Porn’s distortions need addressing in schools say educators
The ABC filmed me addressing students at Healthdale Christian College in Melbourne last Wednesday. Some of the students were interviewed – hear how well they articulate the issues! (click on image below for link to video)
MELINDA TANKARD REIST, AUTHOR, ADVOCATE FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS: Our boys are looking at porn not only before they’ve had sex, before they’ve even had their first kiss and they think what they’re seeing is normal. …
… Girls tell us that boys expect them to provide what’s known as PSE, the porn star experience. Boys expect that girls will provide for them everything they’ve seen in pornography and that the girls want that.
‘I am more than my body, don’t treat me like a piece of meat’: one young woman’s response to naked selfie ask
Received this Facebook message from Tiffany. Tiffany, hearing from girls like you makes this work all worthwhile. Thank you.
Hi Melinda. I was really touched by what you had to say and you opened my eyes to what sort of world we live in and as a 16 I’m disgusted and amazed and what girls my age have to go through. You said something about being asked for nudes and that and personally I didn’t know what you meant by that as I haven’t been asked to do that… Until today. To tell you the truth I wouldn’t of known what to do about it if you didn’t speak about it and I’m very grateful to you. The boy asked me for a photo or video and I said no that’s when he called me lame but I immediately told him I am more than just my body and you shouldn’t treat me like a piece of meat and instantly blocked him. Thank you for telling me that and I hope I have done the right thing and myself and other girls are taking part in taking action on this case and we want to make a difference. I want to help girls feel like they are worth something. So thanks again you are an inspiration to us all and I hope to join your cause.
How sexualised behaviour has become the new normal
While the content was disturbing, it was encouraging to wake up to the front page of The Australian on the weekend and see the issues myself and my colleagues write and speak about most days, reflected on the front page.
Source: The Australian
A news piece titled ‘Click bait: kids at risk as sexualised behaviour becomes “new normal”‘ by National Education Correspondent Natasha Bita, described how unsupervised internet access was spawning a generation of hypersexualised children who mimicked the adult porn they saw online. It cited warnings from psychiatrists, police and child welfare expects that the scourge of ‘sexting’, ‘selfies’ and social media was endangering children’s physical and mental health.
My colleagues, Melbourne child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, managing director of the Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre, and federal government cyber safety adviser Susan McLean, expressed their concerns about the impacts on children of early porn exposure. “There is overt and covert pressure on children to behave in a sexualised way,” Ms McLean says. “This shouldn’t be the new normal. The No. 1 issue I deal with in high schools is the enormous pressure from boys to girls to put out sexually through images. ”
Michael Carr-Gregg said online pornography was skewing the way teenagers viewed sex, love and intimacy. “Boys see girls as sexual service stations for their pleasure…I’m seeing it virtually every single time I have a clinic. Their idea of sex is porn sex — it’s a terrible distortion of one of the most precious and important parts of their lives, which is love and intimacy.’’
Central to the piece was the example of a selfie of a 13-year-old girl posed on Instagram last week, with the words ‘Boner Garage’ scrawled on her bare tummy. Australian author and columnist Nikki Gemmell wrote a profound and incisive response, directly to the teen girl. She has kindly given permission for me to re-print her commentary in full here.
‘Boner Garage’ girls, my heart breaks for you
Dear 13-year-old Instagrammer,
“Boner Garage.” Oh, right. So that’s what you’ve just written on your bare tummy, in your child’s scrawl, in black marking pen. You’ve helpfully added an arrow pointing downwards so we get exactly what you’re referring to. That’s what you’ve artfully photographed in your child’s bedroom as your celebratory birthday selfie. You’ve deliberately, proudly, made those two dispiriting words the focus of your shot.
Your glossy blonde hair is across your face so no one can see your features. The room behind you looks utterly normal, middle class; just like any teen’s cherished and girlie private space. I don’t know you, but you have hundreds of followers, boys and girls, and you’ve not locked your account to strangers. Happy 13th birthday. My heart breaks for you.
