Facebook and the Rude Pub Joke | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
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Facebook and the Rude Pub Joke

    What exactly is a bad joke? 

     We're all used to jokingly violent Facebook pages..."if you can't tell the difference between your and you're you deserve to die" is one of them. It's a joke, people say. Yeah, it is. No one actually kills anyone over grammar. 



    But what about when the pages make fun of rape? 

    Pages like "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I've got a knife, get in the van" and "You know she's playing hard to get when your [sic] chasing her down an alleyway" are up and running. People "like" this stuff. 



Really offensive, "joking" hate pages go up all the time--two years ago, a girl from my high school made one for an unpopular English teacher. The result? Facebook had it taken down when it was reported. 

But these rape pages aren't getting taken down.

The Guardian's Cath Elliot reported how "It was back in August that feminists first began to notice the proliferation of pro-rape pages on the popular social networking site. Two months later over 176,000 people have signed a US-based petition calling on Facebook to take them down, and nearly 4,000 people have signed aUK-based petition calling for the same." 

However, Facebook claims it's all a "rude joke." Check this out (also credit to Cath Elliot): 

"Facebook's initial response to the public outcry was to suggest that promoting violence against women was equivalent to telling a rude joke down the pub: "It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining" went the bizarre rape apologia. "Just as telling a rude joke won't get you thrown out of your local pub, it won't get you thrown off Facebook." " 


What? So if John Smith wanted to, he could post a "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Your Skin is Black, Imma Lynch You" page? (I'm incredibly sorry that such an example even came across my mind.) I don't think so. It seems like this is just another reflection of the trivialization of sex crimes and violence against women--it's a joke, something you'd laugh about in bars. Something is wrong here. All this does is hand more power into the hands of the rapist--it's a joke, right? 

What is too much? I've blogged earlier about reenforcing stereotypes with jokes. Is this just another one of those cases? This seems to take it even farther, to the point where something seriously traumatizing is looked at condescendingly by the biggest social media name out there. What type of a message does that send out to the public? Zuckerburg's cool with it. 

What does that say about our society? 

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