[TRIGGER WARNING: rape jokes]
I feel like this is all I post about these days.
By Frances Ryan, New Statesman:
Have you heard the one about the struggling woman and the rapist trying to pin her down? Rape is funny. It’s quite the joke, and Facebook apparently doesn’t mind if you spend your time swapping fantasised tales of abuse.
In between talk of Greys Anatomy and the annoying ones from X Factor, the global social networking site is home to pages dedicated to discussing rape in a positive light. “You know she’s playing hard to get when your (sic) chasing her down an alleyway”,”Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you don’t want to wake her up” and other delights have been on the site for for months, places where fans can discuss strategies of forcing women into sex in a so-called “comic” way. That this is, according to Facebook, acceptable, is the truly sick joke.
In response to calls to take the pages down, the site released a statement declaring that “groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs — even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some — do not by themselves violate our policies.” A quick read of the site’s own terms and conditions confirms this is very much not the case. It is there in black and white with, “You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence”. According to Facebook, talking about raping your friend’s girlfriend to see “if she can put up a fight” is neither violent nor hateful, and advocating such a scenario is a “belief”. Not for the first time, we are told rape is something to be trivialised — the special crime that can be actively promoted with the confidence that few will bat an eye.
It’s not a newsflash that the internet is home to some deranged, offensive language — in many ways, it is the place where good taste comes to die. A distasteful liberation comes from the anonymity, as the author is comforted by the knowledge that they cannot be seen behind the screen. It’s a sense of security that is often misleading, it being illegal to stir up hatred on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation. When it comes to hatred on the grounds of gender, however, there is no such legislation, with anyone free to whip up misogyny.
Be it Facebook policy or our own laws, abuse against women is treated differently; separated and viewed as lesser than that leveled at other marginalised groups. The rules that would rightly apply if the victim were black, Muslim or gay are deemed irrelevant if the victim is female. The hate spouted based on this factor is not a type that counts. Women, it seems, do not count.
We exist in a culture that views the abuse of women as something less than serious. Rape can be encouraged on global networking sites, just as t-shirts and hair products can be sold based on the concept of coming home to your boyfriend and being smacked round the face. Facebook says it with confidence — if directed at women, violence is a joke. But abuse is abuse. That which is based on gender should be seen not simply as offensive, but a hate crime like anything else.
I’d just like to add, when you go to report a violation on facebook you can choose hate speech as one of the options, and facebook has this to say:
“Facebook does not tolerate hate speech. While we encourage the discussion of ideas, institutions, events, and practices, it is a serious violation of our terms to single out individuals based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or disease.” [emphasis mine]
Facebook does not tolerate hate speech based on gender. So, I guess talk about raping women does not fall under the category of gender-based hate speech. What’s worse is that there are people who go on the site and attempt to combat the attitude by commenting and they are verbally attacked and threatened with rape and violence. HOW IS THIS NOT A FUCKING PROBLEM?? How is this not, at the very very least, hate speech??
Thank you, Facebook. Thank you so much. It’s really nice to see you jumping on the patriarchal, misogynistic, rape culture bandwagon.
We can’t claim credit for this, but we share the sentiment.
So, like a week and a half ago, it was sorority recruitment at my university and so Facebook was full of posts about what house girls joined and women welcoming their new sisters and things like that. Well, one guy posted that ‘Sorority recruitment is raping my newsfeed. Stop.’
Raping your newsfeed, really? Really? Raping? Is that the best choice of words there? Is that the only verb that you felt adequately displayed your feelings?
I mean, sorry to be a bitch, but surely by the time you get to college, you know of a few better choices than raping.
Goodness. I am so angry right now. The day I saw it, I thought it was really dumb and slightly judged him, but I got smashed this weekend and found myself ranting angrily about it and then last night, I had a dream about saying all of that to his face. I didn’t even realize how much it got to me until today.
I just hate that people find ‘rape’ to be an appropriate term to use. It is a sucky reminder for survivors and trivalizes something serious and damaging. Just think about what you said for two seconds there, dude.
Wow. I am just so worked up about this. I wish I had the guts to say something. It was a full week ago though, so I’d look like a creep and I am always afraid of broadcasting my victim/survivor status to the world.
We use English, bitches. Yeah, we translated it for some of you, but if the translation says anything different at all, English rules. So if you’re not reading this in English, technically none of it matters. Just FYI. Also, you foreigners should check out section 16, fucking stat.
We last fucked with this: April 26, 2011.
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities
All these rules are based on some other rules we have that aren’t really rules so much as guidelines. These rules, though, are the real rules, and they say what you can and can’t do on Facebook, and what we can and can’t do with your shit. We treat your use of Facebook exactly like college athletes treat silence – consent, motherfuckers.
We give lots of fucks about your privacy, so we wrote this. Read it, so you know what the fuck we’re going to do with the shit you post, so you’re not all “Facebook, I had no idea!” when your shit is in our press releases. That way you know the deal when you’re deciding what to post.
2. Sharing your Content and Information
- Good news! Everything you put on Facebook is yours. Seriously, we would never steal it from you, because that would be a dick move. You have complete control over your own shit in the settings. Uh, except for a few things:
- For things covered by intellectual property law, (which is, I mean, just minor shit like your pictures and videos; whatever, amirite?) you grant us license to use it literally however the fuck we want for as long as it’s up. Seriously, we can blow up your pictures and Photoshop in sombreros and dicks and then put them up on billboards in Asia if we want. Also, we can let our friends use your shit however they want. But! Once you delete your shit, then we’ll all stop using it. Unless, of course, your friends also have it up.
- When you delete intellectual property, we delete it the same way you delete files! Except we also keep backup copies. Only for a little while, though, and we won’t let anyone else use it. Pinky promise.
- When you use an application that we don’t make – and you can totally do that if you want, we won’t be mad – but we give them as much shit as you let us, and you make a separate agreement with them about what they do with that shit. We make sure they respect your privacy, though. We’ve got your back.
- Sometimes when you publish things, you can share with “Everyone”. Just so you know, we mean everyone. Every. Fucking. One. But if they ask whose shit it is, we only tell them your full name and show the one picture. That’s it. So make it a good picture.
- Hey, sometimes, maybe you have an idea! Fuck yeah, we love it when you have ideas. If you tell us your idea, maybe we’ll be like, “Hey! Great fucking idea, kid! We’re totally going to make that happen.” We, uh, we don’t have to pay you for it, though, just like you don’t have to tell us how to improve our site, asshole. Thanks.