I read an interesting article today, about Facebook content and it lead me to think about censorship. Or at least what we think is ok to say in society. What are your limits when it comes to posting on social media? Do you encourage your followers or friends to comment on your posts? Or do you even care? Or are you like me, and you just fly under the radar? Recently, an American woman posted an image on her Facebook account that said “Men are Trash”. I’m not going to get into the specifics of the message just yet, but Facebook removed the content. Deeming it to be in contravention of their own policies. Which leads me to wonder what one can and cannot say on social media?
Not only did Facebook remove the content, they have qualified it as hate speech. Hate speech!? Are they for real? I am not saying that I agree with that statement. For one, its extremely stereotypical, but at the same time, it’s an opinion. And perhaps one that is coming from some experience. I have met many men who I would deem “trash”, so am I not allowed to say that on social media? Is it the generalization that determines it’s hate speech? If I wrote “Bob is Trash”, would that be ok? (Note, I don’t know any one named Bob) I guess I’m just trying to understand what the issue is.
Again, I don’t agree with the statement myself. And I do think it’s too general, so what is Facebook basing this on? I’d also like to point out that Facebook shouldn’t be throwing stones right now. They have been under fire as of late for some of their own content issues. But I won’t get into that, as that’s not what this post is about. It is, however, trying to understand why “Men are Trash” is considered hate speech. Is it possible, that “trash” has a new slang meaning, like “phat” did several years ago? And it actually means something positive? I am kidding! But it does raise a point. What if you heard someone saying “men are phat”? Would you automatically assume that they meant something positive? Or would you assume a negative thought because of your own association with that word?
For centuries women have been called derogatory names. In public. To their faces. So why is it ok when a man says it, but if a woman decides to call a man a name, it’s hate speech? It honestly seems a bit like a double standard. A man can get angry, and call a woman names. He could even post about it on Facebook, and I guarantee you that it wouldn’t get removed. Well, I shouldn’t say guarantee, but I’m sure there’s a good chance. But if a woman labels men as trash, that is automatically removed? Again, I don’t agree with the statement, or even the double standard. But it’s one that needs to be addressed.
Is it ok for a woman to meet a friend, and trash talk her ex-boyfriend? And if so, is the qualifying piece in all of this that it’s not specific? But rather a generalization. Regardless of your gender, I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to bash another gender just because they’ve done something to you. We have all been there. Trust me. I can relate. And yes, there have been many times that I wanted to say those words, and maybe even harsher ones. But I didn’t. Why? Well, I don’t think this kind of language gets us anywhere in life. I don’t mean that to sound pretentious. I just don’t believe it is in anyone’s best interest to put anyone else down. Man or woman.
But I will say this. And I don’t consider myself to be overly feminist. I don’t agree with the double standard here. Women have been called some pretty harsh names over the years. For many, many years. So why should we punish women for saying what they believe? Especially when we have allowed men to do it for so many years? As a woman, I struggle with this next thought. Should we be the “bigger” person (or gender) and not stoop to the level of men? Should we rise above and let this roll off our back? Or should we get down and fling the mud right back at them? I honestly don’t know the answer to this. And again, I’m not suggesting that we don’t stand up for ourselves. I just wonder where we should be drawing the line? Especially when being accused of hate speech.