Tag Archives: Cyber-mob

“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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.@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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Aside

So remind me, who are the haters? Who are the ‘phobes’?

This kind of cyber-bullying – particularly of women – is becoming increasingly common: it illuminates a dark side of the internet and social media which, terrifying as it is, should not be allowed to discourage us from utilizing these tools to our advantage and betterment.

The words of intelligent, perceptive and loving chroniclers of the human condition such as Moore are worth a million of these nasty little messages – but isn’t amazing how much of a person’s true character they betray so succinctly.

 

GenderTrender

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Shocked but not awed

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Today I was planning on posting an update of my thoughts on the Jacintha Saldanha controversy in light of the confirmation of her suicide and the involvement of Keith Vaz. But this video clip (below) was waiting for me in my inbox when I got in from work – I subscribe to Upworthy, from whence it came – and it hit me like a sucker-punch. I’m resisting succumbing to my oftentimes tendency to waffle on at length, well too much length anyway, because honestly the clip says it all:

The clip discusses threats of violence against women, including rape and harrassment threats, so a TRIGGER WARNING is appropriate:

I’d actually caught wind of this story before, via a link in Jason Hirschhorn’s Media ReDEFined newsletter; and via other linked pages had had a taste of the extent of the problem – sexist cyber-bullying of women, especially those offering feminist critiques of media – but watching Sarkeesian‘s TED presentation really condensed its import and its impact.

Pause the clip at 2.45 and actually read the comments; and then bear in mind that, as Sarkeesian says, this is just ‘…a small selection…’ from the thousands she received:

‘Fuck you and your family with a pipe’ ‘I hope you get cancer’ ‘I’ll rape you and put your head on a stick…’

If you’re not saddened, angry and disgusted then you’re not human. Hell, I was crying, and didn’t really stop until around 10.20 when she revealed just how spectacularly she trounced the haters; how both women and men, within the gaming community and without, rejected the mob’s shock and awe tactics and got behind her campaign. At that point I broke into a daft grin and punched the air with a feeling of triumph on her behalf.

And hers is only one story. What’s even more shocking is that this kind of reaction isn’t confined to women on the internet in 2012: this is a version of the same kind of response that any oppressed person or group receives when they confront, or even dare to question the status quo; when they fight for the right for mainstream acceptance and recognition; to be valued and believed in. It happened to the Suffragettes; to the Black Civil Rights activists and their supporters; it happened to students in Tiannamen Square and rapees in courtrooms prosecuting their attackers; and it’s happening now to gay rights activists in Uganda. Raw, naked hatred is an ugly, unsettling thing; and the deeper, even uglier tragedy is that the energy thus channelled could be put to so much more productive use; would make both the antagonists and their undeserving objects of scorn so much happier and the world a safer place.

Maybe you think this is nothing to do with you; that as sad as it is it’s a problem for other people elsewhere and that you can’t possibly identify with it: you’re a man; you don’t play video-games; Feminism is an intellectual thing above your station and comprehension, or that despite the implications highlighted by Sarkeesian, this is an isolated incident and really not the big deal she’s making it out to be. Or maybe you’re just too shocked, and denial seems like the safest, least painful option? Well here’s an idea to consider: we’ve all had a taste, howsoever small, of the kind of violent, rejecting behaviour that greeted Sarkeesian when she launched her project: maybe you were bullied by your classmates at school; perhaps a spiteful ex posted those intimate snaps from a weekend away on Facebook in the throes of his/her rejection; how did it feel when your mother pulled down your underwear and thrashed your backside in a crowded shopping precinct for demonstrating typical childish exuberance and defiance; or turned their back on you after twenty years when you came out as gay? How did you feel? Shocked? humiliated? Powerless? Unloved? Can you bear to remember? If you can and you’re willing, then it behoves you to sympathize with Sarkeesian; not only with her pain, fear and anger, but also with her sense of achievement and victory when she prevailed. We humans are resilient beings, and what doesn’t kill us may well make us stronger if we can learn from the experience; but to learn implies we stare the experience in the face, with a feeling heart and a critical eye

If you possess the latter two qualities then you really had no need of reading this far: you were one step ahead all the way and I’ve told you nothing you didn’t already know. Make that knowledge count: spread the word. Make it known that this kind of behaviour is not okay; is not acceptable.

The internet and social media are full of potential and unlock the way to myriad new possibilities for human interaction and solidarity: they offer the opportunity to re-imagine a world where true democracy can triumph over the divisive forces of misogyny, classism and cultural divisions that demean us all and perpetuate a climate of fear and violence. Sarkeesian‘s success is proof of that potential, and she deserves our admiration and respect for it; and all the more for her preparedness to speak out with such bravery and forthrightness.

update from rosiessays

And it’s not getting any better