Until today, I had never started a petition. I wasn’t that kid in high school who went lunch table to lunch table advocating for new textbooks, or better candy in the snack machines, or cheaper prom tickets. I preferred to write my feelings (and sometimes rant my feelings) and then to think that my part in the struggle was done because I’d said my piece.
Yesterday, someone sent me a Facebook page called “12 Year Old Sluts,” (trigger warning) in which the moderators (two adult men) post and repost pictures of teenaged girls (and sometimes younger) in provocative poses for their commentariat to rip to shreds. They profess to be teaching these girls “a lesson” about not being “slutty” on the internet. The comments at best are guffaws and jokes about the girls being ugly (a lot of “I’d rather fuck a cow/tractor/dog than her”.) At worst, they are threatening (“I’d tap that…with a truck full of explosives,” “She needs a hug, around the neck…with a rope”). Many of the comments are from other girls.
I reported the page to Facebook as a violation of their community standards (which include bans on violence, threats, bullying, and harassment). They responded: “Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
I can’t remember the last time I was this blindingly angry. Writing a post didn’t seem to be enough. Ranting on Facebook didn’t seem to be enough. Tweeting my rage didn’t seem to be enough. This page’s sole purpose is to promote the harassment of women and girls, to limit the ways in which they can express themselves, to shame them into behaving a certain way, and to tear them down if they don’t. The men who created this page think they are doing someone a favor by shredding a girl’s self-esteem so she “learns a lesson.” All they do is perpetuate a cycle where women are valued strictly for how much men like to look at them.
I started a change.org petition to get Facebook to remove this page. It is currently filed under “Controversial Humor.” Here’s the full text of my letter:
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