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May 18, 2011

The Brocial Network proves just why we need Slutwalk

A new Facebook group called the Brocial Network are posting photos of partially-dressed women without their consent. Just because women post scantily clad pictures of themselves on Facebook does not mean they consent to being sexually objectified or harassed.


This morning, La Trobe University journalism student Kara Irving broke a story in The Age (awesome scoop, Kara!) about a private, men’s only Facebook group calling itself the “Brocial Network”.

Irving writes that the group, which had more than 8000 members at the time of writing (including several AFL players, trumpeted the Herald Sun in its lame catch-up story), contains “hundreds of images of women in bikinis and lingerie, obtained from the personal Facebook photo albums of the members’ female friends.”

The group is alleged to have been founded two weeks ago by someone styling himself as “King Brocial”. It’s run according to a so-called “Brocial Code” that requires members to comb their female friends’ online photos for images that “reveal a little too much”. Failure to do so within a week of joining the group is grounds for expulsion.

Members also post the women’s names and links to their social media presences. One woman interviewed by Irving says she has been inundated with friend requests from men she doesn’t know.

The Brocial Network reminds me of the online community of ‘pick-up artists’ documented in Neil Strauss’s book The Game (and might actually be inspired by these kinds of groups). It’s vehemently homosocial (NO CHICKS ALLOWED), has its own argot (basically, putting “bro” in front of ordinary words) and builds its identity on dehumanising women, seeing them as objects to stare at and prizes to be chased.

This is still a developing story; at the time of writing, media organisations were falling over themselves to find and interview women whose photos might have been uploaded to the group. But much of the early commentary has already started to fall into that tiresome old rhetoric: “Women shouldn’t post revealing pictures of themselves on Facebook! Don’t they realise it’s a public forum? We need to teach young people about how to guard their privacy…” and so on.

Sure, we all need to guard our privacy. But the problem here isn’t women uploading ‘slutty’ pics or ‘not knowing’ how Facebook’s privacy works. It’s the way the Brocial Network encourages its members to violate their friends’ trust through the deliberate, malicious circumvention of Facebook’s privacy mechanisms.

Facebook’s privacy settings can be quite tightly and specifically limited. Users can control which aspects of their profiles are visible to the general public, to other Facebook users, to “friends of friends” and to users they’ve approved as friends. Even within their cohort of Facebook friends, users can employ lists to segment which people can see or comment on their photos. This can even be done on a photo-by-photo basis.

The trouble is that none of these privacy settings mitigate against a trusted friend simply downloading a photo to his own computer and uploading it to Facebook again, completely stripped of context. An innocent snapshot from that fun costume party or beach holiday can suddenly become “revealing”.

”It makes me feel sick that people would go to the effort of taking [uploading] the picture and posting it up,” Tillii, 21, told The Age. ”I just thought [the picture] would be taken as fun, not as the way that they’ve turned it around.”

And ironically, the Brocial Network is sheltered by Facebook’s privacy settings. It doesn’t show up in searches, strictly controls membership, and hides from attention by Facebook’s administrators by deleting any images that might be flagged as objectionable. (This, alone, suggests the group recognises on some level that its activities are wrong.)

While the group’s targets can be easily scrutinised, it’s much more difficult for the women to discover if their photos are in the group, and which of their friends had betrayed them.

Many observers might think a more ‘sensible’ way to handle the emergence of groups such as the Brocial Network is not to take potentially compromising photographs, and certainly not to put them online. But people should never be forced to modify their behaviour to indulge those who refuse to respect them, and it’s equally abhorrent to couch this coercion in patronising terms including ‘sensible’, ‘careful’ and ‘prudent’.

This might be tough for the slut-shaming brigade to believe, but when women post scantily clad pictures of themselves on Facebook, they do not consent to being sexually objectified or harassed. Rather, the blame and responsibility should fall on the shoulders of the person doing the objectification or harassment.

The sad fact is that this doesn’t happen. Women remain morally accountable in a way men just do not. Yet even when women organise a public protest against a culture of victim-blaming, they’re patronisingly told what’s really what by Crikey‘s Guy Rundle.

