17/06/2013 08:57 BST | Updated 13/08/2013 06:12 BST

Feminist Takeover of Bra-Busters


Recently a radical feminist using the pseudonym Lili Fitna received a message from a man who was running a Facebook pornography page. He told Fitna that he had seen her around and that he liked her ideas. He then told Fitna that he wanted her to help him out with his 'Facebook patriarchy' page because, as he put it, he wanted her to help the men think. Fitna could not understand why a man running a Facebook page which objectifies women would request her help explaining, 'I think what he had in mind was that he wanted to promote a guerrilla image of women. His perception of feminism was more along the lines of liberal feminism (ie. sex positive feminism), so he probably thought objectifying women is ok. I imagine he figured that I would try to get the men to think about women's issues while simultaneously objectifying them.' The previous Facebook page owner even referred to his Facebook page as an 'objectification page.'


The Facebook page is named Bra-Busters, a term for women with very large--usually fake--breasts. 'I was skeptical at first,' Fitna recounts, 'It seemed like a trap, like he was trying to trick me. So, I asked for a link to get some context and the page was disgusting. A radical feminist looking at that type of content--it was sickening! Fitna explains to me what she found on the Bra-Busters Facebook page: creep shots (also known as up-skirt shots) and various pornographic images of women. She explains that there were 'creep shots taken of women without their knowledge and zoomed in to look at the crotch area. The comments from men were disgusting. I'd say porn, but unfortunately in modern times, some people only consider something pornographic if the woman is being penetrated. It was porn in the Playboy style sense of the word.'

So I went to a radical feminist group and provided a link to them, told them of his proposal.' After Fitna consulted with these other radical feminists, they wondered if she might possibly gain administrative privileges. Fitna was concerned that this was a tactic to 'dox' her. ('Doxing,' a derivative of 'document tracing,' is the sourcing of personal information from the Internet and using it for malicious purposes.) Fitna worried this man was enticing her to join so he could access her Facebook friends and other personal information in order to make a call to action for various MRA's (men's rights activists) noting how women with children have had their information and photos of their children posted on these MRA pages. 'So maybe he has been sent to get one of us,' Fitna notes. 'I also saw an opportunity and I thought that maybe he is ignorant and would make me an admin.' In Facebook if a user gets administrative privileges she can delete the other administrators and so Fitna took the gamble.

So on 30 April, Fitna accepted this stranger's offer to join his Facebook page and Fitna explains, 'Within minutes of him making me admin I deleted him.' Moments after taking over Bra-Busters, Fitna told the other feminists in her group that she was going to trash the page and put in feminist links. 'Immediately we started uploading links to Andrea Dworkin, Mary Daly, Catherine MacKinnon and anti-pornography links to various lectures,' she tells me. Fitna then appointed appointed three other women to administrators and two more later on. Fitna, a resident of Germany, said that all six administrators hail from five different countries and these women quickly collaborated to turn Bra-Busters from a pornographic site into a radical feminist site with the intention of educating and empowering women.


However there was a downside: the men who would frequent Bra-Busters were confused when the pornography was no longer on the Facebook page. 'We had comments like 'You fucking cunts!', 'You're a bitch!' and 'Where are the tits?' We laughed and made bubble photos of them. They were upset that we had taken their porn away,' explains Fitna. Stating that these cyber-pirates never received direct aggression and threats, Fitna recalls how they would receive comments such as: 'You broads are so hot, I want to fuck all of you in the face.' They received so may abusive and violent comments that these women decided to post the comments with the users' Facebook images on a blog called 'Whiny dudes' ( Noting how Facebook has not been a very woman-positive environment, Fitna says, 'On Facebook you can report images of women being killed. There was a video of a woman being murdered, beheaded, for cheating. Many women reported this to Facebook and Facebook said it didn't violate their policy.' Although Facebook officially denies that it allows pornography, Fitna confirms that people have found child pornography, rape jokes, and images of women being raped on Facebook. Bra-Busters turned this Facebook paradigm around by successfully pirating a pornography site rendering it 'new and improved.'

The Bra-Busters page is today completely occupied by feminists with over 3,400 members. Fitna explains that they lost 800 likes in the first couple of days after the takeover but they have regained 1000 likes from pro-feminist men and women. 'Now the website has turned into radical feminism since it was thrown into the mainstream,' she says. 'Also women are coming to Bra-Busters who are new to feminism. It is a consciousness-raising site now--a female safe space. We don't allow any men to troll or make threats on the page and women feel pretty safe. We even have women who write private messages saying a guy is harassing her and if we see she is being harassed we get rid of the guy. They can discuss feminism out in the open. All the admins are very vigilant.' Bra-Busters has offered a platform for radical feminists to occupy the space in open dialogue so everyone can have discussions about feminism.