Last year, Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!) wrote an ultimatum to Facebook to “demand swift, comprehensive and effective action addressing the representation of rape and domestic violence on Facebook.” The campaign resulted in the removal of content that could be considered offensive to both men and women, but WAM!’s language explicitly targeted content that was in some way critical to women or feminism alone. Consequences of this campaign included the removal of content that was critical of feminism but was in no way hateful.
The Body is Not An Apology (BNA) was one of the many signatories to WAM!’s ultimatum, which means that it contributed to censorship under false pretenses.
Let us fast-forward to the present. Just recently, BNA launched #WhenWeSayYES to raise $80,000 for a website.
Why? Because they think Facebook is censoring them.
After I demolished my house laughing at the irony, I sat reflecting on the dishonesty while gnawing thoughtfully on a roof shingle. I am now writing this at a nearby library where twelve-year-olds are requesting that I stop being ginger so they can better focus on the serious and productive festivities in which twelve-year-olds often partake.
BNA sells itself as a platform to express and celebrate “radical self-love.” I don’t know what “radical self-love” is, but after perusing the BNA website, it seems to be something you pay BNA for after crying over unflattering comments about yourself on the Internet. Radical self-love entails “unapologetically” loving your body, as if someone would expect an apology for seeing your body otherwise.
I’m of the mind that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to tell them what they don’t want to hear. When I weighed 285 pounds (“I’m not fat, I’m adipose-challenged”), I needed someone to tell me: “My house was two stories tall before you went upstairs, could you please save that donut in your fat mitt for one sec—Okay, don’t, but at least CHEW!”
Self-esteem is apparently so scarce that people will tolerate its packaging for resale. BNA sells a warm feeling, and nothing more. This is as depressing as paying for a therapist because you cannot approach anyone you love with your problems.
Is BNA a force against cultural intolerance? Not according to its track record. It perpetuated hatred before, and it is currently building a platform on personal insecurities so it can finally control the message once and for all. BNA helped censor the self-actualized while selling self-love by subscription.
Let’s look at the campaign’s self-defeating copy.
From the section “How will we use the money?”
- Pay our dedicated staff of volunteers who work tirelessly to develop uplifting content, share thought-provoking writing, and keep our movement accessible to all. ($32,000)
For a movement full of people ready to shove a dictionary open to the word “feminism” in your face, you’d think they’d at least know what “volunteer” means. Maybe they never got past the “F”s.
- Pay for the cost of developing the world’s most comprehensive online information, education, and community-building platform focused exclusively on radical self-love as a tool for personal transformation and global justice. We’ve partnered with Everyday Feminism, a group that loves our mission and is willing to build our new website at a fraction of its full cost. (Estimated value of the website: $100,000. Our cost: $40,000.)
Why do you need $40,000 to tell people to love themselves, and how did you get the cost for “a tool for global justice” down to one-third the cost of one-acre plots with ugly houses on them? And as a web consultant of eight years, I doubt that you couldn’t go lower than $40,000. If you could find someone willing to chop off $60,000 of the “estimated” $100,000, then there is no way in hell that negotiation is over.
If you want more proof that BNA is selling a feeling, look at the $10,000 contribution reward on the fundraiser:
The founder of the movement comes over for an hour and reads you a poem—excuse me, “personal commissioned piece”—in front of your guests.
How can someone have $10,000 lying around to throw at something like that and still have something to be insecure about? The only reason one would ever have guests willing to come to events like these is because the guests know the host farts money.
At least Sonya takes some money out of that $10,000 to pay for travel and—
- [We use the money to] Cover the fees of IndieGoGo and perk fulfillment. ($8,000)
Uh, okay. I can understand using funds for perks, but Sonya taking credit for “covering costs” was pretty rude. But wait, she even says that “International travel is possible if the contributor covers the cost of travel and accommodations.” Sonya is as wide as I am tall, so saying that $8,000 can’t handle shipping Sonya’s self-loving ass is grounds for a The Biggest Loser nomination. An international contributor who donated $10,000 needs to pay again for one-eighth of a slumber party.
Anita Sarkeesian does more work than this!
Folks, when we say feminism has an industry, this is what we mean. As much as I’d love to keep making fat jokes, I should stop before this article becomes the next 0% ROI vehicle for the easily offended. If the products and results are invisible, then the money flows anyway. It doesn’t have to make sense.
If Facebook can be pinned into submission by an open letter written by feminists, and if people will seriously consider giving away money to organizations like BNA, what does this tell you about power?
BNA does not want you to love yourself for who you are, it wants you to depend on it as a substitute for loving yourself. It’s a psychological trick that BNA can’t perform if the tech giant it helped wrestle into submission isn’t controlling the message exactly how BNA wishes at all times. In order for BNA to make money, it needs people to feel weak and miserable. The emotionally defeated will shell out for any social acceptance they were conditioned to want.
You may think I made a mistake by spreading awareness of this campaign, but BNA already has 34,000+ supporters and some press. The intention is to show how many people are buying self-worth like a drug, and to ask why they choose not to get stronger on their own while saving their money.
To those who think BNA is providing a valuable service, I ask that you seriously reconsider your understanding of self-love. Self-love is a complicated skill that can only be learned through raw experience, not lectures or half-assed thank-yous. If you pay for self-love, then you either, by definition, do not possess the confidence to love yourself or you assume that love comes by covenant. Watching people fund BNA is like watching a lamb offering a lamb chop to a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This is not love, this is sick.
What ultimately happens when you aim at equality is that A and B decide what C shall do for D, except that they take a little bit of a commission off on the way.—Milton Friedman