Rundle was around before the internet, you see, so he knows what a real feminist protest is like and, well, Slutwalk isn’t it. He doesn’t even have the decency to settle on a particular tack to undermine the event. Instead, he offers an absurd grab-bag of far-fetched claims and speculations, salted with his sentimental 25-year-old memories.

That contemporary feminism’s politics aren’t radical enough for Rundle certainly doesn’t mean we are in a ‘post-feminist’ or ‘post-political’ era. As long as groups such as the Brocial Network are allowed to operate with impunity — waiting on a student journalist to show them to the whole damn Australian media — we need to reinforce that violation of trust isn’t only a slut’s problem.


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43 thoughts on “The Brocial Network proves just why we need Slutwalk

  1. Edward Thompson

    Broseidon lord of the brocean.

  2. Edward Thompson

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/bro-youre-a-god-among-bros,11333/ (circa 2007) facebook, recycling old internet memes for bogans and the mainstream media ad nauseum.

  3. Son of foro

    The Brocial Network are morons. People need to be aware of the risks involved with pictures they put on Facebook.

    The two statements aren’t mutually exclusive and in fact it is dangerous to leave out the second statement.

  4. mikeb

    No problems with the intent of this piece but have a problem with this comment “much of the early commentary has already started to fall into that tiresome old rhetoric: “Women shouldn’t post revealing pictures of themselves on Facebook! Don’t they realise it’s a public forum? We need to teach young people about how to guard their privacy…”

    Why is this tired old rhetoric? This is something that needs to be drummed in and drummed in until it becomes second nature to NOT put anything on the internet that you would not want to be seen publically. I have three daughters that I know have done “stupid” things & I know that the vast majority of their “friends” on facebook are not real friends at all. I have impressed on them that the “stupid” things they have done might be highly amusing now but some time down the track could end up biting them on the proverbial. It is pretty standard practice for employers to check social networking sites for potential info on prospective employees. Would you want that picture of you holding the stubby of corona between your bo*bs to be the difference between landing the job & not? Just don’t do it!

  5. abarker

    At a former employer, I worked with a guy who was as nice as pie to the women in the office. Always sounded interested when he talked to them and asked how their weekends were, and, when the conversation finished and they walked away he would make thrusting motions at his desk, turn around and make ‘funbag’ motions with his hands and generally let everyone around him know how attractive he thought they were.

    He was one person to their face, and another behind their back. He was a bit immature to be sure, but I wonder how many other guys are out there who have done exactly the same thing here to females who are ‘friends’?

    I generallyagree that, in the words of Jerry Stiller, “Don’t hang the meat in the window if it’s not for sale”, but there’s looking, admiring, and then running off to your mates with photos in hand saying ‘Look at the calibre of women I have around me!’

    It’s all a bit sad really.

  6. Luke Buckmaster

    If you’re going to mention a gripe against Guy Rundle — and that’s totally fair enough, if that’s your passion — I thought it would be better if you could provide a direct quote or two from his story so that people like me could properly understand what motivated you to get out the knives. Rundle’s piece wrapped a personal/historical context around the Slutwalk movement, which I appreciated. Your criticism looks a little weirdly out of place and perhaps better suited to be a story in our comments section (which I would love to read).

    Writing lines like “Rundle was around before the internet, you see” tends to remove fairly rapidly any moral or intellectually higher ground. I’m not coming from a Rundle apologist perspective; I’m coming from the perspective of a fellow feminist who is genuinely interested in what was so insulting about his piece because, I’m sorry, I didn’t pick up on it. What I did pick up on was words-as-weapons on Twitter used afterwards (not by you) to describe him such as “white man,” used repeatedly, as if writing about feminism should be exclusively reserved for women. I sincerely hope that is not what his detractors think, just as I hope on subjects like this that criticism can be focused on content rather than age or gender.

  7. Captain Planet

    As per Son of Foro’s comments.

