Monday, May 27, 2013

Why You Should Listen To EverydaySexism (TW)

Largest words are student, feminist, writer
(Trigger warning for discussion of trivialising of violence against women including one image.)

Regular readers of this blog are perhaps unduly familiar with word clouds, but as EverydaySexism and the #FBRape campaign are fresh topics to me I feel it best to recap for any potentially new readers. I've been following @EverydaySexism on Twitter for some time now and when I'm interested in finding out more about a Twitter account I like to look at the people who follow it. Working in IT lets me look a little closer than most and one thing I like to do is pull the Twitter biographies of all an account's followers and put them in a word cloud.

That's the image above. Words followers of @EverydaySexism use to describe themselves most frequently are the larger, words used infrequently are either small or absent. Click the image to see a bigger copy. It's fair to say that as well as attracting students and feminists the account has a significant number of writers and journalists invested in their efforts. Simon Pegg is a fan, as is Amanda Palmer. Caitlin Moran also follows. From the BBC alone you may recognise Rick Edwards, Jeremy Vine, Samira Ahmed, Mary Ann Sieghart, Sue Llewellyn, Jane Hill and Rhianna Dhillon as followers, and fans of the Guardian will recognise Laurie Penny, Spencer Ackerman, Emily Bell, Vicky Beeching, Lyn Gardner, Tim Dowling, Chris Roper, Sana Saleem, GrrlScientist, Claire Phipps and  Jane Martinson when they examine the list. I shan't bore you by listing every media outlet: suffice it to say the trend continues.

We should also not be too quick to dismiss the non journalist followers of EverydaySexism. Each of their 49,967 (and counting) followers averages 1,030 of their own followers, giving them an enviable social media reach. They seem almost uniquely poised to rapidly deliver their message to hundreds of thousands.

What do they want?

They're currently asking companies to stop advertising their products alongside Facebook media that normalises or trivialises violence against women. This hardly seems an unreasonable request and to their credit, Nissan and other companies have pulled their Facebook ads, yet Dove - a company who markets a significant majority of their products to women - has  chosen to continue advertising in this manner.

A casual glance at the #FBRape timeline will reveal that many have tried - unsuccessfully - to persuade Dove of the errors of their ways. The most common approach is to remind Dove that their customers are women too.

I thought I'd see if I could emphasise the point.

Dove's ad was placed next to an image of a beaten woman. The text below the image read:
"Hit this girl with my truck and got out of my truck and roundhouse kicked her, I then picked her up by the throat and climbed to the top of my truck and Chokeslammed her.She got what she deserved."
I toyed with choosing a random follower of +Dove and Photoshopping them into the image. But it struck me as unfair to single out one person in this manner. Instead I downloaded a picture of every one of Dove's followers and rearranged them so they form a picture of the assault survivor. 

Here's the top left hand corner at high magnification:

To view the entire image, please click here. Again, trigger warning for image of an assaulted woman. Zoom in on the image to see the constituent profile pictures.

Dove, these are your customers.

(Feel free to use either image on your own blog or social media, but please read this trigger warning guide if posting the second image.)

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