A recent segment on Tosh.0 had the host daring his viewers (who happen to be mostly male) to take videos of themselves sneaking up behind women and “lightly touching” the women’s stomachs while they’re sitting down.
And, naturally, people actually did it, because people are impressionable. But some Internet viewers didn’t take the joke lightly.
While Jezebel’s Katie Baker writes that it’s usually “more productive to ignore dumb sexist bulls— that you know will make you want to throw things at your television,” she points out that this dare of sorts “deserves our attention for the way Tosh goes out of his way to stress that this touching should be unprovoked, non-consensual, and — hopefully, in best case scenarios! — shame inducing.”
The clip doesn’t necessarily sound malicious—and there’s a debate in the post’s comments about “getting” the show’s humor—but the fact of the matter is that the clip has elicited unwanted and unexpected physical contact that is being videotaped for the entertainment of others, mostly male.
There are videos up on YouTube of guys going up and touching girls’ stomachs — and one kid even touched his teacher. While many of the unassuming victims of the prank end up laughing, it’s still uncalled for and disconcerting to watch. YouTube seems to think so, too, judging by the number of “dislikes” outweighing the “likes” on the videos.