King Brocial’s on my hit list

Article by Rachel Ryan /
June 02, 2011 /
Click here to view original /

On perusing netcomm blogs (procrastination, but also sortof research? Win.) from some of the other classes (Susannah, Lizzy, Bridget), I was alerted to the scandal surrounding “The Brocial Network”, a Facebook group for men-only, created for sharing and rating photos of women. Sexist? Definitely. And somewhat misogynistic. And creepy.

The low-down: men who join the group must share a photo of an attractive female friend, preferably if they’re “reveal[ing] a little too much”, her name and a link to her profile page – if they don’t, they are deleted from the group by it’s creator “King Brocial”. The women have not been aware nor given their consent for these photos to be used. This has resulted in numerous unsuspecting women getting friend requests from men they have never met, and needless to say, I now feel a bit more hesitant regarding the power of social networking. In an article of The Age, “Facebook Trade in Female Images“, women whose photos were shared in the group voice their feelings about the issue, saying they feel “angry”, “sick” and “betrayed”.

Whilst I realize there is more than one side to this argument, I hate to think that people would support this group by saying things such as that the women put the photos online of their own accord. Any man supporting the group should imagine if it was their girlfriend, sister or daughter on the site. Not so cool now, huh? Photos uploaded to Facebook are generally expected to just be able to be viewed by your friends, not for them to share with strangers, and this has definitely opened my eyes to how easy it can be to breach someone’s privacy and not face consequences for it. I agree fully with Melbourne Uni lecturer Dr Lauren Rosewarne when she said “any website that has images of women posted, asking men to rate them, is revolting. There’s no excuse.”

I don’t know about you Mr. Zuckerberg, but this has got to be yet another problem arising from online sharing, rather than being solved by it.