Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

June 3, 2013

Viral campaign targets Facebook groups celebrating violence against women


STILLWATER — A. There's something called denigrative humor, and it has negative effects on the people it's targeting. You don't have to willingly seek it out; it just has to be present to be hostile. Maybe it's a friend of a friend who's posting. Within two clicks, you can be confronted with a bleeding woman. You might not even be friends with these people to still see it.

What we were asking Facebook to do isn't to curtail its speech further. It's to apply its policies equally to men and women.

Q. In recent months - especially after incidents like the Steubenville rape trial - I've heard more open discussion about "rape culture." Do you think we're getting better at discussing society's role in violence against women?

A. Over the past 25 years in the media, we've seen how coverage of these issues has changed. We now have a media culture where we can write openly about Penn State, about Steubenville, about the Catholic Church. What we have is a peeling back of information, and everyone coming to understand what has always been hidden.

The Internet has this transformative social justice aspect. . . . You reach a point in culture where people can say, 'This is horrible and we're going to change it," or they can ignore it, and it will get worse.

I believe there's a zeitgeist in the way we're understanding these issues.


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