It’s Crucial to Call Women Names?

UnknownNot so long ago you could go to Facebook pages called “Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs” or “Kicking Your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich,” or pages promoting sexual violence against female Marines — and fb didn’t really care.

But after letting companies know that many of us would not buy products that were advertised on these pages, Facebook began including gender-based hate among its banned content, including racial and religious hostilities.

And so we move further away from normalizing women’s debasement.

But some guys are pitching a hissy fit. As Make Me a Sammich declared,

It’s amazing to me how many people seem to think that rape culture on Facebook is something to be protected and defended by coming to #FBrape and calling campaigners “bitches” and “cunts” and “fascists.”

All these guys with their knickers in a twist.

Really, why’s it so important to call women cunts?

I can see how women and girls are harmed by the name-calling and celebration of violence against them. Psych 101 says that when we are repeatedly called names many of us internalize and believe it. So girls and women could be left feeling degraded and secondary.

Rape jokes also signal to rapists that sex assault is normal and accepted. As Time Machine at Shakesville points out:

A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?  Rapists do.

Calling women cunts may buttress some guys’ sorry egos, making them feel “superior” by putting women down.

They don’t get that they make themselves look worse: depraved, small-minded and immature.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Frats Invite Sluts, Bitches; Women Accept Degradation. Why?
A Raped Girl Is A Joke
Raping, Shaming Girls to Impress Guys

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 7, 2013, in feminism, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. In my experience I see men normally busting those words out (like Cunts) when they feel challenged by females, and they can’t take it or argue their point. Men and mainly white males, cannot take being put in their place by a female. Imagine a person you really have no respect for criticizing you or getting the better of you. Well, allot of males still do not see females as their equals, even though it is PC to say so publicly. That word always comes out when women are telling their accounts of being mistreated, in that respect it’s very similar to white folks busting black slurs out when African-Americans are speaking about lingering racist sentiments in our society. It is the dominant groups way of letting the minority know where their place is in society,and hopefully shattering their confidence so they internalize the negative views society has towards a particular minority group. Locker room talks are abound with these types of pejorative terms towards women in general, and aside from being hurt by or angry at a woman while saying these words, they also come out when they are talking about sexual activity with women. In short, men are still douchebags to women for the most part in society and like most dominant groups they always portray minority groups plights as whining and without merit, which is ridiculous.

  2. Randolph givens

    I hate seeing our women being downgraded. I have four sisters and I can imagine what I would do if I see someone disrespecting them at all.

  3. Personally, I agree with this post. The Internet is said to set us free, get us free from the barrier of geographical distance and time. Most importantly, the Internet allows unprecedented “freedom” for its users to speak out, including things they would never ever mention in real life. It has been said that on the Internet, people could probably redesign brand new identities for themselves. Therefore, many of us try to become a “true self” through a fake creation, with which we act like the most aggressive, capable persons by using rude, assaulting words towards women. It did bother me to see those disturbing words appearing under the name of personal liberty.

  4. Of course its not crucial to call women names. How would a male like it if a female called him a wuss or something of that sort? Its degrading for women, wouldn’t it be degrading for men too? Just like the saying “treat others how you’d like to be treated”. I agree with everyone else, the internet should be filtered so it doesn’t provoke the behavior more then what it is already. The more its put out there the more we are likely to go along with it. Even if its jokingly its still not okay to call anyone names. Men call other men names that are degrading to women such as “bitch” or “pussy” and I’m sure they don’t like being called those name so why call women “bitches” or “pusses”?

  5. Guilherme Paludeti

    I did not know that Facebook had a banned content list, especially since I see pages put up extremely offensive content on the daily. Its funny that you’ve mentioned about immaturity because most of the people I know who use offensive language about women are immature and most importantly It shows that they are insecure. That maybe just because they cannot talk to a girl they have to resort to using offensive language. At the end of the day, I think( and based on what I’ve seen) men use offensive language towards women because they are not good at talking with them.

