Monthly Archives: May 2014

“Empire Building”: Career Feminism and Me

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Stop press – if only, one might sigh – the online abuse campaign against Caroline Criado-Perez goes on unabated, much less reported…

Seems plenty of women out there would rather she shut up too, sadly – wasn’t feminism supposed to bring females together – what went wrong?

And in a culture this toxic – suggesting one banknote of four might perhaps feature a female! the sheer audacity! gotta be raped and killed! – one can’t help by discern disingenuity in the shock! horror! reporting of the Elliot Roger massacre (the Salon piece strays too far in the direction of liberal for my taste, whilst getting the bones in the right place).

Incidents like the above ought to surprise no one.

It’s not ‘news’, and it’s not right; not any of it

Caroline Criado-Perez

I tend not to do much about the daily stream of attacks, insults, wilful misrepresentations and misinterpretations that constitute my daily online life. Not anymore. I just put up and shut up for the most part.

I used to try to defend myself, believing for a long time that explaining what I actually said, meant, intended, would help. But I’ve long since given up expecting the facts to matter when it comes to the determined group of people who have been keeping up a campaign of harassment against me for the past year or so. Indeed, on the few occasions I’ve tried to highlight their bullying, to try to defend myself, to say that I don’t think I deserve to be treated like an inhuman piece of shit, just because I happened to have hit headlines for…being treated an inhuman piece of shit, this group has never been unsuccessful in turning…

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The possibility of Change

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Following on, coincidentally, from my last (re)post

Recognize this guy?

Field Marshall Lord Kitchener’s face and pointing finger proclaiming ...

‘Your country needs YOU’

And this woman?

You’ll almost certainly be familiar with the former image and accompanying slogan – or variations on it, depending on your geographical location. Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener – for it is he – was the face of military recruitment during the WW1 campaign of a century ago. You might be forgiven for unfamiliarity with the second image: Edith Cavell was a Norfolk-born nurse who served in Belgium during that conflict; and her most oft-repeated quote ‘I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone’. Kitchener died June 5, 1916, on a boat sunk by a German mine off The Orkney Islands;  Cavell on October12, 1915 by Nazi firing squad. That which connects the pair – their respective rôles in that historic conflict aside and their deaths, both at the hands of the same ‘enemy’- to the aforementioned – in the Week Woman post – Criado-Perez campaign is their competition in a more modern conflict; in recognition for posterity via the medium of legal tender in the UK. started by Sioned-Mair Richards. In short, The UK Treasury wants to put Kitchener on a commemorative £2 coin; Richards nominates Cavell. Criado-Perez‘s successful campaign for women – or at least, a woman – to be represented on British currency was actioned via Change.org.

Petitions launched via that platform have helped to achieve positive action in social justice, education and public awareness, including:

Achieving legal aid for the inquest into the death of Cherry Groce, fatally injured during the ’85 Brixton riots

Keeping Mary Seacole on the National (educational) Curriculum in the UK

Pressing for a public enquiry into the late MP, Cyril Smith’s historical sexual abuse of vulnerable young boys

Richards‘ campaign deserves to succeed too: in a real sense it’s only a coin (or note) but implicit in the public support for the figure that we choose to commemorate the war that, 100 years ago failed to end all war is our hope – or lack of – that one day it might end. That one day, beginning today, we might have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone. If Criado-Perez‘ experience is anything to go by, I fear for Richards‘ treatment via social media. The only consolation is that any vindictiveness is in exponential relation to the importance of the values of their actions. For every 100 detractors, the lives of 1000,000s stand to be improved by the elimination of the brutal, patriarchal conventions that blight so many lives.

Is patriotism enough, or can we do better?

.@Twitter: Optimised For Abuse

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The critics Criado-Perez refer to are as opposed to formal, legal relationship commitment as they are in favour of casual, domineering sexuality. Infer from that what you will, dear gender-sceptics…

Caroline Criado-Perez

Last summer I was the target of months of violent, misogynistic abuse. The abuse was widely reported, although the worst tweets (most of the tweets), were never broadcast or printed, because the media deemed them too offensive. This left me in the rather unfortunate position of not only being driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown from the fear and strain of hundreds of tweets  coming in every minute telling me I would be maimed, raped and killed, but also being targeted by people who thought I was being a delicate flower and couldn’t take a bit of off-colour banter, or “dissenting opinion”. Nevertheless, the media pressure was such, that twitter was reluctantly, eventually forced to act. They streamlined their reporting process by including a link on each tweet to report it for abuse, and automatically included the link for that tweet in the report form. For someone who was…

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