Can We Let Social Media Influencers Pass Off Harassment As Pranks?
There are several social media influencers who think of themselves to be ace pranksters and love to pull a trick or two. Since they are social media celebrities the pranks naturally find their way to their platforms and handles and their dutiful followers consume them happily. But to what point should we indulge them, when it comes to pulling pranks on others? And are we willing to forgive them, despite knowing that their prank is actually a transgression?
- An Insta influencer is facing criticism for airdropping pictures of sex toys to a stranger in the guise of a prank.
- Can we ignore inappropriate behaviour by women, which we find unacceptable when done by men?
- Should male behaviour be our scale of measurement for misconduct by women?
- Should we ignore transgressions by influencers just because they are celebrities?
A female Instagram influencer allegedly tried to airdrop pictures of sex toys to a stranger in a café.
Recently an incident regarding the behaviour of a popular Instagram influencer is doing rounds on social media. The woman allegedly tried to airdrop pictures of sex toys to a stranger in a café, while recording him. The stranger went on to post a story on Insta, detailing how he was harassed by the influencer. But then the influencer also posted her version of the story, calling out the stranger for not being able to “take a joke.” That’s not it though. When people begin to criticise her behaviour, the Instagrammer apparently played the victim card, saying she received unsolicited d**k pics all the time and that the stranger had the choice to decline.
The spat has now escalated. People are supporting both the sides, some are trolling the influencer and others are questioning why did the stranger keep his airdrop visible if he didn’t want to receive unsolicited images. Many may take the influencer’s side here, saying that her prank was harmless and that the trolling she is receiving is unfair. But for a moment, reverse the genders here and tell me that you do not find the incident disturbing? Would it be ok if a man had tried to Airdrop pictures of sex toys to a woman in a public place?
Would it be ok if a man had tried to Airdrop pictures of sex toys to a woman at a public place?
The woman also allegedly filming the guy. Would any woman feel comfortable with a totally random guy filming her without her consent? Would we be okay if a guy played the victim card, saying that if any girl didn’t want to receive pictures of sex toys from strangers, she should change her gadget’s settings? Since the one sending pictures of sex toys and filming strangers without their consent is a woman, we can’t label her transgressions as pranks.
Male transgression from acceptable behaviour is indeed a very big problem in India. But just because society cuts men a lot of slack, women can’t proceed to do the same to the opposite gender. Yes, men often get away with heinous crimes like sexual assault and harassment. But male behaviour isn’t our scale of acceptable conduct. So if filming a woman without her consent is wrong, so is doing so with a man, even if it is in the name of a prank.
Social media influencers are superstars of today, and like film stars, we accommodate their misbehaviour because they are so cool and popular. But celebrity entitlement was never a good reason to indulge into mean behaviour.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.