Thanks to Whatsapp, we can do a lot more than just texting each other. We can send cute emoticons, pictures, and videos. We can update our status and profile pictures.

Now we can also do a video-call instead of a regular voice-call. Another thing is to create a Whatsapp (WA) group, where people can talk about stuff in the same chatroom. These groups exist with different reasons and functions. Some are for family and relatives, friends, work colleagues, clubs/communities, and even mini-groups for other stuff.

Some have strict disclaimers/rules, others…well, not so much.

It is a lot easier if a WA group has clearer rules on what to say/post and not. For example: only work-related stuff is allowed in the chatroom. That way, you are entitled to protest if a nosy co-worker secretly snaps a shot of your brand new shoes, then post it on the group chatroom with a tagline: “Ooh, are those from your rich bule* boyfriend?”

If I were the boss, I’d fire that co-worker in a heartbeat. That is inappropriate and unprofessional.

However, it is a lot trickier if the group has no clear ground rules. You might think these are killjoys, but still necessary. Managing a big number of people in a groups is challenging. They do not always want the same things and some of them can be very, very dominant and selfish.

Another issue to underline here includes: sexist, misogynistic jokes on WA groups.

You could be that guy who loves posting pictures of half-nude or naked women with jokes on them…and thinks it is okay. Even if the women in the pictures are fully-dressed (some even in their hijabs), you still find a way to harrass them. Just post those pictures on the group chatroom with this tagline: offering the other men in the group as if those women are nothing but merchandise items:

“Ayo, dipilih…dipilih…sebelum keburu diambil orang…” (Come on, take your pick…take your pick…before other guys have them all…)

Since you find that funny, you expect the whole group to laugh – despite being inconsiderate with the female members at present. At least you do not know those women in the pictures personally. They are not your mothers, sisters, wives, or daughters.

So why should you bother? You always get away with everything, being a man and all in this patriarchal society. They will always be on your side, normalising your behaviour – no matter how VILE and DISGUSTING.

How about if you are one of the women in the group, being forced to put up with such sexist, misogynistic jokes – day-after-day-after-FREAKING-DAY?! Will you play along and think it is okay, since you have no idea who those women are? As long as you are not the target, does that mean you are safe?

Will you laugh about them too, believing that this whole thing is harmless? Just words and pictures. They do not (have to) mean a damn thing. You should not be too “baper” (bawa perasaan = bloody sensitive) as most guilt-free, simplest minds out of ignorance would say. Besides, it has been considered ‘normal’ for centuries. Why does it have to change now?

I do not know about you, but sexist, misogynistic jokes are GARBAGE to me – NO EXCEPTIONS. It does not matter if you are older than me; I am not afraid of telling you this – even saying it to your face if you are really asking for it.

There are friends who have experienced this similar issue. Of course, the first thing is to tell the sharer and the admin of the group. If they get the hint and stop, then it is a damn good thing. You will not have to feel sick to death at the sight of such digital garbage in the group.

But what if your complaint/protest is not taken seriously? Worst of all, what if you get attacked instead, being accused of ‘spoiling the fun’ or ‘being unable to take the joke’? What if they gaslight you with the word “baper”?

You are entitled to get angry, because you deserve the comfort they refuse to give – even if you are (considered) a minority. It is normal to feel insulted, disgusted, and ashamed at what they do. Guess what? It is also understandable to feel betrayed, especially since other women in that group seem to play it safe by keeping quiet. Maybe they think those sexist, misogynistic jokes are okay too.

Maybe they still do not know or are not as brave as you in speaking up. Either way, their silence still hurts you. The way they belittle your complaint/protest is a lot worse.

Is it because they prefer dressing up more modestly than some of the women in the pictures he posts with such jokes, then it is okay to slut-shame them too?

Frustrated already? I do not blame you. Perhaps you have done all you could to let them know that no, this is not a laughing matter. This is a serious issue. If you are that educated, then you should never put up with any of it.

Unfortunately, it is true what some people say. Education is not just a right, an obligation, nor a privilege. It is also a choice, which somehow they still refuse to take. Sad but true, but there is not much left to do.

There is no bloody point in wasting your energy by trying to get your message across the ignorant. It is like talking to brick walls, which is basically useless.

Just leave that WA group. You do not need such toxic masculinity in your life. About them? Well, just hope for the best.


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