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Ask a Raging Feminist: What makes you unfriend someone on Facebook?

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine,,...

Here's why women unfriend jerks on Facebook

From those who continue to insist that Donald Trump is a viable presidential candidate to Sandy Hook "truthers," there are a million reasons you should probably unfriend some folks on Facebook. It got us wondering, what would it take to get some of our Raging Feminist friends to drop you?

What makes you unfriend someone on FB?

"If someone, by virtue of their words, opinions or attitude, presents as a person against whom oppressed or marginalized persons in my friend group would have to defend themselves, I swing the ban hammer pretty hard and without intervention or explanation. I curate my social media with great care and won't have racist Aunt Sally creating a hostile or unsafe space for my friends of color or TERF Grandma Jen making my trans* and non-binary friends feel like my space is not safe for them to be themselves. Rape 'jokes' are a one-way ticket to the sun, as far as I'm concerned. I've heard a lot of arguments about creating an echo chamber, but honestly, the world is already full of a-holes. We get 'the opposing viewpoint' all the time forever. I think one thing I can do is carve out a social network where a-holes aren't the ones with the platform." — H.D. Roslin

"I consider any space that I moderate to be a safe space for people, particularly friends of mine that come from marginalized groups. My FB isn't public, so to get in there you have to actually know me or have enough people in common with me that I trust your judgement [sic]. If you make it through all of that scrutiny and somehow still manage to deliberately troll or 'play devil's advocate,' I swing the banhammer pretty damn quickly." — Seraphina Ferraro

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"I am a rampant unfriender, because as I see it, Facebook is a way I choose to spend my time, and I don't need more things that make me upset. So I unfriend people when they are being contrarian in a way that is not respectful or constructive or when it's clear that our opinions about things are so divergent as to be hurtful, offensive or just aggravating. I also have a firm rule that I will only be Facebook friends with someone I would actually approach and say hello to if we were on the same bus, so sometimes if it's someone's birthday (or they get married and suddenly I see their name is different) and we're just really not the kind of friends who could exchange pleasantries on the bus, I'll also unfriend." — Hanna Brooks Olsen

"I unfriend people on Facebook who cause me pain. I'm black, so that almost always means people who write racist things either publicly, or who are polite enough to inbox me their hatred, or people who have friends and family members who they allow to repeatedly spew unchecked hatred on their walls (which then ends up in my timeline). People who ask genuine questions about racism and are nice but uninformed can be annoying or unintentionally hurtful sometimes, but I don't unfriend them. I have a pretty thick skin for that stuff. And yes, we're talking about unfriending, so it bears repeating that the people who have written such horrible things that they have actually caused me pain are all people who considered themselves my friend in the first place. So no, having a black friend doesn't magically make you not racist." — Ashley Black

"Seeing a random dude in my feed who I do not remember adding will always get an unfriend for obvious reasons." — Lane Moore

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"I rarely unfriend people — usually they're the ones unfriending me! (I have a huge conservative family, and it's my personal choice to keep my opinions to myself and reserve my FB for dog pictures. I guess some people just hate dogs!) I recently looked to see who in my network "liked" Donald Trump... And the number was 0! The more disappointing number was how many liked Matt Walsh. But to make myself feel better, I looked at how many of my friends like amazing feminist authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and that number wayyyy surpassed any horrible conservative bloggers or presidential candidates." — Heather Funk

"Being that I'm Ms. Congeniality and I *need* everybody IRL and in the virtual universe not only to like me but to follow me, subscribe to me, thumbs up every move I make, my ootd, my political views, my taste in craft beers — and of course all my tbts, I politely hit unsubscribe if someone's feed is bugging me, this way no one is the wiser." — Jill Di Donato

"I unfriend people for supporting Donald Trump and being sexist, racist or homophobic, but I have also unfriended people for sharing too many pictures (of Jesus and babies) and being too preachy (of Jesus and babies.)" — Patricia Valoy

"I have never unfriended anyone on Facebook for political reasons. I actually really treasure some [of] the friends I have on Facebook with whom I disagree on political/social issues, because I've had some really valuable conversations with those people. It's so easy for Facebook to become a protective bubble, preventing you from engaging with people who see the world differently, and I try hard not to use it that way. As long as someone is open to respectfully engaging in dialogue, I'm not going to unfriend them just because we don't agree on things like reproductive rights, gun control or pro-LGBTQ legislation.

"Reasons I do unfriend people? I once unfriended someone who wrote a status update that was actually a thinly veiled rape threat disguised as a joke. I've unfriended someone who took to Facebook to publicly deny a growing number of assault allegations against him. But mostly I've unfriended people for being shitty IRL friends." — Carrie Nelson

"I argue rather than unfriending people with crap politics, unless they don't listen or they are in a position to threaten my safety or that of my friends. Then I unfriend or put on limited profile." — Margaret Corvid

"It's incredibly important to prioritize your own emotional well-being and equally important to feel that both your physical and virtual spaces are safe. There's this illusionary concept that because you are accessible online, you want to be accessed. I'm strategic about who I add on which platforms because my life is not up for public debate, consumption and exploitation 24/7. At the same time, being someone's friend on Facebook does not mean I always want to pour emotional labor into a controversial discussion, provide free educational lessons or face constant exposure to offensive content. And sometimes that means I unfriend someone. We have incredible power on social media that doesn't always exist offline, so why wouldn't I carefully curate the environment, energy and safety within my own online spaces?" — Natasha Vianna

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