Google Facts, a parody Twitter account designed to satire aggregated Internet "fact" finding, has found itself at the center of controversy after angering followers with a tone-deaf joke about women. Whereas the Twitter account normally makes innocent fun of the types of clickbait articles you see online, posting fake headlines like "Having arguments with people might shorten your lifespan" and humorous non-sequitirs like "Vin Diesel's name is an anagram for "I end lives."" But Twitter overstepped the bounds of good taste joking when they posted the sexist headline, "Studies show that men like women who wear less makeup."
Despite being a parody account, it's unclear what the joke here is. When this kind of headline reads so matter-of-fact, and so true to the headlines we see all the time, the "joke" falls flat. It fails to make any kind of biting commentary on the sexism we see online, and seems more like it's making fun of the women who buy into this, rather than the culture that promotes it. The tweet set off a storm of replies that will have you choking on your coffee (so don't sip while you're reading this), and prompted a robust conversation about the expectations and stereotypes that are thrust upon women by the beauty industry (with many users not realizing the site was a parody and kicking off in the most spectacular ways).
These Twitter users, for instance, took a stab at the culture of mansplaining that Google Facts didn't quite parody:
This user highlighted the importance of female autonomy:
While these users summoned the terrifying Tyra and the Queen Whitney to make a point:
And this user just owned it:
Interestingly enough, the Twitter users responding to the tweet managed to spear the issue with much more humor than the original. So, maybe the people between Google Facts should think twice before quitting their day jobs.
There are of course, ways to make jokes about our culture's obsession with female beauty without throwing women under the bus for it. Like The Onion's headline, Woman Builds Ironclad Case Proving Mila Kunis Looks Bad Without Makeup, or Reductress' 7 Shocking Pics of Jonah Hill Without Makeup. Being able to laugh at ourselves is important, but it seems like Google Facts' job bypassed the funny bone and struck a nerve instead.