#MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo: Trending Twitter Hashtag Promotes Violence Against Women, Even Though It's Tongue-and-Cheek

It seems that it is commonly understood in the Twitterverse that hashtag #MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo is simply one big gag, a mockery of overprotective and controlling boyfriends who really do place strict limits on their girlfriend’s behavior. But #MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo turns domestic abuse and controlling behavior into one big joke, which really isn’t all that funny:

“#MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo break up with me unless she has a 20 slide power point, thesis statement, 6 essays and a letter from God.”

“#MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo have a cell phone. Who she tryna talk to? Here’s a walkie talkie, you ain’t going that far.”

“#MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo open doors, what you lookin for hoe? A way out of this relationship?”

#MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo, one of the newest trending hashtags on Twitter might be meant as a joke but many of the tweets associated with it do more than just hint at domestic abuse against women.

 

This new Twitter trend is similar to the content that the #FBRape campaign tried to have removed from Facebook and were ultimately successful. Despite the more severe nature of Facebook’s content, both of these forms of internet content do the same thing — promote violence against women.

Essentially what’s happening this time around is that the same tweets are being circulated around the site, and they all revolve around the same concept — control your girl, otherwise she’ll leave you. Because women aren’t allowed to leave their men ... ever.

This trend of “humorous” tweets and Facebook pages based in mocking the power and control that is forced upon many women may not be new, but has become much more widespread, much more noticeable and much more tolerated.  The common response to complaints like this article is, “Can’t you take a joke?”

No. Actually, I can’t. Because this isn’t a joke. It’s not funny, and instead content like this trivializes the real, scary, harmful and damaging behaviors that so many women find themselves subjected to in abusive relationships. More often than not content like this is only ever aimed at women, with very few cases aimed at men. That fact may become irrelevant, because using power to control a significant other, male or female, is never okay.

As of Wednesday, the only tweets using this hashtag were the #MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo, yet as of Thursday many girls have been reclaiming it as #MyBoyfriendNotAllowedTo through using the same tweets and only replacing the hashtag. Although this proves its point, everyone is quite aware of the “crazy girlfriend” stereotype that these tweets may only be perpetuating. As evident in this tweet posted Thursday:


This is just another case of the whole "when a male does it, it’s okay, but females better not even bother" double standard. The double standard, demonstration of power, control over women, and stereotypes perpetuated in this are profound.

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Gabi Chepurny

I fight stereotypes.

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