Last week, a Change.org petition urged Facebook to remove pages that promote sexual violence. Some of the offending pages included, “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” and “Riding your Girlfriend softly Cause you dont want to wake her up.” The following passage from the petition explains the overall goal:
First, Facebook needs to clarify that pages that encourage or condone rape–like the ones mentioned above–are in violation of their existing standards. Secondly, they need to make a statement that all pages that describe sexual violence in a threatening way will be immediately taken down upon being reported. Finally, Facebook must include specific language in their Terms of Service that make it clear that pages promoting any form of sexual violence will be banned.
In some ways, misogyny on Facebook is just a newer version of the same old problem. Indeed, there are enough stories like Sierra’s for Danielle Citron, a cyber law professor at the University of Maryland, to compile a whole book of them—she’s hard at work on a text about online harassment that will be published by Harvard University Press in 2013. She notes more recent cases that have made headlines: the women smeared by AutoAdmit, the law school discussion board; the case of Harvard sex blogger Lena Chen; and the dramatic story of 11-year-old Jessi Slaughter. “I talk to women every day who’ve been silenced, scared, and just want to disappear,” Citron says. “It’s easy to dismiss these things as frat-boy antics, but this isn’t a joke.”
With zero tolerance for porn and a refusal to define it, Facebook has deleted breast cancer survivor communities (labeling one breast cancer survivor page as “pornography”), retail business pages, individual profiles of human sexuality teachers, pages for authors and actors, photos of LGBT couples kissing (for which Facebook just apologized), and even the occasional hapless user’s profile who has the misfortune of having someone else post porn on their Wall.
With no comprehensible or clear methodology around sexual speech, we see pages deleted that discuss female sexuality, while pages that joke about and encourage raping women and girls rack up the likes.
(Edit for all the trolls)
To all of you people who want to assume this event has anything to do with rape, you are completely wrong… This event was created by a WOMAN as a JOKE!!! If you don’t think it is funny, then click not attending and move on… I will be deleted any trolling ass messages about “promoting anything” other than comedy so don’t waste your time……
According to the rape culture theory, acts of sexism are commonly employed to validate and rationalize normative misogynistic practices. For instance, sexist jokes may be told to foster disrespect for women and an accompanying disregard for their well-being. An example would be a female rape victim being blamed for her being raped because of how she dressed or acted. In rape culture, sexualized violence towards women is regarded as a continuum in a society that regards women’s bodies as sexually available by default.
…This constant, unchecked barrage of endless and obvious woman-hating undoubtedly contributes to the rape of women and girls.
The sudden idealization of Charlie Sheen as some bad boy to be envied, even though he has a violent history of beating up women, contributes to the rape of women and girls. Bills like H. R. 3 that seek to redefine rape and further the attack on women’s reproductive rights contributes to the rape of women and girls. Supposed liberal media personalities like Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann showing their support for Julian Assange by denigrating Assange’s alleged rape victims contributes to the rape of women and girls. The sexist commercials that advertisers pay millions of dollars to air on Super Bowl Sunday contribute to the rape of women and girls. And blaming Lara Logan for her gang rape by suggesting her attractiveness caused it, or the job was too dangerous for her, or she shouldn’t have been there in the first place, contributes to the rape of women and girls.
It contributes to rape because it normalizes violence against women. Men rape to control, to overpower, to humiliate, to reinforce the patriarchal structure. And the media, which is vastly controlled by men, participates in reproducing already existing prejudices and inequalities, rather than seeking to transform them.
It’s unfortunate that I need to add to this:
Facebook’s refusal to ban all pages that condone sexual assault and violence against women, and their refusal to acknowledge that these pages violate their already existing standards, contributes to the rape of women and girls.