An elaborate internet hoax attempted to convince women that feminine hygiene products were a form of oppression.
According to the Daily Dot, users from 4chan organized the hoax to “hit feminists right where it hurts most” by convincing women that “freebleeding” is their right.
According to a post from January 31, 2014, the steps of the hoax include:
- Obtaining “nasty” pictures related to the topic
- Engaging in discussion on social media using the hashtag #freebleeding
- Continue uploading and promoting the images
- Convince other users that the fake accounts are real
- “Let the world do what they usually do.”
Fake social media accounts were created to spread the #freebleeding hoax, often posting graphic images relating to the topic.
“Free bleeding” is a real concept – but not-widely practiced – which existed prior to the 4chan hoax, as discussed here in 2010. It is not practiced, however, to combat male oppression, which is a crux of the 4chan spin on the topic.
In February 2015, the #freebleeding hashtag reappeared with renewed popularity on Twitter and other social media sites. The hashtag sparked renewed debate as to whether or not it is a real movement, and if it is an appropriate expression of feminism.
I’m all for feminism/equality and whatever, but this #FreeBleeding trend is completely disgusting and irrational.
— Gabs (@GabbySullivan4) February 15, 2015
Although “free bleeding” is a real concept, the viral movement on social media in February 2014 was merely a 4chan hoax, which prompted a larger debate on the topic that reappeared in 2015.
Updated February 17, 2015
Originally published February 2014