Facebook has banned Matt Forney's fan page and is preventing posting to his personal account. It wasn't my doing, BTW. They must have gotten tired of dealing with the avalanche of complaints from young women still outraged about his "self-esteem" post months ago. And he's promising to leave the country (at least temporarily). Fortunately for those students with more money than brains, the Internet will allow him to plagiarize essays from anywhere in the world.
A couple of days ago, I saw this story about a "creepy subreddit" that encourages members to upload pictures of women showing cleavage (in fact, any "sexy" photo will do) onto a special Facebook page designed for the viewing pleasure of... well, I guess anyone on Facebook who loves to see a suggestion of breasts. (I assume this isn't an "I Love Toe Cleavage" page, although God knows that would draw its own audience.)
There are ground rules: The pictures must already have been posted by the subject (a Facebook user herself), the woman must be over eighteen, and the woman must not be named (as though that will somehow protect her identity these days). The pages (there are actually more than one) have met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response.
Disgusting, isn't it? My first response was: One more way to punish women for being on the internet. But what if the tables were turned? What if some intrepid person (woman or man) was inspired to obtain pictures of attractive male Facebook users for the same purpose? Hell, for all I know, someone already has (but I'm not willing to waste an hour looking for them). I had to admit that didn't bother me nearly so much, and I had to ask myself, Why not? There is plenty of evidence that American women have taken to "objectifying" men in record numbers. Just read Jezebel or any number of popular women's magazines. Recall the kerfuffle over Jon Hamm's candid "crotch shots" last year? I have every reason to believe he found that experience just as humiliating and invasive as some Jane Doe who has already posed for and posted the pictures herself. I'm not saying that "objectifying" people of any gender is behavior to be proud of. But we have to acknowledge it seems hard-wired in the human brain to do so. Obviously, both men and women enjoy looking at pictures of good-looking men and women in various states of deshabille. (And kittens. And babies. And food.) And we especially savor images we're not "supposed to" see. The underlying "revenge" element in "I Love Cleavage" or similar Facebook pages is quite unpleasant, like watered-down versions of Hunter Moore's Is Anyone Up. There is an unescapable sense that these young women are being "shamed" for their sexuality. Again, I ask, Why? I assume the young women posted their own "sexy" images as a celebration of their beauty, or out of vanity, or a desire to be desired -- all, BTW, perfectly valid, healthy, and natural reasons in my opinion. So the idea that these pictures have "shaming potential" is merely a demonstration of how fucked up puritanical Americans are (even / especially American "feminists"). I'm not saying that Facebook shouldn't address this issue with a change of policy. If enough fuss is raised, it probably will. After all, Facebook is the domain of adolescents (of all ages), whom we hypocritically claim to "protect." If there is one thing I've learned in the last few months, it's that none of us have completely comprehended the power of social media to showcase the most base of human behavior. Although I'm not ever going to find my mug (or boobs decollatage) on an "I Love Cleavage" Facebook page, I will just add that I'm sorry I ever joined Facebook. Of course, now that I'm on, I can't get off. And I'll bet a lot of my friends feel the same way.