Friday, May 31, 2013

Good News Friday: The NYT Editorial on Facebook And Misogyny

The WAM Facebook campaign has worked, as I mentioned before.  This is fantastic news.  Now the New York Times has written an editorial on it,  noting that Facebook has acted promptly to remove other types of hate pages their own rules ban but not those about women being demeaned or even abused:

Some of the misogynist pages had headlines that read “Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs” and “Kicking Your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich.” Other pages included images of women being abused. Some pages had been on the site for a couple of years, even after users complained about them, according to Jaclyn Friedman, an organizer of the campaign. Many pages were in clear violation of Facebook’s policies, which does “not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.”
The deeper point is naturally that a certain kind of misogyny is the societal background to our lives, the humming of the air conditioner on this hot day.  It's not visible the way other hate-speech is.  It's just for laughs or it's OK because women are not a numerical minority but really because it is part of the culture.  Not an explicit part, but that continuous background humming.

I am elated about the success of the campaign, though it remains to be seen whether Facebook will make any real changes.  It is important to treat misogyny the same way as other generalized hatreds are treated.