Dank Memes: Dark side of Pakistani web where rape victims are mocked and murdered are laughed on
In Pakistan, ‘Dank Meme’ groups have become a space where memes that are derogatory, explicit, sexual, and intimidating in nature especially against women and Trans community, are shared.
Recently, the word ‘dank’ is being used more frequently on the internet. It is termed as ‘dark humor’ or ‘sarcasm’ that followers engage in for cheap thrills.
In Pakistan, ‘Dank Meme’ groups have become a space where memes that are derogatory, explicit, sexual, and intimidating in nature especially against women and Transgender community are shared.
Last year, a sexist closed Facebook group, “Dankpuna at LUMS”, was exposed by female students of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
About 600 men and women were part of the group, sharing bigot and gross memes that slut-shamed students.
The girls involved in exposing the group, mainly from LUMS, were targeted on social media with warnings. The accounts of the girls were hacked, and they were threatened by the followers of the group.
Sed Qureshi a.k.a Bilal Qureshi has numerous Facebook accounts and he is notorious for posting offensive videos on his profile. These videos range from verbal abuse including provocation of violence against women –to frequent videos of animal cruelty.
Qureshi, whose Facebook profile has been taken down, is also a leader of a closed Facebook group, “Pak Meme Academy (Dank)” which has over 4500 group members.
The content of the group Pak Meme Academy, includes unethical rape jokes, character shaming of women, a political satire that targets women/children/ animals, and plan raids.
Pak Meme Academy is not the only group handled by Qureshi. He along with his friends were allegedly the founders of a former Facebook group that shared unwarranted memes on the Zainab murder case and were fined by the Karachi police.
Incels in Pakistan
A gender and sexuality expert, Dr. Muhammad Moiz, believes that ‘dank memes groups’ are ‘incel’ groups.
“‘Incel’ is a short term for “involuntarily celibate” and it refers to online groups of men who believe that they cannot enter into sexual relationships.
Dr. Moiz purposed, “The boys involved in such groups are getting rejected by girls and this is how they are responding.”
“I believe digital platforms allow people to express things they can’t or won’t say in actual social interaction. Therefore, we see a lot of toxicity, hatred, and threats being openly thrown around on such platforms,” he added.
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