Tag Archives: facebook

Dear Facebook User

Dear Facebook User,

It has recently come to my attention that Facebook is mainly comprised of delightful documentations of people’s lives. Eating delicious food and photos of incredible travels are what social media is made for, all glossy and edited with Instagram filters that make everyone look younger and happier than they really are.

If you are anything like me, a real human being with feelings, problems and a mostly unremarkable daily life, this flood of happiness, fun and realizations can make you feel inadequate, boring and unhappy at times. In a perfect world we would all feel happy enough in ourselves not to consider Facebook a battle of “Who is having a better time?” that often makes young people feel lonely.

This feeling of battle is what leads us to always be searching for the best, most incredible thing to be doing on a Saturday night. We always need to find the better thing to do, the thing that will bring us most joy and with social media and technology surely that event is just within our reach. We have become flaky human beings, always looking for the best night out, the best event, the thing that will make us happiest (or make us appear the happiest). If we were purely doing this for ourselves, it may be acceptable but I often feel like there are times that I look for the best angle, the best view just so I can share it on social media. This can lead to a type of unhappiness that is based on comparisons which I personally don’t think is healthy. Here is a common list of things you might think while you are scrolling down your feed.

– I could have gone to that party, it seemed to be better than the one I actually went to.
– Wow, Janet always travels to such incredible places. I wish I could do that.
– I can’t believe Johnny is moving to New York City, that sounds really cool and a lot better than where I am right now.
– Oh, Lucy got a new job and it’s better paying than what I got right now. Ugh.
– How the hell can Janet afford to travel so much? Why can’t afford to do that?
– Why does everyone else seem to be having a better life than I am?
– Aw, Jenna and Julien just moved in together. Too bad my last relationship came crashing down like a thousand waves.
– Ugh, Julie looks so much prettier than I do in this photo

Technology is incredible and I’ve made and kept a lot of friends through it. But the psychological effects of being on Facebook are real: we always think other people are happier, prettier and more fulfilled than we are. It’s a heightened version of “The grass is always greener on the other side” because we can see much more than the grass. We can see the food, the travelling, the embraces, the kisses and the smiles.

The absolute worst is when we can see other people moving forward and we feel like nothing is happening in our lives or we feel like we’ve gone back a few steps. It sucks, because sometimes there isn’t anything we can do to make our life move forward, we just have to wait until our next move is a possibility. So we sit there, in our modern-day anxiety, unhappy and bored, scrolling down through our friends’ accomplishments.

Because of technology we are unable to live in the present, we are unable to understand that what we have right now will not last forever and that we can be content with it for the time being, even if we feel like we are stuck or unhappy. Sitting with your pain or your boredom or your unfullfilment is necessary so you can one day move forward. Comparing yourself to your Facebook friends’ can make you want to rush through the phase you’re in which can be become destructive in the future.

Facebook User, I am writing this to you in the hope that you start realizing that we all have pain and that we all go through phases where we wished we could just give up. I am writing this to you so that you understand that the photos your friends put up on Facebook are selected, edited and tailored to make them look a certain way. You can be sure that behind the photo of that couple that just moved in there is hard work put into a relationship. You can be certain that behind your friends’ travels there were hours of work and planning and even home-sickness. Everyone has a thing, no one’s life is perfect and we all move at different speeds to achieve what we want.

Review: Lulu

Image

First I was appalled. No human being deserves to be treated as an object and publicly rated for their worth as a date, partner and/or hook up. After reading countless rants with the usual argument of ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’ and how this wasn’t a good move for feminism I decided to take my own conclusions and review the app myself.

This is how it works: all reviews are anonymous. The only thing other people will know about you is your level of intimacy with the boy being reviewed. He can be your crush, ex-boyfriend, former hook up, boyfriend or friend. Your questions will be based on your relationship to the boy.

And as expected the questions are pretty dumb, unrealistic and out of touch. It seems like the developers of this app objectified the users as well as the men being reviewed: what do girls want? Obviously they all want a wealthy, well-dressed, always-picks-up-the-tab, beautiful man. So they based their questions on this rather limited definition of women’s wishes.

Some examples of the questions:

What does he do on the internet? A) Pornography B) Look at Tiffany’s engagement rings.

When he makes jokes I… A) Feel sad for him B) Practice my acting: Ha Ha C) Chuckle D) Can’t stop laughing! E) Wonder if I should date him

Eeesh. Well, at least it’s not just a flat one to ten hotness rating à la Zuckeberg.

Lulu assumes that men themselves fit into boxes. He can be funny or not funny – he can’t be funny just sometimes. He can be fit and beautiful or ugly, there’s no space for any other kind of attractiveness except the conventional kind.

My verdict? It’s an app that will be made fun of for a while. Then people will get bored and stop using it. Simple as.

However I think this app raises pertinent questions about the sexist world we live today. It’s pretty clear to me that men being objectified can be an eye-opener for them. Maybe they can put themselves in the shoes of women and see how bad it feels.

One thing that annoys me about the men’s reaction to this and other objectification of males is the amount of coverage it gets though. I’ll give you an example.

A few years ago, here in Brazil, there was a commercial that depicted fat, hairy men as disgusting. Guess what: loads of fat, hairy men had a good ol’ cry about it, as if that was the worst thing in the whole world.

Aw, boo-hoo!

Try centuries of sexual objectification and repression. And when women complain about it we are called man-haters and killjoys. Yet, this stuff is given more attention to.

