Just scrolled through facebook to come across an article with the headline “Refused to accept the award for “breasts of the year”… now the breast-bomb shows them off!” Ugh.
So I have been stewing on this for a while, but ready to call it now. I wanted a camera lens on Facebook Marketplace. I messaged the man who was selling a camera and lens and he was wanting them gone urgently according to his post and I asked if he would separate. He said “Yes, $120 for the lens”. I asked “Would you take $90 and I can pick it up this afternoon?”. He responded “No, sorry, $120 firm”. No problems, he is firm on his price. I can respect that. 2 weeks later, I still hadn’t found one. So I messaged him again and asked if it was still available, and if he would be open to reconsidering my offer for the $90. He said “yeah I am willing to negotiate…but it is $130 now”. I could tell he was going to be an idiot about it and blocked him. I just had a vibe that the reason he was being like this was because I was a woman. So the next day I asked my partner to message him out of interest to see what he would say. My partner asked if he would separate the lens…the guy says “Of course mate, $90”. My partner didn’t even need to barter with him. I am a grown ass woman with two degrees, and two more in the works and I needed to get my partner to negotiate a sale for me. ? All I wanted to do was take a selfie of me and the lens and send it to him, saying $90 score, but ya know, women have been beaten for less.
I man I knew from going out in my 20’s asked to be friends on Facebook. I said yes because I always thought he was a nice person. A month later he sent me a suggestive private message. I blocked him straight away but never told my husband because I didn’t want to cause trouble. I spoke to a friend about it and she told me he had just a baby with his partner! I see him in my local area and he smiles at me ! What a shitty person ! I made me feel guilty and why should I !
One reason why I am uncomfortable with social networks is what seems to me a marked inequality of response. Whenever female contacts post an article, whether scholarly or political, the response is close to zero. Male contacts, on the other hand, are far more likely to succeed with this and even spark a debate. Bottom line: the average female academic, no matter how critical her mind, is not recognized as an intellectual. Her stuff will simply not be read. Many of us, therefore, rarely post something that would fit the above content. How do you feel about this, ladies? Is my judgment too harsh? Is it all down to facebook algorhythms? Or is it merely due to the fact that many facebook contacts would not want to be seen in public liking your content for other than intellectual reasons (such as, what would this person’s partner think if I like her content)? I any case, I find this to be upsetting. Many of my female contacts have taken to post merely personal, not intellectual, content, although we’re all academics and could definitely do better. Counter-strategies, anyone?
This morning, one of the meme pages I follow posted a picture with the caption “The ‘I report memes on Facebook’ starter pack”. It wasn’t at all offensive in itself, only showing the typical traits associated with a 30-something year old mother, for example the “I want to see the manager” haircut and a pair of squabbling children. But perhaps my next move was all too naive. I commented “Once I reported a rape joke (more like a threat) thinly disguised as a meme once, and FB reckoned it was ok”. Which is true. It had been in the style of those typically douchey “I may not have x, y, or z, but I can still win your heart <33333" memes. Instead, it said: "I may not have the biggest muscles, or the best looks, or the best salary, but I can still rape you". The face of the man in the photos was terrifying on its own, but he also bore a striking resemblance to my rapist. As one would expect, my reply to the post quickly saw a reply of its own, from some young chap telling me that memes are funny and I should "stop being gay". I explained to him how traumatising the aforementioned "meme" had been, and how the man looked like the man who assaulted me. I don't know what madness was going through my head. Soon the replies to my comment spiralled out of control, with many a white man thoughtfully weighing in about how I couldn't take a joke, and how I should get off all meme pages if I didn't enjoy that type of humour. On a completely different page where I had posted a comment, I even got a reply saying: "lol you're that perpetually triggered girl I see on other meme pages talking about rape aren't you". Goodie. I have a reputation amongst meme page commenters, apparently. Nevermind any valid point I could raise in reply to them, their tired old comebacks of "haha triggered", "take a joke" and "you're too ugly to be raped" will flow in like they always have, One guy even claimed I couldn't be telling the truth, because of how openly I discussed my problems. And all of this could have been ok in the end, if it hadn't been for the fact that I saw him again today. As my bus entered a tunnel not too far from my house which is currently being reinforced, there he was among the workers. It was for the tiniest sliver of a second, but I was absolutely certain. And after that, all the vitriol and verbal abuse from those online strangers just became too much. They likely didn't give anything they said a second thought, but I don't have that luxury. It's every day for me, every minute of ever hour. Every time I post here, I start to feel a tiny bit better, but nothing really helps.
