The world’s worst boyfriend, Brad Holmes, has sunk to new lows after uploading a video of him rubbing chilli on his girlfriend’s tampon.
The 24-year-old, who has previously posted viral videos of him cutting off her ponytail while she was sleeping and fake marriage proposals, has since removed the video, which has been blasted as “misogynistic” and “vile”.
Not only is the so-called prank immature, it is also utterly irresponsible. Young, easily-influenced fans could be tempted to imitate the act, causing unknown harm to the victims.
It also shows, yet again, how society fails to take menstruation seriously. We’ve only just abolished Tampon Tax, and now we’re being encouraged to laugh at a poor girl who is exploited on camera for “banter”. If ever there was a justification for holding "lad culture" workshops at universities, this is it.
This week the Huffington Post decided to upload the “Hot Vagina” video to the comedy section of its website, under the headline: “Brad Holmes Pranks Girlfriend By Rubbing Chilli On Her Tampon And Filming Her Reaction”. It swiftly removed the link after heavy criticism – Holmes has since followed suit, removing the video on YouTube, and has released an apology – but the message was still loud and clear: people think it’s acceptable to mock menstruation.
It is never, ever funny to assault a woman in this way. Excluding all other factors, the vagina is a very sensitive area of the body. Any partner with an ounce of respect for their girlfriend would never dream of risking damaging them in such a way. What Holmes has demonstrated in filming and uploading the prank, all for the sake of YouTube fame, is a complete lack of respect for his girlfriend and for the female body.
The invasive prank depicts his girlfriend, 22-year-old Jenny Davis, apparently in excruciating pain. But rather than show any form of remorse as Jenny holds her vagina, crying it’s “on fire”, Brad continues to film her agony, laughing before showing her the chilli that he used to rub on the tampon. Any woman who has ever had a urinary tract infection can only begin to imagine the burning sensation this would have produced; it's enough to make anyone wince at the thought of it.
I sincerely hope, as has been suggested, Davis was not complicit in this act. If she did give her consent, what sort of message does that send out to young girls? That it’s OK to let your boyfriend take risks with your physical health? That we all need to learn to “take a joke”? This vile trick could have seriously backfired, causing any number of rashes and reactions.
In 2013, a 14-year-old girl died after contracting toxic shock syndrome after using her first tampon. More recently, a student from Kent ended up in intensive care after leaving a tampon in for too long. Tampons already carry a serious health risk. Why, as a woman who would undoubtedly be familiar with those risks, would allow those risks to be amplified by sharing such material.
All this video has shown is the depths Holmes will sink to for a cheap laugh. He might be famous for his pranks and videos, but he needs to grow up.
Like it or not, Holmes is in the public eye, influencing a generation below him. It's time he took some responsibility for his actions.
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