Friday, June 24, 2011

Gender 101: Feminism on Facebook

by Connie Chastain*

I've been a member of a couple of anti-feminist groups on Facebook almost since I created a Facebook account back in 2009. I haven't found much there that spins my wheels. But Facebook being what it is, if those groups don't do it for me, there are lots of others I can join.

The problem with a Facebook page or group -- unless it exists primarily to pass along information, like the False Rape Society's page -- is that it can become the biggest time waster in your life -- without giving you much in return for your time.

Still, it's interesting to see what's out there, from both a pro-and anti- perspective. There are a few groups with fairly large memberships, and many, many groups with a handful of members. There are groups as serious as strychnine poisoning, and others apparently played for yuks.

Dozens of groups boast the names "Feminism" or "Anti-feminism," that don't tell you much, except which side of the divide they come down on, but others get more specific.

There is Guerilla Feminism, Creative Feminism, Black Feminism, Modern Feminism, Pagan Feminism, Multicultural Feminism, Sexy Feminism, Nth Wave Feminism, Male Feminism and Full Frontal Feminism, the latter, presumably, named for the book of the same name by Jessica Valenti. And that's just a small sampling.

Anti-Feminist groups are more likely to have qualifiers that follow, rather than precede "Anti-Feminism" and they're not nearly as colorful. There's Anti-Feminism is NOT Chauvinism!, Anti-Feminism Rocks (presumably the antithesis of the Anti-Feminism Sucks group) and I'd Rather Be A Housewife Than Have A Career.

Granted, I don't know much about these groups and pages. I've only seen their names on a search index. But of the two I joined, Stop Radical Feminism Now has the coolest title graphic. Just take a look at the maniacal expression and the hammer-fist just a second away from smashing the running man. (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=3283405610).

In my opinion, you couldn't find a better illustration of what feminism is, what it wants, what it does.

It would be a mistake, I think, to put too much importance on these groups. Feminism is an immense and powerful force in Western culture. It's not going away any time soon because of some Facebook groups. But social media, so they tell us, is itself becoming a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps it has a role to play in overcoming feminism and repairing what it has destroyed.

In any case, its heartening to see that a segment of the population doesn't buy what feminism is selling, and isn't afraid to get on Facebook and say so.

*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is http://conniechastain.blogspot.com/