I have a modestly successful YouTube account for Disney fan videos, and a Facebook page to accompany it. All today I’ve been getting messages on the Facebook page from someone who calls themselves Donna, although their profile says Jacob and they claim Jacob is their brother. But then I started getting messages from “Jacob” himself, under another profile, and he started telling me to text him, call him, etc. and eventually said he wanted to “give my butt a slap.” I immediately blocked him – both profiles, as I am no longer sure if I was actually talking to a girl named Donna. I also blocked them on YouTube to ensure my own safety. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t create more profiles and continue to harass me, especially since reporting doesn’t do much good.
I am disappointed in the country’s choice of a new president, and ever since the election, I am outspoken about it. Without resorting to false information, memes, and name-calling, I make intelligent researched arguments on the topic. However, posting on social media draws a host of men who attack me as a woman to knock me off course or attempt to upset me with creepy comments. One man told me he wanted to “collect my tears and drink them,” or perhaps he could just “lick my face.” Another man, in an attempt to be derogatory, said, “you must be one of those feminists,” and that he “should have known there would be alligators in the water.” His fiend told him to stop attacking me because I am “super hot.” Since the election, I have heard every kind of screwed up opinion on reproductive rights. I spoke out to someone on this, and he told me, “because I like you, we’ll deport you last.” I am angry that women’s voices are dismissed repeatedly as unimportant, whiny, or irrelevant, and the only way for a woman to merit respect is to be “super hot.”
Sexism on Social Media In wake of Trump being elected, I decided to run an experiment. I scrolled through Lena Dunham’s Facebook page (a feminist and Hillary supporter), as I knew she would no doubt be receiving a lot of abuse from Trump supporters. As predicted, there was a barrage of shockingly offensive and sexist comments. I reported fourteen of the worst ones that I saw, and waited for Facebook’s response. After all, Facebook have stated in the past that it’s impossible to monitor and control abusive messages. To every one of my reports, I was issued with a message to say that none of them had violated Community Standards. This is the letter I wrote to them in response. — Dear Facebook, I’m contacting you to let you know how exactly the comments I reported on the 11th November breached your community rules. The comments were on a thread against Lena Dunham, a woman who has supported Hillary Clinton and is a campaigner for women’s rights. After the success of Donald Trump, a man who has promoted the objectification of women and has been accused of rape and sexual assault (‘grab them by the pussy’), she received a barrage of abuse from Trump supporters. I’m all for freedom of speech. Being verbally aggressive towards someone is one thing (still unacceptable), but being openly sexist without consequence is quite another. The reported comments, such as ‘you need a good fucking from a white Texan male’ and ‘all you are is a life support system for a vagina’ and ‘obese’, ‘fat pig cunt’ are not only disgustingly sexist, they’re damaging in the fight women, including me, experience every day. It reduces our argument to mockery. It reduces our worth to our ability to look pretty, have sex and conceive. It doesn’t just affect one public person in this case, it affects all women. Letting comments like this go condones this culture of reducing a woman’s self worth. According to Facebook, all of my reported comments apparently did not violate community standards. Though it’s impossible to change the result of the election, it’s important now, more than ever, for companies such as yours to hold people responsible for misogynistic behaviour. This is a targeted hate crime. Facebook is one of the strongest and most influential platforms for communicating. Please help that communication be more positive for women. I look forward to hearing from you.
