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Gurugram Viral Video: How Not to Shame a Shamer 

‘What I do stand staunchly against is the way many people reacted to the viral video,’ writes Mekhala Saran.

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The viral video of a woman shaming a bunch of young girls for their clothing choices has become a cesspool of extreme reactions. While some have come out in support of the girls who shot the video, others have condemned it (I even saw a Facebook post that referred to the girls as ‘snowflakes’) and yet others have - as usual - gone on to spray absolute filth in the comments section of the video.

Here's my two pennies worth, though.

Personally, I would choose not to put a video like that online, simply because the big bad world of social media is laced with people waiting to jump on to any thread, like a rat into a sewer, so that they can make a loud splash, fling some muck at others and buy themselves momentary distraction from their own shortcomings.

These enthusiastic trolls on social media are often themselves a huge part of the very problem they are sharing their comments on, and I don’t want to provide more fodder to them.
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However, I stand in complete solidarity with the girls who shot and uploaded that video. Here's why:

  1. The woman in question was well aware that she was being recorded. The girls had even told her that they would share the video on social media if she did not apologise. Nonetheless, she still went on to look into the camera and rant about how girls in short dresses ‘encourage’ boys to rape them. This wasn't a sting operation where her privacy was being violated — up until, of course, screenshots from her Facebook profile started doing the rounds on social media, which is shameful and defeats the purpose of the fight.
  2. This video does not make an ‘example’ of regressive women. They're not a rare variety — we already have too many of them in our neighborhoods, schools and even in our families. It is a lesson for them. Those who have seen this video will now think a hundred times before vocalising such regressive thoughts. I'm not saying this will end regressive mindset, but if this video can shut even a few mouths, it has served some purpose.
  3. A bunch of women coming together to take a stance against slut-shaming and demanding freedom to wear whatever they like and be treated with dignity is a show of strength, solidarity and sisterhood. It is ridiculous to deride them for doing so and unfair to refer to them as ‘snowflakes’. Besides, it is so disappointing that every time someone on social media doesn't like that millennials are taking a stance, they come running with pitchforks and the ‘snowflake’ tag.
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Finally, what I do stand staunchly against is the way many people have reacted to this. No, pasting pervy comments against this woman, culling out her photographs and sharing her personal information/screenshots are not a way of responding to this. It only goes to show how regressive you are.

What’s more, media outlets too weren’t far behind in making a spectacle of her personal photographs. When one of the girls who was slut-shamed by this woman called her out for her alleged “hypocrisy” by sharing a photo of her in a dress - which she claimed to have downloaded just before her shamer deleted her account, a national news channel swooped in and made a news report out of the same.

A hurt citizen, in my opinion, may react angrily, but it is a shame when a news media organisation abets voyeurism and vigilantism.

Remember, when the woman in- question refused to apologise and when she resumed her regrettable tirade, she knew full well she was on camera, she had been told she could go viral. However, her pictures were her own business, and she had not been told they would go viral too. That is a clear violation of another woman’s privacy — something we, as society, should have long decried.

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Let’s be honest. Our own family albums are stacked with photographs of people with regressive mindsets, but we don’t go around printing them in news, do we? This “auntie” is a symptom of a bigger problem, as are many of us.

So, if we want to find a cure to this problem, we need to start with ourselves, perhaps. The woman from the video has apologised now, her exact words, “In hindsight, I realise I was harsh and incorrect in my statement.” When will we?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Moral Policing   Gurugram   rape threat 

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