Johannesburg – As many tried to body-shame the Wits topless protesters who dominated screens and social media around the country, many others came out in their defence.
A leading perpetrator of the negative commentary was KayaFM comedian Skhumba Hlophe, who uploaded a video of himself mocking the bodies of the three female students.
In Zulu he said: “Hi guys. We understand fees must fall uBaba (President Jacob Zuma) is doing his own thing and then there’s Blade (Nzimande) with his rough face, but please don’t show your breasts. When a breast is shown let it be a tennis (ball). People are showing breasts and those breasts are droopy. They’re like wet All Stars without shoelaces.”
He went on to make fun of their bellies and stretch marks, saying students don’t have silver stripes.Online defence came mostly from women.
“Just realised we’re going to have to deal with body shamers and their responses to the women protesting shirtless,” said @Mijeaux.
@BongoMuffing said: “All you know to do is sexualise women, now you’re here refusing to understand why naked protest can be a thing.”
This was echoed by @TheGreat_Natsby, who tweeted: “The problem is that you think people’s (read: women’s) bodies are for your consumption.”
There were some who said they failed to understand why the women went topless.
“These feminists are pushing their own agenda at the wrong time,” said @Nina_Weh_Ntando, while @Tabz_Ngomane tweeted: “#NakedProtest should be done to protest about RAPE but not about free education #FeesMustFall.”
@Martin_RSA tried to respond to these queries by saying: “The naked body represents vulnerability (and) strength, and being disarmed yet empowered. #NakedProtests are more than just spectacle. It’s a confrontation of restrictions placed upon the female body.”
There was also response from those who were on the ground when the naked protest happened.
@thabisosoprano said: “People must stop ridiculing our ladies who stripped naked so as to save us from rubber bullets and tear gas. Personally I thank you! #wits.”