In the last few weeks I have enjoyed watching bloggers and readers of blogs from all over the world exchange ideas on various topics from a portrait of human stress in mechanical engineering terms, to an articulation of laughter, an intense back-and-forth about the politics of the niqab, and reflections on social media. It’s exciting to plug into an ongoing conversation about just-about-anything and hear voices from all over the world weighing in with different perspectives, worldviews, and insights as well as different biases, baggage, and fears. Blogging–and I’m a very green blogger–is an incredible tool for hashing out ideas, putting them through peer-review, bumping into strangers, making sweet and bitter connections, re-reading, re-writing, and maybe even deleting what we think, dream, and feel.
This morning I opened my gmail to find that there was a new post on confessions of a nymphet entitled If We’re Always in the Kitchen, I Guess You Won’t be Seeing Us in the Bedroom . As I dug into the prose I found an incisive review of the ways in which we use social media to not-so-cool and inspiring ends. Specifically, the proliferation of groups on Facebook that are formed around sexist ‘jokes’ or ideas. Tanya writes,
If you’ve got Facebook, you’ve probably noticed all the sexist groups on there, usually related to women either being in the kitchen or making sandwiches.
Do I really need to spell out why I’m writing this post?
They’re just not funny, it’s as simple as that. Okay, so you get the odd one that’s slightly amusing. I get that part of the humour would come from the fact that we’ve advanced so much that people feel that we can joke about things like that, because we live in a ‘post-feminist’ world where statements like that are funny because they’re so ludicrous, so it’s obvious that it’s a joke. And the fact that there are girls that join these groups just make it all the more difficult for girls who don’t think it’s funny to say anything about it without being accused of being a feminist with no sense of humour.
Maybe if we really did live in a world where there was no need for feminism, these groups could be considered amusing. But we don’t, and what’s more, I’ve seen some pretty disturbing pictures on these groups, like pictures of women with black eyes, all beaten up and captions like ‘This is what happens when women leave the kitchen’. If you think that’s funny, there’s something seriously wrong with you. How is domestic violence funny, exactly?
Tanya’s post brought many questions to my mind. Aside from the issues she directly addressed, namely, the trivialization of domestic violence and the so-called post-feminist world in which there is “no need for feminism,” it might also be useful to ask ourselves the following questions:
How much do I reflect on the ways in which I engage social media and those whom I encounter in virtual spaces?
Social networking is lauded as a means to make connections, share ideas, and broaden our perspectives; to what degree am I entering that medium with my arms, heart, and mind flung open?
Now that those of us with access to a computer, basic computing skills, and an internet connection are empowered to put forth a stronger voice and presence, are we using that opportunity responsibly or simply dumping on the fodder pile?
I’m not suggesting that the world we be a better place if we were all stuffy and self-conscious. Not at all. I am suggesting that the world would be a better place if we each made the effort to really consider what we LIKE (do I really like women getting punched in the face for “leaving the kitchen”?), what we JOIN, what we BLOCK, because though it may all seem a stream of digital confetti, in the end each of these bits is part of what composes your voice, your presence, and your content. In short, I’m waving a flag for REFLECTION.
Check out Tanya’s entire post here: http://confessionsofanymphet.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/if-were-always-in-the-kitchen-i-guess-you-wont-be-seeing-us-in-the-bedroom/
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