Sunny disinfectant

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 15:29 EDT
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I'm sure many of you know that today has been declared an action day to pressure Facebook to take down sites that promote rape. Yes, I said promote rape. Change has a petition up that I urge you to sign, because while I generally am angsty about the idea of censorship, Facebook already has a policy of avidly censoring offensive content, so by not doing so in this case, they're quasi-endorsing the pages. (This, incidentally, is why we have a wall between editorial and advertising at Pandagon, where we don't take down ads unless they feature imagery that we can't endure, because that implies endorsement of the ads that are left up.) I'm sure the people who put up pro-rape pages on Facebook would claim to be "just joking", but since these pages aren't funny, that holds no water. There's only humor if you assume that forcing a woman to have sex against her will is an awesome thing to do. Even then, it's not funny, but a power fantasy these guys are sharing with each other. Since rape is a really common crime, there's no reason to believe that these pages aren't being used by rapists to buck themselves up to perform more rapes. One reason that rapists justify their behavior to themselves is they see so much social support for rape, such as pages like these.

Still, I have one thing that really bothers me about this whole campaign, and that it's got such backlash potential. One of the reasons the sad fucktards who do this sort of thing do it is because they have mommy issues and they hate women and so they enjoy getting a rise out of feminists, who they consider some kind of fascist police stopping them from sexually harassing women as openly as they'd like. Policing them adds to their victim complex, allowing them to stew at home about how the evil feminists don't have a "sense of humor" about their non-jokes about rape. Now, that may just be the price you have to pay to get the pages down. We can't control the feelings of men with psychological issues that lead to such bone-deep misogyny, but hopefully we can interfere with their attempts to recruit more resentful young men to mold into the ass-grabbers and rapists of tomorrow. But there may be more we can do besides just ask Facebook to take the pages down. 

I believe, after all, that sunlight is the best disinfectant. There's a reason that online misogynists are so careful to write under false names most of the time (with a few psychotic exceptions)—because they are cowards and don't want to be held accountable for their public words.* But the thing with Facebook is that it is, as I saw someone describe it once, the driver's license of the internet. Most people create an account with their real name and picture. I think this is going to be a good thing in the long run—look at the sharp decline in trolling on websites that use Discus, for instance. And maybe we can make it work here. If you're willing to be a fan of rape on Facebook, why keep that information on Facebook? Wouldn't it be more useful in more open areas of the internet? If men openly and publically support rape, at bare minimum that useful information about them should be available in a quick Google search performed by anyone considering a date with them, so she can say no. It may hurt those dude's fee-fees, but women's safety could really benefit.

I couldn't find any information on how to generate a list of people who "liked" a page on Facebook, but you know, some of the people who support these pages are avid users on the wall. So for instance, on a page called "Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont want to wake her up", there was a link to another page called "Feeling bad after hitting your mom, cause u thought it was your girlfriend". Lots of people thought that was just awesome! 

Now, clearly some of the people commenting are protesting the site. But some aren't! Let's take a look at the supporters of this "kidding on the square" promotion of violence against women. 

First we have Jase Mcmullins Vladimir Jr. (His father must be so proud!) Sad to say that Jase has a girlfriend, according to his Facebook page. Wonder if she knows about his enthusiasm for trolling women just because they're the "nazis" who believe that women are people? Sadly, she probably does. It's appalling what pieces of shit women will date because they don't think they have any options. I clicked her page and saw that she seems like a cute girl who is into nerdy shit; honestly, she could write her own ticket if she played her cards right. No need to deal with a guy who thinks that rape apology is funny because he hates feminists so much. 

Then you have Duncan Johnson, who claims this stuff is harmless. We have plenty of research to show otherwise, of course, but I also have to point out that the promotion of douchebaggery has effects beyond just creating a welcoming community for rapists and wife beaters. It also convinces guys that it's okay to groom yourself in the Duncan Johnston style:

Rape and domestic violence may not be funny, but holy hell, that sunglasses and hair style combo sure is. 

Pete Bohnhof is really opinionated about this! He thinks, among other things, "Besides, what if the broad deserves a crack in the mouth, then this page is doing a public service," and "America was such a better place before we allowed them to talk & participate in conversations & vote and shit." He lives in Manhattan, so for you New York readers, there's one guy to strike off the list of potential dates before you even get to the first drink with him! I mean, without this critical information about him, I'm sure women would be lining up to get with him. 

Pete—surprise—has a lot of links on his Facebook page to articles about how the Occupy Wall St. people  need to all become libertarians, and then through libertarian no-bitches magic, the economy will fix itself. 

I could literally do this all day with these pages, but I have other work to get to. That said, you the readers have blogs of your own! Since Facebook is still defending these pages as freedom of speech—while taking other, more harmless ones down—I say good. Personally, I like my assholes right out where I can see 'em. And since these assholes graciously provided links to their Facebook pages, I'm only happy to amplify their public opinions. And you can play along at home, too. There are many, many assholes I didn't get a chance to help out with airing their opinions. 

*Yes, I get that there are other reasons to be anonymous. No one is denying that. But the misogynist community has a much greater share of its members who hide behind screen names than any other community I've ever seen, at least political community. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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