by Samantha Ritchie On 28th of May 2013, Facebook listened to the voices of women across the world and removed content which incited gender based violence and hate. The everyday sexism project and women action and the media started a campaign against F …

Samantha Ritchie

by Samantha Ritchie

On 28th of May 2013, Facebook listened to the voices of women across the world and removed content which incited gender based violence and hate.

The everyday sexism project and women action and the media started a campaign against Facebook and the content it allows to be displayed on the site. Groups such as “fly kicking sluts in the uterus” or “Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich” or “this is why indian girls are raped” are now banned. There was also images of bloodied and battered women with captions at the bottom of it stating “she should know better next time” or “that teaches her for getting pregnant.” Bloodied and battered women are fine but an image of a woman breast feeding are banned.

The everyday sexism project allows women to speak openly regarding their experiences of sexism in everyday life. The project also has over 50,000 followers on twitter who also describe their experiences of sexism in society.

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One example of the posts on the Everyday Sexism page is this from Jo;

“Had a glass of wine after work with two colleagues. As we’re about to leave I find myself waiting for my colleagues on the street outside for what must be less than a munite. Four men are standing there smoking. We have a VERY brief conversation: food is nice in there, they are out with work. I ask what they do and one of the guys say: we’re in the business of gang rape, so you better get back inside. What is almost more disturbing is that I told this story at work the week after, and my (male) boss said “well you shouldn’t have talked to the men outside.”

During the campaign, the hashtag #FBrape allowed thousands of supporters to tweet online retailers who use the site for advertising their product. Recently, Dove has started an advertising campaign called ‘Real Beauty’. This involves ordinary women who are all shapes and sizes to feature in their adverts. The aim of the campaign is to empower and stomp out the stereotype that is portrayed of women in the media.

Dove’s response to the Tweets and Facebook posts on why they advertise on the site which allows these images? There wasn’t one.

The pressure was mounting on Facebook as it wasn’t just Dove who was receiving posts and emails. Nationwide and Nissan also pulled their advertisements from the site during the campaign.

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently produced a book called “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”. This book is set out to empower women in the workplace and “urges” women to push forward with their ambitions. How can Sheryl Sandberg write a book on the empowerment of women when the organisation she works for allows images of domestic violence on the site?

Pressure mounted on Facebook as the campaign gained speed and followers. Facebook has since removed the content and released a statement on the campaign. But, this doesn’t mean the campaign is over. The posts on the everyday sexism page are still coming in thick and fast.

Social media is changing the way we stand up against big companies. Our voices are always louder when we raise them together. Please make you follow the everyday sexism project and you keep up to date with information from the Women Action and the Media. 

 


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Samantha Ritchie