Now living in a so-called ‘Facebook Generation’, freedom of speech and social interaction has never been this accessible. Feminism, along with other movements, has never had a better platform than social networking sites such as Facebook. So why is it that we’re starting to take strides backwards?
Over the years, Facebook has evolved, introducing its users to applications and fan pages that begged to be ‘liked.’ Generally, the apps are tame, but Facebook fan pages, a place where users can gather and comment, has unleashed a new kind of demon. Pages have been created that have dedicated their time to target women, and the most disturbing aspect is that these pages are incredibly popular!
One of these pages, named “Embarrassing Club Photos”, aims to post humiliating pictures of inebriated people on their nights out. However, this has escalated. As always, men are the heroes who ‘score’, whilst women have sexist comments thrown at them. Why? For being drunk, wearing revealing clothes, posing provocatively, having periods, or just simply, having a bad picture. In fact, one commenter said that the women in these photos were “asking for it.”
These vulgar responses are regular on Facebook, and can be much worse. The vast amount of times you can find comments where women are supposedly “asking to be raped” will want you to give up on social media forever. Yet, the real kick in the stomach is that half of these comments are written by other females!
Recently, a poll has been conducted that show only 1 out of 7 women are happy to call themselves feminists. By the attitudes shown on the internet, there is no wonder why there is this sense of embarrassment surrounding Feminism. As soon as you say the ‘F’ word or try and defend the women on these sites, people immediately attack you for “not having a sense of humour”. Or they decide you’re a “Feminazi,” and counter with the old time favourite, “…get back into the kitchen.”
Since trying to take on these misogynists with your keyboard is becoming futile, sites across the cyberspace, such as The Everyday Sexism Project, and petitions like “Rape isn’t Funny,” have been created to highlight the on-going sexism online and offline, all in the hope to ban these pages. Shutting down the “communities” may be one thing, but it’s not going to stop people from creating more. Unless the Facebook users who decide to contribute are banned from the site. Entirely. Even then, how do we stop the rest of the internet? Facebook is just one platform we have to worry about.
If there is a somewhat comforting light at the end of the tunnel, it is that out of this “trend” of slut-shaming Facebook pages comes the rising number of anti-sexism groups. In the last 12 months, the Guardian has reported a rapid influx of such group within universities, including the University of Westminster, Durham, Gloustershire, Liverpool, and Kings College London. The aims of these groups are to get people together to discuss this new wave of sexism occurring on Facebook, attempting to combat and discourage this behaviour.
The internet may be brilliant and there is no doubt that it is a fantastic way to band people together to fight against numerous causes. However, this “Feminazi” is calling for a change in the way Facebook pages are so easily created, because when women have photographs taken without their consent, they are not “asking for it.”