That you define turning 13 — that wonderful, releasing cusp in a woman’s life — by those two bleak little words. Boner garage. That you somehow get pride out of them. It’s an age marinated in symbolism, a fulcrum into growing up; a time where everything should seem celebratory and wondrous, with the world deepening around you. Symbolically, in many cultures, you become morally responsible for your actions around this age — but I just want to protect you right now.
It’s readily available on a ¬mobile phone and most teenage boys have one. They look at what their mates are looking at. That can mean anal sex, group sex, oral sex — women servicing men in the ugliest, most disempowering of ways.
Porn, of course, is sex with no light in it and the best sex is bursting with light and life. Teens need to be told this bleak and reductive world is not what normal, loving relationships are about; sex should never be violent or degrading and woman are not just sexual objects.
Doctors are seeing teenage girls presenting to them — highly embarrassed — with bowel problems because of traumatic anal sex. Because it’s what they’re ¬assuming they’re meant to do.
As for you, my birthday girl, I just wish there’d been an adult or responsible friend around to stop you posting that Insta pic. Because your electronic footprint lasts, and can be disseminated. People may well be seeing what your 13-year-old self wrote, so proudly and stupidly, in years to come. Parents see the accounts of their children’s mates; as well as friends of friends you have no idea about; teachers and principals trawl; and so, of course, does the dark side of the net, those dubious adults beyond your world.
By scrawling those ugly words on your midriff you’ve already flipped yourself into the dark side of femininity and I don’t think you even realise it. Boys won’t admire you for doing this. They’ll disrespect you, disparage you.
Source: The Australian
But that won’t stop them using you as their so-called Boner ¬Garage. And I guarantee the ¬experience will be bleak, and ¬lonely. You will not feel empowered afterwards, or cherished. You will not feel what you want more than anything in this world — loved. You will feel cheap, and used, and ugly, and alone.
And at the end of that reducing little ¬experience you will ask yourself, is that it? Is that how I’m meant to feel? And that’s why my heart breaks for you. Because I’ve been there. And I can tell you, it’s not what empowering, exhilarating and tender sex is about. Often you have to wait a long, long time to discover that. With someone you love. Where respect is mutual. Where you’re having sex on your terms; talking, laughing, working things out together; saying what you like — and what you don’t. And being listened to.
“Boner Garage” implies none of those things. How passive and inert you make a woman’s wondrous sexual organs sound. Do you think so little of your body that you view it mainly as a receptacle for males to be in? The most common web definition of Boner Garage: “A vagina that has been pounded so much by erect penises that it has become a resting place for said penises.” Pretty ugly, eh?
I wish you courage, whoever you are. Not to dim your light among men; because that light is about so much more than the garage, as you call it, between your legs. It’s about your mind, your spirit, your vividness, your strength and your voice. There are only two ways to live in this world: as a victim or a courageous fighter, and you’re coming across as a victim right now. Of this rampantly sexualised world we live in. Of its female objectification and trivialisation. And of the voracious demands of teenage social media; the craving to be popular, known, that rampant desire to get more and more precious “likes”.
This isn’t the way to go about it. You’re advocating in the most dispiriting of ways a female sexual experience that’s stripped of mystery, of reverence and transcendence and, most of all, tenderness. As Iris Murdoch said: “There is nothing like early promiscuous sex for dispelling life’s bright mysterious expectations.”
Teenage girls and boys no longer seek sex education from textbooks with anatomical diagrams, giggling friends or flustered parents; they can get it from films with titles like Teen Ass 2, which they can access on the smartphones that they carry with them at all times. This week new figures revealed that sexualised images of women on social media have led to an increase in emotional problems among young girls. Researchers from University College London believe the rise in girls aged between 11 and 13 suffering from emotional problems such as anxiety may be linked to stress brought on by seeing images of women portrayed as sex objects on Facebook, Twitter and other websites. Teenagers rarely measure self-esteem or self-worth against personal and scholastic achievements, however brilliant they are, but increasingly by how many people tell them they are ‘hot’ on the photo-sharing website, Instagram, or other forms of social media…
How does it make you feel when someone close to you tells you they feel fat?
