We all know the Internet can be a cruel, cruel place, but just how bad can it get?
Well, imagine you've taken a trip to the beach with your girlfriends and decide to take a cute pic. Then, to share with said girlfriends, you post the image on Facebook. All's well with the world, right?
Not quite. Any one of your Facebook friends can pull that photo from the site and post it to a forum meant expressly to showcase "sexy girls." Ugh. And apparently this situation happens everyday to girls around the world on the subreddit, "Facebook Cleavage," on the popular content aggregation site Reddit.com.
Right now, the feed currently has 17,411 subscribers and grows every day...
Like every subreddit, this one has a few rules for users to abide by, including no sexualized images of underaged girls (way to be upstanding).
- "Find sexy pictures of your hot Facebook friends. Upload the pictures to imgur.com, and submit them here."
- "Doesn't have to be cleavage. Any sexy pic will do."
- "Don't post pics that don't come from Facebook. You will be banned."
- "Only post people of age. Underage posts will be removed and users banned. Report underage posts to the mods."
- "Please don't mention real names."
Just to give you a sampling, here are a few top titles from the notorious feed: "Spring Break ass," "I could motorboat these for days," and "Different hair, same great tits." Eww.
However disgusting we may find people ripping off their friends' photos for the world to ogle at, that practice does not go against Facebook's Terms and Conditions. Though these images are distributed without the girls' knowledge, reposting online without permission does not appear to violate personal privacy laws.
In other words, there is nothing legally wrong with what this subreddit and what it's users are doing (gross).
Many users will even defend the practice by saying that if a girl chooses to post a provocative photo online, she should have no expectation of privacy. *Head in hands*
If those photos were posted for the whole world to see, maybe, but what if said girl has actually chosen her Facebook security settings with care. She shouldn't expect to have her image posted to this subreddit, right?
Creeps can hide in the most unlikely places, even amongst friends. While no physical harm comes to the girls in these photos (that we know of), the emotional damage of finding a reasonably innocent photo on a sex site can be devastating. That damage is multiplied infinitely when the insult is committed by a friend.
We all are adult enough to know the Internet is not a private place; this is the 21st century. However, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY. Not only should we as a society be emotionally mature enough not to subject innocent women to this type of online emotional abuse, but there is a thriving online porn industry. If you wanna gawk over sexy ladies, just wing over to Youporn guys, that's what it's there for.
The brewing outrage surrounding "Facebook Cleavage" is bringing to the forefront the troubling and highly controversial topics of online privacy, female sexual objectification and victim blaming.
Sexuality is already a precarious notion in today's society. If a girl chooses to dress in a way that accentuates her figure and is then sexually harassed, it's become an unfortunate habit for people to automatically blame the girl.
If she chooses to post a picture of her and her friends out at a club and her cleavage ends up on "Facebook Cleavage," many people say she shouldn't have worn that outfit in the first place. Or posted the picture online. Or gone outside the house. The list goes on.
Men aren't immune to the affects of sexual objectification either (just think of all the oiled six-packs you've seen on TV), and sites like "Facebook Cleavage" can be just as harmful to the people who use them as to the women who are victimized. Sites like these prevent our society from growing and moving past sexual immaturity and abuse.
Since sites like these aren't going away any time soon, what can you do to keep your photo from ending up as someone's sexual fodder? First, if you use Facebook, go to the security settings and make sure your posts are only visible to friends. Also, it may be time to do a bit of spring cleaning on your friends list, just to be safe.
How else can someone keep themselves safe from online sexual objectification? Chime in on the "Facebook Cleavage" debate. Tweet us @sofeminineUK.