The Internet Made Me Do It: How Stealing Short Chappal Videos Normalizes Physical Abuse

  • Granted, we are all guilty of laughing at childish or hostile jokes disguised as light-hearted banter at least once in our lives.
  • Although we’ve used humor to mask abuse, short videos on the internet continue to normalize it, and any creator is rarely held accountable.
  • In this article, we take a closer look at how social media challenges or trends cross boundaries and why people find abusive jokes amusing.

“Go clean your room,” orders the mother.

“I’m a big one, mom. Please don’t tell me what to do,” a 21-year-old popular social media content creator and Bollywood actor says in his recent reel, which is followed by 10.3 million fans on Instagram. If you think he got a ‘flying chappal‘ later to answer, you are right. This young man regretted having said no to his mother right away, but it was too late. She then chose her weapon of ‘discipline’ between a chappal, a belan and a chimta (slipper, roller and steel tongs). After careful consideration, she decides to throw a chappal at her son.

This recently uploaded reel has garnered over 330,000 likes and 1.8 million views. The comments section was filled with laughing emojis, with one fan asking the mother to “use a belan next time” and another user, related to this content, saying, “chappal is the best weapon”. A media platform that covers social media trends even made a story about his reel, calling the equation between him and his mom “sweet and adorable.”

A Facebook meme page, “Flying Chappal”, with over 2 lakh followers, defines it as a “device used by Indian parents to reshape their children for a better future”. Every meme on this page, as the name suggests, is about getting hit by a flying chappal from your parents, friends, or partners at the slightest disagreement.

From Facebook meme pages and YouTube shorts to Instagram reels, this “flying chappal” chronicle has taken shape in various forms of contemporary expression. Even Bollywood, which often celebrates ‘
anushasan, pratishtha and parampara‘ (discipline, prestige and tradition), standardized the spanking of children or the throwing of chappals to ‘discipline’ them in various films.

The Internet Made Me Do It: How Stealing Short Chappal Videos Normalizes Physical Abuse
YRF – Twitter

In fact, as a popular line from the film Dabangg suggests, violence is so normalized that we fear love or feeling seen, not a slap.

The Internet Made Me Do It: How Stealing Short Chappal Videos Normalizes Physical Abuse

Chappal fek ke maarungi“(I’m going to throw a chappal at you) is a threat that could send chills down your spine if you’re a five-year-old, instill fear in your fragile mind, and force you to do a task you absolutely hate. These kids traumatized, at the age of nine, are immune to ”
kaan ke neeche maarunga” (to put it loosely, ‘I’m going to slap you hard’) and several other abusive threats they receive from their parents. For these children, it’s just a way of learning to be a “good” boy or girl.

Tragedy or comedy: What do audiences think of flying chappal reels?

Challenge creators who standardize physical violence With flying chappal reels, Divija Bhasin, a psychologist and digital content creator, uploaded a counter-reel last month urging her audience to think about the long-term consequences for a child’s mental health.

Bhasin says this “flying chappal” content could also be a coping mechanism.

“It’s easier to laugh about it than to realize how much it affects us. It’s something that is out of people’s control when they grow up and humor helps them ignore the lack of control in this situation. There are a lot of people who don’t see a problem with it because they were brought up that way. Finding it funny is actually a consequence of seeing it happen to everyone around them. It’s the idea that if everyone is doing it, it has to be fair,” Bhasin says.

Referring to Friends sitcom character Chandler Bing, Nikhil Taneja, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of youth media and mental health platform Yuvaa, also says a lot of humor comes from trauma. repressed.

“You can’t always live in pain, so what you do is you start laughing about it because it’s easier to laugh than to talk about the pain in an honest and vulnerable way. It’s hard to see it as a tragedy and it’s much easier to see it as a comedy.

According to a survey by online community First Moms Club of more than 1,790 parents, 77.5% of parents resort to hitting children, with 28% admitting they do so regularly.

Another report launched by the humanitarian aid organization United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2020, pinching, slapping, beating with rods, refusing food were among 30 different ways Indian parents abused and punished their children. These punishments were meted out to children for perceived infractions as minor as watching TV for too long, arguing with siblings, or not completing homework or chores.

These punishments leave permanent scars on children. So, if content creators are trying to reflect on their own pain and journey, a disclaimer stating that their content is not intended to promote abuse or normalize violence might be helpful.

“There’s a section of the population that wouldn’t like humor based on violence or maybe even get triggered by it, but there are people who can find it de-stressing. So I think that there are disclaimers at the beginning of the videos so people can choose what kind of humor they watch,” says Dr. Hemal Vajani, Lead Clinical Hypnotherapist and Homeopathy Consultant.

Can small 60-second reels really normalize abuse?

In today’s digital world, social media influencers hold a lot of power. A single Level I creator can reach at least 2-3 million people at once, convince them to buy new products or take another look at deep-rooted conditioning.

So if a content creator casually slaps their friends or kids to make them laugh, it’s rare for anyone in the audience to call it abuse.

“We think it’s ‘just a reel’, but it’s not. It influences us on a more subconscious level because we don’t observe them for the purpose of active learning. We take this information and it changes our way of thinking because it is so normalized in the media that we think everything is fine,” says Bhasin.

Suggesting how content creators can talk about abuse, she adds, “If people want to joke about it, they should do it in a way that shows how much abuse it really is. Don’t compromise its effects by turning it into a lightweight reel. It’s not light. It’s abuse and it always will be (even if we laugh about it).

In the United States, if a parent hits their child, child services intervene. In India, slapping is part of our culture of “discipline” – so internalized that we laugh at our own pain.

Dr. Shweta Sharma, clinical psychologist and founder of the Mansa Global Foundation, points out that humorous content around physical violence generalizes and normalizes this behavior. “When you promote anything, you generalize a behavior. People think it’s common and we can do it too. Here, the media is so effective because you use two senses: the audio and the visual. Even if your “intent” is to make people laugh, they will perceive it as something normal. Whether it be [the]
ice bucket challenge or Kiki challenge, people watch it in the media and start doing it.

Most young Indians don’t even understand what trauma really is, says Taneja, and so many things considered completely normal are actually trauma.

“What [this type of content] fact, do many people feel seen. At the same time, I think it normalizes a bit in people’s heads by saying, okay, if I’m not the only one going through this, maybe it’s not that bad. So I wouldn’t blame the people who should be doing it because I don’t think they even realize it. They don’t really exploit it for humor, they also express that this is what their life is like. We probably need to have those conversations with them too and ask them if “you think that’s funny, what did you go through.” I sympathize.’ At the same time, of course, we need a broader responsible creation ecosystem, where not only that, but many other things are standardized. We need to have tougher discussions about it,” says Taneja.

Mental health experts who spoke to Business Insider India said that when abusive behavior is presented as a joke, the humor decreases the perception that the speaker needs help and increases our tolerance for violence.

Netizens who remain silent also indirectly approve of it, becoming part of the problem as well. However, now is the time to start telling the tale. Abuse.

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