We can compare this ‘hairy’ commercial with a yogurt advert that went on Brazilian television last summer. It had a skinny woman fretting at the camera, and a voice asking “Are you ready for the summer?” The girl looks depressed and shakes her head – but don’t worry! This yogurt will help you lose weight or something.

I don’t know if anyone complained about it. There were no controversies. Nothing to see here! Just the usual objectification and misogyny brainwashing of women for the sake of capitalism.

My point is that even though men are completely right in complaining about Lulu there are instances where women are objectified that go completely unnoticed because it’s so normalized. And feminists like me have to point it out.

But then, we hate all men, amirite? I have no sense of humour.

I think one of my Facebook friends summed it up well on one of her statuses: “Is there anyone already saying that if men didn’t want to be badly reviewed they shouldn’t have sex with someone they don’t trust or this kind of idiotic excuse only comes up when naked videos of women leaks on the internet?”

Men: always the victims.

Women: always the guilty ones.

Lulu is not good for anyone. Neither gender should be objectified. So all of us should stop.

Facebook promotes rape culture

Facebook has been waging a war on women’s safety. They are not working against abuse of women – like all decent companies and people should – but they are working to defend offensive, aggressive and appalling Facebook pages that promote rape culture and validate abusers.

There are pages are generated by Facebook users with content is offensive, threatening and racist. The images are truly appaling, but despite reports by several people they are still there eve though they are explicitly against Facebook’s terms and conditions. The rules for ‘hate speech’ and reported content reads ‘we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.’ Yet, thousands of photos are still posted on the website, despite reports.

Women from all over the world report offensive content every day – but they get the same response.

This photo of a murdered, bloodied woman does not violate Facebook’s Community Standard on graphic violence.

This page about slapping hookers does not violate Facebook’s Community Standard on hate speech.

This image condoning (and perhaps even encouraging) date-rape drugs does not violate Facebook’s Community Standard on violence and threats.

Neither does this one, promoting physical abuse and the silencing of women.

(Source)

Though the word ‘promoting’ might seem a bit strong to describe Facebook’s current (or lack of) actions towards this problem, there is no other way to put it. Though the social media network is a pit of information, the company is still responsible for the content posted by its users. That is plain and simple. The lack of action has resulted in a plain and simple conclusion: Facebook is a misogynist, sexist, racist company that doesn’t really care about anyone but themselves (white, rich men).

According to the blogger Rosie at Make Me a Sammich, the creator of Rapebook, a page built to make people aware of the hateful content on Facebook, has been speaking to the company herself for six months. This means they know that there are issues with their reporting system, but for six months they have failed to do anything about it – and if they eventually do something about it, it is because several people had to point it out to them, not because they know it’s wrong. In fact, women haven’t just been pointing it out, they have been actively reporting and writing about this issue for more than a year.

Yet, nothing has been done to change the system, except for a Twitter account that says reports of this issue are inaccurate and a thinly veiled scheme to show their system works. Facebook is currently tracking down everything reported by bloggers on their pages and taking them down, just so they can say ‘This is inaccurate, our system works perfectly. You’re overreacting.’

Women are not overreacting. We are reacting, and implying we are over-sensitive or easily offended is just a way to silence us. Why is it so hard to believe we actually feel offended by these images? Why is it so hard to understand that we have real opinions and feelings?

‘Lighten up’ is another phrase used to silence women. ‘It’s just a joke, we don’t really think rape is acceptable!’ – well, you know who thinks rape and abuse are an acceptable and common part of everyday life? Rapists and abusers do. And these jokes, images and pages validate their urges and their aggressive actions to satisfy them.

Women also feel threatened by these jokes every day. Who’s to say someone who thinks rape is just a way to get laid doesn’t hang around them? Guess what, statistics show that 75% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Jokes like this are threatening behavior, whether you mean it to be or not. Intentions don’t quite matter here as we already feel threatened by society in general because of rape culture. Facebook is condoning and even encouraging just that – a culture in which rape is normalized by jokes and sniggering comments.

And all of this begs the question of why the social media network is doing this. Why are they directly associating themselves with this? Why have there been no responses and only meek efforts to fix this?

It gets worse. Bloggers and women fighting against this have taken matters to where it hurts; the money. They started tweeting and emailing companies that buy ad space from Facebook, showing screenshots of hateful content right next to their ads. Facebook’s response and ultimate proof they do not care about abuse and rape being encouraged in their website? They pulled adverts from any abusive pages that have been reported.

And again, I ask – why? Is it a ‘freedom of speech’ defense? That’s not very convincing, as photos of breastfeeding, breast cancer awareness and protesting Femen breasts have been taken down when reported.

So here’s the conclusion: Facebook only cares about white men who laugh at other minorities. Everyone else can be offended in their own time and stop complaining.

Learn how to report Facebook pages and images here.

Update 1:

I have received the following message from Jaclyn Friedman from Women, Action, and the Media (WAM): “These images don’t just affect women — they affect all of us. They have the effect of normalizing violence against women, so that the culture treats it as inevitable, or a joke, and does nothing about it. But just like these images aren’t inevitable, neither is violence against women. That’s why we launched the campaign.”

Update 2:

Great news for Internet activism – Facebook has replied to the #FBrape campaign and promised to take action.

Now it’s up to us to make sure that happens.

FB’s full statement can be read here.

Did you like this post? Like my blog on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for more content!