  6. Before reading this post, I had not known that these types of pages on Facebook had existed. However, I am happy to hear that they are now prohibiting pages such as these. I understand that we have the freedom of speech, but sometime people take it to far and abuse that privilege. I agree that men call women names to make themselves feel superior and to purposely degrade women so that they think less of themselves and I think this is quite sad. I also agree that even though guys are saying these things to make them feel better, they really are just making a fool of themselves and they come of as weak. We are a patriarchal society, but it does not mean that men have to purposely put down women just to boost their own egos. By doing things like banning Facebook pages like these, I feel that society is taking the fist step in helping us become more of an egalitarian society, which is very nice to see.

  7. First off, I’d like to apologize for essentially talking about Facebook drama for the entirety of my comment, I’m sure nobody would want to voluntarily read that. That being said, I remember back in middle/early high school, when it was cool to join groups like those ‘make me a sammich.’ Although I realize that such pages DO have harmful effects, and are more similar to pages like ‘raping your friend for laughs,’ than they seem, back then I didn’t. Back then I joined that sandwich group (which I only discovered and removed last year) because I figured ‘nobody actually believes this stuff, so it’s funny to pretend I do.’
    The issue with that line of thinking is that most of the discrimination against women in America seems to be subconscious, especially among the young. Most of the female and male acquaintances I knew were adding similar groups; the guys because they thought it was such silly fun, and the girls because they knew they’d be thought of as whiny or bitchy otherwise: I still remember how the one time it was brought up in a status, the girl who did so got a ton of flak from multiple people for ‘not being able to take a joke.’ None of the responses were from guys. The girls, only 14-15 themselves, had already internalized that it was alright to say that all girls should stay in the kitchen, and positively blasphemous to say otherwise.

    • Thank you for sharing this.

      Interesting message that girls are being sent: you are supposed to accept your own diminishment, without complaint. You are supposed to accept that you are being demeaned, treated as lesser than. And girls so often believe that they are supposed to accept this, too.

  8. Jenna Francisco

    That’s horrible how Facebook permitted those pages at one point. Wouldn’t that be similar to cyber bullying but against all women? I feel that men that have the need to command women on “making them a sandwich” or other slurs are probably insecure and just need to feel dominance. I’m reading this book called “Kindred” and it’s totally degrading to women. It takes place around 1819 in the antebellum South where it’s frowned upon for women to be educated and because men do not want women to rise higher in authority over then. I blame insecurities for these pages. Also in the book, people are born into this messed up society so I feel that if FB or just society continues on with these rape jokes and pages, it’ll be more accepted as a norm. In my book, the young Slaves kids would play a game called auction cause that’s what happen to their parents. They acted like it was fun and that that’s what’s suppose to happen when their older. At Least FB took it down though

  9. Wow, after reading this I didn’t know that there were these pages that were extremely rude and offensive towards women. Many people do not believe that women are degraded when they are called words such as “cunts” and “bitches” because it is expressed a lot and becomes accepted as being okay. I’m glad Facebook made a rule an made these pages unacceptable. Unfortunately, thanks to the Internet many people can create blogs and sites that are just as ignorant. Until we all accept that it is wrong to verbally put women or anyone down, we won’t see the end of it. Hopefully humanity learns to become better about their opinions and what affects people.

  10. Sarah Y.G Lau

    we are bombarded with different message on violence to women constantly through the media. It is not difficult to find some pages that support violence to women on facebook. These pages are especially danger in making people accept the violent act. As a person see one of their friend like those pages, with the peer pressure, they will follow their act and like the page. This turns out increasing popularities for the page. It is important to report those page once know that it is not a rightful act. Stop these violence to women is the responsibility of everyone on facebook.

  11. I find it really surprising that Facebook would be aware of gender based hate on their own site and not really do anything about it sooner. It took devoted individuals to lash out against companies promoting their products on these hateful pages to get Facebook’s attention. The last thing Facebook should get for them finally taking action is any type of praise. The only reason I see that anything at all was done is because Facebook was losing profit from sponsors. It is such a shame that rape culture individuals are defending their pages and justifying it with their right of freedom of speech. People should be allowed to express themselves with the condition that others are not hurt and clearly these pages are detrimental to society in normalizing and promoting abusive, violent and inappropriate behavior towards women. .

