Two things I dislike about Facebook

This post is a day early, because tomorrow I shall be at a family event in Birmingham.

I am finding Facebook, although terrifyingly time-wasting, a source of a lot of innocent fun, gossip and useful information (as well as those pesky cats).  (I’m still refusing to wish everyone a happy birthday, though, because I’m mean.)

But some things definitely annoy.  Among them…

The innumerable number of “SHARE IF” posts.  Cute or sad photos or images with captions that effectively say “Like me/share me/send me some love if you are a nice person.”

No, I won’t.  In my youth, there was a concept called the chain letter.  In their most evil form these were (and maybe are) unsolicited letters saying “Send £1 to the top six people on the list, add your name at the bottom, and forward to another six.  You will soon receive loads of money in your turn!  DO NOT BREAK THE CHAIN.  Terrible things have happened to those who did.”

But some of them were much more innocent – just “Send a nice thought to six people, and add your name.  Lots of people will write to you!”

I have always tried to resist this kind of moral pressure, and I intend to continue doing so, even when it is accompanied by a really really sweet baby picture.

Second… well, it’s the sexist jokes.

Now, I have an exceptionally lovely set of Facebook friends.  I know there’s a lot of horrific anti-woman stuff on the internet, but I haven’t come across it.  I don’t look for it.

But how about: “During labour, the pain is so great that a woman… can almost imagine what a man feels like when he has a cold”, or the one where women are surveyed on what they think of their arse –  “too big, or too small, or do they love him  just as he is”?

Or the version of the popular children’s book “That’s not my puppy” (Discworld version “That’s not my cow”), which says things like “That’s not my husband… he’s doing the dishes”?

Or: “He called me a bitch, so I called him an ambulance”?  Just imagine that one the other way round.  “She called me a bully, so…”

“Women who are over-weight live longer than the men who mention it”?


Maybe I’m being over-sensitive, because some of these jokes appear both ways.  “Lost: husband and dog.  Reward for return of dog,” can also be “Lost: wife and dog (or cat)…”

But most of the ones I see are meant to amuse women, about men.  Feeble, whining, useless men.

Now we all know that through history women have suffered oppression in many forms, ranging from automatic rape by slave-owners, to medieval marriage vows that only expected fidelity by the wife, to not being allowed to own separate property from the husband etc etc.  Lower-class men have also suffered oppression, but they’ve still on the whole been better off than women.

And we all also know that in some parts of the world it is still dangerous to send girls to school.  (And that Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch was strangled by her own brother earlier this month for bringing the family into disrepute.)

And we all also know that even in modern Britain assertive women get death threats on the internet, and there is no male counterpart insult for “slag”, etc etc.

But I still don’t think it’s liberating to lump all men together and laugh at them.  It’s arguably a sign of insecurity, one that we don’t need.

And it gives any men who want to be feeble, whining or useless an excuse that nobody should have.

Because all of us should be the best that we can be.


… Anything else wrong with Facebook?

Love from the PPI Blogger

  • Malachi Malagowther

    21st July 2016 at 6:22 pm Reply

    I hope there aren’t any psychoanalysts reading this blog. Normally when you refer to a family event your mean some form of hatching, matching or dispatching where a significant section of the family get together to coo, admire or mourn over an important stage of someone’s life journey. To use the term, family event, instead of stating that you are attending your only daughter’s graduation in Birmingham seems odd unless you are family-deprecating to the extent of being afraid of appearing to boast by saying that it is Eleanor’s graduation where she is being awarded a first class degree in English language.

    • Penelope Wallace

      23rd July 2016 at 1:49 pm Reply

      In my first ever post, I said I would try to keep my family out of it, because it was for them to choose how much of their lives was on the internet. I agree that my not saying explaining about yesterday’s graduation I may have taken this to extremes. And I intend to post a picture on Facebook…
      On rereading, have I been a bit rude about people who post pictures and ask for love to be sent to other people? Maybe. But it’s the thin end of the wedge…

  • Judith Renton

    21st July 2016 at 9:20 pm Reply

    All I would say about Facebook is that I expect to see a photo of your brilliant, lovely and talented daughter in her graduate outfit as she receives her First. Good for her!

  • Ruth Price

    22nd July 2016 at 7:58 am Reply

    Nice one Penny. I agree. You see this in advertising too still don’t you – woman organised and put together smugly helps dippy husband find keys, do washing, etc. In my house it’s the other way round (without the smugness)! Bit of a unsophisticated way of getting women to buy soap powder or food ingredient – if you buy this you’ll be better than your partner…

    Hope you enjoy your day x

  • Matthew Perry

    22nd July 2016 at 8:39 am Reply

    Well said, I agree wholeheartedly

  • Clint Redwood

    22nd July 2016 at 11:36 am Reply

    Interesting that a) comments about Facebook get more comments than complex theological questions
    b) the nature of Facebook seems to mean you aren’t seeing any of the streams of utter hatred that is being posted on Twitter.
    I see these only because I follow people that receive some of it, and who speak out against it, but social media does seem to provide an outlet for some peoples inner darkness. Slightly sexist humour is tame by comparison.

    • Penelope Wallace

      23rd July 2016 at 1:50 pm Reply

      Possibly other people are too much in awe of you, Malachi, Alan and Judith to respond, Clint…

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