Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world...

...Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead was so right and today is just another example of how right she was. If you follow any feminist groups on Twitter then you've heard about the #FBrape campaign. Let me break it down for you...

Basically there are a bunch of A-holes on Facebook creating groups or posting memes and pictures celebrating and promoting violence against women. Rape, domestic violence, you name it, it's out there  either in the form of a "joke" (they must have missed school the day they explained what a joke is) or flat out hate speech toward women. Complaints had been made to Facebook and they would respond with some reference to freedom of expression and speech. We all love and appreciate our right to free speech, but when it promotes violence against anyone is when we need to draw the line.

So, since Facebook wasn't responding to complaints filed by following their rules a group of feminists took things into their own hands and tried a different attention getting approach. Since the all-mighty dollar is what tends to get companies' attention in our society WAM! (Women, Action & the Media) and Everyday Sexism along with other feminist groups and individuals brought their concerns to companies advertising on Facebook. Ingenious idea! No company wants to be associated with such violence and hate speech (well, the good companies anyway), right?

First they wrote an open letter to Facebook then proceeded to take screenshots of advertisements from various companies that popped up alongside these offensive pictures on Facebook and sent them to those companies via Twitter. The companies were asked things like:

Screenshot linked here:

Screenshot linked here:

This went on for a week with 15 companies pulling their ads before Facebook responded with this post. Victory! Not only are they going to review their current guidelines and update them to include the discrimination that women face, give their complaint reviewers better training, and work with members from some of the groups spearheading this campaign to collaborate on best practices for responding to this type of hate speech, but they're also going to make the creators of the hateful content accountable! Evidently they've started this last piece already. Those who originally post these memes or pictures promoting or celebrating violence against women will have to put their name with it so people can respond directly to them. Reportedly this has already deterred some people from posting such things.

I am inspired by the strength and ingenuity of feminists (both female and male) in the social media world who have taken Facebook to task. What's even more awesome is that now that the Library of Congress is archiving tweets this whole movement/process/victory will forever be documented in our history! Wouldn't it be great if the LOC would highlight in a special entry this campaign and its accomplishments in their archives? One day maybe they'll teach that in the history books!

So, when you're feeling down and thinking that change is impossible, remember Margaret Mead's words and the tweets of feminists from this campaign. You too can make a difference!

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