  12. The media is one of the triggers of gender discrimination in today’s world. We can see many ads which ironically expresse or imply gender discrimination. As the article mentioned, women tend to be described as objects or downgraded by men. Psychologically, it was expressed that some men show or prove manhood by putting women down. But how childish and ridiculous is this behavior? I don’t even think this is a good method to prove manhood, but it is just shame as men in my opinion.

  13. I believe the whole social interaction on the internet has caused issues like this. When one sits behind a computer and starts hacking away at the keyboard anything can come out. Granted there are great things that come from it but there can also be very idiotic and hurtful posts generated. My most recent job was teaching people how to interact with another individuals, how to read body language and how to actively listen. I found that many of my students that were in the age group of 18 – 25 had problems with this skill, while my older students (30+) seemed to have little issue with it. But, stick the younger ones behind a computer or smartphone and let them text, tweet or facebook and they are right at home.

    When people have actual conversations in the presence of other people, they tend to react to body language and facial expressions then adjust. Granted that can go either way, depending on the crowd or person you are with but if you walked into my platoon room and started spouting off about raping female soldiers you may not make it out alive. The internet allows for people to hide behind fake names and say whatever they want with little to no accountability.

    As far as having a private company censor content, or placing the job of moderation on them. Seems like a short term fix to a bigger problem or people trying to place the blame on someone else. I’ve never even heard nor seen any of the sites listed in the article, all I get from facebook is some crap about having a farm or being a crime lord (games). It seems that you would actually have to go out and look for this stuff, and if that is the case why are people doing that? Which is more important, the idea of personal freedoms, right to speech or staying with in morals that are generally socially accepted.

    I personally don’t like facebook because I’d rather talk to people face to face. But it does remind me when peoples birthdays are coming, so I can call them and chat a bit as I wish them a happy Bday.

  14. This post was very interesting, and I was not aware that at some point these degrading and sexist pages were allowed on FaceBook! You would think that FaceBook would have regulated this long before and supported equality and respect among the sexes. I understand the need for freedom of speech as long as it is not harmful to others. This rape culture, with its costant abusive and violent language towards women only fosters an environment of abuse and normalizes violence and hate towards women. Not only does it normalize intolerable and unacceptable behavior, it also hurts women emotionally. To be referred by other men as “cunts” or “whores” definitely affect women and they way they perceive themselves especially if they see that this rape culture is growing and it is in such popular places such as FaceBook. It is disgusting to see that some men think it is a horrible idea to eliminate pages like “Violently Raping your Girlfriend just for Laughs” like if these pages needed to be respected for their content. There is nothing funny about rape and encouraging abuse against women.

  15. Elizabeth McMurray

    Even though there are some anonymous people who want to spew violent and misogynistic content on the Internet, what happened with Facebook excites me because it shows the spirit of many people and organizations who won’t stand for that type of content. Companies (Nissan is mentioned as an example in the NY Times article) didn’t want their advertising put with that content. Facebook, albeit slowly, responded to advocacy groups and petitions that brought the issue to their attention. It’s too bad there are people who feel the need to disrespect others, but I’m happy there are more people, with louder voices, who stand up against such blatant disrespect.

  16. I liked reading this article. I have learned about things like this and I believe that Facebook pages or chat rooms that talk about rape or abuse are wrong. If there were pages made about raping or abusing men there would be a lot of hatred towards them and it would be taken down. Even mentioning the rape of men makes people more uncomfortable than the rape of women because we live in a society where men are supposed to be stronger and more powerful than women. Men feel threatened by women gaining power and they do things like rape their wife or beat their girlfriend. These types of things shouldn’t happen and definitely shouldn’t be glorified on a Facebook page. If a malleable child sees that page they might think that it is normal to rape or beat their girlfriend when they feel that their girlfriend is threatening them and this behavior shouldn’t be encouraged nor should this material be available to the children that are on Facebook. Thank you for posting this.