As a woman in my mid-20s, this is something I experience every day – from my friends, family and others around me. And now, I have to see it on Facebook. Facebook encourages women to tell their friends just how much they hate their bodies, through ‘I feel fat’ statuses and emoticons.
I was 19 when I began using Facebook in 2007. Though I wanted to think the worst of my adolescent years of body insecurity were behind me, I found my insecurities heightened through this popular social media platform. One of the best things Facebook has provided is a sense of connection, a feeling of belonging and a way to experience events in the lives of those close to us. But with this comes the ability to look closely at other people’s lives, and equally have our own lives placed under the spotlight. We can often find ourselves drawing comparisons between our life, and the lives of those appearing in our daily newsfeeds.
But it’s not just about these personal experiences. As a counsellor in the field of eating disorders, I spend a lot of time talking to people about the way they feel about their bodies – how much they hate their bodies, how dissatisfied they are that they can’t look the way they want, how hard they are working and how much time they are spending trying to change their bodies, and how this is ruining their lives. I also spend a lot of time speaking to concerned loved ones, carers, teachers and health professionals who see the pain of disordered eating and body shame up close, yet can struggle to help.
Since 2013, Facebook has enabled users to choose ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ emoticons as part of the ‘feelings’ feature of status updates. Having these word choices normalises the use of derogatory descriptive terms in the place of real feelings. How can a person feel ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ when these aren’t actually feelings? ‘Fat’ and ‘ugly’ are adjectives. Of course these adjectives are also judgements, placed on us by society to make women, (and increasingly men), feel negatively about their bodies. When someone says “I feel fat” what they’re really communicating is their feelings of unattractiveness, unhappiness, embarrassment and insecurity about their body. These feelings are most commonly a response to unrealistic, culturally promoted ideals of thinness and beauty.
Normalising this kind of language is especially harmful to young people. Body image is consistently rated as the biggest issue of concern for all young Australians. Research shows this kind of ‘fat talk’ increases body shame and disordered eating and lowers self-esteem –all risk factors for developing a clinical eating disorder. Facebook use is also associated with increased risk of developing an eating disorder, along with other risk factors including weight concern and anxiety.
As someone who has experienced the effects of this kind of language, both personally and professionally with clients, I’m asking you to rally with me in urging Facebook to remove the ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ emoticons and options from status updates.
Change petitions launched globally today
Rebecca and seven other young women across the globe have launched parallel change.org petitions today urging Facebook to remove ‘I feel fat’ statuses and emoticons.
The women represent Australia, Mexico, USA, UK, Ireland, Germany, Brazil and Argentina The petitions are supported by Endangered Bodies, an international initiative dedicated to challenging body hatred and promoting self-acceptance.
The women say Facebook must act because:
+ Body image is consistently rated as one of the biggest issues of concern for young Australians. It is well documented that fat talk perpetuates and normalises body shame rather than reducing it.
+ ‘Fat’ is an adjective, a descriptive word about a physical attribute. It is not a feeling. We all have fat, we all need fat. But saying ‘I feel fat’ is shorthand for feeling unattractive, unhappy with oneself, or for dissatisfaction.” (Shape Your Culture)
+ Fear of fat and idealisation of thinness is reflected in the form of weight stigma. This can have a serious impact on millions of individuals dealing with negative body image. Body shaming and weight stigma are associated with lower self-esteem and disordered eating, an issue that Facebook needs to take seriously.
Last week one of our supporters, Rachel, contacted us regarding Perth-based coffee company Fresh One’s Facebook page, full of sexist and porn-inspired advertising material.
