Filipino American. Heterosexual. Masculinity. Los Angeles. Indian Game Show.

by B.J. Delas Armas on 9/14/2008 10:30:00 AM 0 comments Print this post

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With the UCLA Bruins temporarily, literally, figuratively not existing, at least till next Saturday, there's been a serious void in my Saturday afternoon.

How did I spend it?

Reading the RealGM Chicago Bulls message boards running across enlightened political discussion, watching this video on the moments immediately before John McCain popped the question to Sarah Palin, and a video of an Indian man slapping a woman reality TV show host... below:

The clip is from an Indian reality tv show called Dadagiri, or "bully." The premise of the show is that contestants "beat the bullies", enduring emotional torture from four different bullies as if they were in high school. The four different bullies berate them through each and every challenge.

The one woman in the show, Esha the Goddess, perhaps in character or not (she carries a whip around), slaps the contestant. Without blinking, the contestant retaliates with a more forceful slap of his own. He's immediately separated by some of the people, crying out "How can she slap? How can she slap?" as a group of people proceed to stomp him.

At first, I didn't understand its appeal as comedic relief or internet sensation.

All I know is that I felt really bad for the man because I had read this piece of information from the RealGM Bulls basketball boards:

This is a Indian reality show where they degrade folks who are generally lower-class. The winnings are Rs. 50,000 or about $1250. Not a lot, even when compared to Indian economical standards.

Oh, and the mob at the end... That happens a lot in India. If you do something wrong, the public will beat you up. I saw a car driver get beat-up almost to near-death for striking a bicyclist. And of-course since the mob all work for the reality show, they were biased against the contestant.

So I looked at this clip from this perspective: here was a man enduring emotional torture, being stripped of his dignity, all for a few peanuts of money, while the bourgeosie classes got their entertainment, and laughter.

Incidentally, research has established that emotional pain is generally found to be more damaging than physical pain.

My reaction shifted as I watched more of the clip and read more of the story.

The events preceding the slap was particularly of interest.

What was actually steering my interest forward were the comments people were leaving on the different youtube video iterations of the same clip.

I was expecting racist comments along the lines of "what a weak-ass Indian guy" (and of course there were some, most of them here), but instead I was treated to a plethora of "yeah, she got what she deserved", to put it mildly.

Only when she is on her knees with her lips around your cock! This leads me to question Gender Equality. Seriously, hitting/beating women is wrong, no doubt about it! But when that bitch decided to slap him, she was not prepared for what she recieved. And what did she recieve? Gender Equality in the form of a slap! Women want gender equality, they can have it, just be prepared to accept the consequences!

If you think it's alright to hit a guy but you think it's wrong for a guy to retaliate than you are against equal rights.

There's a kitchen and you're not in it.

Return to your position.

maybe she needs to be put into forced labour camp so that she can slowly become humble.

and perhaps a serious spanking in bed until her ass is swollen and she begs for mercy..

should of knocked that bitch out and gang raped her.

I hope all men would have the balls to slap any cunt back just like that guy. I hope Indian television never allows her to work again. Sorry cunt back to the whore house you go..

should have pulled out a mascheti and carved her like a peace of meat, the stupid slut.

slut bitch.. she should be raped. props to dude who mashed her face up

fucking bitch i would cut her tits off with a cheese grater

The thing that was interesting was the performance of masculinity in and people's understanding of equal rights.

"You want gender equality? Well, here it is!"

Yes, I guess that's correct, but the show is about being able to withstand emotional and a certain amount of physical torment (I don't think he signed up to be actually beaten to a pulp by a mob, though). My understanding is that the show presents itself as this bully show, so contestants would at least expect a fair amount of beating from a show that calls itself the "meanest show on television." The contestant is a guy who signed up for something. Maybe she was thinking it was part of her role as this whip-carrying dominatrix-like figure and that she was immune to harm because she assumed the guy would take it as part of the show.

How would I have reacted? Being a lower-class person, being called "stupid", "gay", the prospect of not getting much money even if I do win, getting beaten up by a gang of dudes that you know you could take on one-on-one, I'm not sure.

Surely, I still felt bad for the man and the beating he took afterwards.

But with the rash of user-generated comments, I also started feeling for the woman, not because of what she did to incite it, but people's reminding her of her place in the world as a woman. Lots of people with nothing better to do than react back with youtube threats of sexual violence and brute violence.

I was also struck at the number of times I saw her called ho, slut, whore, bitch, cunt. I'm struck at how many times people talked about fucking her, even raping her. I'm struck at how easy it is to throw around, yet still weighs heavy on women.

Yes, it's youtube commentary and there is a distance between saying something anonymously on the internet and actually doing and advocating for something, and as long as that boundary is observed, it's OK but that boundary does get crossed. On one hand the video and its commentary space is a good place for people to vent what they normally wouldn't say, and subsequently for people to mediate, but then on the other hand, maybe for someone else it feeds an ambiguous desire to make such a thing happen.

I would never advocate for the shutting down of the video or its trailing commentaries, but I'm not fond of the user-generated commentary/discourse on the count of immature comments. The video is a utility, a piece of equipment, a tool...something that people can manipulate as they please to converge with their world views.

Things probably would be "boring" if everyone made sober commentaries. However, since I have a platform on which to stand, which gives me a bit more responsibility, I'd use it to take the drunken discussions into some form of sobriety.

Language and the labels/categories we use play a role in determining how we think. The more we think of a label or category like "slut", "bitch", or "whore" and its associated meanings, the more that label or category and those meanings become they become realities...

And I'd rather not think of reality as that simple, nor as that throwaway.

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