I’ve had run ins with Facebook Community “Standards” before. I’ve seen female friends have their photos removed in breastfeeding pictures where their nipples aren’t visible and one girl had a bathing suit photo taken down for nudity even though there was no nudity shown at all. I’ve also reported memes that encourage violence and rape only to be told that those are acceptable for community standards. But this time, Facebook has fucked up like no other.
I came across a video [Now removed] when I was checking my newsfeed. One of my Facebook friends had commented on it and that’s why I was even shown it to begin with. As with Facebook videos, it started playing automatically with no sound. It caught my eye as it was a moving image and everything else I was looking at was still. When I looked at it, I was immediately horrified.
For those that don’t wish to seek it out, and I recommend that you don’t, it’s a 16 second clip showing a black man and black woman arguing. The woman, who is pregnant, hits the man, then the man loses his shit and beats her furiously. He knocks her over into a shelf and when she is down on the ground and no longer any kind of threat, he continues to pound her with blows to the head.
The video was posted by one King Antonio Washington with the text, “I honestly DON’T feel bad for her! He clearly tried to defuse the situation at first but what some of you women need to understand is when y’all hit a male first then your gonna have to deal with whatever comes next! She could of walked away as he asked her to!” [sic throughout] It has several thousand comments on it with over a thousand likes and shares.
Horrified by this display of brutality, I reported the video for graphic violence. Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, alerted me a few hours later this is not against community standards and it refused to remove the video. When I brought this to the attention of other people, they also reported this horrific video, and received the same response. Apparently, a woman’s body is only acceptable on Facebook if it’s being beaten. Only after a concentrated effort to involve the entire feminist Facebook group community in reporting the video was it removed. I reported it four times myself.
For those of you on drugs and those of you who work at Facebook, here’s exactly why this video and these actions are not acceptable:
First of all, in the beginning of this video the man is not trying to make peace at all. He is screaming in the woman’s face. As much as Mr. Washington wants to claim that “he clearly tried to defuse the situation” he did nothing of the sort. Shouting at someone and swearing at them is no way to defuse anything. And he never “asked” her to do anything. He yelled at her through expletives.
Furthermore, there is nothing a human being could do that would justify that kind of beating. This is not she hit him, so he hit her back. This is she hit him and beat her to a bloody pulp. She might have thrown the first punch, but he threw the 15th. Directly to her skull. I don’t care if she hit him first. I don’t care if she hit him at all. There is no need for this extreme amount of violence in retaliation. A reaction to a child kicking your shin is not to murder that child and its family.
Mr. Washington wants to claim that women just need to be aware that if they should strike a man, they should deal with the consequences. But what he is really saying here is that, women need to realize that they shouldn’t hit a man because they could be hospitalized or even killed for it. This is not the way the world works nor how it should work. This woman is smaller and lighter than the man in question. He has the physical advantage over her and not only that, but she’s pregnant. He endangered not only her life, but her unborn child’s life. Neither of which he had the right or justification to do.
I honestly wonder what this man did when he got home that day. Look himself in the mirror and say, “I beat a pregnant woman unconscious! I really showed her! No pregnant woman that’s smaller and weaker than me will ever try to hit me again! This is what it feels like to be a man.” Masculinity does not need or excuse violence. Masculinity is walking away from a bad situation without letting things escalate to punching a pregnant woman in the face. There is nothing manly, strong, or admirable about a man that uses his strength for cruelty to those smaller than him.
Even if this video showed two men or two women fighting in this manner, it’s still not appropriate for Facebook. It is graphically violent and doesn’t need to be next to photos of people’s babies and status updates about cats. This video is not a movie scene, this is not a professional fight. This was a real human being being assaulted even after they were no longer any kind of threat. The implications of the victim of this assault being both female and pregnant adds an entirely different dynamic to it. But not even that, the way this video was presented is that this was an acceptable thing to happen to a woman that most likely felt threatened by the gigantic man yelling in her face.
Facebook has long had problems with the way it deals with women, even though over 60% of its users are women. You’d think a company would realize that they should be taking better care of the majority of their clientele, but this is another instance where women are the majority but still disadvantaged. If anyone ever needed a reason for why we need feminism, here it is. A site used by women and kept in business by women removes completely innocent photos of women feeding their children while allowing videos showing them being violently beaten. If that makes sense to you, you need to reevaluate your life.