With pages dedicated specifically to ‘creepshots’, rape ‘jokes’, and the 12-year-old slut meme page (as well as a numerous other pages dedicated to ‘sluts’), there is a growing concern that Facebook has a bit of a misogyny problem.
has a series at Elephant Journal about Facebook’s anti-feminism, noting that, while Facebook often allows derogatory and sexist posts about women, it simultaneously penalizes feminists who speak out against said posts. She notes that “Facebook has allowed hyper-sexualized images of women to remain, as well as comments, posts and pages that support rape culture.”
Child pornography on Facebook primarily manifests through closed groups created by pedophiles to share photos and videos of abused children and through profiles of abused children, created by their pimps or abusers. Often, specific sex acts can be “ordered” on Facebook, and can include extreme violence and heinous brutality.
Sandy Garrosino of The Red Hood Project co-authored an open letter demanding that Facebook address cyberstalking and the sexual exploitation of young girls that takes place via their site. She and the other authors argue that: “Real safety in social media requires systemic change across the industry.”

Soraya Chemaly also wrote an article about some of these issues for Huffington Post in September, saying: “…there is no being neutral in this situation. You either help change it or you actively tolerate it and encourage the perpetrators of violence by doing so.”

So while Facebook claims it likes to err on the side of allowing people to express their opinions freely, they also do make choices about what to censor and what to allow. Often what is allowed contributes to the objectification and sexualization of women or, quite literally, encourages hatred and violence against women.

In this episode, I speak with Soraya about sexism on Facebook, why it should be taken seriously, and how it could be addressed.

Soraya Chemaly is a feminist critic whose writing focuses on the role of gender in politics, religion, and the media. Her work is regularly published in The Huffington Post, Fem2.0, Alternet, and The Feminist Wire.

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