    So, they’re a bunch of pricks. Anyone with an ounce of morality can see that and only a sociopath would disagree.

    Well, wake up call time. The world is full of nasty people.

    Yes, the blame for this sordid exploitation lies with the perpetrator, not the victim.

    However, stepping aside from blame, there is an obligation on everyone to take a realistic, self – preservation approach to internet privacy.

    Never post anything online which you do not want shared with the entire world in the worst possible way.

    And please don’t complain about how you should be able to post scantily clad pictures of yourself without them being abused, and without being objectified. This is the real world where nasty people exist and YOU are responsible for your safety.

    Imagine this.

    I walk into a cafe in the CBD and after my meal I stand at the counter to pay. Looking for a $20 note I spread my collection of eleven $100 notes on the counter. Damn, there is not a $20 amongst them, and the cashier tells me they can’t make change for a $100.

    So I walk out the door to go to the ATM and leave all my money on the counter.

    Then I come back 20 minutes later to find my money is gone! GONE! The cashier says he turned his back because he had customers to serve! I can’t believe that anyone could be so heartless as to intentionally ROB me! It’s WRONG! And everybody in the cafe is trying to blame ME! As if it’s MY fault! I should be able to leave any amount of money anywhere I like without fear of being victimised! The blame lies with the criminal, not me! I demand the right to leave my money lying around wherever I like, and I demand that society educate thieves not to steal instead of trying to insinuate that it’s MY fault when I’m the innocent victim!!!!

    Yes, of course there are issues of betrayal of trust by “friends” with the Brocial network situation, which are not present in my hastily cobbled together analogy.

    The point is that it’s a nasty world out there. You don’t have to like it. You can try your best to change it. You can agitate and activate and educate and protest.

    At the end of the day, the world is full of nasty people, and the only way to avoid being victimised is to be careful to keep yourself safe by not giving people the opportunity to victimise you.

    I don’t have any half naked photographs of myself on the internet. If some less than appealing picture of me is misused, and I put it out on the great world wide web in the first place, well I’m not going to be happy, but I will also acknowledge that it could have been prevented by me being cautious enough to not put the picture out there in the public domain in the first place.

    To make myself clear: the obvious (and contemptible) denigration of women that is being undertaken in this Brocial business, is disgusting, and symptomatic of major problems in our society with respect to the objectification and devaluing of women. No contest there. But to take this argument to the extreme that suggests that women (or men) should be able to post anything they like on electronic media, and somehow disregard the potential for misuse, is either naive in the extreme or a huge exercise in wishful thinking.

  8. Richard Murphy

    I second Luke B’s comments re the Rundle gripe in what is definitely tar baby territory.

  9. nicolino

    I second Captain Planet. We’re awash with this “victim” attitude and good old common sense has long fled the room.
    If you’re gullible enough to use social networking to reveal your inner self then expect everyone on the net to be aware of it. It’s called native intelligence 101.

  10. catfish

    From one of the linked articles:

    “University of Melbourne public policy lecturer Dr Lauren Rosewarne said: “Any website that has images of women posted, asking men to rate them, is revolting. There’s no excuse.”

    If I am not mistaken facebook was founded with this very idea of rating females in mind.

  11. boxsmasher

    news just in – men like to look at pictures of women – WHAT A SCOOP

    have you even read The Game? it’s not about objectifying women. it’s about getting your act together as a man, so that as a byproduct of maturing, you can attract women.

    putting your pics on the internet = your responsibility. by uploading them to facebook, you have basically stated that you implicitly trust every single person on your friend list not to redistribute that photo. who’s the real knucklehead in that situation?

  12. Harribal

    This must have touched some nerves! What a collection of silly arguments!

    @abarker So Frank Costanza said “Don’t hang the meat in the window if it’s not for sale” and that makes it OK? Which other fictional characters do you use to make your argument from authority?

    @ “Captain Planet” – I walk into a cafe in the CBD and trust the cashier to give me the correct change in non-counterfeit money. The exaggerated hypothetical situation that you use falls down when you return it to the realms of common sense.

