by Jarrah Hodge
Trigger-Warning for rape jokes, rape threats, misogyny
Over the past week there’s been a lot of buzz around the campaign launched by WAM! (Women, Action, & the Media) to call on prominent companies like Dove and Audible.com to pull ads from Facebook until the social networking site implements new policies and enforcement to ban gender-based hate speech. If you weren’t aware just how big the problem is, WAM! has cataloged some examples of what kind of content Facebook lets slide (serious trigger-warning for this link). When I posted the link to examples on Facebook most people commented that they were shocked and couldn’t even make it through reading all the horrible examples. The sad thing is that they were not hard to find.
But there is hope, and if we keep pushing, together we can show we are stronger than Facebook. In the first three days of the campaign over 22,000 tweets (using the #FBrape hashtag) and almost 2000 emails were sent to advertisers and the message is getting through. I’m feeling so motivated and inspired by this campaign and have been tweeting up a storm myself because I am so tired of having to try and keep reporting these types of posts individually, with often limited success. They offend me deeply but they also frighten me. The fact that anyone thought it was okay to create a Facebook page called “This is Why Indian Girls are Raped” or joke about “roundhouse kick[ing]” and “chokeslamm[ing]” a little girl is just horrifying. The fact that Facebook leaps all over requests to ban pictures of breastfeeding mothers but somehow thinks rape jokes don’t violate their community standards is appalling.
For me, though, this campaign is also personal.
Earlier this year someone on Twitter alerted me to the fact that a practically-professional Facebook troll was using my headshot as the profile picture for a really stupid and unsophisticated attempt at satire: a page supposedly created by a “Christian grad student” (represented by my picture) warning people against marijuana. The page owner, who had at least 10 accounts I could find under different fake names, had made my picture a target by posting incendiary information and graphics on the page.
When I found my picture on that page, there were more than 100 vicious, misogynistic comments on it. Here is just a small selection of the gems: Read more