Facebook helps debunk myth of America’s ‘post-feminism’

YAY! Facebook FINALLY recognizes: misogyny exists. It’s real, FB says, and that’s a giant social media step in the right direction. In 2013, gender-based hate and violence is epidemic and still, for the most part, accepted as normal.

I’m  44 years old, a member of the notoriously apathetic Generation X. Since I started speaking out about feminist issues, back in my twenties (not lazy or apolitical, by the way, didn’t really know anyone who was) I’ve been told sexism doesn’t exist. We live in a post-feminist world. What could American women, not to mention white, educated, privileged ones, possibly be whining about? We weren’t under Taliban rule for goodness sake. Not that college kids, all of us so well versed in South Africa’s racist history, had any clue about the gender apartheid of the Taliban. And if we had known of it? Gender bias, while kind of a shame, was just a cultural difference, not a political issue. “Relative ethics” was the term my sociology professor taught us for female genital mutilation: Who were we, in all our privilege to judge?

So for years, Facebook has been receiving reports on posts depicting gender based violence. While the company actively bans religious or racist hate speech, here’s just one example of its past response to misogyny.


(via Amazing Women Rock . If you go to the link, and you have a strong stomach, you can see many more.)

So why did Facebook change its tune, pledging to take misogyny seriously? Obviously, in no small part, because of a well-run, well organized campaign by Women, Action, and Media. THANK YOU WAM and thank you to all of you who responded. In days, 5,000 emails and 60,000 Tweets went to Facebook’s advertisers who started to take their ads off the site. Facebook, if anyone could, saw where all this viral action was headed. Women have been using social media to change the world for some time now.

In the Nation, Jessica Valenti writes :

Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM… points to the outrage over the social media-documented rape in Steubenville, gang rapes in India and the suicides of several young rape victims as indications that Americans may have had enough of the consequences of rape culture. While she’s still unsure that the country is ready for widespread change, she believes “there’s a critical mass right now; it could be a tipping point moment”…

But this glaring, in-your-face misogyny may be the spark that pushes culture forward—there’s no arguing with these images, these court cases, these stories. Maybe it needed to get a lot worse—or more visible—for it to get better. For years, the most common anti-feminist talking point has been that American women don’t have it all that bad. That we should stop complaining and focus on women in other countries who are “really” oppressed.

But today, telling women that sexism doesn’t exist anymore is a really hard sell. Thanks to the Internet and the speed at which stories move—not to mention the vile sexism in most online spaces—any American woman who spends more than five minutes onlines hears about or experiences misogyny every day.


I started this blog, Reel Girl, because I have 3 daughters, and I was so horrified by the gender stereotyping marketed to kids like it’s okay, like it’s normal, and then how everyone participates in it. It’s so sad that sexism, packaged and sold to kids, is so ubiquitous that, paradoxically, it’s become invisible. I feel like 90% of my work is just pointing out that sexism exists. I’ve posted this a couple times, but here it is again:

Violence against women is epidemic. A first step to abuse is always dehumanizing the victim. Propaganda, in the form of images and narratives, effectively dehumanizes on a mass scale. Here’s some propaganda marketed to kids:


Images/ narratives of Jews circa 1938



Africans circa 1931



Females circa 2013


It’s easy to look back on history and wonder: How did people ever put up with that? I’d never buy into it. But what are you participating in right now that is completely accepted, not to mention celebrated, by our culture?


Since my post, I’ve gotten comments asking how dare I compare sexism to racism and antisemitism. I’ve been rebuked for taking sexism seriously for a long time. When I was a senior in high school, I was talking to a good friend of mine about sexism, and he said to me, indignantly, “A woman has never been lynched for being a woman!” Maybe, maybe not, but women have been murdered throughout history for being women. Does getting raped or sexually assaulted qualify as pretty bad treatment?