Click here to view images (Warning, graphic content)
Fresh One’s ads included sexually objectifying images of women’s bodies alongside demeaning slogans, as well as images of simulated sex acts. The ‘About’ section on their Facebook page reads:
Grind me, bathe me in hot steamy water, moisten me with cream if you must. Have it your way, any way, a mouthful of my beans will leave you in ecstasy.
Hundreds of Facebook users posted their objections to the objectifying and degrading content, arguing that such blatant sexism was alienating women as well as men who respect women, and threatening to boycott. Over the course of the week, Fresh One’s star rating went from five stars to one and a half stars, after which Fresh One disabled the review application.
Fresh One responded to complaints last night with this post, alongside a BDSM inspired picture of a dominatrix. You can see their email response to Verina here.
“Aside from a desire to stand out from competitive providers, we believe that coffee culture goes far deeper. The Fresh One is about an approach to life, its about living to 100%, challenging the status quo! It is important to note that it has not been at any time nor will be in the future the intention of Fresh One to degrade, sexualize or objectify any person, gender or cultural group…. Whilst we can appreciate a person’s right to express their ultra conservative views we vehemently defend our right to promote our brand in the evocative and gregarious way we do.” (Bold added.)
One commenter responded:
“[Fresh One] seem to be under the impression that reducing women to objects for men’s use is new and edgy, “challenging the status quo”.
Criticism of Fresh One’s outdated and misogynistic advertising is not “ultra-conservative”. It’s progressive. If Fresh One believes using sexually objectifying and porn-inspired images of women’s bodies to sell coffee is acceptable in this day and age, they are ultra-conservative.
Fresh One, is your product so poor that misogyny was the only way you could think of to divert attention from it?”
Fresh One responded further by deleting comments and banning users who had made complaints.
So encouraged to see what can happen when women rise up and declare they’ve had enough. I hope these accounts inspire further action to stop online violence against women and girls.
“This is the story of a feminist takeover,” wrote the author of Feminist at Sea, a WordPress blog.
A group of six feminists got hold of a notoriously misogynistic Facebook page called Bra Busters and replaced all the titillating, sexist content with feminist memes and quotes by authors like Andrea Dworkin and Virginia Woolf. There was mass outrage from Bra Busters’ original members—and mass victory celebration by feminists. Facebook moderators got involved, but the page contentiously remains in the hands of the feminists.
[UPDATE] WIN! Facebook responds, commits to change
From Women, Action and the Media:
“…”In a statement released today, Facebook addressed our concerns and committed to evaluating and updating its policies, guidelines and practices relating to hate speech, improving training for its content moderators and increasing accountability for creators of misogynist content.” Read more about Facebook’s commitment here.
Read the open letter to Facebook and join the campaign
A global campaign is calling on Facebook to clamp down on content glorifying rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.
Collective Shout has signed an open letter to Facebook along with women’s advocates and organisations around the world. We invite you to join the campaign calling on companies to withdraw advertising until Facebook takes action to remove content glorifying violence against women.
Here’s an excerpt of the letter:
We, the undersigned, are writing to demand swift, comprehensive and effective action addressing the representation of rape and domestic violence on Facebook. Specifically, we call on you, Facebook, to take three actions:
Recognize speech that trivializes or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.
Effectively train moderators to recognize and remove gender-based hate speech.
Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.
To this end, we are calling on Facebook users to contact advertisers whose ads on Facebook appear next to content that targets women for violence, to ask these companies to withdraw from advertising on Facebook until you take the above actions to ban gender-based hate speech on your site. (We will be raising awareness and contacting advertisers on Twitter using the hashtag #FBrape.)
The campaign has already had significant success, with a number of companies agreeing to pull their ads. Join the campaign today. Your voice makes a difference.
Many girls and young women look to girl’s magazines for advice on life, relationships, bodies, health and sexuality. But too often they receive conflicting advice and mixed messages and even, sometimes, outright contradiction.
