There Is No #NotMe Here
Yesterday I learned to be careful about writing the lede and headline for a story tackling the subject of misogyny. Alex Zaragoza at City Beat wrote something about all men having a degree of complicity in sexism and its more extreme manifestations and was silenced for doing so.
It didn’t take long for Facebook’s content moderation team to remove the article from City Beat’s social media postings. It seems as though the headline “Dear Dudes, You’re All Trash” infringes on the rights of white men, who are considered a protected group on the platform, according to a six-month-old ProPublica investigation.
— SDCityBeat (@SDCityBeat) December 5, 2017
She has a point to make (and a right to point out) how men are conditioned and rewarded to be stewards of a patriarchal, misogynistic culture. There is no #NotMe here. How can men say they haven’t been affected by what has surrounded us from birth?
Here’s a snip (read the whole thing) the City Beat column:
…for the good ones that insist they would never and have never done anything like this to a woman, they might not be a Harvey Weinstein, but that doesn’t mean they’re not complicit in the violence and aggression against women. They are complicit when they excuse a friend’s gross behavior. When they are shocked or show disbelief in someone’s accusation. When they insist on needing to hear all sides when that luxury is rarely afforded to victims who come forward and face severe backlash for doing so. They’re complicit when they remain friends with someone known to be an aggressor, regardless of how “woke’ they believe themselves to be.
It’s easy for these men to presume they’re the exception when they couldn’t possibly know if they actually are, especially if they refuse to accept when they’re trash. I’ve seen some pretty “woke” dudes say and do some completely trash things, and I know I’m not the only one.
Some people reacted by saying she was painting with too broad a brush. Which, IMO, is exactly what she needed to do as a columnist seeking to raise awareness (and express anger at what is going on) to drive home her point.
Still, nobody other than the basement-dwelling MAGA deplorables emailing City Beat editor Seth Combs thought Zaragoza should be silenced.
This Facebook clampdown is a BFD for those of us writers without huge platforms. A minority of readers (Thank You!) come to our stories directly, either in print or over the interwebs. The majority of online traffic is driven by Google or Facebook these days. Readers have been harder to reach since the Gods of Search decided to favor media outlets with money as part of the war on fake news.
Facebook, and –to a much lesser degree– other social media platforms are places where writers can thrive these days. Sometimes we even get lucky and strike a nerve, which is nice because the pay sucks. My post on the Senate GOP’s potentially fatal math errors in the tax reform bill yesterday brought more than 21,000 visitors to SDFP as of this writing, thanks to Facebook.
What happened to City Beat/Alex Zaragoza is not some sort of mistake or aberration. Mark Zuckerman’s minions are on a rampage, proving her point about guys not having a clue.
The Daily Beast recently posted an article by Taylor Lorenz revealing the inner workings of Facebook’s response to women posting angry comments in response to the wave of revelations about grabby-grabby men, many of whom seem to think waving their junk around is some sort of lure.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, countless women have taken to Facebook to express their frustration and disappointment with men and have been promptly shut down or silenced, banned from the platform for periods ranging from one to seven days.
Women have posted things as bland as “men ain’t shit,” “all men are ugly,” and even “all men are allegedly ugly” and had their posts removed. They’ve been locked out of their accounts for suggesting that, since “all men are ugly,” country music star Blake Shelton “winning the sexiest man isn’t a triumph.”
“I personally posted men are scum in November and I received a seven day ban. It’s still ongoing. Two days and 23 hours left,” said comedian Alison Klemp.
According to the article, a private Facebook group of 500 female comedians tried to stage a protest on November 24, each posting some disparaging comment about men. “Nearly every woman who carried out the pledge was banned.”
All of this brings me to address the latest symptoms of misogyny making the news, namely elected officials who have abused their power in pursuit of “grabbing them by the pussy.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that one size punishment fits all the characters with multiple accusers currently doing the perp walk through media-land: be gone.
Marcos at Daily Kos wrestled with the moral and practical–are Democrats disarming by disowning electeds while Republicans celebrate their pervs?–arguments and came to the conclusion that putting the Al Frankens and the John Conyers types out to pasture was the only possible response.
Here’s a taste of his argument:
…Franken has to go.
- The Democratic Party is overwhelmingly female. According to Gallup polling, 41 percent of women identify as Democrats, while just 32 percent of men do. According to Pew, 54 percent of women identify as Democrats, while just 41 percent of men do. In 2016, 54 percent of women voted for Hillary Clinton, while just 41 percent of men did. In Virginia’s Democratic wave this year, 61 percent of women voted for the Democratic gubernatorial victor, while just 48 percent of men did.
- There is a big voter gap between married and unmarried women. In 2016, Clinton won married women 49-47. She won unmarried women 63-32.
- Single women are one of the worst-performing voting demographics. In the 2014 mid-term elections, out of nearly 57 million unmarried women eligible to vote, just 20 million did.
You don’t have to be a math wiz to understand that activating even a slice of those non-voting unmarried women could dramatically reshape our political landscape. And that’s not even considering gains Democrats could potentially make among Republican married (and unmarried women) in the age of Trump.
This thinking also should apply to the bad boys of Sacramento if we are serious about advocating for progressive change. And it’s no small coincidence how many of the major media figures outed recently played a role in despairing Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
Finally, let me bring this down to San Diego politics.
There is a pathetic thing going on with organized labor involving substantive accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment by labor leader Mickey Kasparian, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers.
A lawsuit by Isabel Vasquez is making its way through the courts. Depositions have been taken. This is no frivolous filing, according to the courts, even if Kasparian continues to deny everything.
For way too much of the local political establishment, the response has been to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the obvious.
The accommodation of his continued influence in the Democratic Party by its leadership is beyond the pale. How can they expect women to participate in an organization oblivious to a major social movement going on around it?
The decision of the United Way to part ways with the AFL-CIO’s 30th Annual Holiday Food and Toy Distribution in favor of a separate event both suggests a blindness to the realities of the Weinstein/Moore/Franken effect sweeping the nation.
San Diego’s Labor Council is holding their event on December 18th. Kasparian’s breakaway group–the San Diego Working Families Council– is holding their charitable event (blessed by the United way) on December 19th. Both events are to be held in the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium.
The dispute leading to the dual events concerned advertising the rump group as a supporter for the cause. The AFL-CIO group had no problem with individuals and locals participating. The idea of promoting a group–largely born out of scandal–wasn’t acceptable.
This decision by the United Way was kind of like expecting the Alabama Democratic Party to hold a joint event with the Roy Moore campaign, even if the specifics of each case are different.
According to an article in the New York Times, one thousand women contacted Emily’s List to inquire about running for office in the ten months before the 2016 election. Since last November, more than 22,000 have contacted the group.
We can not win the future if we do not confront and deal with the past.
BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF FIRE
— Indivisible Network (@IndivisibleNet) December 5, 2017
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