Facebook and Feminism

February 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

I’ve been having a really wonderful time checking the “Grinnell-Class of 2013″ Facebook group ever since I got accepted. At first this was because I’m ridiculously excited to go to college and join the Grinnell community. Almost immediately, however, the nature of my interest changed. I began to notice people posting really weird and personal things on the wall, stuff that you normally don’t tell strangers. Soon among the bizarrely personal posts, I found this WINNER:

who needs your school to be well known when you have Anna as your friend on Facebook. The girl has over a thousand photos of herself – she must be famous, or self-obsessed I can’t decide.

First of all… this is just a disgustingly mean thing to say about another human being before meeting her. Period.

But my main point is this: Facebook encourages its users to expose themselves. We share information on the internet with a huge amount of people, some of whom we haven’t even met yet. The option (more like imperative) to have photos on Facebook puts girls especially, I think,  in a difficult position.

If we have to many pictures we are self-obsessed. If we have too few we have probably been deleting the unflattering pictures, and are once again labeled superficial. If we leave up the unflattering pictures, we are ugly (but maybe we have integrity?). If we are caught on camera doing something unladylike such as making out with someone at a party, it’s now totally acceptable for that picture to go up on Facebook without our permission.

I am, at times, guilty of judging people I hardly know on Facebook, that’s for sure. I think the accessibility of all this personal information is sort of hard to pass up. So, I can’t decide if I should blame Facebook for encouraging this type of situation, or thank it for highlighting a truth that has always been there.

I do know, however, that when I meet “Grimy” (my little nickname for the author of that post) I will have a pretty valid reason to judge him: HOW HE TREATS OTHERS.

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