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Facebook supports rape?

(909 Posts)
MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 13:53:58

Have we a thread on this yet?

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/04/facebook-hate-speech-women-rape?newsfeed=true

I am really shocked.

KRITIQ Tue 04-Oct-11 15:50:29

Remind me not to read below the line on Guardian articles. The article itself makes excellent points about the inconsistency of Facebook's policy/practice related to hate speech / incitement to violence.

But SO many commentators have cherry-picked phrases from this paragraph:

What Facebook and others who defend this pernicious hate speech don't seem to get is that rapists don't rape because they're somehow evil or perverted or in any way particularly different from than the average man in the street: rapists rape because they can. Rapists rape because they know the odds are stacked in their favour, because they know the chances are they'll get away with it.

Specifically, many have fixated on the phrase bout rapists not being particularly different from the average man in the street and that they rape because they can do it with little comeback. They're insisting this means, "the author believes all men are rapists, therefore I can reject everything else in the article."

How very convenient.

MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 15:56:55

Oh dear, I hadn't even got to the comments.

The thing is... these are guardian readers. I can't just blame it on the ignorant DM.

EmilyMurphyLegallyAPerson Tue 04-Oct-11 15:57:57

There is a petition linked on here on a thread.

I can't link on my phone but I think there is a thread in this section and in Feminist Activism

Smudged Tue 04-Oct-11 16:05:58

I was surprised that the police are not taking action against UK based members of any groups/pages like this. I haven't looked at the facebook groups mentioned but if people are actually encouraging/inciting rape and violence I would think this could be prosecuted in the same way that people who posted encouragement to riot were prosecuted. I would think with something like facebook where most people use real names and photos it would be relatively easy to identify and locate them.

MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 16:06:23

Thanks Emily, I was sure there must be something on this around.

MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 16:08:41

Ah well smudge, you see organising riots is a very serious crime - inciting rape is just for fun hmm.

I can believe that such a group exists, what I can't believe is Facebook defending it.

MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 16:09:56

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/feminist_activism/1309178-Anyone-not-signed-the-petition-against-pro-rape-sites-on-Facebook-yet

Ah, here is the petition thread

Smudged Tue 04-Oct-11 16:49:27

That must be it motherpanda.

Obviously facebook should be removing content like that. I'm not, for one moment, saying they are not at fault. I do think though that some of the titles on the petition website (and I'm sure some of the content will be worse) go beyond offensive and are probably criminal (both here and in the USA) and should be prosecuted.

KRITIQ Tue 04-Oct-11 16:58:47

Mother Panda, I've come to expect very few enlightened views on gender from the Comment is Free crowd on the Guardian site. For starters, I think the board has many "visitors" who would not agree with many of the editorial policies of that paper and relish the opportunity to show this through vitriolic comments - some of which get deleted by mods and some of which stand.

What is more depressing though is that there are many regular contributors on CiF with whom I agree on a whole swathe of social and political issues. But, they seem to have some kind of mental gap when it comes to anything related to gender. Although they will immediately bust someone trying to make a spurious argument related say to racial discrimination or class privilege, but resort to almost identical sorts of arguments when speaking against anything that looks remotely like a feminist perspective.

The classic one is the "what about the menz" attempt to shut down debate when they would be seething if another contributor dared throw in such a non sequiter in a discussion about any other form of injustice or oppression.

So after this article, you get those who would stomp and shout about the dangers of hate speech insisting that jokes about rape are "just jokes" and not hate speech. Others are insisting that because some feminists make violent anti-men statements (although no one seems to be able to find examples of these,) that it's hypocritical for them to suggest men shouldn't be allowed to do the same about women.

My theory is that alot of these right-on-left-of-centre-can-spot-oppression-at-100-paces guys find it hard to deal with when the political becomes a little too personal. It's one thing to point out that someone over there is the oppressor, the exploiter, the perpetrator, the controller of others. It's quite another to contemplate that if you are a man, and have women in your lives, that you could be, or even be seen, to be part of that wider mechanism of gender oppression. Better to deny it exists and keep your own hands clean!

MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 17:13:52

The comments seemed to get stuck behind a wall at the idea that any man could be a rapist.

