An alarming video by ScoopWhoop on marital rape is making the rounds online.
The video is horrific partly because of the crass, scary and misogynist responses that dismissed the need for consent in sexual relations between a married couple, repeatedly addressed women as an object that was brought to the husband’s home for a purpose and how marital rape is not a part of India’s culture. But it is cringe-worthy mostly because of the way the video was conceptualised, produced and edited.
The video is titled ‘Delhi on Marital Rape’. This is a misnomer unless Delhi’s population is all men and two women. A fair and responsible representation of Delhi’s thoughts on marital rape would include an equal number of men and women and also an equal number of people who understand consent and marital rape.
The fact that the only person to correctly define marital rape is a woman and that only two women were interviewed. This makes it appear like the video intentionally captured sickening responses of men against consent to garner more views.
Even the script and editing seem to beg for cheap virality by creating a shock factor. In the first 20 seconds of the video, Producer Samdish Bhatia attempts to satirise the sensational news coverage format.
Of course, it is clear that it is intended to be funny only if you read the disclaimer that appears for a split second at the beginning of the video, or stay till the end of the video. With the digital age that we are in, this is practically giving men’s rights activists the chance to edit out the end. Bhatia clarifies that those responses that he enthusiastically egged on were actually horrific, to promote their misogynistic agenda and lobby against marital rape laws.
Bhatia also seems to be in character through the video, not objecting to or reacting with disgust to any of the egregious comments made by his subjects. He is good at interviews. But that does not defend the editing which also seems to take on that misogynistic character.
The video begins with jokes on husband-wife tiffs, droll music and the most shocking responses to the question of marital rape. Even if there is a justification for Bhatia to play a misogynist to get his subjects to speak honestly on camera, there is no justification as to why that needed to translate into humour.
The video is also an example of why we need women to do the talking about their issues and have men do the listening. Especially those men who resort to lazy journalism in order to be known as the cool male feminist ally but give a platform to the triggering statements made by middle-aged men on their morning walk in a foggy Delhi park. Not only has Bhatia failed to bring in women, those who are affected by this issue most, he has also neglected how his video can be triggering to victims of marital rape.
The video is also an example of why we need women to do the talking about their issues and have men do the listening.
At the end of the video, Bhatia attempts to redeem this as ethical journalism by stating how these views were expected and that it is time to start talking about it. Well, Mr Bhatia, you had the platform to have a conversation about marital rape. You had a conversation about marital rape. It just wasn’t the one you should have been having, and definitely wasn’t the way you should have been having it.
Creating poorly conceptualised and insensitive videos on issues that are real, serious and threatening to the safety of a huge chunk of society for the sake of sensationalised headlines, clickable content, and gasp-inducing responses is irresponsible. Maybe if Bhatia found a way to use his platform and sense of humour to talk about how we can change the attitudes of these men he featured in his video, or include more women in the conversation and listen to them, we can take him and his ally-ship seriously.
Featured Image Credit: ScoopWhoop