Many people I know aren’t comfortable with the “f word” – and by that I mean “feminism.”

This is often due to a misunderstanding of the word. When I advocate feminism, I am expressing a hope for equal treatment of females and males (and those who choose to identify otherwise or who are still figuring it all out). Men and women should be treated with equal respect as well as equal responsibility.

Of all things that really made me realize the need of feminism, it was the difference between two social media sites: Facebook and Tumblr.

Of all things that really made me realize the need of feminism, it was the difference between two social media sites: Facebook and Tumblr. Most of my friends and family are over on Facebook, but one day I found a fan site that I liked on Tumblr and decided to make an account over there. I found that the demographic is a little different.

It seems like most Tumblr users are younger than me (I’m 32) and that advocates of gender equality and similar causes are not shy about speaking their mind in what is considered an online ‘safe space’ to many. Users even regularly tag triggers for those who have suffered from abuse, eating disorders, PTSD, and more.

I quickly noticed some other differences about fairness and equality on there as well, and while I feel like Facebook reflects “the real world” and Tumblr is more of an ideal, the contrast has really caused me to think critically about some of the things I see posted on both sites.

Tonight I noticed that a ‘friend’ on Facebook re-posted the above featured picture.

(Link to the page that originally posted it)

This statement and image is insulting to both women and men. Here’s why:

  • It is not a woman’s job to exist to impress a man (or anyone else).
  • A woman is not a ‘thing’ to be respected; she is a person.
  • Men should not have the ‘job’ of respecting women; they should respect everyone unless given a reason not to (as should women).
  • A man’s respect of a woman should not be conditional on socially acceptable behavior or dress.

This message implies that respect for women is entirely conditional, though it is not for men. This post has over 54,000 likes and over 17,800 shares. Many of those who shared are female.

The fact that such a message is so popular, blunt, pervasive, and frequently posted by both women and men is very disturbing. While I agree that sometimes respect must be earned and that behavior influences the way another person can see you, this message is clearly a double standard.

Social media sites are rampant with strong socio-political opinions and messages, and images like the one above make it very easy to click and share. Do people even contemplate the real meaning of a message before they do so?

Please post your thoughts and opinions below. Respectful, lively debate is encouraged.

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