April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and, to kick things off, I’d like to take issue with the growing prevalence of the word “rape” as a slang synonym for “dominated”, “rocked’, or “killed”. Both I and a friend have recently had Facebook “friends” (which of course could be anyone from a mere acquaintance to a spouse) claim to have “raped” a final in their status:
her: is hoping that she raped that final!!! PARRRRTTTAYYYY time!!!
him: Fuckin raped 2 finals and now one more to go
I know the author of the second well enough to comment on it. Facebook now allows a user to “like” or give a thumbs up to something someone else has posted. The following thread ensued:
me: “Fuckin raped 2 finals” …I wonder if one can “unlike” a comment.
him: haha possibly… all you gotta do is type that you dont like it.
me: consider it done
He later changed his status to
him: fuckin destroyed all three finals and now time to turn off the brain!
which I considered a win. I “liked” that status.
But now I wish I’d gone farther. I wish I’d made it more clear that I was offended by the status, and that I was offended by “raped 2 finals” rather than “fuckin”. Swearing on your Facebook page is stupid, but inoffensive to me (I know for a fact that all his managers are on Facebook—I’m friends with most of them). Using “rape” as a description of power and of power over an inanimate object is flat out offensive. When I sent my messages, I felt like the Bad Feminist FriendTM: the one who is offended by little things that “normal” people aren’t offended by and don’t even notice; the one who never finds jokes funny and is just a pain to ever be around. But I simply couldn’t let it slide.
I know that others disagree, but I would much rather replace “rape” with “kill” in the above. I have killed finals in the past (I have had finals kill me, too); I have dominated, I have destroyed, but I have never raped a final. Or anything else (besides the earth, with my car…). This is not a term to be used lightly. This is not a word to be normalized.
One of the many reasons I don’t post with my IRL name here (I won’t say “real”, since xJane is just as real in many ways) is because I am attempting to manage my image. In our internet age, I still find it to be very important to not ruffle feathers in a public way (so that I can find a job, even with a company I may not agree with) while at the same time ruffle feathers (feather-ruffling is something most people need more of).
Accordingly, I can say that I am not embarrassed about anything on my Facebook page. (Except, perhaps, who my “friends” are, but that cannot be avoided in many cases.)
Here are some recent articles I found interesting about Facebook: the first (hat tip to @greaterumbrage) is the humorous Facebook survival guide for adults. A great way of explaining “the Facebook” to people who ask. In fact, I may just send this around to some people I know…
Linked to in that article are two more of interest (to me, at least, and enough so that I want to share):
A discussion of “Facebook drunkfail”, also a humorous take on the subject (please please please Google “Kevin Colvin”, regardless of whether or not you click on and read that link, and read the first page that comes up. I think John bought me a drink from him once at the Edison…). A serious subject, though, and the major reason I (a) post here as xJane and (b) carefully edit my FB page (and (c) have two Twitter accounts).
Finally, this was probably in the news but I missed it because I live in a hole right now (luckily, a fact of life I’m used to), but Obama’s speechwriter committed a Facebook drunkfail that made it farther than Facebook. Here’s one woman’s take on it—one that I happen to agree with.
(I thought about posting links to these on my Facebook page but decided that was too meta for me…)
1. Feb. 16, 2009: All your face are belong to us (even if your face quit):
You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.
2. Feb. 16, 2009: Two Copies, One Cup (Zuckerberg issues explanation for legal excrement):
In reality, we wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment.
3. O RLY! (Tens of thousands join newly created Facebook group, People Against the new Terms of Service.
4. Feb. 18, 2009: I made you a ToS changez, but I eated it (Zuckerberg rolls back ToS changes):
Going forward, we’ve decided to take a new approach towards developing our terms. We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now. As I said yesterday, we think that a lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective so we don’t plan to leave it there for long.