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Female Blackout refers to a campaign spread on Facebook encouraging women to change their profile pictures to a black square to symbolize "a world without women." After first appearing in 2017, the campaign resurfaced in late September 2018 in response to sexual assault claims against United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The campaign started on Facebook and was initially scheduled for July 28th, 2017. The description for the event reads:
Tomorrow, female blackout from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Its a movement to show what the world might be like without women. Your profile photo should just be a black square so that men wonder where the women are. Pass it only to women … It's for a project against women abuse. It is no joke. Share it.
The campaign appeared to circulate online several times over the course of the following year, generating impassioned responses and criticisms. On April 21st, 2018, a post on womensweb.in criticized the campaign for encouraging the silencing of women rather than having them speak out. Christianity Every Day criticized the movement from the opposite perspective, claiming its feminism is "against what the Bible teaches is right."
The campaign drew the most attention when it circulated in September of 2018 for a September 30th, 2018 "Blackout Day." Democrat and Chronicle quoted women both for and against the blackout; one woman praised it as reflective of "the power of women connecting by forming this virtual chain… This blackout and our being intentionally invisible for one day, speaks volumes about women’s continuing challenge that we be taken seriously, and treated with dignity in all circumstances." The piece also quoted another woman who said, "I will not participate in passive acts of “solidarity” that only harm us more in the long run. Why am I going to remove myself from a global platform when that’s exactly what the patriarchy has been trying to do to us for centuries?!"
Jezebel wrote a piece connecting the movement to the recent discussions about the role of alcohol in the sexual assault claims made against Brett Kavanaugh, writing, "The same effort has been made at least once before, but this blackout happens to dovetail with a conversation about the link between blackout drinking and violence toward women, prompted by allegations against Brett Kavanaugh." A Forbes contributor criticized the movement as "spam" with no actual political call to action behind it, and also criticized it for its terrible "optics" in asking women, particularly black women, to silence themselves with a black profile picture.
 Facebook – Female black out against abuse towards women
 Womens Web – A ‘Female Blackout’ – Are You Kidding Me? Women Need More Presence, Not Less!
 Christianity Every Day – A Christian View
 Democratic and Chronicle – Wondering why you're seeing blacked out profiles on Facebook Sunday?
 Jezebel – Women Are Turning Their Facebook Profiles Black Today in Protest of Domestic Abuse Amidst a National Conversation About Blackouts and Sexual Violence
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