    @ boxsmasher (what a revealing alias!) – Getting your act together as a man? I can understand an 11-year old making that sort of excuse, but most boys grow out of the sniggering phase quite quickly, usually when someone with more maturity points out to them that it’s not funny.
    The real knucklehead is the bogan who thinks that their opinion about women is universal. Labels like “victim” attitude and “political correctness” reveal that you don’t actually have an argument, just an attitude.

    @Richard Murphy – The tarbaby effect arises when you try to defend the indefensible by transferring some of the blame to the person who has been abused – “Yeah, it wasn’t a nice thing to do, but she should have been more careful”.

    People should never be forced to modify their behaviour to indulge those who refuse to respect them. Otherwise it’s open slather for the Sheikh Hilalis.

  13. Matt McLeod

    An open letter to all the dudes here who are clearly failing to get it:

    I, a dude, can dress snappily, in a way which women may well find attractive. I can go to the beach and dress in the usual manner. I can have photos of that on Facebook, if I want. And nobody is going to go all “you asked for it!” in the unlikely event that some woman or women “lose control” and assault me or share the pictures with one another for ogling purposes.

    Are you seriously saying that men are incapable of behaving like decent human beings? That it’s *okay*? Just “boys being boys”? This is perilously close to the “uncovered meat” argument.

    Thanks a lot.

  14. Firstdog

    The majority of comments on this story about how the Brocial Network proves just why we need Slutwalk proves just why we need Slutwalk

  15. drmick

    Who chose the term “sl*t”, and why would anyone other than a sl*t want to look like one?

    A sl*t dresses like a sl*t to attract customers.
    It is a conscious considered business decision.
    In fact,in Australia, she can claim her attire as a tax deduction for work clothing.

    PLT`s and others who think its whatever to dress like a working girl, can hardly complain if their getup has the desired effect and attracts customers. It is about personal choice and responsibility.

    If, having chosen to dress like a sl*t, you then put your photo on a public noticeboard, and then complain when people look at it, then the problem is whom? what?

  16. Mel Campbell

    Hello everyone, and thanks for commenting!

    I think Matt McLeod has hit the nail on the head in reiterating what I said quite explicitly in my story – that there is a gendered double standard here that few people are questioning. Of course it’s a good idea for everyone to be circumspect about how they present themselves online. However, I do mean everyone, whereas most of the debate here has focused only on women. We seldom talk about men’s compromising Facebook photos and advise them to be ‘sensible’ and ‘responsible’.

    Now to Luke Buckmaster’s query – and anyone else who may be interested in more detail about my views on Rundle’s article, which I linked from mine so you can all read it. His suggestions are really too silly to dignify with detailed responses, but let me explain why the article annoyed me.

    To be honest, at first I was sure this was Guy just having a lark. Surely he was just playing devil’s advocate and didn’t really believe this nonsense. But what killed me was the paternalistic way that he was lecturing feminists on the history of feminism, and speculating that it was not in fact a real protest but rather a simulacrum or parody of one.

    It’s incredibly insulting to tell the thousands of people (men and women) who have already participated in these events worldwide, and who plan to participate in the Australian events, that their politics are not ‘real’. To them, the issue isn’t some sophisticated poststructural complex. It’s pretty damn simple: let’s treat women with the same moral neutrality that men have historically enjoyed.

    I was especially annoyed at Rundle’s patronising assertion that “Reclaim The Night has simply been forgotten as a movement, having fallen down the memory hole that everything before the invention of the web appears to have been consigned to”. Odd, then, that it’s frickin’ everywhere on the internet. I even managed to blog about it three years ago at The Dawn Chorus.

  17. Captain Planet

    @ Matt McLeod,

    I for one deplore the behaviour of the Brocial Network (did I not make that clear enough?)

    There is an important difference between assault supposedly based on the victim’s attire, and unwanted ogling of facebook pictures.

    Slutwalk serves an extremely valuable purpose in highlighting that one’s dress style does not imply or grant consent to be objectified / victimised, etc. etc. No disagreement there.

