Formspring and Feminism

Bullying has been an issue that has been affecting our country for a long time, but has recently recaptured our nation. Lets face it, some people are mean. It seems, however, that children and teenagers are becoming meaner with new technologies available to them. Through texting, twitter, facebook etc, there are more ways to attack others than ever before.

Formspring is the worst of them all. Because of a slew of bizarre questions I received on mine, I decided to deactivate it. Thankfully, I have confidence in myself, and therefore am not phased by bullies who chose to lurk on my page. But I know that there are a lot of people out there who do not have the same self assurance that I do, and are greatly affected when they read hurtful comments.

When I went to deactivate it, it asked me why I wanted to. I chose the button, that said "I don't want people to find me on here anymore." That wasn't entirely true, but none of the other options satisfied my reasoning. Formspring did, however, give me the option to submit additional comments or feedback. I decided to write that I believed that formspring creates an environment where bullying can thrive through its inherent anonymity.

While thinking about this more, a lot of things occurred to me, especially as a feminist. A lot of girls I know have Formsprings and I often look at them to see what types of questions they get. Sometimes I am absolutely horrified. There are questions interrogating them on what drugs they've done, their sex lives, their sexuality, their weight - and those are just a few examples.

The feminist in me is beside myself with the amounts of slut shaming that I see daily on other peoples' formsprings. There are girls who have questions plastered on their pages calling them sluts, whores, accusing them of hooking up with this guy, and that guy. Then there are the comments that attack girls' looks, calling them fat and ugly. There are the ones that inform girls about how they have no friends and that everyone secretly hates them. These are the questions that lead to the eating disorders, depression, and even suicide.

My mind is boggled that such a thing can exist. People see that they can say things to others anonymously and it seems like an exhilarating option. There is comfort for the bully because they won't be discovered and labeled as such.They can make all kinds of accusations and not have to deal with the consequences. But the truth is, the person that receives the hateful comments deals with the same amount of pain, if not more, than they would if the bullying happened to their face. That consequence alone should be enough to stop Formspring from becoming even more popular than it is and should make teenagers stop and think about what something they say to someone can do. America is clearly making an effort to curb the amount of bullying in our schools and over the internet, but why are more teenagers not speaking out against formspring, and trying to get rid of it?

Also check out Formspring and Cyber Bullying

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Haley S
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