KRITIQ Tue 04-Oct-11 17:35:06

Yes, and I think trotting out the "you think all men are rapists so I don't have to listen to you," argument is a deliberate attempt to shut down debate. It's abundantly clear that the writer didn't say anything like that. In fact, she took great pains (see the italicised bit in my first post above) to point out that this was not what she was saying. Still, the deliberate misreading goes on and perhaps they think by repeating a lie often enough, it becomes truth. Gah!

MotherPanda Tue 04-Oct-11 18:28:42

Gah! Indeed.

jamma111 Wed 05-Oct-11 09:47:32

That not entirely accurate, and it isn't enough to simply hope that we can somehow try to 'Orwell-spin-it'. Let's examine that sentence again.

What Facebook and others who defend this pernicious hate speech don't seem to get is that rapists don't rape because they're somehow evil or perverted or in any way particularly different from than the average man in the street:

So rapists don't rape because

* they're somehow evil
* ^ or perverted^
or
* in any way particularly different from than the average man in the street

So the author has discounted evil, perverted and not particularly different (from the average man in the street).

Unfortunately, intentionally-or-not the authors HAS managed to trot-out the 'all men are rapists' theme with the text in any way particularly different from than the average man in the street.

I can't interprete that text string any other way. If she had written say rapists don't rape because they're somehow evil or perverted (BUT) because they are particularly different from the average man in the street

...then that would have been fine, and any of the CIF and not necessarily MRA's critisisms would have been unjustified. But no, Cath Elliott chose to write;

What Facebook and others who defend this pernicious hate speech don't seem to get is that rapists don't rape because they're somehow evil or perverted or in any way particularly different from than the average man in the street: rapists rape because they can. Rapists rape because they know the odds are stacked in their favour, because they know the chances are they'll get away with it.

Although she writes about a disgusting and pernicious problem, the message is indeed the medium, and Ms. Elliott blundered and blundered big style. Instead of perhaps giving her article a little skim through before submitting it, she might have simply reconsidered that single sentence. As it does paint 50% of the adult population with the same brush, it rightfully required some explanation from the author (which hasn't been forthcoming).

She blundered. So did The Guardian editor who should have picked-up on it. There ain't no way any other gloss can be put on it. It mangled an otherwise-pertinent article and ensured that the subject matter was relegated to an also-ran. It gave the MRA lot a perfect example of what they call 'misandry' and I have no doubt they will be quoting the paragraph with glee.

In effect she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Facebook is fine with hate speech, as long as it's directed at women isn't going to be remembered for being the rallying call to give Facebook a deserved kicking, but rather a custard-pie-in-the-face moment for British feminism when one particular trade union activist/feminist wrote something that should have been regretted.

Unfortunately it isn't the first time Cath Elliott has given-in to the temptation of 'sweeping generalisation-based insults'.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 05-Oct-11 10:20:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheRhubarb Wed 05-Oct-11 10:27:11

Facebook however has very questionable groups that are not removed no matter how many times you report them. There was one about sleep rape and how to get away with it and one about hitting pregnant women in the stomach for laughs. www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Punching-Pregnant-Women/108735235888221 punching pregnant women. In fact if you do a search for pregnant women and scroll down a few pages you get some very nasty pages.

So is Facebook sexist? I would say so. It also doesn't give a shit about childrens safety or bullying. They are in this game to make money and they'll go about that in any way they can.

jamma111 Wed 05-Oct-11 11:01:58

Absolutely agree. And that's why it was important to get the message over correctly. In every other regard Cath Elliot's piece is a hard-hitting but terribly useful and pertinent contribution to the debate.

But in some moment of temporary daftness she decided to write something which, even if a deeply-held personal belief (all men are rapists, no different to those who actually rape) that's precisely where that sentiment should have remained; personal and not for consumption by The Guardian readership and CIF's lot in particular.

Did the sentiment help the piece? Nope, not one bit, it deflected attention from the core subject.

Did it need to be said? Nope. Seeing as it was an effort to gain support for a campaign to drive home Facebook's requirement to become excert responsibility, adding the sentiment in was hopeless - it just pissed-off a fair majority (not minority) of those who commented and deflected attention...

Cath Elliot's blunder might just be a symptom of the 'Facebook syndrome' that is sometimes referred-to (though not with that term). Online and in writing, many people tend to write things they would never dream of saying in public (well at least I hope she wouldn't express her sentiment at a speaking engagement).

jamma111 Wed 05-Oct-11 11:13:34

And determining anyone who thinks otherwise to be mentally deficient just doesn't cut it with me.

