Media is a powerful establishment that is capable of exerting power and influence over large masses. It has played an inevitable role in women empowerment, upliftment of the oppressed and marginalized communities. But we cannot deny the fact that the same media is used by a few people with and without intentions that affects the progress of the oppressed and the marginalized sections.
Most people talk only about TV and streaming service representations when they discuss the media representations of women and the LGBT+ community. People forget to mention the role played by online influencers and content creators in platforms like Instagram and YouTube which are popular across age groups.
We all enjoy meme contents on social media platforms. But there is this fine line between funny memes and memes that troll and cyberbully people; and most people don’t realise crossing the line and encourage cyberbullying in disguise.
Online content creators like Ahmed Meeran and Vijay Varadharaj pose a serious threat to women and the queer community. They misrepresent and bully us. Their ‘light-hearted’ troll contents are their versions of how they see us and we are not what they show us like. Their videos harm the queer community’s mental health, especially the teens who are exposed to such troll contents and struggling to understand and accept themselves.
Ahmed Meeran, an Instagram content creator and influencer, is well known for his series of troll videos “TikTok Vaasikal” on people using TikTok. At the time of writing this article, he has created 230 troll videos, trolling more than 106 women using TikTok as a platform to express themselves. Many of these videos are misogynistic and classist. A few videos body-shame women and contain derogatory remarks to troll them.
More than 34 visibly queer individuals, trans women and effeminate men have been trolled in Ahmed Meeran series. Almost all of the remaining troll videos target underprivileged persons. There’s casual racism and stereotyping too.
Vijay Varadharaj’s YouTube videos and RJ Ashwin’s Instagram troll series “Musically Motherlights” are equally toxic. They are not to be taken light-hearted because their videos encourage discriminations and violence against women, queer people and other marginalized sections.
The list is not done yet. There are many other digital content creators that appropriate people’s freedom of expressions.
Their version of who we are, is a package misrepresentation and misinformation about us. What they call a light-hearted troll video is actually a direct attack on communities that areÂ struggling hard to be understood and be visible.
There is an inevitable need to understand the driving force that encourages them to do more troll videos on oppressed people. It’s patriarchy and its ideologies.
These influencers try to intimidate us because they see us as different. They tell people that we are the ‘aberration’ or ‘non-desirables’ that are unacceptable. The ones that should be telling people to be intolerant of intolerance, are actually propagating ideas of violence against the marginalized communities.
They fail to understand how devastating their actions can be and how they influence their followers with their opinions and prejudice on choices of an individual. Their insensitivity damages the sense of self-esteem of queer people who seek for spaces to express themselves after being rejected by countless individuals. They out us to people who we don’t want to know about us, thus they breach our privacy.
Though they say they are allies to the queer persons, they only misunderstand and shame us for who we are or who we choose to be. They only mean to say being queer is a sin, wrong and never acceptable. The same way and pattern of discrimination they use against us follow us to our workplaces and every public space we get access to. This makes us feel worthless, hopeless, anxious all the time we are ourselves.
Despite many efforts taken trying to make such content creators understand the problems we have with their videos, they don’t seem to stop. Whenever we call out misogyny, queer-phobia and violence against the working class, our voices are dampened. The conflict is still around. But it only affects the victims and never the abusers. That’s how things work in our patriarchal society.
This cyberbullying is unpardonable because the damage done is irreversible and the victims pay the price in many ways that are unimaginable by abusers. The damage caused has the potential to push individuals away from society and scar their mental health for life. Online bullying is one major cause of suicidal tendencies among queer teens.
These troll videos trivialise our voice, emotions, visibility and all our efforts in making people understand our identity.
We queer people are obliged to record our views on issues like these because these platforms misrepresent us to the future and it’s very much essential to document our narratives so no false information is passed onto the future generations. We are only trying to make our lives better and we will always voice out against misogynistic and queer-phobic individuals like them.
We are not sorry about your fragile male toxicity. We will always resist and smash such ideologies.