So We’re Supposed to Be “Amazed” or “Surprised” That Tween Boys Won’t Slap a Girl?

imageWhat Happens When Clickbait Headlines Avoid Mentioning the Young Boys Wouldn’t Slap the Girl?

Headlines like these are all over social media right now.

  • Young boys asked to slap girl in social experiment
  • What happens when you ask an Italian boy to slap a girl? You might be surprised.
  • What happens when you put a girl in front of a boy and ask him to slap her?

Some of the headlines do desribe the video as “heartwarming,” or promises that “you’ll love” their reactions, so that variety of headline promises good news, but the goal of clickbait is not to inform, but rather to get people to click. The more informative “Young boys refuse to slap girl in viral video” is less clickbaity than ‘Young boys asked to slap girl in social experiment.”

Rather than linking to one of the countless sites that has repubished the link with promises for how you’ll feel, I’ll embed the YouTube video.

I am not amazed, shocked, stunned, or particularly heartwarmed to learn they refuse to slap her. I’m kind of digusted that the writers of these headlines assume we live in a world in which we’ll be surprised to learn young boys won’t obey an off-camera male voice inviting them to hit a girl.

Yes, the video is cute. At the same time, the video objectifies the girl.

We hear the boys talk a little about themselves, then we see their faces when the girl is brought out and inroduced by name; then the boys are invited to describe what they liike about her. Of course, they’ve just met her and as far as we can tell from the video she hasn’t even said anything ot them, so they can only react to her looks. Then the boys are invited to “caress” the girl. One little guy kind of awkwardly reaches up to rub her shoulder, while the others gently stroke her face. And of course, many of the websites using this video for clickbait choose a still image showing any of several moments where a boy has his hand on the girl’s cheek, which kind of maybe looks like he might be slapping her.

The editing is good — I did get that emotional whammy when the boys make their decision and start explaining why they won’t do it, though I notice that one boy gives, as part of his reasoning, “Because she’s pretty,” which suggests a less-pretty girl would get a different consideration.

I have mixed feelings about the ending, when the boys are invited to kiss the girl. One boy looks at the camera to ask, “On the cheek or on the mouth?” Yes, he’s an entrepreneurial and precocious little bro, but he’s asking the off-camera male director, rather than the girl herself. (Of course, I am going only by what the video shows — perhaps in the unedited interview we might see whether he also asks the girl’s permission.)

5 thoughts on “So We’re Supposed to Be “Amazed” or “Surprised” That Tween Boys Won’t Slap a Girl?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *