Feminism | Posted by Haley S on 11/23/2010

Formspring and Feminism

Bullying has been an issue that has been affecting our country for a long time, but has recently recaptured our nation. Lets face it, some people are mean. It seems, however, that children and teenagers are becoming meaner with new technologies available to them. Through texting, twitter, facebook etc, there are more ways to attack others than ever before.

Formspring is the worst of them all. Because of a slew of bizarre questions I received on mine, I decided to deactivate it. Thankfully, I have confidence in myself, and therefore am not phased by bullies who chose to lurk on my page. But I know that there are a lot of people out there who do not have the same self assurance that I do, and are greatly affected when they read hurtful comments.

When I went to deactivate it, it asked me why I wanted to. I chose the button, that said “I don’t want people to find me on here anymore.” That wasn’t entirely true, but none of the other options satisfied my reasoning. Formspring did, however, give me the option to submit additional comments or feedback. I decided to write that I believed that formspring creates an environment where bullying can thrive through its inherent anonymity.

While thinking about this more, a lot of things occurred to me, especially as a feminist. A lot of girls I know have Formsprings and I often look at them to see what types of questions they get. Sometimes I am absolutely horrified. There are questions interrogating them on what drugs they’ve done, their sex lives, their sexuality, their weight – and those are just a few examples.

The feminist in me is beside myself with the amounts of slut shaming that I see daily on other peoples’ formsprings. There are girls who have questions plastered on their pages calling them sluts, whores, accusing them of hooking up with this guy, and that guy. Then there are the comments that attack girls’ looks, calling them fat and ugly. There are the ones that inform girls about how they have no friends and that everyone secretly hates them. These are the questions that lead to the eating disorders, depression, and even suicide.

My mind is boggled that such a thing can exist. People see that they can say things to others anonymously and it seems like an exhilarating option. There is comfort for the bully because they won’t be discovered and labeled as such.They can make all kinds of accusations and not have to deal with the consequences. But the truth is, the person that receives the hateful comments deals with the same amount of pain, if not more, than they would if the bullying happened to their face. That consequence alone should be enough to stop Formspring from becoming even more popular than it is and should make teenagers stop and think about what something they say to someone can do. America is clearly making an effort to curb the amount of bullying in our schools and over the internet, but why are more teenagers not speaking out against formspring, and trying to get rid of it?

Also check out Formspring and Cyber Bullying

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  • Joe Joey @ at 5:10 pm, November 23rd, 2010

    Why didn’t you just turn off the option for people to ask you anonymous questions? Lots of people seem to do that.

  • Miriam @ at 6:22 pm, November 23rd, 2010

    Great post. I used to have a formspring and I got rid of it because of nasty comments, too. I don’t understand what it is about people that the minute you give them a space to express themselves, they choose to do it in a negative way. Whatever.

  • Lauren @ at 9:59 pm, November 23rd, 2010

    I myself do not a have a facebook/formspring but when i go to my friends’ houses they go on theirs and i see the hurtful things that people to say… it just is not right!!! Especially like you said about accusing people of sexual relations and hookups.

  • jULIET @ at 1:19 pm, November 24th, 2010

    The problem with the anonymous option is that it allows people to say anything they want without consequence, which basically allows people to be hateful. This is bad. Very bad.

    I had a formspring for awhile, from last february until the end of October (I deleted it a few weeks ago). I didn’t get alot of hate, but of course I got a few of the “you’re fat and ugly” “you have no friends everyone hates you” “omg your blue eyeliner makes you look like a clown prostitute”(i kid you not). Anyways formspring and the anonymous option is bad news; it brings out the worst in people. At my old school there was some formspring drama and the principal made everyone delete theirs!

  • firefly @ at 9:39 pm, November 24th, 2010

    Give them snarky comments. :D

  • Jaden @ at 10:50 am, November 28th, 2010

    Everyone knows that when they get a formspring there are going to be mean people saying mean things about you on your page so if you cant take the hate don’t get a formspring its easy as that. Im 14/girl and i have a formspring and the people who hate on my page don’t bother me at all ik it does bother some people but thats there fault they knew what they where geting into when they got a formspring i have no pity on them.

  • Emily @ at 8:04 pm, November 28th, 2010

    I’m on Tumblr, and they have an anonymous “ask” feature (or maybe they’ve engulfed Formspring, who knows) but on some of the blogs I follow, there are people asking questions about sex that they consider too embarassing to put their name on, or anonymously sharing experiences that they’ve had. In that respect, I feel that the flip side of anonymity – removing the “I’m too shy” factor – can be beneficial.

  • A @ at 1:01 pm, February 2nd, 2011

    Hey Haley, I just wanted to say this is a great post…youre an amazing writer, and this really does make me realize the stupidity of formspring and bullying in general. as you may know, a junior girl at GH recently had her books taken away from her for no apparent reason–now she has nothing for classes. people really need to grow up and realize that we are going to be adults soon, bullying is dumb and only hurts people.

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