All over the world, women have become increasingly tired, frustrated and frankly bored of the outdated narratives men prescribe us to, and recently a local YouTube Channel is sitting in the hot seat after one famous South African actress decided not only to voice her thoughts but bring legal action into the equation.
Binnelanders and Is’Phindiselo starlet, Nicole Bessick has taken the decision to sue two South African YouTubers for “inciting harm and violence against women,” as per her interview with Channel24. This comes after the makers of a recent video entitled ‘Smash, Marry Kill’ brought opinions about woman’s looks that they might have considered keeping to themselves, to the internet’s domain.
Perhaps the creators thought that the world wanted to hear their rankings on females based on their appearances alone, but they might have considered the times we’re living in, as well as the country, a little more carefully, as well as the woman they chose – for female-activists like Nicole were never going to keep quiet about content remarkably unnecessary and regressive.
“We live in a country that has one of the highest femicide rates globally and has quite literally been referred to as ‘the rape capital of the world’. Videos like these need to be called out for what they are: vulgar, distasteful, criminal”, Nicole expressed in response to her ‘feature’ on the video.
The entire clip is based on two men’s ranking of various South African women and takes on the admittedly outdated game ‘Smash, Marry, Kill’ as the content idea. The ‘game’ essentially asks players to choose who they would sleep with, marry or murder based on three options. While the game may have once been considered light-hearted in the times when women weren’t so vocal about being subjugated to the opinions of men, the times have changed.
The women they discuss are ‘ranked’ purely on looks alone. Factors like their ethnicity, ‘bums’ ‘lips’ and overall appearance are considered like an outdated pageant no one asked for.
“Yes she’s a bit hairy” and “I don’t like what she’s doing with her mouth” are some of the running commentaries you can expect to hear if you head over to the channel Lu-Wills Lounge.
Now, some people might think ‘what’s the big deal?’
As Nicole puts it “it baffles me that people choose to make content that is so sexist and that incites violence and harm against women n South Africa. A country that has one of the highest femicide and GBV rates in the world. For subscribers, for fame, for jokes.”
“As women, we are subject to so much abuse. To make matters worse, mental health in today’s day and age is at an all-time low. Suicide rates have never been higher. So there was actually no way I could let such a vulgar, distasteful video inciting harm and violence against women go unnoticed.”
Nicole is an activist in the fight against GBV and even has her own NGO, Fight For Good which is an anti-GBV initiative taking women from victim to warrior status.
What it boils down to is perpetuating inferiority culture, a weaving thread of rape culture. For those who think this is a harsh thought progression, here is a reminder of what rape culture means:
Rape culture pertains to society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalising behaviours associated with sexual assault or rape. Some things we don’t realise are rape culture extends to how we view women, the ownership many think they have over women’s appearances and the language involved in discussing women.
Additionally, judging women on the internet dependent on their appearances also furthers the kind of thinking that only values women based on their looks. It disregards all the other attributes that make women so powerful and internally beautiful, and pins us against one another, inspiring toxic female competitiveness.