TheRhubarb Wed 05-Oct-11 11:13:59

If that sentence had been about women would it have been received any differently?

Because a man has a penis he is capable of rape. Very true - physically he is, but mentally? It's like saying that because we are all capable of killing someone we are therefore all murderers.

What makes a rapist different to the man in the street is that a rapist is sick, evil and mentally not all there. Whereas most men in the street have been brought up in loving families and manage to have loving relationships.

There is no mis-interpretation of her sentence.

There was a very similar article to this in a tabloid paper this week, either The Mirror or The Express which highlighted the Facebook groups I mentioned without needing to condemn men as rapists.

KRITIQ Wed 05-Oct-11 11:29:30

No Jamma, your unpicking of the sentence does not wash with me. Elliot wanted to get across that rapists don't look or necessarily behave any differently from "ordinary guys." They don't have horns and hooves, don't hide in the bushes waiting to pounce on virgins, don't match the stereotype that many folks like to believe a rapist is like. I don't think there is any way she could have conveyed this idea without wording it in a way that those who desperately want to believe she's talking shite would lift and twist it to suit their agenda.

I'm appalled that you suggest that Elliot might have a "deeply-held personal belief" that all men are rapist. What tripe. Even Andrea Dworkin repeatedly insisted she'd been misquoted and misunderstood when she suggested that "any man could be a rapist," (as in it's not just the obvious cardboard cut out bad guys who rape.)

The comments below the line sadly confirm exactly what she suggested about the pervasiveness of what many call "rape culture" in society, whether it was from the deliberate misunderstanders, the "it's a joke, no harm done," the what about the menzers or the "how dare you suggest people don't think rape is awful" contingent.

KRITIQ Wed 05-Oct-11 11:37:13

Rhubarb, I just wanted to reply to your wee comment that "a rapist is sick, evil and mentally not all there."

Sad thing is, I don't think that most men who coerce, cajole, force, blackmail, push women or other men into sex, or don't stop when the other person says stop, would see themselves as rapists in a million years. They don't actually see what they are doing as all that wrong, or perhaps wrong at all.

The difficulty with the pro-rape, pro-domestic abuse type facebook hate groups and other rl and internet forums that promote this perspective is that they can legitimise the idea that there is a difference between the stereotypical stranger-pounces-on-virgin-violent-rape (bad, evil and sick) and the guy has sex with a woman too drunk to consent/badgers her to do something she doesn't want/doesn't stop when she says stop, etc. (not really bad and certainly not the same as rape.)

TheRhubarb Wed 05-Oct-11 11:37:54

Well KRITIQ, as a professional copywriter I can tell you that if that is what she meant, then her sentence structure needs looking at. Because I have read it and re-read it and I find myself agreeing with Jamma. When writing such a piece as that you make damn sure that your meaning is clear and your editor also checks to make sure the meaning is clear. The fact that her sentence has caused so much trouble is an indication that it is far from clear and that many people have read it the way myself and Jamma have.

She made some very good points about rape and Facebook and so on. But that sentence was unprofessional. It's not about deliberate misunderstanding so please do not insult our intelligence, if anything her own writing is an insult to her intelligence as the sentence should have been picked up on and changed. Unless of course she meant it to be read that way.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 05-Oct-11 11:39:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheRhubarb Wed 05-Oct-11 11:41:02

"Sad thing is, I don't think that most men who coerce, cajole, force, blackmail, push women or other men into sex, or don't stop when the other person says stop, would see themselves as rapists in a million years. They don't actually see what they are doing as all that wrong, or perhaps wrong at all." Therefore mentally not all there as most men are quite clear on what is wrong and what is right. Those who believe that having sex with a woman whilst she is drunk, or finishing off when she has said clearly said no, is ok are sick. They are not just confused little men who don't know what they are doing is wrong - that's the defence argument. They know it is wrong, it is very clearly wrong, you cannot escape the clear message that society sends out that it is wrong. Every newspaper report of a case, every soap opera played out tells you that it is wrong. Being ignorant is a piss poor excuse.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 05-Oct-11 11:43:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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