Online abuse and the shirking of responsibility.
As recent events over the last week have continued to unfold, a sinister undercurrent of the denial of mysogyny in society has become more and more apparent.
Laurie Penny appeared on Channel 4 News on the 29th July alongside Luke Gitto from Spiked.
I listened wide eyed and in absolute horror as he said that the recent abuse on Twitter is not a reflection of what is happening in wider society. Laurie explained to him clearly and succintly why this is not the case.
I havent recieved any threats on Twitter. I have received a few mysogynistic comments like "get back to the kitchen and "go and feed your cat"
But out in wider society i have received very vitriolic comments about my appearance. Eleven years ago at a size 28 i experienced this ALL the time and it was always from men. Why?
Simply because i didnt meet their realm of desirability. I didnt look like the girls they had seen in FHM. Or on Page 3 .
There has been a lot of talk in the media about Twitter and the mysogynistic abuse and illegal rape and death threats being directed at women on the social networking site.
Now Twitter should take some responsibility for this (It should be blindingly obvious that an account called RapeHerNow should never have been verified.)
But this problem is so much wider than Twitter. Luke Gitto is not the only one denying that mysogyny in society is a regular occurence. Ive seen members of the MRA state that it is women who care about the size of other women not men. My experiences when i was a size 28 would beg to differ.
I do think though that heaping all the blame on Twitter (which is what i saw a male MP do on BBC News this afternoon) is disingenuous at best.
I think mysogynists and abusers, as well as some men who simply dont want to face the issues here, because it would mean a big societal shift which many of them dont want because it would mean giving up their privilege) and exposing their hypocrisy. The fact that David Cameron is pressing for porn filters but doesnt want to support the abolition of Page 3 is a good example of this.
In many cases having to acknowledge misogyny in society would mean having to admit that it happens in the first place AND having to do something about it. And many men including some of those in power do not want this It would mean losing a position of privilege.
So it is much easier for them to blame it ALL on Twitter. You wouldnt blame your internet provider if you got an abusive e mail. You wouldnt blame the postman if you got a chain letter or a threatening one.
Yes Twitter do have some responsiblity But it is not all down to them The problem is much wider than them. The problem is in society and until this is tackled it will always be the tools that will be blamed and not the workmen.