As we’re all probably aware by now, the Internet is a jungle of rape culture, blatant misogyny, and the insidious messages of patriarchy. What’s a Feminist Killjoy to do?
Make tools to fight the BS. And use them.
I give you the Make Me a Sammich Feminist Killjoy Toolbox: a living collection of tools created to turn the Internet into a safer, more hospitable, or just more interesting and enlightening environment for Feminist Killjoys everywhere. I’ll start with a few I’ve learned about recently and add to the list as more become available (or I become aware of them). Know of a tool I should list here? Let me know in the comments section.
The Block Bot
The Block Bot is a Twitter-specific tool that auto-blocks people who engage in anti-feminist trolling behavior. It’s customizable, using “nastiness levels” to let you choose how aggressively you want it to protect you from potential trolls.
From the website:
Twitter is polluted by a number of anti-feminist obsessives, who viciously harass those who don’t support their warped views. The Block Bot is a Twitter application to automatically block the nastiest of these people. Once installed, it works in the background, fetching the names of those to be blocked from a central server, and discreetly blocking them.
I dunno about you, but this sounds like a little slice of heaven to me. (A bigger slice would be to also block racist trolls.)
Jailbreak the Patriarchy
Danielle Sucher just released a Chrome extension that genderswaps the web when you view it through the Chrome browser. It excludes Gmail, and you can toggle it off at will. I tried it on this page and here’s what happened:
Hilarious, right? Of course, on most web pages the changes will be slightly subtler. Here’s an example from Jane Austen’s Persuasion: From Danielle Sucher:
This makes reading stuff on the internet a pretty fascinating and eye-opening experience, I must say. What would the world be like if we reversed the way we speak about women and men? Well, now you can find out!
Note: While testing JtP, I learned that it works in WordPress (and other, I assume) editing windows. I narrowly avoided publishing the Masculist Killjoy Toolbox! I’ve alerted Danielle and I’ll let you know if there’s an update.
Hacktivist maymay wants social networking spaces to be free of sexual violence and safer for those who frequent them. To that end, they and their cohorts are creating Predator Alert Tools for a growing number of websites including OKCupid, Facebook, Lulu, and more.
What would happen if the world’s major Internet companies like Facebook and Google actually took sexual assault and rape seriously? As ever more human interaction changes to be mediated with the Internet, social networking companies have an increasing responsibility to shape their products, and the Internet-connected populace’s “virtual town squares,” in ways that empower us to build the future society we want, such as one free of sexual violence.
The Predator Alert Tool tells you when someone’s behavior sends up a red flag:
In addition to alerting you to potential predators on dating sites, the Predator Alert Tool helps to create awareness and stimulate discussion among friends whose friends might be part of the problem:
The “Information linked to your Facebook friends” list displays any statements you can see linked to anyone on your Facebook friend list. If you share some information and link it to one of your own Facebook friends, it will show up here. The list shows the current profile picture of the person to whom the statement was linked, the statement’s short description, and the date the statement was shared with PAT-Facebook. By occasionally logging in to PAT-Facebook to look at this list, read any new statements that appear, and encouraging your friends to talk with you about sexual violence, you can help prevent sexual abuse within your social network.
The PAT User Manual contains lots more info about how this tool works. Check it out.
Armed with these tools, you can customize the Internet in ways that are only now becoming possible and potentially protect yourself from trolls and predators like never before. How do you want to view the Internet today? You’ve got more choices than ever.
What tools are you creating/using to make your Internet a better place? Feminist Killjoys, sound off!