    The Brocial network business, on the other hand?

    I have made the case that Individuals need to be cautious about what they put online and how it can be misused. Along with this goes an obligation to take responsibility for one’s own privacy. If you don’t want it shared with the world, in the most unpleasant manner possible, don’t put it on the internet.

    A distinction needs to be drawn between this (sensible) suggestion that precautions against being victimised are advisable, and the misogynist position of “you got assaulted / ogled because you were asking for it”.

    They are not the same position.

    @ Mel Campbell,

    I agree with your position on Rundle’s article. I posted a comment on it to the effect that he is “Overly enamoured of his own cleverness” but it didn’t pass moderation.

    @ DrMick,

    Man, you are waaaaaaay out of line. Tell me you are taking the mickey.

    Sl*t is a term intended to devalue the woman to whom it is applied – based solely on standards of sexual morality which are not applied to men.

    It is NOT at term exclusively reserved for sex workers.

    The rest of your comment…. I don’t even know where to begin.

    Like I say, tell me you’re not serious.

  18. lrankine

    The problem with some of the above comments is that they imply all of these photos were deliberately provocative; as Mel noted, many of them could have been just photos of girls at the beach having fun with their friends, which is taken out of context and treated as though the girl was posing for RALPH.

    The problem is that the blame is so often put on the victims in our culture. Arguing that these girls wanted to be ogled by the general public because they put their pictures online is unfair; whilst everyone online should be aware of the dangers it doesn’t make it their fault if they are naive. That’s like saying that because there are lots of horny men out there, women shouldnt dress revealingly, leave their door open when they are asleep, or get drunk, because if they do, they COULD get raped and because they know that was a possibility, it’s their fault. The whole discourse around rape prevention seems to be, girls, don’t go down dark alleys, don’t go out on your own, have short hair, wear turtlenecks, rather than men, don’t rape women.

  19. michael r james

    Well, tomorrow’s CDM is going to be interesting.
    Did you see that Gerard Henderson described Rundle’s writing as “reverse enema” in todays Comments! (I suppose if anyone knows what that is, Gerry…).

  20. cy0

    There is a more obvious reason why SlutWalk is necessary: media voyeurism of the female body. The glaring, recent example is the way in which Pippa Middleton’s back end has become the focus of worldwide attention. For those who need reminding, Middleton’s bridesmaid’s dress totally covered her body and was slightly figure-hugging. And all of a sudden, her arse is the hottest topic on the internet! Pippa Middleton was simply performing the duty of being a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding – albeit a televised royal wedding. She wasn’t ‘asking for’ intense scrutiny of her body but she got it and now, guess what, muckrakers have unearthed photos of Middleton dancing in a bra and skirt. She’s been labelled a ‘party girl’ – a euphemism for slut. In case my point isn’t clear – it doesn’t matter what women wear or where they wear it. They are constantly open to scrutiny and being judged for their choice of clothing which is why SlutWalk began in the first place.

  21. Kez

    I love how the word slut has been reclaimed. The result will be that it loses its sting — as in when you’re, say, grocery shopping with your children and accidentally nudge a man with the trolley, only to have him call you a slut. — I was asking for it, being provocatively dressed in baggy t-shirt and cargo pants — Anyway, slut is our word now, grrls.

  22. Captain Planet


    I hope you’re right. Sadly, use of the word slut as a heated insult to a relative stranger in a public place, in my experience, originates more often from women than it does from men.

    Sad but true.

  23. Captain Planet

    @ LRankine,

    The whole discourse around rape prevention seems to be, girls, don’t go down dark alleys, don’t go out on your own, have short hair, wear turtlenecks, rather than men, don’t rape women.

    Hold on a minute. Have you heard of the White Ribbon Foundation? I remember media saturation only a few months back – so prevalent was the message I can still quote it verbatim:- “Take the pledge:- I will never commit violence against women. I will never excuse violence against women. I will never remain silent about violence against women.” A great message with which I wholeheartedly agree – and I believe it is fair to say it is part of the discourse.

