Social media blackout

Female black out against abuse towards women/Facebook

Sunday’s Facebook blackout for women rallies against domestic violence

A vague chain message was sent around Facebook yesterday—with suspicious origins.


Ellen Ioanes

Layer 8

Posted on Sep 30, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 5:18 am CDT

Women are being asked to turn their Facebook profiles black to protest domestic violence on Sunday—violence that often happens at the hands of partners who are drunk enough to black out.

The effort was coordinated through direct messages on Facebook, according to Jezebel, and intended to take place between 8:00am and 9:00pm.

“Its a movement to show what the world might be like without women. Your profile photo should just be a black square so that men wonder where the women are. Pass it only to women … It’s for a project against domestic abuse. It is no joke. Share it,” the message says.

While the movement is intended to express solidarity, there is some confusion surrounding it, starting with the timing; by not including time zones, it’s unclear whether this is intended to be a worldwide movement, or if women will be blacking out their profile pictures at the same time.

“Blackout” also implies silence, which is troubling to some observers. As Imani Gandy said on Twitter, “Black women are routinely silenced. Why would I voluntarily silence myself?”

She also points out that there is a March for Black Women in New York City today; even if women aren’t intended to be silent for the blackout, the movement has the potential to compete with the March.

As Forbes’ Allyson Kapin points out, the vagueness of the message is suspicious and there’s no outside national group affiliated with the message. There was also a similar movement in July of last year, with the exact same message posted to the event page. The Daily Dot spoke to a person named Christy Love who said she was behind the July movement and today’s. Love said that the event page was getting engagement in the hundreds of thousands but could not provide documentation.

However, the conversation about alcohol and domestic and sexual violence is especially prescient right now, as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has routinely denied being drunk enough during his high school and college years to have blacked out and committed sexual violence.

Kavanaugh repeatedly brought up how much he enjoys beer during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday, but refuses to acknowledge that his drinking habits might make him violent or alter his memory in any way.

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*First Published: Sep 30, 2018, 4:04 pm CDT