Thursday, April 8, 2010

A post in which I question my participation in social networking...

Like millions of other people in the world, I have a Facebook account. I started my account in order to network with people who would be attending Knox College with me, and over the years it has grown into one of my preferred methods of communicating with people I am unable to see often.

However, Facebook is often a cause of much frustration for me because it gives people space to proclaim some rather shockingly sexist attitudes and beliefs. For example, one male on my friends list recently posted a status that said, "handjobs are like the WNBA, a cheap imitation of something guys do better themselves." I tried to point out how this was sexist, but the poster seemed to get distracted and have his attitude reinforced by others who commented saying that this status was funny.

I call out sexist/homophobic/racist statuses rather frequently to varying degrees of success. But today I was met with a shocking Facebook fan page. Anyone can make a fan page on Facebook, and currently there is a growing trend for people to make pages for anything even remotely clever that might attract fans. Today in the "Suggestions" sidebar of my Facebook home page, I was introduced to a fan page for "more girls go to college than boys, so stfu and make ME a sandwich," a page with more than 147,000 fans* and some pretty horribly sexist photos.

(click for a better view)

"But Amelia," people will say. "The first part is true. More girls are in college than boys. And the other part is a joke. Stop being a humorless feminist and just take a joke. It's a joke, see? Haha!"

I'll be honest. I am writing this post without knowing the current statistics when it comes to gender and college attendance in America (I know that my college is about 60/40 when it comes to women/men), but even if it is true beyond a doubt that more women attend college then men, that does not excuse the sexist language in the title of this page. Yes, it may be an inversion of a sexist trope, but I don't find it funny because it is still being used to put people down.**

The "make me a sandwich" trope is used so commonly that most people probably don't recognize the problems it presents. It is often used as a means of demeaning women who dare to make something of themselves. It is used to put women "in their place" - the kitchen, where they can serve men. Turning this on men does not make it funny. It's still sexist, through and through.**

The worst part of this terrible fan page?

Two of my friends are fans.

*At approximately 8:15pm CST on April 7, 2010 when I took the screen shot featured above

**EDIT (4/8/10): Added some lines to clarify that inverting a sexist "joke" so that it's aimed at men does not mean it's funny.


Anonymous said...

Agree %100. Face book is rampant with hate groups, both sexist and racist. I am over the line that is it a joke or funny. NO Jethro, it is not funny. The degrading of any group of people is never a joke or funny. Keep calling out those who do that crap and know you are not alone

david in iowa and a feminist

Alii Silverwing said...

For the love of little green lizards, that is some horrifying sexism in those photo comments! I think I'm on your side with this one. The inversion of the sexist trope for the fan page title amuses me, but nothing excuses the rampant horribleness that is the 'get back in the kitchen' idea.

I object to that most strenuously.

gimcrackgirl said...

I completely agree. I don't do it consistently enough but I called out one of my 'friends' the other day on a sexist status update; he (identifies male) had posted the following:

mum: why don't you get a girlfriend?
me: all girls round here are slags

i called him out on this, suggesting it was a very male-defined view of female sexuality (and I don't mean all males here, but what we traditionally define as the way meaning has been produced by patriarchy here). He responsed that those were big words for a pretty lady.

I also happened to come in late from a night out (this chap is my younger brother's friend) and he was crashed on the sofa. He proceeded to hit on me and following gentle rejection, he's been quite rude about me on facebook.

OK, this is a bit off-topic now! But does anyone have any suggestions for what to do in a situation like this?

gimcrackgirl, UK

Kait said...

You're definitely not alone in being angered and disturbed by these groups. It looks like a new trend. This one was suggested to me today:!/pages/The-awkwardness-when-a-woman-doesnt-choose-the-iron-in-a-game-of-monopoly/110334688991035?v=wall&ref=nf


Amelia said...

Wow, Kait. That's horrible. (The link, in case people want an easier access point is here).

I'm not sure why it surprises me to see such sexism on Facebook. It's a rampant problem in this country. But stil, I think I had tricked myself into thinking that I had chosen my friends list better...or something.