Today is International Women’s Day. People worldwide have been staging positive demonstrations to educate and advocate on behalf of women. One such rally occurred this Saturday in London’s Trafalgar Square, following the “Million Women Rise” march. Demonstrators wielded signs that condemned violence against women and encouraged people everywhere to support domestic abuse survivors.
Read More: International Women's Day Reminds Us Why Feminism Must Not Lose Its Bite
Suddenly, the uplifting atmosphere was shattered. A man started chanting “power to the women, no more violence against women,” in a singsong, ironic tone. He ran up to one woman and began wresting the sign from her hands. She hit him, and he smashed a bottle over her head, knocking her to the ground. Onlookers were horrified.
As bystanders surrounded him, the man yelled, “It’s a joke, it’s fake, we’re making a movie, we’re making a porno.” (Seriously? A ‘porno’?! What an idiotic, insensitive response to traumatized women — not even remotely funny.)
YouTube channel Trollstation later revealed that their actors had staged the entire incident, using a harmless bottle of edible sugar glass. They claimed that it was meant to further, and even enrich, the protest. The female actor told The Independent,
“Being a woman, I am obliged to consent to everything [the demonstrators] stand for … [The prank] was a social experiment in a sense — in raw surroundings, unmanipulated — to see whether there would be a double standard shift with the violence being directed towards a man.”
In other words, they were trying to provoke the women to fight back, to get sensationalized footage for their YouTube video. They actually wanted to detract from a women’s rights rally to support men’s rights instead. This is similar to how “All Lives Matter” tries to silence “Black Lives Matter.”
One witness, a domestic abuse survivor herself, told the Independent that the trolls’ display “crossed a line:” “Naturally women are going to be defensive physically if he was doing that to another woman. The reaction they wanted was violence from us.” Another activist lamented that the “shocking” incident “turned an empowering space into an unsafe one.”
Whatever excuses Trollstation makes, their stunt has absolutely no social value, besides revealing how far people will sink for their five minutes of fame. These appalling human beings even titled their video “Woman Goes Wild At Feminist Rally”! (Unfortunately for them, no women actually went wild. Bystanders were shocked and angry, but their behavior was admirable.) Far from any genuine concern about domestic violence — either by women or against them — Trollstation only cares about YouTube clicks.
Real satire has societal value, even when it offends. There’s a time and a place for avant-garde displays, but this was not it. Trampling over abused women’s feelings and churning up horrible memories is never okay. Shame on these self-righteous, egotistical publicity-mongers for exploiting the people they claim to support.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter @RTUKnews