Warning: this post contains content some readers may find disturbing.
If you’re over 25 and don’t have a teenager sister, you may not have heard of secret Facebook group ‘Bad Girls Advice’. It’s kind of like the modern day Dolly Doctor, but not so private. Women from around the country sign up to seek advice about some of their most personal dilemmas.
What was once a question you’d only dream of asking your best friend and then never, ever ask it, is now common internet fodder. Topics range from what to buy their partner for Christmas to ‘my boyfriend wants me to pee on him, should I?’
While the page offers users the option of anonymity, many ignore this, using their real name connected to their personal Facebook profile to share their questions for the world to see.
Earlier this year Facebook was forced to step in and shut down the page after a post condoning bestiality was approved by administrators. Users were disgusted after a woman admitted to engaging in bestiality with her dog. Rather than removing the post, members were allegedly accused of ‘shaming’ the woman and breaking the golden rule of ‘scrolling on’ if they didn’t agree with something.
Despite shutting the page down, Facebook failed to quash the power of the Bad Girls Advice community. The secret group popped up just days later, minus its 200,000 strong army. In the months since, it’s managed to claw its numbers back to 50,000.
So what exactly is the appeal of this page? While many admit to having a laugh at the page’s content, some of the members are fiercely loyal. It appears social media has changed many users’ perceptions of decency, providing millennials with an anything goes mentality. From posting risqué photos on Instagram to gain cheap likes, to sharing sexually explicit questions, the YOLO youth of today seem to be hitting send without fully understanding the gravity of what they’re sharing.
This ideology has been evident amongst the Bad Girl Advice community, with the page plagued by scandal since it began. Earlier this year it was in hot water after a woman shared pictures of her boyfriend’s genitals to the group.
The photos depicted her boyfriend performing what she described as a ’party trick,’ inserting glow sticks through various holes left from piercings. She asked other users if any of their partners also had ‘random holes in their appendages.’ Disturbingly, the woman commented through her personal Facebook page, which easily identified her boyfriend.
While it’s unclear if the woman’s partner consented to the photos being taken and shared online, it seems many women believe it’s fair game. Just this week one user shared her words of wisdom to dealing with ‘unwanted dick pics.’
‘I take the dick pic and put it in Snapchat, you can use the cut out tool to get the dick,’ she wrote.
‘Then you get a photo from their Facebook and put the dick in the photo so it looks like they’re sucking their own dick. Then send it back.’
The post was met with laughter and praise by members. One user even suggested going one step further and sending the explicit pictures to the offending man’s family.
With revenge porn a hot topic of discussion around Australia, it’s interesting to observe how differently cases are perceived. Last month Richmond defender Nathan Broad was under attack after a topless photo of a woman sporting his premiership medal went viral. The public and media quickly labelled the photo ‘revenge porn.’
While the woman admitted to consenting to the photo being taken, she claimed she didn’t consent to them being distributed online. The 24-year-old footballer has since apologised for betraying the woman’s trust and told the media he ‘deserved to be punished.’ He was subsequently suspended for three matches. The woman dropped the charges against him.
Following the incident, Sports Sunday Host, Emma Freedman was accused of ‘victim blaming’ when she merely said what a lot of people were already thinking.
When asked about the scandal, Freedman, questioned why the woman put herself in such a vulnerable position.
'My opinion on it is "don't take your clothes off", to be honest,' she said.
'If you're in a position where you think you might be put in a vulnerable position later on, for me, I wouldn't take my clothes off.'
While it’s perceived as ‘victim blaming’ to question the young woman’s actions, I bet most of us were thinking how bloody stupid old mate was for letting his girlfriend take photos of his genitals with glow sticks inserted in them.
So, what makes the two acts different? Both parties shared intimate photos of other people, seemingly without their consent, but one is deemed as more socially acceptable. Is it because the Bad Girls Advice page is viewed as a community of women having one big girly chat about life, while the Richmond photo scandal is perceived as a big bunch of pervy guys demeaning one woman? It all just screams double standard.
The reality is, growing up we all do a lot of stupid things, but social media is amplifying those mistakes on a large scale. So, please, let’s think before we hit post.