The reactions by the women who’ve figured out it’s a hoax, warning their sisters, is equally hilarious… and nauseating.
This is not a movement! It’s spam and the equivalent of chain mail. If you research its origin you will quickly see there is no official group or organization behind it. It was started as early as 2017 and claimed it was to send a message about domestic violence or sexual assault.
Why is chain mail like this counterproductive to moving the needle on issues like sexual assault or domestic violence or frankly any issue?
They are not tied to any specific advocacy goals or strategic impact. For example, there is no message about contacting your Senators about specific bills, such as reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which is set to expire this weekend!
Often the messages are vague and can ending up hurting the people they are attempting to help. In the case of the Female Blackout message, people are perpetuating the erasure and silencing of women in a time when women need to be seen and be vocal. “Asking people to silence themselves in the face of oppression is the opposite of activism. Never. Never. Never. Give up your platform to speak or your ability to be seen,” said Amanda Quraishi in a public post on Facebook.
Equally alarming is the tone deaf message asking women, especially black women, to swap out their photo for a black square. As Leslie Mac publicly posted, “I’d like to invite you to think about the optics & impact of you asking a Black Woman to join a “female blackout” on social media. First of all, for the most part we are already invisible & ignored so the idea that we would take collective action that further diminishes our voices, even for a day… nope.”