Every day there are new trends on TikTok, and some of them can be quite funny, cute, or even educational! These trends can help up-and-coming creators put their take on a popular sound or idea. Often, they help the audience get to know the creators they love on a personal level or have a laugh. However, some of the new trends that pop up can be…a bit dicey from time to time. This week, one of the new circulating trends is very harmful. There has been a lot of controversy on TikTok regarding this trend. It is causing more distress than laughs.
About this trend
The new trend, with the song “Lost” by Frank Ocean, is full of men posting captions such as, “What if I took you on a date to the lookout point and just pushed you off the cliff, haha,” or “What if we had a cooking date, and I just started smashing your head with the frying pan <3,” and even more disturbing captions.
How are people responding?
This trend is scaring and upsetting many. Education and information about the alarming frequency of violence targeting women are more accessible than ever these days. So, this trend seems tasteless, to say the least. Women are concerned because the creators using this trend claim that it’s “satire” or “just a joke. However, violence towards women is a harsh reality in our lives and not something funny. Many women are truly terrified. We see these types of violence so much, and it is devastating seeing men laugh about it. It’s dehumanizing like we are not also people who deserve respect and safety.
The impacts of trends like this
When going on a first date, many women take several precautions to protect themselves. Some examples are sending a photo of the man to friends and family, turning on locations, and noting license plates. While this may seem “dramatic” to some, this is the reality in which women live. There is a real reason to be this cautious. Men are clearly laughing at abuse, showing that our caution is necessary. People often say that abusers are hard to pinpoint because they hide their true motives until women are in too deep. But this trend shows how so many men don’t take it seriously at all. Women feel like men think it’s okay for them to not feel a responsibility to even pretend to hide abusive feelings towards women as if we’re the ones being too sensitive.
Is this really “just a joke?”
Misogyny is so normalized at this point that it’s seen as a joke. In fact, men are bonding over this trend together. Seeing people laugh about violence towards women so openly and blatantly is scary. Many women feel they can’t confide in the men in their lives about abuse because it is dismissed as normal. Some men even see it as the woman’s fault. This trend pushes the notion that women simply overreact to abuse and that it only happens rarely. Some men claim that the trend is satire to underline the abuse that happens.
Consequences of these “jokes”
In the comments, there are men who truly agree with the concept, so it doesn’t really appear satirical. In the comments, the creators are also laughing with them. We’ve even seen comments about how women are weak and need to be controlled. We should be working harder towards compassion and equality. However, many men are angry at women who feel independent. According to many comments, women need to be “put in their place,”
A few comments state that “women feel too strong these days, and need a man to show her she’s beneath him through physical punishment.” Some men feel threatened by feminist notions. They are hiding their feelings under tasteless jokes that actually threaten women’s safety. I find it interesting that the same men who think being “macho” is the best attribute men can have because “women need protection” are the ones making these jokes. The men who call women dramatic for “always talking about women’s issues” are proving us right when making jokes about killing women.
The real-life impacts
1 in 3 women is subjected to abuse. Research says these numbers may be much higher since women are scared to open up about their experiences- and with good reason. Law enforcement does not always do a good job of dealing with these cases, to the point that most cases simply get dropped. There are still so many people who won’t support women who come forward about abuse because they don’t believe it, don’t want to believe it, or find it easier to support the perpetrator(s).
With all this, of course, this trend is extremely disturbing to women! We are trying to encourage more women (and men) to speak up, and seeing men make jokes about killing women- a real, everyday occurrence- is a huge step back. The murder of women is a real problem, and the trend perpetuates the feeling that women won’t be taken seriously, that there won’t be any closure or solutions. We are not allowed to be angry about the real violence we face without being called dramatic, but the notion of the “angry man” is so normalized and okay. Some men are even saying it’s “just dark humor,” but it’s not because the truth behind the jokes is just too real.
Almost 200 women died in California alone, in 2019, at the hands of their male partners or other men they trusted. These types of trends will only make it harder for women to speak up. And what about men? Men face abuse too. But when men speak up about their experiences, other men say things such as, “men can’t be abused,” or “you’re just too weak. In cases of sexual assault, they may even say, “you must have loved it.” Maybe this is because they didn’t get support when something similar happened to them, but it’s still not okay. Seeing other men laugh about it will only make them feel more isolated. Abuse and assault should not be a laughing matter, nor should it happen to anyone ever.
What is TikTok doing about it?
We know that TikTok is notorious for taking down content made by POC creators and women who post similar things to white women or men. Of course, they have done nothing about this trend. The amount of reports on these videos has been tremendous. Everyone reporting the videos is getting notifications that “this content does not violate community guidelines.” Women are posting positive videos under the sound to drown out the abusive posts. But that shouldn’t be our responsibility. Men should take accountability for their actions and sexist thoughts and try to work on it. We are all born into a world that teaches us some negative things. It’s our job to unlearn them, hard as that can be. The reality of how often the abuse and murder of women happens is a horrible truth of our world. TikTok, or any platform, should not encourage such content from anyone.
My final thoughts
Beyond that, I hope that this trend begins to highlight the hypocrisies women face. I hope it shows men that we are not simply being dramatic. Men joke about it or minimize it. They think we are silly for always going out with pepper spray and looking behind our backs, but women are murdered by men a lot. Seeing it made into a joke is sickening.
Maybe men don’t understand because they have different problems than what women face. However, I hope the negative reactions to this trend teach them that these fears are based on real, common issues women have to deal with on a daily basis. Many men are angry at the shift in gender dynamics. Whether they like it or not, things are changing. Men can choose to be part of the solution instead of the problem.
In my opinion, “jokes” like this are reaching for low-hanging fruit and are simply not funny. That shows another hypocrisy women face. Many men say women are not funny because we won’t make or “get” jokes like that. They say we are overly sensitive. But the fact that men can make such weak jokes and get more famous than women who make smart, original, truly funny jokes is a topic for another article. Further than that, I hope to see more people coming together to work on spreading positivity, equality, and love.