I have a male relative who is famous in our family for being very rude on Facebook. If you ever post something he doesn’t agree with, he will blast you for it in the comment section. I’ve never been a particularly controversial person on Facebook and tend to steer towards feel good, humorous stuff, but recently I started sharing things pertaining to feminism and issues surrounding it. He, as you can probably guess, wasn’t too fond of it. The first incident was when I shared a picture of a tweet by a girl named Chloe Cheek about the Brock Turner trial which said “rape culture is victim shaming a woman for being ‘too drunk’, then defending a man by saying his actions were influenced by alcohol”. My relative went on to comment with “there is no such thing as “rape culture” and if a woman chooses to get drunk if ANYONE!!! chooses to drink…they get EVERYTHING that comes with it. sorry! that’s the plain truth of it” first of all, what the actual heck? How on earth can you ever insinuate that a woman deserved to get raped? Under any circumstances? I understand that he and I both come from a christian perspective that being drunk is sinful, but I don’t believe that just because you sin means you deserve to have bad things happen to you. No human being deserves to get raped. Period. God does not punish a woman’s sins by making a man rape her. That was his first offense, and I let it slide because A. I’m not a controversial person, and B. I know he’s the kind of person who will never have his mind changed. His beliefs are rooted too deeply. and when a stubborn man think God is telling him something in particular, nothing but an act of God is going to make him see his ways. So I responded with an “Okey dokey, artichokey” and left it at that. But today another incident happened. I posted an Emma Watson quote that stated “If you stand for equality, you’re a feminist. I’m sorry to tell you.” seemingly harmless, right? Something a young woman should be able to post on Facebook without being insulted and degraded simply for the fact that she has a vagina and not a penis, right? WRONG. Him: oh. my. God. ugh…I don’t even know where to start. Me: Then don’t. Neither one of us will convince the other to see things the way we see them and our opinions aren’t hurting or affecting each other at all, so we’re both better off just agreeing to disagree and nobody gets hurt feelings. Sometimes we just have to choose our battles. So thanks for not starting. 🙂 I was being so kind and accepting of our differences in opinions, right? Surely that merits me at least a little bit of respect for being a human. Him: well feminist lies are not opinions per se. and yes the spread of them does hurt. it hurts men. it relations between men and women. and it hurts gullible young women who refuse to learn better. there. that is where I started. and stopped. There he goes. I am simultaneously told that A. Because he sees my opinion as a lie it means that I am automatically stripped of even having an opinion, B. That I am just a gullible young woman who refuses to learn better, and C. That I am hurting men and my relationship to my fiance by wanting to get equal pay if, say, me and a man are both working a job and have the same qualifications, and also because I don’t want to, you know, have to worry about being RAPED every time I walk out of my house without a man I trust with me. I have bad anxiety where when someone says something mean or degrading to me, my heart starts pounding, I can’t think straight, and I start to cry. This is not the first time this man has made me cry, but it is the first time he’s treated me like a lesser human. My older sister, who has had lots of battles with this man, including over feminism, gave me the advice to not rise to his bait or act angry, because it will just infuriate him more if I act nonchalant about his rude attitude. But it just made me so sick. That’s when I started to think about how he can only make me feel small and lesser if I let him. That I cannot stop making my voice heard just because he wants to shame and scare me into being a good submissive woman. That’s when I got my idea. This may sound a little crazy and obsessive, but for the last hour I’ve been stockpiling bookmarks of feminist quotes, pictures, articles, everything….and I’ve decided to periodically post them. I feel like he will either see that I am standing my ground and give up, or he’ll continue to make a fool of himself on my posts and eventually I won’t get that heart pounding, blurry thoughts, teary eyed moment that he usually makes me have. It’s a win/win. So with that being said, I know that this is not nearly as bad as what a lot of women face on a day to day basis, but this is my story. I wanted to get it out there and share that sometimes a misogynistic man who picks on little girls can end up being just the fuel that makes that girl finally decide to stand up for what she believes in.
There is a game called Scatter Slots currently being advertised in my Facebook sidebar as a featured game. There is a cartoon-style picture of a blue-haired woman wearing a rather revealing blue dress standing next to a slot machine. The dress leaves very little to the imagination- her breasts are practically bursting out of it. What has this got to do with slot machines? Could it be pandering to the male gaze again? Notice that we never see a picture of a scantily-clad man with his penis out in any game adverts.