Saturday, February 4, 2017

Facebook "feminism"

So a woman who calls herself The Kitsch Bitsch posted this newspaper article from 1963 on Facebook two days ago and since then it's had over 800 shares, a friend of mine among them, which is where I came across it.

Cultural causes of/responses to domestic violence was one of the subjects of my PhD thesis but only up to 2007, so not quite capturing the phenomenon of 'Facebook "feminism"' which has taken off in the last decade. I could have found this article though, pity I didn't. It's fairly telling.

I qualify "feminism" here because most of what gets posted and discussed on Facebook tends towards making light of the problem raised and at worst, openly mocking it, which perpetuates anti-feminist thoughts and deeds, however innocently intended, and cannot really be called feminism - that which works towards reducing male privilege by strengthening women's voices, rights and freedoms - unlike this article.

The KB herself states in response to some of the angrier male comments to her post that her Facebook page 'is a place for fun and escape from politics' and this was merely intended as a retro look back for purposes of amusement. Many of the ensuing comments, by women, said how amusing they found the clipping.

The few responses to my friend's share of the clipping were in this light-hearted vain, so I posted this comment: 'In the English common law practised in all English-speaking countries until relatively recently, husbands had the right to 'discipline' their wives with a stick provided the stick was no thicker than a man's thumb (pretty effing thick).'

My friend and another female friend of hers responded with disbelief (in brief) then a male friend of hers (Adam) responded thus: 'I soo want to comment on this thread... but I'm a scaredy pants so I won't'. Suspecting he wanted to make fun of my comment I replied: 'You just did', because that sort of comment says a lot - as he well knew - which then got my friend and her female friends goading him coquettishly - 'come on, we won't bite' - to make his comment and him replying again 'I am so tempted...', then more goading, until he finally mentioned BDSM.

Then followed a fun little exchange between them about spanking and BDSM, which ended with our original man Adam exclaiming 'Nurse!!!!' I'm sure he's a natural born comedian.

I didn't respond again but thought hard about telling my friend that taking the male point of view to be cool in the eyes of men at the expense of making light of violence against women is a very powerful anti-feminist force that has been feeding misogynistic sentiment and violence for centuries, but didn't. I went to bed instead.

This morning, when I took another look, someone (a woman) had mentioned Russia decriminalising wife beating so I looked it up and sure enough! So I posted this article on that subject, which is sadly all too true, on my friend's page and then on the original woman's page with the comment: 'Not history, not fun'. On my friend's page I posted 'If he beats you it means he loves you', a quote from the article.

So much for always wanting to be Russian. So much for Facebook changing the world - for the better.  

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