Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Five Facebook Past-times Worse Than 'Keyboard Activism'

I am more than willing to admit that I often repost things on Facebook regarding a myriad of activism issues that are very important to me, and I'm happy to do so.  I've been actively involved in 'real life' volunteer work for years as my schedule allows, but having the internet and social networking as a tool definitely contributes to my being able to reach many more people in a much more efficient way than before.  So, I'm used to being met with displeasure or even downright disgust when I post something that's not popular in the mainstream world of parenting.  Once in a while, I get a name tossed at me, and a popular choice of insult seems to be 'keyboard activist', complete with dripping cyber-sarcasm.  I recently got to thinking about this, and even if I did not do a single bit of 'real life' volunteer work/activism, and was truly *nothing more* than a 'keyboard activist', all I could come up with was, "SO?"

What immediately leaps to mind to me are a few things I see all the time on Facebook which are generally accepted with a lack of the bitter distaste that 'keyboard activism' seems to receive.  Here, I offer them for you to consider, and to all of you fellow 'keyboard activists': keep up the good work, friends!  Minds are enlightened, babies are saved, children are empowered and families are strengthened, because you take the time to share your informed words and resources instead of, for example:

1. Facebook-stalking your ex: Oh, yes, I know.  YOU'VE never done it.  Well, um, neither have I!  But knowing that it is a totally common, generally harmless and sometimes incredibly tempting thing to do, people seem to laugh or roll their eyes at most of the curious Facebook-stalking-of-exes going on.  Or they condemn it after they've made sure to delete their cookies, fingers crossed that the latest "check out who's viewed your profile!" was just another scam.  Either way, spreading awareness about important human rights issues cannot POSSIBLY be considered a bigger waste of time, right? 

2. Tagging your friends in unflattering photos:  All right, this one is just blatantly worse than 'keyboard activism'!  COME ON.  It's downright mean.  And I'm not on a soapbox about it because of that awful picture of me with seriously visible granny-panty lines that I quickly untagged. . . . and then was RE-TAGGED IN. . . . . but while I'm at it, people: don't do that!  If someone removes your tag, don't re-tag them!  Just, NO.

3. Farmville obsession:  To be fair, I really don't think there is anything wrong with those games.  I've never gotten into playing one, but they sure don't hurt anybody.  Of course, they don't really accomplish anything either, so if you want to be technical  about it, there is certainly praise to be sung about all the resource sharing that is absent on Mafia Wars or Pot Farm.  Just sayin'. 

4. Drunk Facebooking:  We're all human, and I'm not going to pretend I haven't been introduced to a fine blended drink in this life, myself.  But drinking and Facebook don't necessarily equal a win (at least not simultaneously).  Most of the collateral damage I've seen has been hurt feelings or sheer mortification--  which can't be said with that oh-so-offensive 'keyboard activism'-- but it can even go beyond that.  Let's face it: it's bad enough to update your status saying, "geetin myy drink ooooooon with muh GIRLZZZ!!!! Dont be a playahata!hahahahaaaaaa! WOOOOOOOOO!", but it's even worse to follow it up with a slideshow of a jello shot-induced frenzy where you pose for photos that suggest your glassy-eyed self is about to lick your BFF's boob or something.  Oh yeah, we've all seen those photo albums posted at 3 AM from someone's iPhone, and we've probably all had the decency to at least cringe for our pals (before we start tagging away).  On the other hand, I haven't ever felt embarassed the next day after speaking out about autonomy or discipline without violence. 

5. Trolling: If I could write some holy commandments for Facebook, somewhere on there would be "Thou shalt not troll the activist pages".  Online activism is, by leaps and bounds, a better investment of one's time than being a total asshat to a group of human rights advocates.  Take the Circ-list folks, for example.  That dude that keeps revising Wikipedia's circumcision section clocks some serious hours just trying to perpetuate the availability of misinformation getting out there.  And on Facebook, you don't need to look far to find more disgusting, vile, hate-mongering pages than you'd be able to stomach in a lifetime.  However, while most people often won't even take the three and a half seconds it takes to report a completely offensive page that deliberately does nothing but make fun of, for example, dead babies or the mentally impaired, the same people can often be seeing berating 'keyboard activists' because, well, dagnabbit, they just keep posting those darn old posts about equal rights for everyone.  That doesn't compute for me, but then again, as the saying goes, "You can't make sense out of nonsense", right? 

I guess you all get the picture here.  I'll end the rant and let it go, but I know there are other people out there who must have had the same thoughts floating around in their heads.  If you're a proud online activist who feels fed up with the backlash, you know that at least I'm on your side.  If I have to drunkenly tend a cyber-farm while posting half-nudie pics and maintaining phony hate pages just to fit in or be accepted without negative feedback, I'd rather be a solitary, nerdy keyboard activist.   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Facebook Prefers Prostitutes And Bans Breastfeeding. . . . . Again

I haven't had much time to work on legitimate blogging or even Facebooking lately, but this was just too much. I had to point this out, because I can't be the only person who sees the insanity of this.

