Last week around this time, I was scrolling through my social media pages and noticed a new meme had surfaced in the consciousness of my “internet cousins.” It was conjured up from a scene of the American animated series, Dexter’s Laboratory, in which he wooed two girls with his knowledge of the French language. In the vast world of memes, however, some brilliant millennial chose to have it reflect the distinct vernacular of Belizean society. All these memes, I assure you, are quite funny, and if you need a good dose of Belizean-inspired memes do check out @belizeanriceandmemes.
One version of the “we love your accent” Dexter meme caught my attention, though: it was the one about “dugups.” Of course, we know that all memes have some origin that even the layman can relate to and more often than not “we di tek bad ting mek laugh.” The following was no exception.
The meme originated from a video of a young boy being beaten on his groin area for telling a young girl that he wanted to “dugups ah.” For my non-Belizean readers, that means that he was proclaiming to the girl that he wanted to have sex with her. In the video, not only was his pants taken down, leaving him exposed to be filmed, he was also threatened that if he were to say those string of words again to any other girl, his penis will be chopped off, chopped up, cooked and fed to him.
What in the Willie Lynch was that about!? I want you to sit with this for a moment and imagine this happening to your son, brother, nephew, and grandson. Would this be half as funny as it was before placing a loved one into that space? Now imagine, the young person not being a boy but a girl, would it have been such a point of ridicule? Would it have not immediately sent up screaming alarms?
We must do better for our boys! No, I am not saying that this young boy was to say those words to the young girl and I am not saying that some disciplinary action should not have been taken. What I am saying, is that the way to do that is definitely not by physically, psychologically and I dare say sexually demeaning him. Buck Breaking in no way, shape or form is the methodology we are to employ to raise respectable boys into respectable young men. How about we show them that it’s okay to have emotions? How about we teach them the language to properly and respectfully articulate feelings? Maybe we can teach them that their value as a man does not equate to the number of women they have sex with? How about we teach our boys, in informal and formal settings, about comprehensive sexuality education? How about we stop perpetuating the actions of our colonial oppressors upon our own children and expecting from them what we did not sow within our own collective consciousness!
At some point, we are going to have to take a look in the mirror and recognize the ugliness staring right back at us. We’re going to have to read and acknowledge these dehumanizing narratives which we have written all by ourselves and “tek da bukut.”
I end by quoting the “Sexual Violence and the Law” section of the Handbook on Sexual Violence drafted by the Women’s Department under the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with United Nations Population Fund and UN Women from 2012, “Aggravated Assault – where the perpetrator uses an object or a weapon such as piece of wood, a belt or shoes or other object to hit the survivor during an assault of a sexual nature. In addition, a sexual assault on a boy or girl that does not include penetration can be an aggravated assault. Assault and Battery – other physical contact intended to frighten or cause pain, especially if person is of low mental capacity or is an infant.”