Memes are so hot right now: You can't scroll through Facebook without seeing, say, a photo of an angry little kid with the words, "let's do this, Friday," or a dancing hamster captioned, "when your favourite song comes on."
But now a meme that is objectively sexist and violent seems to be leaving the social network's moderators unfazed.
JinkiesTV, a humour page that specializes in borderline offensive memes, has angered throngs of people with a photo that shows a despondent woman tied up, her face duct-taped, her arms and legs bound. She's being held by a man who is watching television. The caption reads: "This could be us, but you keep escaping."
Shockingly, more than 196,000 people have liked the post as of Friday afternoon, and more than 85,000 people have shared it with their Facebook friends.
It's an image that shouldn't be funny to anyone. With violence against women a daily occurrence (need I remind you of Ray Rice) and gender inequality a growing global concern, images that make a punchline out of the suffering of women, and organizations that share them, are not contributing to a good society, especially under the guise of joking or good fun.
Many Facebook users who commented on the photo echoed my view, and one offended Canadian, Elizabeth Sozonchuck in Toronto, decided to get in touch with The Globe and Mail. "It's a reminder that women are still seen as sexual objects to be possessed or controlled by men. While many may find this to be 'just a joke,' it is not so funny for the many women who are victims of domestic violence," she says.
But perhaps more shocking: The photo has been reported to Facebook by at least six women, myself included, but the social network won't take action. In response, a moderator wrote that the photo doesn't cross any lines, but it has been marked "insensitive" (which doesn't seem to be clearly reflected on the post itself). The moderator further said that the content is in line with their community standards, which include provisions to protect against violence, hate speech and graphic content.
Ahem, Facebook: This image ticks off all those boxes.
This photo may be just one of many making the rounds, and the Internet elsewhere is readily stocked with objectifying, women-hating images, but when repulsive material like this is deemed acceptable, maybe Facebook needs to re-evaluate its standards.