Anyone in the wide world of motherhood probably knows that Facebook seems to have it in for nursing mothers or anyone who supports them, offers education and resources, helps them connect, or even advocates for them, whether it's private photos on personal profiles, milk sharing groups or the recently deleted Beanie Boobies page (which you can read about here). They claim that these things are inappropriate and that they violate the Terms of Use. All right, that's ridiculous and it's a prejudice against mothers and babies, well, all over the world. And that's bad enough. But hold on a second, because if that's not enough to make you feel like talking some sense into Mark Zuckerburg, just take a look at an example of what is cool with Facebook. . . .

Lo and behold, Hookers for Jesus. No, seriously. 

Just to get it out of the way, let me toss in a couple of disclaimers:

  • I am not a *hooker hater*

  • These are actually supposed to be 'ex', reformed prostitutes, but no one should get offended if I use the term 'hooker' instead of 'reformed prostitutes' because the whole 'hooker' thing is their tag line; I mean, it's the TITLE of the PAGE, so if they can do it, so can I, or anyone else, and in fact, it's free advertising for their, um, 'cause'

  • I am NOT-- repeat, NOT-- trying to draw a line linking breastfeeding to prostitution, in case anyone wants to try to go there

  • I feel that if hookers-- current OR 'reformed'-- feel compelled to find personal satisfaction by turning to Christianity, then I'm happy for them

  • I'm not trying to get into the debate about prostitution in general; I only have time to rant about one thing at a time at the moment because my three year old is taking increasingly brief (and rare) naps

All right, now that I got that out of the way, moving on. Where was I? Ahh, yes: "Hookers for Jesus", a real, legitimate Facebook page with almost 12,000 fans. When I first saw it, I was thinking it was some type of joke. I thought if it were a real page, they'd use some terminology in the page title at least that lets people know they aren't still actually, you know. . . . practicing the craft. But I guess the 'shock value' probably drives traffic to the page, so there it stays: not "Ex-hookers for Jesus" or "Reformed Prostitutes for Jesus", but simply "Hookers for Jesus" (I'm still not entirely convinced that the title didn't start off as a joke). In any event, once I realized it was a real page, I looked around on it a bit, and of course, one of the main topics of conversation that come up are about the exchange of sexual acts for money. So, that doesn't violate the "Terms of Use" but images/resources/support/connections/advocacy about the natural way to feed babies DOES?

Let me be clear: I'm not actually campaigning that Facebook remove their page. I'm also not insinuating that discussing prostitution is illegal (obviously it's not) or that discussing it ought to be illegal or even banned in the Realm of the Royal Zucker. I am merely pointing out that Facebook removes profiles and pages all the time that have ANYTHING to do with breastfeeding based on the grounds that they are 'offensive' and 'inappropriate', *especially for children*, even though breastfeeding is not only necessary to, among the other things, the freakin' survival of the human race, but also federally protected by law. Prostitution, on the other hand, which is illegal, is fine to glamorize on Facebook. And yeah, I'm sure there are tons of really nice, devout fans of the page, but come on, they aren't exactly the picture of propriety. "Holy Hotties"? Really? I thought that this was claiming to be a page about EX-hookers turning to Jesus, but it clearly-- CLEARLY-- is still using nothing but 'sex appeal' (which is initiated by the fact that they are talking about women who used to [some fans say that they still do] break the law by taking money for sexual acts) at best, and prostitution promotion at worst, to find fans. I realize that while prostitution is illegal here, it's perfectly legal for a woman to leave that trade and still want to be 'sexy' all the time, but if Facebook is going around banging the decency drum and Hookers for Jesus is still acceptable to them, then how can something as federally-protected, natural, non-sexual and peaceful as breastfeeding a baby be banned, deleted and censored time and time again?

I can only think of one answer: Facebook seems to have it in for nursing mothers. . . . . which brings us back to square one. So. What do you think? Am I the only person who wants Facebook to knock it off? My friend Heidi Shultes Maxwell made a great suggestion: "Would be cool if the Facebook report option had a 'breast feeding offends me' option in the report reason list. And the response was 'get a grip - she is feeding her baby'. I can dream." We all can, mama. I like your style. In the meantime, who wants to chip in with me to supply Facebook with a good copy of the dictionary to keep on hand so that they can remind themselves what actually constitutes offensive, inappropriate material? If the glamorization of prostitution is not offensive and inappropriate, then how can the loving, healthy, federally protected act of feeding a baby be?