UN says Google searches show scope of sexism. But really, they don’t.

Posted: October 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/10/18/new-ad-campaign-uses-popular-search-terms-to-show-how-the-world-really-feels-about-women/

 

I’ll just let you peruse that article for a minute. Please, read it all, and then read the comments, before reading the rest of this blog. Context, as is so lacking in that article, is very important for this blog.

Finished reading? Good. Onto the blog:

Are you fucking kidding me?! Since when did Google, of all things, become the moral arbiter of how the entire fucking world feels? I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or get angry. I see so many of these posts on Facebook these days, ones that present something as so encased in truth as to be irrefutable, that I find myself getting angrier. I used to be able to laugh, haha look at all the short sighted people out there who haven’t got enough about them to think for themselves. Look at those people who just take shit at face value without thinking there might be more to it. Woah, wait a minute, when did that little pocket of ignorance become a fucking majority?

I can see the sentiment behind the campaign. We are lead to believe, every day, that women are oppressed and men are the oppressors, so why wouldn’t the UN women’s division want to highlight that. I can understand where they’re coming from, unfortunately it’s the same place that every other feminism-inspired and feminism-driven campaign comes from – a completely world-blind view of everything else that is happening. I’ve photographed bits of the headline from the report linked above, just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Lots of loaded language that implies this one particular search engine seems to know, without question or equivocation, just what the entire world thinks of women.

 

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2537_zpse10b8acf.png

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2535_zps72a9fce7.png

 

They also start the article by listing three of the most well known fallacies relating to feminism – The wage gap, education and violence. All three of those, numerous studies have proven, have either been debunked or have shown to have discrepancies in how they are reported. Not a very good start to this particular article. Then there’s the comment about ‘entrenched sexist attitudes’ that still persist today. It seems TIME has already decided, much like a lot of online articles, which side they belong on.

If you look at the pictures the UN has put out, those searches do seem extremely derogatory. They suggest people search for ways in which to shut women up, ways in which to control them, ways in which to ensure we take away their voting rights, ways in which we can keep them chained in the kitchen. But let me just put a spin on it – I am in the middle of writing a blog about domestic violence. In order to research this I put some very dangerous terms into google. I searched for ‘men hitting women’, ‘do women deserve to get hit’, ‘what is domestic violence’, ‘men abusing women’ and other similar word combinations.

This is why I say context is so important. Basically, the way Google autocomplete works is to take recent searches and have them as suggestions. It doesn’t mean people have actively searched for “women shouldn’t have rights”, it means that a search around that topic has taken place. If somebody saw my search history they would think I was an animal who was just researching ways to subjugate women. Not the case at all. Google is a search engine; its job is to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you’re looking for among the billions of internet sites. It’s not up to Google to apply context to the searches, it’s up to Google to gather information on recent searches and put that as a suggestion. Search ‘the Holocaust’ and one of the options is “the Holocaust is a lie’, that doesn’t mean you actively believe it, it just means you searched around the topic of the Holocaust being a lie.

But, of course, that kind of logic doesn’t help the UN Women’s division, because it makes things far too simple. It removes any of the victimhood this campaign allows them to place on women, it removes their ability to shame and guilt-trip the rest of the world into thinking that women need to be freed from oppression and that men are the ones who need to look at their lives and re-evaluate why they’re such twats.

As I said before, if I could just get away with laughing at the gullible shits who buy into this kind of drivel it would be alright, but a cursory glance at the comments section just shows what we already know – that people are actively believing this kind of manipulative tosh. People see something that implies women are the oppressed sex and instead of going ‘hang on a minute, that seems a bit outrageous, I’ll go and have a look for myself’ they immediately buy into the mentality. It’s so easy to go and do a little research and see for yourself, but people refuse. They don’t want to be proven wrong, they want to live in the little protective bubble that allows them to claim perpetual victimhood. It allows the manginas and white knights to continue with their crusade to protect women from all the misogyny.

One positive thing is that, in the aforementioned comments, there are women who are calling the UN out on their bullshit. Women who understand how a Google search works. That’s a positive, a step in the right direction. We just need others to step up and do the same.

I’ll admit, when I first saw the pictures I was taken in, much like I was with the rape statistics and the wage gap myth, but then I decided to apply some logic and do what I did with every other statistic or campaign I read it – I went to do some research myself. So, for about 10 seconds, I went on Google on my phone and typed in ‘men shouldn’t. Some rather interesting results came up. Then I typed in ‘men aren’t’ and some more interesting results came up. Then I decided to move away from men and broaden my spectrum a little bit, because I had a hunch that you can type pretty much anything into Google and something negative will come up. I typed in ‘muslims should’, ‘islam should’, ‘doctors shouldn’t’, ‘ladies shouldn’t’ and ‘humanity is’ among other things. Guess what? That’s right, loads of negative searches came up. What a surprise.

 

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2534_zps2c5c3577.png

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2532_zps5f899853.png

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http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/IMG_2554_zps661b6792.png

 

Then, I decided to actually see if the UN campaign was being entirely truthful, so, whilst I’ve been writing this blog, I typed in one of the searches on the UN campaign. As you can see from the picture, absolutely none of the searches that appear in the campaign appear on my search. Does this mean the UN have cherry picked the worst of the predicted searches and edited them together, deliberately editing out the ones that don’t fit their agenda? It definitely seems to.

 

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y472/johnsalmonworld/womenneedto_zps0c0b828d.png

 

If the UN wants to show how Google searches highlight the entrenched misogyny of society, then they must also comment on how Google searches highlight the feelings of misandry, islamaphobia, misanthropy and anti-children sentiments that appear on searches. By refusing to do so, they are perpetuating the unfair stereotype of women constantly being the victims. They are playing up the victimisation of women and ignoring the victimisation of every other aspect of society. Once again, we have a campaign that is full of half-truths, omissions, false logic, cherry picking and feminist theory that is misleading and dangerous. It would appear some people are now beginning to see through this misty veil of fear and recognising how manipulative certain campaigns are.

If you want to draw attention to aspects of misogyny in society, and I won’t deny they are there, you simply cannot lie about how widespread it is. You must be completely honest, that is the only way you are going to get everyone to sit up and listen. By promoting one aspect of society’s problems over another you are damaging the quest for true equality. If you go by the UN’s reckoning, and use Google as the standard by which we measure discrimination, then we also need to campaign for the creation of UN men’s division, a UN muslim division, a UN misanthrope division and any number of other government departments.

It is a constant source of irritation that logic is routinely lacking in its application to stories like this. A little bit of research, 10 seconds on your phone or computer, is all it takes to actually allow yourself to discover how murky stuff like this is. It’s a convoluted campaign presented as if it were crystal clear. Unfortunately, there are too many people drawn in by the shiny crystal who don’t want to muddy themselves in the swamp of enlightenment.

All crap metaphors aside, the UN have this one wrong.

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