The Internet is a weird place.
It can make the stupidest of things go viral while hiding many gems of talent underneath the muck of useless gossip.
In a time in which our ancestors must have dreamed of being populated by robots and flying cars and probably some aliens as well, ‘Cringe-Pop‘, a so-called “genre” of music, is going mainstream. Basically, Cringe-Pop means music so bad that you couldn’t stop listening to it. The pioneer of this excellent genre in India is none other than our country’s favorite singer, Dhinchak Pooja, a woman who is so talented that even YouTube did not feel that it deserved hosting her music videos on its site.
But this unforeseen trend of Cringe-Pop was further propagated by the self proclaimed ‘King of Rap‘, Omprakash Mishra, as some meme pages dug down the dark depths of YouTube and came up with one huge pearl of a meme called Aunty ki Ghanti– a 2015 ‘song’ that is about a boy who is sexually attracted towards an ‘Aunty’. What started as people listening to it “ironically” and laughing at the out of sync tune escalated into meme pages across India almost worshipping it and bring out the “Sot revolution”.
Now, I’m not judging anyone for listening to that abomination of a song. I like memes, so no hate towards framing memes out of it as well. In our democratic country, you can go join the cult of the “Rap King” and shout out the misogynistic lyrics from the roof of your house or, say for example, at Delhi’s Connaught Place. But the extreme aggression that his “fans” showed towards a journalist who pointed out the sexism in the lyrics is what bothers me.
When Deeksha Sharma from Quint posted a video criticizing the misogynistic lyrics of the song, saying that it objectifies women, she also appealed for it to be banned. Coincidentally, the video got removed from YouTube by a copyright claim, which had absolutely no connection to Deeksha or Quint.
But guess what people did? They put two unrelated incidents next to each and then, *gasp*! Deeksha was held responsible for the removal of the video. She received severe backlash from Omprakash’s fans and rape threats flooded her inbox. Comment sections were filled with vile people swearing at her, calling her unflattering names, asking her to “go back to the kitchen where women like you belong.” She even received a death threat in the middle of the night on her personal Whatsapp number.
Why did this happen? One of Omprakash’s supporters said that Deeksha wanting the video to be banned was a breach in the freedom of expression. Another said that if feminists really want misogynistic lyrics to be banned, why don’t they rant against famous singers like Yo-Yo Honey Singh and some western rappers who objectify women?
Now, this is where the fault lies. People choose to play the blame game instead of accepting the fact that it is they, who make such sexist songs popular. The problem is not with the song itself, but rather the people who accept it as normal behavior. Deeksha ranting against the song was her right to freedom of speech. She was not the one to block the video. Then why did she get so many death and rape threats? Isn’t using them to silence a woman’s voice a breach of freedom of expression as well? Ah, the irony! Her voice raised a million other’s. Just in case he had a million fan-following, that is.
In a nation where pointing out the truth makes your future insecure, exposing a scandal will get you shot in broad daylight, raising a voice against long drawn injustice brings rape and death threats, every journalist lives in constant fear for their lives. It is up to people like us who should support them and fight for the truth instead of just lazing around, enjoying crass, sexist songs while telling women where their place is.