The Youtube community has been very vocal about the sexual assault of women this week, following the release of Youtuber Sam Pepper’s degrading and greatly disrespectful ‘secret third hand’ video.
In the video, popular Youtuber Sam cunningly tucks the right arm of his jacket into his pocket and precedes to pinch women’s ‘asses’ from underneath, with the arm that otherwise appeared not to have moved.
Sams super intelligent prank is not too dissimilar to a childhood gag, where you might have tucked your arm inside your shirt and attempted to trick people into believing you had lost it.
For those who still have the wit and intelligence of a child, the video was hilarious. For the rest of us, the video was extremely offensive and belittling, to women especially as, yet again, women are the subject of objectification and public harassment for others entertainment.
Eventually, after much criticism from offended viewers and other prominent Youtube figures, the video was removed. But Sam still stood by his actions and even published a big ‘reveal’, in which he stated that the arse-grab video was an elaborate social experiment to highlight greater gender inequalities.
Sam argued in the video that men can also be a victim of sexual assault, giving his own experience of this, further suggesting that if women were to do the same to men (publicly harass them), it would not have achieved the same amount of negative feedback.
You might be confused, and rightly so, as sexually assaulting women to raise awareness for the abuse of men is not only stupid, but offensive to such organisations that really are attempting to help break the silence of men and end the stigma attached to male victims of domestic abuse.
Of course it is important to raise awareness for such issues as men being victims of abuse, but the big reveal was most likely an attempt by Sam to avoid taking any responsibility for his actions, rather than to genuinely address any gender divide.
His previous videos also undermine his argument somewhat, as Sam has a previous track record for using women as the victim for many of his ‘pranks’.
Tame in comparison to a lot of Sams other videos, here grabbing women is not just normalised, but turned into entertainment.
You can see clearly that the women in the videos are uncomfortable and shocked by Sams behaviour, but this just seems to add to it’s ‘comedic’ value, rather than lead one to rightly question why sexual assault and catcalling women is not taken more seriously.
Though it is so refreshing to see such a huge reaction of outrage, to a clear message of women objectification that perpetuates sexism, it is also infuriating to hear feminists be accused of ‘man hating’, yet again.
Feminists can sometimes be accused of being ignorant to the sufferings of the male demographic, after simply addressing the issues that women face daily, such as catcalling and abuse.
There is sometimes the reaction of ‘but men can also be victims of such crimes’, which is true, however it is an issue that needs to be addressed separate to feminist discussions, which aims to highlight the vast and widespread issues of women specifically.
Though male abuse is not something to be trivialised or brushed under the carpet, when brought up in this way, this argument can be manipulated to simply end all discussions of women’s suffrage, rather than to begin new discussions on the issues and prejudices that men face.
It is a tool that is used to silence women.
Yes Sam, men can also be victims of abuse. However, there are no videos, that I can recall, whereby women have handcuffed themselves to men, pressured men into kissing them or publicly embarrassed or harassed them, all of which Sam has done previously.
Sam is not the first, and unfortunately won’t be the last, to degrade women to achieve notoriety and respect within our current ‘lad-culture’, and should not be given sole credit for the worldwide objectification of women.
Sam Pepper has not normalised sexual assault, he is merely the result of our patriarchal and structurally sexist society. There are many people – men and women included – like Sam, who also regard women as sexual objects, but do not have the same public platform as Sam.
As someone who has the power to influence millions of young and impressionable people, Sam Pepper is capable of enforcing these gender stereotypes for another generation, so it is important that this behaviour is also publicly addressed and debunked.
Since the video was released, more stories from women are coming to the surface, who have accused Sam Pepper of sexually assaulting them off camera. Some rumours also indicate that one of the girls might be pressing charges. So Sam, ‘are you thinking yet?’