Take for example, information provided in the sealed section of Girlfriend this month, where, within four pages of each other, two medicos give different information about age of consent laws. A 15-year-old, in a relationship with a boy the same age, enquires about age of consent laws because the two want to have sex. Dr Philip Goldstone replies “generally, if you are both under the legal age of consent, it is still illegal for you to have sex.” However Dr Sally Cockburn, under the heading ‘What if you’re both under the age of consent?’ writes: “If two people are both under the age of consent, but are the same or similar age, and both decide to engage in sexual activities, it’s not a legal issue – as long as there’s no coercion, violence or power imbalance involved. Basically, as long as you’re both in control and making informed decisions, there are no legal problems.” So who is the reader to believe? Isn’t this important enough to get right? How does the editing process work at Girlfriend for a contradiction like this not to be noticed? Girls don’t need confusing advice about where they stand under the law.
Not a matter of legal confusion, but something that is consistent is that I have to comment on the ‘Project You Reality Check’ again like I have to on the equivalent in Dolly. The logo is used so inconsistently I have little choice. On the front cover the ‘Reality Check’ provides the vital information that a tag was removed from fashion girl Kylie’s top and that the water in the background was darkened. Seriously, why bother? Then inside, ‘Style School’ features four girls with the ‘Reality Check’ telling us “We haven’t retouched any of these images – we didn’t need to! All the girls look great just the way they are”. So if that’s the case, does it mean that when girls are airbrushed they didn’t look ‘fine the way they were’? Do some need to be airbrushed while others don’t? Also confusing is that the young women featured are specifically clothed to highlight and play down certain parts of their bodies. For example Alex, 15, is dressed to give “the illusion of longer legs” and a mix of large and small prints “also disguises any unwanted bumps”. Eloieese, 14, is lanky, so given curves and a defined waist and “fuller figured” Gemma, 18, is put “in a peplum top, as it draws attention to the slimmest part of her body – her waist”. No airbrushing – but they are still dressed to give the illusion of something other than what they are, and to hide unwanted bumps. I’m all for the disclosure…but it needs to be consistently applied and align with what else is in the magazine as a whole. Otherwise it loses all meaning. Read article here.
This issue contains an explanation of the ‘Retouch Free Zone’. “DOLLY is all about healthy body image – that’s why we only feature photos of girls that haven’t been altered or ‘perfected’ in any way. Whenever you see this stamp, you know the girls pictured are real and unretouched!”
Wonderful. But if only.
“Whenever you see this stamp”? What if you don’t see it? What does that mean? The declaration does not appear on every image of every female in the magazine. It occurs inconsistently, which raises doubt. Why ‘retouch’ free’ on this one and not this one? And what about the ads? They are never ‘re-touch free’.
Selena Gomes is on the cover. Not a ‘re-touch free’ logo in sight and Selena’s skin is as flawless as the day she was born. Was she re-touched? Don’t readers have a right to know that? A consistent approach would be helpful.
More helpful (though somewhat lightweight) is ‘The 7 deadly sins of facebook’, on online etiquette – how to avoid looking like a stalker, keep control of your online image by setting your privacy settings high (the context is avoid being tagged in ugly pictures of yourself posted by others prior to approval…not so helpful), taking it easy with the ‘like’ button and avoiding angry outbursts.