    It’s not really fair to ignore excellent initiatives like this, and claim that there is no discourse about changing the attitudes which contribute towards perpetration of these crimes.

  24. Richard Murphy

    Hmmmm. Interesting. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a slut, just not brave enough to admit it. And it’s my party I can transgender if I want to. Don’t get the wrong idea tho’, I’m only the least bit gay. Don’t be sad.

  25. mikeb

    re Pippa’s butt. I’d suggest it was just as prominent in women’s mags. Methinks you girls like to compare each other just as much as men like to look.
    I liked your reply but the message remains – men will be men and the brain is not always above the shoulders (I guess that’s just the way nature evolved). I don’t post pictures of my blokeness on the web (not that it would appeal to anyone anyway) so you girls shouldn’t put anything on the web that could remotely be used inappropriately or to your later emparrasment. If, for example, someone takes a pic of you down the beach without your consent – well that’s just purvy so no excuse for those actions.
    re slu*walk. Yes I too wondered who thought that would be a good idea. I reckon it sends the wrong message. Just saying.

  26. Son of foro


    With respect, I think you’re missing a very important point. Put simply, the world is not a perfect place and until it is there are times when we all have to be careful about what we do. Saying we have to be careful does not mean we stop trying to make things better, nor does it mean that we abrogate people of their responsibilities. In this particular case, the bronchial idiots, or whatever they call themselves, are acting in an abhorrent way, no question, but unfortunately we simply have to be careful about images we put on the internet, whether we like it or not.

    There are certainly double standards involved in this area, agreed. However, to pretend we can do what we want and that we shouldn’t advise people not to walk down dark alleys, for example, is dangerous.

  27. Firstdog

    How is what most of you are saying different from “if you didn’t dress like sluts, these bad things wouldn’t happen to you?”

    Don’t answer that. I really don’t want to know what you think.

    I think it is fascinating that the disapprobation on this comment thread is reserved primarily for the women whose photos were uploaded, not for the men who did it.

    Is this because we have such a poor view of ourselves as men, that we don’t even bother being outraged or angered when we behave like this any more? We are not surprised, we just accept it now? Is that it? Way to stick it to the man, guys. ffs get a political analysis.

  28. Captain Planet

    Well, Firstdog, speaking only for myself, my disapprobation, if you want to call it that, is reserved primarily for are promulgating the naive viewpoint that we can somehow expect 100 % of the human population to behave with complete honor and respect, when operating through the voyeuristic anonymity afforded by social networking applications on electronic media.

    Ms. Campbell’s articles main premise appears to be that

    But people should never be forced to modify their behaviour to indulge those who refuse to respect them, and it’s equally abhorrent to couch this coercion in patronising terms including ‘sensible’, ‘careful’ and ‘prudent’.

    From personal experience, when travelling in Africa and walking the streets of Nairobi or Johannesburg, it is extremely unwise for men OR women from a western country to venture out at night in impoverished areas, wearing large quantities of jewellry and carrying a big digital camera. Sure, people SHOULD never be forced to modify their behaviour to indulge those who refuse to respect them. But let’s get real here. If you wander around in poor areas of JoBurg or Nairobi at night like a naive twit and get mugged, I’m not saying you deserved it. I’m not saying you asked for it. The blame rightly lies with the mugger. But you should have taken a taxi. Not taking a taxi was stupid.

    Note I am not making this analogy to have any bearing on sexual assault. We’re talking about posting images on the internet.

    The reason comments on this thread focus on the behaviour of the women who are being exploited, is because the article unreasonably demands freedom from common sense personal responsibility for one’s own privacy, for those women.

    You should never put anything on the internet you wouldn’t want on the front page of your local paper. You should never put anything on facebook you wouldn’t want on the Brocial Network homepage. This isn’t patronising, abhorrent coercion. It’s good advice to protect yourself in the real world, just like, you should never leave your hotel in Nairobi after dark unless you are getting straight into a Taxi.

