I object to the sexualization and objectification of women’s bodies that I am continually bombarded with. Everywhere I turn there are images of women, or parts of them, selling everything, slowly remaking the image of what a normal woman is.
Last week the Twitter feed for an event that I organized for 200 K-12 educational stakeholders from across Alberta was spammed by tweets full of boobs and butts. Suddenly the stream was filled with users with Russian looking names assuring me they were over 18 and entreating me to click on their profiles (they seemed to be some kind of Russian mail order hookers or something). Most of them featured photos of nearly naked women, who shared that they liked to be naked. Some also mentioned contests; all included links to sites they encouraged me to visit. The link I clicked on led to a page with fully naked photos of (mostly) women.
Suddenly a feed that had been professional, education-related and family friendly for the past three years was filled with very inappropriate images. I was horrified and offended. I felt attacked. I worried about damage to the reputation of Alberta Education and the event that I was responsible for organizing. Parents who were watching the feed to see if there were photos of their child taking part in the panel on CTF might have noticed those tweets were immediately followed by several inappropriate tweets but they might not have realized that we had no way to remove them.
Mostly I was exhausted.
Exhausted by the constantly exposure to imagery that I don’t want to see. Imagery I don’t want my children to see, I don’t want any part of.
I object but there is not much I can do except look away.
I reported the abuse to Twitter. But I can’t block or mute the users, which by the way is what we encourage our students to do, because that won’t remove the tweets from the feed, it will just hide them from my view. Even though I don’t want to see these Tweets, I need to know what our Twitter feed looks like. I also need to know if they are there if only so I can continue to report them.
I object, and I talk about it why I object. I talk about the experience with my children and my co-workers, I compare it to the experiences my students face when they are online.
Two days after our feed was taken over by spam Dean Shareski shared this video that his daughter made. Watching it I was reassured that others were objecting too.