Facebook’s strict and censorship happy “community standards” are well known to anyone who has used the social network for longer than a month. Examples of Facebook removing sarcastic/slightly offensive content for being “hate speech” are well documented online. Curiously, whenever anyone brings up or complains about Facebook censoring offensive opinions, the usual responds you get from feminists range from “Facebook is a private company and therefore has the right to refuse service to you”, to “Freedom of speech doesn’t exempt you from the consequences of that speech”. So how do these same Feminists take it when these rules are applied to them? Not very well……
Over the weekend, the tagline “Men Are Trash” became a talking point among Internet Feminists, to protest the death of a South African woman at the hands of a man (Because blaming all men for the actions of one man isn’t generalization or anything). As a sign of protest, several women changed their Facebook cover photos to pictures that had the texts “Men are trash” written on them. Naturally, these pictures were removed by Facebook for hate speech, and someone at Gizmodo thought this warranted an entire article.
As the old saying goes, “men are trash.” If you’re a twenty-something woman, you’ve probably said this phrase to your friends at least once, possibly over alcoholic drinks after a man has done something bad. Or perhaps you’ve said it to coworkers after your dumb boss makes a boob joke in front of the entire company.
Apparently, however, sharing that sentiment on Facebook is a no-no. In fact, doing so can get your content removed, or even get you banned from posting for a period of time.
Phyllis Meehan, a 29-year-old corporate administrator living in San Francisco, told Gizmodo she changed her cover photo to an image that featured the phrase on Monday evening. On Tuesday evening, she said, she went back on Facebook—only to receive a message saying Facebook had removed the image, and that she was blocked from posting for 24 hours.
As she explained to Gizmodo, “Obviously not all men are trash, however, the ones who are really upset about it are the ones who absolutely are.”
After crying to Gizmodo about their post being removed, the Gizmodo writer, one Libby Watson, contacted Facebook and got a reply back from them stating that Facebook does not allow hate speech – Libby doesn’t like this very much.
She spends the rest of the article explaining why sexism against men shouldn’t be censored, but sexism against women should be. According to her, “men are trash” isn’t hate speech, because it isn’t backed by “systematic oppressions” – there’s that word again. The level of Tumblresque mental gymnastics being applied here is off the charts:
When we reached out to Facebook, we got an answer: The company said that, under its guidelines, the posts fell under the category of hate speech; it would only allow such posts when it had enough context to know it was meant as humor, or was being used self-referentially. So it’s pretty clear: Facebook considers the phrase “men are trash” hate speech.
“men are trash” is not hate speech. Largely, men who act offended by things like “men are trash” or “white people suck” are doing it to make a point, not because they really are offended; they seem to think being offended by a slur is a fun activity they’re being left out of.
But I’m sorry, dudes: that just isn’t how it works. “Men are trash” is simply not the same thing as sexist attacks on women, because you don’t face the systemic oppression that makes sexist slurs so toxic. If you’re a man and someone calls you a stupid trash man, wow, I’m sorry you had a bad day. If someone calls a woman a bitch or a slut, that’s tinged with millennia of oppression.
Facebook acting like these are all the same thing—to put “men are trash” in the same category of speech as slurs—shows that, yet again, it just doesn’t get it.