By Shambhavi Saxena:
Given the chance, would you slap a girl?
Perhaps it’s unfair to ask this now, of a reader I presume is level-headed, not mid-conflict, emotions in check, rational, introspecting even. Perhaps the circumstances are just so. And yet, it’s no secret that gender-based violence and crimes are, for various reasons, routine across the world. In January 2015, Italian online newspaper Fanpage.it filmed a social experiment asking young boys to slap a girl they had only just met. It went viral, and so did the Indian edition, put out by Ufaan.org, featuring Indian counterparts of the Italian boys who refused to slap a girl.
Yes, the girls are silent objects (plot devices?), and yes, one wonders why it focuses only on female victims of violence, but the videos have their moments. When a young Italian boy explains why he won’t slap a girl by saying “Because I’m a man”, we see not a possibility, but a future of young men reassessing and reshaping gender identities. That every one of these boys refused to indulge in this mindless violence speaks volumes about how we’re changing.