    I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to add the disclaimer that the Brocial Network are the ones to blame here, before we can engage in sensible discussion of responsibility for one’s own privacy.

    when women post scantily clad pictures of themselves on Facebook, they do not consent to being sexually objectified or harassed. Rather, the blame and responsibility should fall on the shoulders of the person doing the objectification or harassment.

    Yet again, YES OF COURSE. It is obvious where the moral culpability lies.

    This does not exempt anyone of any gender from a personal responsibility to take control of their own privacy online. That’s what the article is about and that’s what the bulk of the comments thread is about.

  29. Boo

    How complicated does this need to be? Take care and leave nothing on the internet that you don’t wish to make public. This should not be blaming the victim, it is just a wish to avoid seeing any more created before we, as a society, move forward.

  30. jesse

    I always thought that ‘slut’ means ‘she will sleep with anyone except me’. Usually true! Once you redefine it in your head like that, it becomes more than a little bit sad for the man using it than it is hurtful for the girl it is aimed at.

    Anyway not entirely relevant to the conversation, carry on.

  31. abarker

    Actually Jesse “slut” is a girl who will sleep with everyone.

    The term reserved for the girl who will sleep with everyone except me is a “bitch”.

    It was on a T-shirt, so it must be true.

  32. Brizben

    Dude start up a facebook group for burlesque performers and the chicks will post their own photos.

  33. Bubble

    @Captain Planet
    I believe you are quite badly missing the point. Your insistent and excessive focus on whether people might behave in a ‘naive’ or ‘stupid’ manner is a classic example of the way our society takes the focus off the REAL issue (of some men behaving in repulsive ways and betraying the trust of those they call friends) and puts the focus onto an essentially minor issue of whether some women are naive in posting photos of themselves.

    In my book, naivete does not warrent condemnation, no matter how daft. Exploitation, abuse of trust and misogyny all do.

    By focussing on what women need to do to keep themselves safe, you are allowing men to behave like animals and to expect to get away with it.

    By the way, the article does not demand freedom from commonsense, that is trivialising in the extreme. The article is taking a position on what SHOULD be able to be expected from men in the way of decency and respect. The fact that we do not currently enjoy such a world is not an excuse for gross behaviour. Just because views are common do not mean that they make sense.

    PS. the comments regarding not putting anything ont he web that you would not want on the front page of the paper are erroneous. i would much prefer to see a picture of myself in a bikini on the front page of the paper than to discover it had been STOLEN from my facebook page BY ONE OF MY FRIENDS and posted onto a site designed to encourage ogling by a bunch of slobbering neanderthals.

    As a man, you might want to consider what it could mean for you if all your female friends decided to cease ‘naively’ allowing you to view their photographs in light of the fact that you are a man and they might be risking you stealing their images and posting them elsewhere for gross purposes. Presumably the women whose pictures ended up there had similar naive trust in their male friends.

  34. Boo


    I don’t see Capt Planet condemming anybody. I think its fair to say he has the view that adults can ‘walk and chew gum at the same time’, in as far as adults can both warn against being naive AND condemn offensive behaviour.

    Granted in todays shallow and sensationalist media, placing the focus on women is used to deflect attention from the offensive behaviour. I’d like to think that this isn’t the shallow end of the media pool and we might be able to consider both the victims and offenders without losing focus.

    And if my females friends blocked me from seeing their images – so what? If thats what they feel they need to do to protect their images, I’m behind it 100%. I’m pretty sure I’m not the reason they would act in that way, so why should I feel miffed? I’d reserve my judgement and ill feeling for the likes of the brocial network.

  35. davirob

    Too many people see the world as they’d like it be instead of the way it is.That’s not all bad but sometimes you need to wise up,plenty of a’holes out there waiting to snap you up.Turn off safe search in your browser sometime and type in anything to do with women,even just a christian name.That old line “all men are b*st*rds” didn’t come from nowhere. Btw facebook has axed the site.

  36. ithurtstosneeze

    isn’t the problem with slutwalk that the Brodies really won’t give a shit what the irony or pomo ‘reclamation’ message is, they’ll just get to see even more chicks in skimpy gear?

