Viral Campaigns Gone Wrong

Viral video campaigns india

You know what gets my goat? The trend of a bunch of videos masquerading as “progressive” ending up screwing things so bad, that you want to tear your hair out. Especially those about sensitive topics like rape without much thought being put behind them.

The video above was passed on as some sort of a “social experiment” – while I feel if anything it’s an extremely poorly thought out “experiment”. The only thing that’s worth emphasizing in this video is if they could establish that none of the people who left called the cops. However in the given hypothetical, it’s extremely dangerous to thoughtlessly intervene – not just for them, but it could put the victim’s life at risk too. So one could understand why someone wouldn’t directly intervene in such a situation.

No excuse to not call the cops again, but that doesn’t seem to be their point when they ask: “Who was the real culprit? The beast inside the car or those who just walked off?” (to spell it out, it IS the “beast” regardless) Since it says “someone called the cops” – what if it was one of those who “shamelessly” fled the scene? They should have clarified these important aspects if one was to take this remotely seriously. And it was just a poor way to demonstrate the public apathy towards rape victims , which indeed is a problem.

And behold, it gets worse.

Let’s ignore the crass title for a second here (“Will you marry a raped girl?” – seriously?) – the video, while again, highlights the extremely misogynistic mindset of people at the beginning, goes on to state how they’ve found some “heroes” too. There’s nothing “heroic” about being a decent human being and not a misogynistic ass. While it’s a good change considering general perception towards rape victims in our society, posing it as somehow “heroic” is very problematic and perpetrates the existing notion that they’re doing some sort of “sacrifice” by marrying a rape victim. I don’t know if I can even give credit to them here for being “well intentioned”.

And finally this is the latest video that falls prey to the same thoughtlessness (although admittedly to a much lesser degree than the previous one) albeit having good potential is this video that’s gone viral oflate:

The video comes so close to properly acknowledging male privilege and ends up being borderline patronizing, essentialist, objectifying, despite the good intentions. No, women are not all “beautiful” or “sexy” – and they don’t have to be. They are NOT a monolith. They’re as complex and diverse as men are – that’s the message we should be conveying, instead of being extremely patronizing.

And while India is one of the worst place for women to be in, Saudi Arabia is NOT a safe place for women – it’s a far worse misogynistic dole than ours. There’s some perception among people that because of the harsh (and barbaric) punishments in Saudi Arabia it’s somehow “safer” for women. No it isn’t.  Rape is horribly underreported in Saudi Arabia and statistics on rape isn’t available for comparison.  

This video is perhaps most disappointing as it seeks to make a strong and relevant point and loses track big time.

So am I saying that these campaigns are useless? No, and at the same time I’m someone who thinks that projects like these are a good medium to nudge people in the right direction – it’s a good starting point. Which is why I so wish that they would put some thought into these things instead of thoughtlessly making problematic token videos that caters to the more progressive demographic (this being a fine example of how to do it right).

End of rant.

14 responses to “Viral Campaigns Gone Wrong

  1. It’s been a long time. I’ve missed you. I like how you ended the article with the word rant 🙂 though i would say this is the least “rantish” article in the whole blog.
    You have managed to somehow telepathically understood my thoughts (maybe many people) about this surge of moronic videos. Though one can understand the sentiment going behind making these videos, many times they end up setting a whole different undertone for the masses to take away. Also I feel the economics of youtube plays a lot into the content formation of such videos. Nevertheless, great article man. Really good job. Appreciate it. End of rant. 😉

  2. The reason rape statistics is less in Saudi Arabia because rape is justified only if the victim provides four Muslim male witnesses or if the perpetrator admits the crime. But whether rape is justified or not the victim is also punished for “premartital sex” with prison sentence or lashes sometimes death penalty is given by hanging or stoning.
    So the worst place to get justice for a rape victim is the countries under Sharia law.
    It is a painful fact.

  3. I have seen these videos online and find them really depressing. So many people in the van video just walk by. And I can’t even believe “would you marry a raped girl?” is even a question. The question directly implies that she may not be worth marrying.

    • The answer to the question “would you marry a raped girl” should be same as the answer to the question “would you marry a guy wrongly accused of rape”. Unfortunately both these questions would draw out the same reaction among people.

      • No. Just.. no. Yes false rape accusations (or any false accusations) are absolutely wrong to spell it out (although IDK why this has to be brought up every single time as some sort of mantra but whatever) – but both scenarios are not even remotely comparable. A rapist is someone who has moral responsibility over rape and a criminal. A rape victim has zero moral responsibility in any conceivable scenario over rape and yet people evidently think of them as lesser human beings. Please stop drawing false parallels.

        Anyhow – that’s a bit tangential and not the point of my post.

      • The point being argued in the video was about the social acceptance of raped victims in the marriage market. Why should the falsely accused guy have any less acceptance than the raped victim. I’m just saying if you think people think less of women who got raped then there are equally number of people who would think less of men who get falsely accused of rape (also a situation which they don;t have moral responsibility of). Lets not get into the “handicappedness” of the concerned person here because that is not the point here and happy to start a discussion on that one later.

      • Way to misinterpret my post. I’m saying both are NOT comparable scenarios at all. One hinges on the highly misogynist doctrine of how rape victims are not “pure” anymore and whatnot – regressive doctrines like that.

        The other one is like any other – just like anyone falsely accused of any false crime would face stigma to different degrees (assuming that it’s indeed PROVEN to be false – because conviction is already hard in rape cases) – both are not comparable. I thought this should be obvious.

  4. Pingback: Will you marry a "Raped" girl? - Feminism in India Project

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