A few weeks ago a US feminist blogger, Jill Filipovic of Feministe, posted a followup to an article she’d written some months earlier about being an object of sexist cyber-obsession on a website discussion forum populated by knucklewalking hooting troglodytes masquerading as her fellow law students. A flamewar ensued following that original post, and it all died down until a Washington Post article a few weeks ago about other female law students becoming objects of sexist obsession on the same website and how distressing they found the discovery that the first page of search engine results on their name turned up discussions of their sexual characteristics and pornographic speculation about their sexual histories.
The women were concerned that future employers, researching them on the internet, would come across these results and form an adverse opinion of them as a result. Especially as one top-ranking search result (on a different website inspired by the original sexist discussion forum) was a Rate the Hottest Babes competition naming female law students that may have given people the impression that these women actually applied to join the beauty competition, which they definitely did not.
Jill posted about this MSM story, and added more about her own experiences with the sleaze-forum, and mentioned that since last year the threads on the board speculating about her were now the top hits on an internet search for her name. I decided to have a go at changing that, and so did a few other people, independently, using the googlebomb tactic. Here’s the first paragraphs of my effort below:
This is a crosspost to effect a Googlebomb, correcting an injustice against a fellow feminist blogger.
Jill Filipovic, who blogs at Feministe and Ms. JD, is a NYU law student who has been the subject of cyber-obsession on a discussion board allegedly populated by law students. The discussions regarding Jill Filipovic (and many other female law students) are sexist and sexual in nature, rating the women’s physical attractiveness and fantasising about sexual contact, both consensual and non-consensual. Neither Jill Filipovic or any other of these women contributed, or gave their permission to be discussed, to the discussion board in question.
I then went on in more detail about the matter, which can can read over at Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, and ended by asking other bloggers to copy the text and the links to Jill’s bio and other writings in their own blog posts, create a new category for “Jill Filipovic” to add to their sidebar category/label listings, and also to add the links to Jill’s bio and writings to their favourite social networking sites, in order to raise the search engine ranking for these results over the ranking of the sleaze-forum’s discussions about Jill. A lot of feminist and pro-feminist bloggers decided to do so, including Ozblogistan’s very own Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony and Barista. A few other people had already started their own similiar (and less verbose) googlebombs, linking to other writings of Jill’s.
As a result of many people joining in on mine and others’ collective googlebomb action for reparation of reputation, the top results on a Google search for Jill Filipovic are now her bios for several blogs and other publications, plus the original googlebomb on FF101Blog. The first result from the sleaze-forum was #10 on google when I last checked. A few more links from bloggers highlighting Jill’s other writings should push the sleaze-forum off the front-page entirely. This means that anyone googling on her name alone should now never be under any misapprehension that the sexist cyber-obsession about her was something she volunteered for or in any way agreed to take part in.
If you’re interested in furthering the success of this googlebomb, please feel free to cut and paste the text from my effort over at FF101Blog, or just craft a quick blog post with Jill Filipovic in the title, and repeat her name several times in the body of a paragraph, each time making her name link to one of the following posts:
If you don’t have a blog, or don’t wish to devote a blog post to it, you could still help by adding those two links above to your favourite social networking site (Del.ici.ous, Digg, reddit, stumbleupon etc) with the tag “Jill Filipovic”.
I’m aware that Google is taking steps to counter the googlebomb tactic, but whatever steps are taken should also mitigate the high ranking of the sleaze-forum site, so it’s win-win for Jill.