  37. zut alors

    With Facebook “friends” like these who needs enemies?

    I would simply like to call attention to the fact that the photos have been placed on a social network. Network! It’s a word which suggests privacy is not optimum: information is shared, broadcast and exchanged on a network. Network is the antithesis of private.

  38. Luke Buckmaster

    Mel you’ve generated some robust (and frankly at times a little weird) debate from this story, so I think you’ve got better discussions to take part in than one based on whether or not Guy Rundle was being patronising (which I don’t think he was — part of his job is to draw interesting historical connections, which he did, but of course you don’t have to like them, which you didn’t) so I won’t keep you long.

    But if Rundle *was* being patronising, you were being snarky — I know, I’m quite familiar with snark myself — which I think reduced some of the weight from your piece. I’m assuming having a bit of a Guy-related grumble just proved too great to refuse, though personally I still for the life of me can’t see what the issue is.

    With regards to Runde claiming that the media have forgotten Reclaim the Night, and you objecting, well….You are a lot more knowledge in this area than other, even media savvy people, such as me, and I for one — full disclosure, cards on the table, a yada yada — admit I never knew that Reclaim the Night even existed, so I guess I’m a case in point. Rundle also responded to comments below his original piece from those such as you arguing tthat the media have not forgotten RTN with 10 links to the mainstream media’s reportage of Slutwalk in the week leading up to Crikey publishing his story. Check it out if you like. Only two of them mentioned Reclaim the Night, and both in passing, so with regards to the argument about mainstream media exposure I think you’d say the proof is in the pudding on that one.

  39. LukeMan

    Someone broke the first rule of the Brocial Network…..

  40. davirob

    Geez Buckmaster, you don’t think you’re being a bit of a pompous git? Btw I remember Reclaim the Night an I am a long way from being “media savy”like you.

  41. rubylove

    I was raped and I don’t support SlutWalk.

    They’re not subverting the word ‘slut’ they’re reinforcing the sexual objectification of women – the slut or ‘temptress’ is a powerful cultural archetype, and always will be, which lawyers in particular use as a well-worn legal tactic that’s about money not human rights. Should they use it? Of course not! But an ideology doesn’t stop having negative social connotations or ramifications overnight just because people say it should.

    Misogyny is rampant in our culture and the pornification of women dominates popular media. It’s so deeply disappointing that young women have bought into their own objectification to the point whereby they’re willing to reinforce it and promote it because it’s been marketed as cool. I believe they’re naive to allow themselves to be photographed as ‘promiscuous’, too – it may not seem so empowering when their images are taken out of context later.

    Raising money for rape services or walking against rape would have been much more useful than fighting for their right to be a sex object. I’m pleased the sensationalism has stirred wider debate about victim blaming and I believe feminists can learn from their clever marketing techniques to communicate more valuable messages.

    But those who walk are not walking, or speaking, for me.

  42. mikeb

    Ruby. Great post & spot on in your observations. Not so sure that misogyny is “rampant” in out culture – esp when compared to others. As the father of three daughters it does concern me that popular culture focuses on the sexualisation of seemingly just about everything. Worst of all it seems to be women as much as men who are promoting it. I like looking at a good looking woman as much as anyone, but does every mtv-style music clip in the morning kids TV time (for example) have to include women gyrating and wobbling and wearing not very much at all?

  43. Boo

    @ Ruby,

    I got a sense of dignity and self worth from your post. I’m afraid that the ‘walkers’ do not appear to have this. And without dignity and self worth, what’s it all worth? It is almost like they are playing the ‘anything you can do I can do better’ game. Not a lot of wisdom, but like you said, they were clever in how they got the message out.

    I’m married to somebody who, well, could have written something fairly similar to yourself. Despite that, I had not considered your views against the ‘slutwalk’ movement. Maybe I should have been more aware, maybe that’s the point! But, that I did not make the connection says a lot. And that’s excepting I’m a little simple! Anyway, thanks for your open and insightful post. Hopefully a bit of that wisdom will happen upon a bit of media savvy.

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