  17. It’s getting to be, and has been for a little while, entertainment when someone says something inappropriate. This is the “oh you didn’t just say that” generation. Where comedy is what’s the most shocking thing that you can say. Which is one reason why rape and other issues that can be turned into a joke are treated as such. If you don’t find racist, sexist or other mean forms of joke funny then you are a goody saint buzz kill that nobody wants to be around, because who wants to be friends with there conscious?

  18. In this society, the network is already becoming a powerful weapon to attack people. Attacking women is one of them. Although in nowadays, woman power is getting stronger. But people still can see much discrimination about women in the websites. This is really bizarre, since other readers mention that women play roles of men’s mother, sisters or wives. Why they still want to bully women on the internet? Is it because these men got some traumas by women before? Like they got violence by their mothers or other females roles? Everything happened for a reason, although I am not saying they are reasonable to do that. But on the contrary, we should find the real cause of the event instead of keeping blame on them. Of course, this society is a big part of the reason too. There are still a lot of media advocating men are superior to women. Also, the freedom of using internet has become a big problem. No one needs to pay any responsibility for saying anything on the internet. Concluding everything above, the right to speak, the culture, the technology and the family background have created the issue. So what people should do about it?

  19. Well said! Each thing that we do to further gender equality takes us one step closer to the world I want to live in. We are capable of creating such a beautiful culture, and yet look at what we have going on. As we go onto the next step, I’m calling the MEN out to take a larger role in this issue. It’s not enough just to live your life as “one of the good guys”, you need to step up and take action and in turn call out and put a stop to the men who are NOT the good guys.

  20. For the same reason, I try not to look too much at the comment sections of fb posts too. But at the end of the day these comments are the ones that give true reflection of our society. Anyone who, in their real life, believes otherwise would NEVER feel the need to go to these pictures/posts/groups and post such degrading messages towards women. What is worse is that like you’ve pointed out in your post itself, a lot of women seem to internalize the messages so much so that significant portion of those messages seem to have been written or liked by women as well. It’s pretty sad to realize how so many people that seem “alright” in the day to day conversations are perhaps internally misogynistic.

  21. kyotoredbird

    I recently was involved in a discussion on a local news outlet’s facebook page after they posted a picture of a transsexual prostitute and the comment section rapidly devolved into a pool of slimy nastiness over this person’s appearance.I was one of only a few people that complained about the outlet’s posting of the picture; because I knew they did it to get a conversation started on the person’s “strange” appearance. The outlet listened to people like me, though, and quickly deleted the link, following it up by posting an apology and saying that they don’t condone or want to encourage hate speech. I was amazed and appalled at the response from the comment section! So many people trying to use the First Amendment to justify their venom. People either don’t know or don’t agree that with freedom comes responsibility. I’m sure the Founding Fathers would be so proud. I wish people would want to use their freedom to lift up others, to encourage each other. Not to bring others down. It is a sad world we live in. And while I’m glad facebook finally took action, I wish they would have done it sooner. Abuse against others, whether it is physical, sexual, or verbal, is never funny.

  22. Are men covered under the gender based hate? There are pages of kicking men in the nuts n various other misandry along with a shitload of misogyny too. Violence on facebook is pretty common sadly.

    • Of course all this should apply to men, too.

      • Ah ok, good. The news aritcles make it sound like it’s only targeting females. Is facebook also covering other hate speech such as homophobia, racism, etc?

      • Maybe you should begin some awareness on this issue. No one, including me, seems to know about it.

        If this really exists, please provide links.

      • Type kick nuts into the facebook search and variations on it. There’s also kick in the uterus, I wouldn’t be surprised if nearly every specific act of violence (kicking in a specific part against a specific gender) has a facebook page supporting it. For instance “Kick him in the nuts” is listed as a local sports team, 6900 likes and has been around since 2010. Videos to violence get linked n shared around too at times. As someone else said, the comment sections are pretty bad too. Images with text of a joke also bypass the filters I’m guessing and they can be pretty harsh at times too.

