Yeah, Nah not the Boys

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Screenshots from the Yeah the Boys Facebook Page

The ‘Yeah the Boys’ Facebook page has normalised and made painfully apparent the casual misogyny that exists within Australian young males.

When Yeah the Boys first appeared on my FB newsfeed I laughed too. It was funny as. The liberal use of the word ‘cunt’, the themes of alcoholism and drug use and the underlying tone of dogging the boys presented as a cardinal sin often punishable by violence – they all made a surprisingly funny and relatable set of statuses. The terminology used also added to the comedic effect, the most notable being “left right, goodnight”, “meat tent” and “two hole”.

Except those last two aren’t funny. They’re probably the most degrading descriptions of women that are in common use in this country.

Deducting women down to their perceived sexual purpose is not amusing in any sense, especially given the contextual circumstances regarding domestic violence and the systemic undervaluing of women in our society. This sort of humour would not settle well with any other marginalised groups; imagine the general disgust if a ‘satirical’ page run and liked by white people routinely made statuses about black people, labelling them names such as “niggas”. I shouldn’t need to explain why this is not funny, but the same premise applies to misogynistic humour on the Yeah the Boys page. The lack of outrage, and rather, the hypocritical nature of this type of humour, highlights the casual misogyny prevalent in some groups of males. The far more alarming aspect, however, is the normalising effect this potentially has on other males.

Although I am from the more conservative state of Queensland, I have noticed that a lot of my mates back home have liked those particularly misogynistic statuses, despite appearing to me to hold reasonable views about gender equality. Many of them recognise that, as a male, they are presented with more opportunities than their female counterparts because of historical discrimination. They would never use “two hole” to describe a woman and they’re the sort of blokes that’d be offended by Donald Trump’s “locker room banter”, but mysteriously, they like this humour if it is under the guise of a Yeah the Boys post. I quizzed some of them and asked how they found this compatible with their views, given that they know that language is one of the most powerful enforcers of gender inequality. The general response was that it was just “funny” and they didn’t think it was that offensive. Perhaps hosting this attitude – one that many males seemingly have given that 420,000 mostly Australian males have liked the page – is actually worse than being openly misogynistic. Being complicit in casual misogyny but failing to recognise it leaves males ill-equipped in confronting and dealing with gender inequality.

I leave this with a call to all males who consider themselves on top of gender issues; it is our job to call out misogyny in whatever form it takes.

Just because something lends itself to not be taken seriously, it does not mean the potentially damaging outcomes should not in fact be taken seriously – especially if it hides under the guise of humour.