‘The downside of YOLO’ – the motto ‘You Only Live Once’ and LWWY, ‘Live While We’re Young’ discusses the risks to young people of living by these codes. Dolly asks: “Do these cute shorthand mantras really warrant their sometimes long-term effects?” Psychologist Gemma Cribb says these mottos attempt to justify crazy behaviour regardless of consequences. “When somebody tweets ‘Oh well, YOLO’ it means they’re already aware that their decision might not be sensible.” Another psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack, says YOLO can be used as an excuse to deal with peer pressure or embarrassment. “Girls might be pushed into situations that they don’t want to face and instead of saying no, they think ‘What do I have to lose?’”. Rapper Ervin McKinness and four friends were driving in a speeding car when the 21-year-old tweeted: “Drunk…going 120 drifting corners…#YOLO.” Minutes later all were dead. Brain development is discussed. The frontal lobe – responsible for impulse control, problem solving and considering consequences – isn’t properly developed until 25. Girls are advised to think smart rather than by the YOLO mantra. Read more here
28000 – That’s the number of boys aged 14-17 estimated to read Zoo magazine each week. Despite its pornographic nature Zoo magazine is classified as ‘men’s lifestyle’ and therefore unrestricted – anyone can buy it. Zoo is conveniently positioned and priced for young readers to purchase in convenience stores, service stations and Coles and Woolworths. Zoo boasts that it is the largest selling ‘men’s magazine’ in Australia.
Another way Zoo magazine promotes itself is through Facebook. Zoo’s Facebook posts consist mainly of images of semi naked women and women’s body parts. Some of the images are from it’s ‘strip search’ promotion. This is where a Zoo representative approaches women on the street and invites them to strip down and be photographed for Zoo. “We hit the streets and somehow convince girls to get their kit off.”
Zoo features a full page advertisement for its Facebook page in the magazine – a photo of breasts in a bikini top and the text “Two reasons to like our Facebook page.” (image here – caution when opening) The ad promises “heaps more” for those who go ahead and ‘like’ the page using their smart phone. Zoo regularly posts images of women – or their body parts – on its Facebook page, asking the reader to choose which one they prefer. “Left or Right” is a regular feature on its Facebook page and Website.
“This week, Zoo magazine posted the following image on its Facebook page, asking the question “Left or right, but you’ve got to tell us how you got to that decision.”
The comments came rolling in, here are some (warning – highly offensive comments):
You can’t get much more sexually objectifying than to dissect women’s bodies and discuss which parts you would like to use or abuse. However, after Zoo magazine’s ‘hottest asylum seeker’ competition, in which refugees were invited to submit photos and explain why they have exchanged ‘persecution for sexiness’ not much surprises us anymore.
A scan through Zoo’s Facebook page shows that along with its ‘strip search’ promotion, Zoo also uses its Facebook page to solicit semi naked photos from women. Zoo invites Facebook fans to “Send hot pics of you and a Zoo” and provides an email address. These images are then shared with their Facebook fans which Zoo says reaches men from ‘teens all the way to their forties.’
With so much print and online material to choose from, you’d think readers would be satisfied. But Zoo knows that their readers want more, and are only too happy to point the way. Among their advertising, in each edition Zoo also promotes ‘unrestricted’ ‘explicit’ ‘hardcore’ ‘xxx’ telephone sex lines (for example “Misbehaving Girls Home Alone”, alongside a picture of a young looking woman with her hair in pigtails) along with other products of the sex industry products such as “oriental hardcore shows.” (Image of ads here and here, caution when opening)
Zoo magazine is sold at BP, Spar, Coles, Woolies. In fact it is sold in most major and independent grocery stores. Why do these stores allow themselves to be used to promote such obvious sexism and objectification? Guy Sigley from The World Tells Measked both Coles and Woolworths that question. He received responses from both, dodging the question and defending the magazine’s placement in stores.
Perhaps it is time for us all to ask Coles and Woolworths that question too.
Make a complaint to the Ad Standards Board about the way Zoo magazine advertises on its Facebook page (The Ad Standards Board now considers the content of Facebook pages, including comments from “fans”, to be a form of advertising and therefore subject to the Advertising Code of Ethics). Read more about that here.