      • I checked it out and I do think it’s hate speech that should be banned.

        That said, I also find it interesting there don’t seem to be nearly as many of these sorts of sites targeting men, compared with women, and the comments don’t seem to be nearly as hostile. That doesn’t make it ok, of course. Just suggests how much higher our levels of misogyny are in a patriarchal culture.

  23. Thank you for a wonderful piece. I don’t use FB, but the misogyny is all over the web.

    I really like the Amanda Marcotte quote in your comment, too.

  24. From Amanda Marcotte:

    Free speech entitles you to:

    Say what you want to without fear of government censorship or retribution.
    Free speech does not entitle you to:

    An audience. You can say what you want, but people are not actually required to listen to you spew. So, contrary to many, many claims otherwise, your free speech rights are not trampled if someone ignores you, blocks you on Twitter, or refuses to give you a job as a writer or communicator for their organization. National Review isn’t stepping on my free speech rights because they don’t hire me. If your sexism stops you from getting a prominent job in media, that is also not a violation of your rights.
    To have others host your speech. This is a corollary to the first one. Facebook, blog comment sections, online forums, etc. are just like TV shows, radio shows, and magazines: Their house, their rules. They have built up an audience and they are not obligated to turn around and give you that audience to spew your garbage. Start your own damn website/magazine/forum.
    To be protected from criticism. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but free speech protects your right to celebrate rape with your “jokes”, and it also protects my right to call you an asshole for it. Daniel Tosh can think it would be hilarious to watch someone get raped and say so, and I say that makes him a moral monster and a piece of shit. It is not censorship to hurt the tender feelings of people who think rape is hilarious.

  25. F.naghiniarami

    Thanks for this post, Georgia. I’m happy to hear that we’ve moved further toward establishing our rights and respects. In response to Irene I should say that actually that’s a good point that we have an Internet where everybody can express themselves. Indeed, they open up here and then get battered and as a result they learn that they have no place in society anymore. I believe that these kinds of men that are against women should learn to respect women otherwise they are not accepted. On the other hand, we- women – learn that there still are some crazy people out there that we must resist to establish our rights and educate more people and get more powerful until to reach a satisfying point, which is equality.

  26. This is one of the worst things that the Internet has brought: it allows all those deranged freaks to express their disgusting opinions, vocabulary and hate speech. They can’t say those things in TV, they can’t write this in newspapers, or broadcast them through the radio, not even say them aloud in the middle of the street without getting angry looks at them. So they resort to their last venue: the Internet, and then webpages get drowned in filth.
    Maybe in the future, webpages should make strict personality tests to the users, before allowing them to post this dirt. The net needs a lot more regulation.

  27. Totally fucked up culture. In vedic cosmology we’re in what’s called the Kali Yuga, in which people are ignorant, hateful and society is totally messed up. The internet is like a physical reflection of human consciousness and it’s filled with the beauty and the horror and a lot of the ridiculous internal noise that people are vomiting onto their screen via their keyboards. I’m training myself to never read comments sections on websites (unless it’s on blogs I like haha ;)). It’s too depressing. But I also think things will change.

  28. A wise man appreciates the woman in his life. Woman are our sisters, mothers, daughters and wives. No excuse for sites that downgrade woman.

  29. I’m so glad the rule has been pushed. I get tired of seeing so much hate speech towards women on facebook. It’s the last ditch attempt men use to assert power over female population. Men who feel they aren’t more powerful and dominant than a woman will start to call her names, because it’s all they have. They are going to be mad, but this is a step in the right direct towards conveying the message that it’s not ok.

    • Yes. They’re just revealing their sense of impotence.

      Better to truly empower yourself, rather than try to feel powerful and superior by putting someone else down.

      • Good point here, Georgia. Seems like these men who are using these terms need some self-validation to soothe their threatened egos.
        Glad you mentioned Rosie at makemeasammich. I love her work.

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