Saturday, August 18, 2012

Announcing: Sexism! As Seen on Facebook

I wanted to officially announce that I am embarking on a new project. I have started a Tumblr called "Sexism! As Seen on Facebook." It is a place to call out all the horribly misogynistic stuff that is floating around Facebook and other social media platforms. Please follow it on Tumblr, submit what you are seeing, add it to your Google reader, and/or share. 

Beyond the announcement, I wanted to take a moment to explain why I decided to start this project and answer a few questions:

Why are you doing this?
I have been involved in feminist activism since 2004. For almost the exact same amount of time I have been on Facebook. So often being a feminist and on Facebook has been in conflict with one another. I feel that our society is deeply misogynistic and my participation on Facebook has confirmed that on an almost daily basis. So much of the content that is most popular on Facebook and other social media platforms is extremely sexist. Misogyny is spouted off and affirmed by various "likes" and "shares." 

So,  yeah, I don’t know about you, but sexism is a daily occurrence on my Facebook newsfeed, even though I’ve “unsubscribed” from and unfriended the most virulently misogynistic people I know. It’s just there and I'm tired of it. Most of the time it just gets an eye roll, but sometimes I have to share the stupidity. It was happening so often, I just got this idea.

What do you hope to accomplish? 
This project is, at its core about accountability, community and catharsis.

Accountability: I believe that social media doesn't create bigots, but it certainly magnifies them and gives them a megaphone. Conversely, social media can create safe, empowering spaces for people who are opposed to bigotry. As such, I am using this new Tumblr to create a call out space. I am following the mindset behind things like Hollaback! in that I believe by "calling out" sexism, we can take power into our own hands and, hopefully, influence the "way things are."

So I aim to create a space where we can feel safe to call sexist stuff sexist and begin to hold our peers accountable--while simultaneously emphasizing how ridiculous and rampant sexism is. Furthermore, I hope to be able to better define for everyone what sexism really looks like, be it something like egregious rape apologism or something "small" like routine use of the word "bitches."

Community: All too often, Facebook is a place for sexists. When they share something awful, they receive a lot of backing and support from their network. Those of us who try to speak out end up frequently harassed simply for bringing up a different perspective. (And heaven forbid we actually talk about feminism by name!) It can leave us feeling frustrated and alone. But we're not alone. I want to create a space where we can gather to connect and share our experience and frustrations. 

Catharsis: When your experiences of sexism (with Facebook or another social media site) leave you wanting to scream, I want to offer this site as at least a partial solution. Share the material and mock it as a way of letting go of that frustration with others who understand your experience.

Basically--if one person dealing with sexism feels empowered by sharing content on this blog OR if one person sees some of the content here and begins to alter their own behavior on social media sites, I'll consider this all a win.

This feels mean. And what about people's privacy?

You know what's really mean? Spouting off sexism on a daily basis. It's not mean to hold people accountable for their words. Besides, sites of this nature are frequently used for much more mean purposes (laughing at others) without any kind of greater goal (see,, or for that matter.)

Let's be honest about this. Facebook is not private, as least inasmuch that as soon as you share something--it's out of your hands. That's the first thing I teach young girls when I'm working with them on this why can't adults understand this? What you post online can be seen by the people you share it with and spread beyond that space, even if you delete it, so be careful about what you share. You are projecting an image about yourself with every post. It should be an image that you are comfortable with.

This is not about violating privacy. It's about highlighting what is really going on.

Trigger Warning
One last point I'd like to make is that, while I encourage you all to check this site out and join in, I am issuing a permanent trigger warning on it.  I’m going to be sharing the words of sexists as they say them. That will include but is not limited to:
  • -rape jokes/rape culture/rape apologism
  • -abusive, misogynistic language
  • -slut shaming
  • -body shaming
  • -gender policing
  • -all the -isms and -phobias (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc.)


  1. LOVE this idea! I'm already following, and I am pretty sure I'll be able to submit a few choice specimens.

    1. Yes, please do! I'm also going to repurpose that email we exchanged for a blog soon. :)


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