‘There was no discussion of the pressure girls like Amanda experience to measure their worth through their sexual desirability’
By Meghan Murphy
The tragic story of Amanda Todd has been covered widely by the media and has impacted people across the continent. Todd was only fifteen years old when she killed herself last Wednesday after having been subjected to three years of sexual harassment and abuse both online and at school. After a man convinced her to show her breasts to him on a webcam, images of her were circulated online, which led to her being tormented, stalked, harassed, and beat up at school. Her story got both the public and the media talking about the issue of bullying, but does ‘bullying’ really describe what happened to Todd? In a culture that places an inordinate amount of value on women’s bodies and appearances, wherein younger and younger girls are being taught that they should aspire to be ‘sexy’, when pornographic imagery is mainstreamed and easily accessible, there is more to this story than simple ‘bullying’ or ‘cyberbullying’. It’s been noted that the connected issues of sexualization, misogyny and violence against women have been left out of much of the media coverage.
When will QUT take action against James Silverwood and Dominic Terry?
A petition was recently launched to pressure Facebook to remove a page called ’12 year old slut memes.’
The page, used to bully, humiliate, expose and shame young girls had attracted over 200,000 ‘likers.’
Thousands of complaints have been submitted to Facebook via the page’s reporting system and a petition directed to Facebook. Facebook has refused to remove the page, defending it on the grounds of free speech and tagging it as ‘controversial humor.’
It has now emerged that the creators of the page are two 19 year old QUT students from Brisbane. James Silverwood and Dominic Terry are immensely proud of their creation and have continued to defend it.
Due to the amount of legal strife that we have been running into about the group, and the fact that we are just two 19 year old guys that obviously can’t afford a law suit to their name, we have regrettably decided to close the page, permanently.
I know we have lots of devoted fans that come on here to see the countless arguments and dumb sluts trying to justify themselves, sometimes it’s just too personally detrimental to have something like this group and it has to die.
We’ll miss you guys. Thanks for everything guys.
Dom & James.
Nahhhhhh, just gammin’.
As long as there are sluts, we will put them in their place. Keep the submissions coming guys.
We’re not going anywhere. x
How Dominic Terry and James Silverwood bully young girls in front of over 200,000 people. We’ve removed the young girl’s image
One wonders what QUT thinks of their students bullying, harassing and shaming little girls to ‘put them in their place.’ QUT has said they are investigating the issue. Since this has come to light James Silverwood’s personal Facebook page has disappeared and references to QUT have been removed from Dominic Terry’s page. A number of photographs have been removed from the offending page although the “12 year old slut memes” Facebook page is still there.
Of course, this is not enough. The creators of the page – 19 year old men – need to be held accountable and the page removed. It is never acceptable to target, bully, harass and shame little girls.
QUT responds with Facebook statement
“QUT does not condone exploitative, discriminatory or sexist behaviour. Our policies show clearly that we are committed to the strongest principles of equity and it is disappointing that the university has been associated with such content.
I am sure you would appreciate that QUT has no jurisdiction over the behaviour of its student population independently of their relationship with us, but the university has convenyed its views on these activities to the students.
We are unable to comment further on this situation in social media.”
The 12 Year old Slut Meme and Facebook’s misogyny problem
One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime
Millions of girls and women are murdered in “domestic violence” situations
Millions are sold, scarred, tortured, sexually abused and more
For being born female on a planet that tolerates unconscionable levels of violence against half of the humans that live on it.
So? What does this have to do with Facebook? Turns out a whole lot, because 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.
Earlier this week I wrote about how the use of photography (especially without the subject’s consent) intensifies harassment, abuse and violence against women. Quicker than I could type “Feministe” this Change.org petition appeared in my inbox: “Please sign to remove 12 Year Old Slut Memes from Facebook.” One of the offending page’s profile photos is of a pink-lipped and pouty child (she looks a lot younger than 12) wearing a tank top that reads “I love COCK.” Now, anyone can create a page in Facebook (published at Facebook’s discretion) and this page doesn’t openly advocate violence against 12-year-old sluts. It is, however, the virtual equivalent of street harassment and, as such, demonstrates the way the photography serves to exponentially magnify the effects of subtle and real violence along a broad spectrum. Read entire article here.
