There's a video going around Facebook (because when is there not a video going around Facebook?) right now called, simply, "Slap Her". It's supposed to raise awareness for violence against women, and all my friends are sharing it and saying things like, "This gives me hope for the next generation!" and, "This made me cry!" and "This is the sweetest thing!"
I hated it though. I did not think it was sweet, it did not make me cry, and I don't think it actually says much about the next generation at all. I think it says something about this one though.
Watch it. I'll give you three minutes and twenty seconds.
If you thought it was heartwarming, okay. That's fine. The bottom line message is good: you shouldn't slap people.
But didn't you find it weird the way that they chose to convey that message?
Here are some boys. Here are some things about these boys. They are this age, these are their names, they want to be this when they grow up, they like pizza and helping people, they are human.
Here is a girl. She is pretty. Notice her physical appearance. Her name is Martina.
"Caress her," says the adult in charge.
I don't know if you noticed, but Martina looks kind of uncomfortable at this point. I would be, I don't blame her. I don't think that's supposed to matter in this little scenario here. That's not the point. Because Martina is a pretty prop.
And then, "Slap her, hard," says the adult in charge. Everyone looks uncomfortable now. Me included. And in the words of the first little box on Facebook that popped up this morning and alerted me to the presence of this video: What they said next will amaze you!
(They said no. Amazed?)
I'm sure this is scripted (which kind of defeats the purpose of the video). It has to be, right? I mean, if it's not scripted, then a team of adults actually put a pre-teen girl in front of a bunch of pre-teen boys and instructed them to first touch her without her consent, which is at the very least kind of awkward, and then to slap her, hard. Taking the chance that one of them might have actually slapped her. Hard. Oops, sorry, Martina. We didn't think he'd actually slap you, hard, even though he was commanded to by an authoritative figure. Caught us off guard. Won't happen again, we hope.
And then. "Kiss her."
And the boy asks the adult, not the girl, whose face he's going to be kissing, where he can kiss her (the mouth or the cheek?). Because up to this point, the man behind the camera has been the one in charge of the girl's body. So, great. The little boy has learned that the girl is not the one he needs permission from to kiss, caress, or slap her.
I understand the point of this video: even little boys know that they shouldn't hit girls. But what I'm taking away from this video is that girls are props, and that you shouldn't hit them because they look nice, and, just...poor, poor Martina. What an awkward day for her.