rape or sexual harassment. Stop them from slut-shaming, and stop them from normalising this cheap behaviour.
Call out these “locker room” talks, call out these “boys talk” and call out all these boys. If they’re old enough to do it, they’re old enough to be held accountable for it. I might not be able to promise a safer world without sickening men, but i can vouch for the support one can get when you plan to call them out. Don’t worry, we’re in this together.
(The author is a student of History Honours at Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College for Women. This is a personal blog, and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)