Here’s a classic comment from Chinwe:

What I find embarrassing, shameful, and flat out appalling is you comparing the current state of girls in 2013 to the days that Blacks and Jews were stereotyped, discriminated, and killed in the early 20th century. Girls and women have gained so many rights in the last 40+ years and you compared its ”oppression” to Blacks and Jews in the 1930s.


That’s absolutely and utterly lazy comparison and analysis.

Years ago, the Wall Street Journal used to have a Bad Writing Contest where readers can submit writing that’s truly awful. Too bad they don’t have this contest because I would personally submit this post–and your blog–to judges of the Bad Writing Contest and you would win hands down.

Honestly, you need a new hobby because you come across really immature, out-of-touch and bitter towards the world. Once again, do yourself a favor and enroll in an English 101 class at your local community college and learn how to write. Everytime I see a new post, 1) you are embarrassing yourself and 2) you put yourself further down the cultural rabbit hole by making piss poor arguments.

*waiting for your condescending reply*

You are pretty predictable, ya know

Huh, think Chinwe heard about the three women sexually assaulted for 10 years in Cleveland? How their captor, Ariel Castro, got out of domestic abuse charges years earlier because his ex-wife’s lawyer didn’t even show up to prosecute? Or perhaps Chinwe knows that in America, 3 women are murdered by a domestic partner every day? And still, our congress fought over passing the Violence Against Women Act?

I guess that’s my sarcastic, predictable, and, of course, poorly written reply.

We don’t live in a post-feminist world. We never have. According to the Geena Davis Institute, at the rate we’re going, will might in about 700 years. Don’t you think that’s too long for your children to wait?





2 thoughts on “Facebook helps debunk myth of America’s ‘post-feminism’

  1. Yes, I do know about those stories.

    I don’t live under a rock.

    Besides, less than one percent of women are murdered due to domestic violence.

    Here’s my problem with you. When you write, you never stick to your main point. You go off on tangents that strays from your main point. Those three stories that you linked, have absolutely NOTHING to do with your Facebook argument. If you are arguing that Facebook debunks the myth of America’s post-feminism, then find evidence to support it. For example, you claim that:

    ‘I started this blog, Reel Girl, because I have 3 daughters, and I was so horrified by the gender stereotyping marketed to kids like it’s okay, like it’s normal, and then how everyone participates in it. It’s so sad that sexism, packaged and sold to kids, is so ubiquitous that, paradoxically, it’s become invisible. I feel like 90% of my work is just pointing out that sexism exists.’

    My question to you is:

    Who is exactly ”everyone?” I don’t see this ”everyone” mentioned in your post. Or is it that you and a small number of activists have a problem with traditional femininity?

    How is it ”invisible?” Once girls get older, they will have their own preferences/choices. Nobody isn’t holding a ”cultural gun” to their heads and telling them that they must conform.

    You don’t even argue none of these claims that you put forth. Also, it still has NOTHING to do with your Facebook argument.

    In the future, you should apply the principles of essay writing for your blog. For instance, you should have a central idea, then come up with main points and evidence that support your thesis.

    I’m not saying that your posts should be in essay form, but you should apply those principles when writing your blog. Everytime I read your blog, I always ask myself: ”what does it have to do with the topic at hand?”

    If you were enrolled in an English class and turn in that kind of paper, I guarantee that you will fail the assignment because it was poorly written and argued.

    I don’t even know why you are calling me out as if you trying so hard to prove that you can outsmart me. I’m also surprised that you had articles published because the content on your blog isn’t good. It seems that you spend 95% of the time complaining that the media is ”sexist,” but you expect the media to raise your children and not you.

    • Hi Chinwe,

      I’ve posted on Reel Girl several times real DV stats. If you don’t think that’s epidemic violence against women, I suppose that’s your choice.

      As far as not sticking to my main point, I see the patterns of objectification/ sexualization and missing girls and women in positions of power in places from kids toys to Disney to movies to media to Obama’s cabinet. I see all of this as related. The whole reason I started Reel Girl was to show that. Sorry that you still don’t get it.

      If my writing is so poor, why don’t you stop reading it?


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