Sign the petition calling on Facebook to remove ’12 year old slut memes’
Morons or crusaders? The two Brisbane university students behind a controversial Facebook account that was shut down yesterday have vowed to return to “uncover other problems in society”.
Created under the names of Queensland University of Technology students James Silverwood and Dom Terry, the page published photos of young girls posing in pictures that had been already posted on the social media site on their own pages.
These pictures were then branded with lewd tags and posted on the crudely named “12-year-old sluts” page.
Australian Communications and Media Authority response
One of our supporters made a complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and received this response:
The internet content specified in your complaint has been found to be hosted outside Australia. The ACMA is therefore required to take action in accordance with Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA).
Further, following investigation of your complaint, the ACMA:
· Found that the content was potential prohibited content, in accordance with the definitions under clause 21 to Schedule 7 of the BSA.
· Referred the content to the makers of Internet Industry Association (IIA) approved filters.
· Referred the content to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Despite media reports suggesting that Facebook had banned the page, this is not the case. It is clear that it was the two men who opted to close the page, not Facebook. Prior to closing the page the two men had posted a message stating their intention to close it along with a pathetic attempt at justifying their behaviour. We believe it was the increased media attention, reports of an investigation from the Australian Federal Police, their University and parents being notified of their behaviour that ultimately caused the two men to close the page.
Since this page was closed, several other identical pages have been created by ‘anonymous’ users. Facebook refuses to take these pages down, instead tagging them with [Controversial Humor]. According to Facebook, a page set up to facilitate bullying and harassment of little girls does not violate its policy:
Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
“Intelligent, passionate, brilliant, fearless… I could not recommend her more highly”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
“You continue to reset my shock meter…”
“As a teacher and parent I recommend all parents, in fact all people, to attend a talk by Melinda- it will open your eyes and awaken your subconscious.”
Heather Douglas – Parent – Pembroke School
“Melinda’s presentations to our parents, staff and full day workshops to students was inspirational, transforming the attitudes and thinking of all involved”
Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
“Melinda Tankard Reist’s presentation to Middle and Upper School students at Pymble Ladies’ College was absolutely brilliant!”
Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
Purchase Big Porn Inc, Getting Real, Faking It, Men of Honour, Sexts Texts & Selfies, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, MTR DVD, Ruby Who? DVD & book, Girl Wise guide to friends, Girl Wise guide to being you, Girl Wise guide to life and Girl Wise guide to taking care of your body, for the combined discounted price of $240.
‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Whether it is problems with friends, worrying about how you look or just feeling a bit down in the dumps – these books are written especially for you – to help you in your journey. Purchase all four together and save $18.50 on postage! Author: Sharon Witt
In this DVD, Melinda takes us on a visual tour of popular culture. “Melinda’s presentation leaves audiences reeling. She delivers her message with a clarity and commonsense without peer.” – Steve Biddulph, author, Raising Boys, Raising Girls
In this easy-to-read updated book, Steve Biddulph shares powerful stories and give practical advice about every aspect of boyhood.
“Overflowing with incisive understandings…a comprehensive and in-depth guide.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychologist
Men of Honour -written by Glen Gerreyn- encourages and inspires young men to take up the challenge to be honourable. Whether at school, in sport, at work or in relationships, we must develp our character to achieve success and experience the thrills life has on offer.
“This powerful and humane book is a breakthrough…Big Porn Inc shows us we are poisoning our own spirits.” – Steve Biddulph
“A landmark publication” – Clive Hamilton
Purchase the Ruby Who? DVD and book together for only $35 saving 10% off the individual price.
“Getting Real contains a treasure trove of information and should be mandatory reading for all workers with young people in health, education and welfare” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent Psychologist
Do you read women’s lifestyle magazines? Have you thought about how magazines might affect you when you read them? Faking It reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, and the sexual objectification of women.
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Defiant Birth challenges widespread medical, and often social aversion to less than perfect pregnancies or genetically different babies. It also features women with disabilities who were discouraged from becoming pregnant at all.