Categories
actual activism advocacy of violence all about the menz antifeminism harassment hate men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny no girls allowed oppressed white men rape culture rape jokes sexual harassment threats twitter

Jane Austen and the Rape-Threatening Men

The face that launched a thousand threatening tweets.
The face that launched a thousand threatening tweets.

NOTE: Today is Day Two of the Man Boobz Pledge Drive. If you haven’t already, please consider clicking the little button below and sending some bucks my way.

Thanks! (And thanks again to all who’ve already donated.) Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

So what sorts of things make some men so furious that they feel the need to send women they’ve never met literal death and rape threats on the internet? It doesn’t take much, apparently. A woman suggesting that it’s not such a good idea to hit on women in elevators at 4 AM. A woman making  videos suggesting that there’s sexism in video games. A woman captured on video telling some men to shut the fuck up. A woman complaining about sexist jokes at a tech conference.

Add to this: a woman campaigning successfully to have Jane Austen’s face put on the Bank of England’s ten pound notes.

Over the past week, writer and activist Caroline Criado-Perez, who organized the campaign to get Austen memorialized on the bank note, has been harassed relentlessly on Twitter by assholes and misogynists and trolls for her efforts. Some of this harassment has taken the form of literal rape and death threats. One 21-year-old Manchester man was arrested and questioned in connection with the threats.

Similar threats and harassment were directed at noted British classics professor Mary Beard and female Members of Parliament.

Here’s a sadly typical example of one of the threatening comments sent to Criado-Perez from an account that Twitter temporarily banned — then reinstated.

https://twitter.com/CCriadoPerez/status/362499703285358592

And a more graphic example:

And some even more graphic threats directed at female MPs.

https://twitter.com/JonathanHaynes/status/361967658087890945

https://twitter.com/JonathanHaynes/status/361964227516309504

For many more examples of messages sent to Criado-Perez and others, see  Catalina Hernández’ blog I Will Not Put Up With This: here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

And if you had any doubt about how little in the way of repercussion most of these harassers expected to get for their threatening tweets, some tweeted using what are presumably their real names. Here are some comments from one Ivan Garcia of San Diego, as collected by Hernández.

jazzmanivan

And here is his blog, where this fan of jazz, video games and threatening rape shares his poetry with the world.

The harassment obviously raises a lot of issues,most notably: Why the fuck does this keep happening? And: What’s the best way to deal with this sort of harassment — and these sorts of harassers?

Twitter has promised to add a “report abuse” button; some activists see this as a step in the right direction, while others worry that the “report abuse” button will be itself abused to shut down critics of harassment. Twitter’s record in dealing with harassers has not exactly been a great one; just ask Anita Sarkeesian.

British journalists and assorted bloggers have been trying to sort through some of these issues over the past few days. Here are some links to some of the more interesting pieces, from a variety of perspectives. (Well, I’m not including the pro-rape threat perspective.) Links aren’t necessarily endorsements.

First, for a little more background, see:

Twitter under fire after bank note campaigner is target of rape threats

Twitter faces boycott after ‘inaction’ over rape threats against feminist bank notes campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez

Caroline Criado-Perez Twitter abuse case leads to arrest

And here are some posts and pieces looking at the issues:

A ‘report abuse’ button on Twitter will create more problems than it solves, by Sharon O’Dea

A button will not, alone, rid Twitter (or the wider world) of mysogyny and abuse. These are complex issues that will take more than a button to resolve. But ‘report abuse’ buttons have been known to be widely abused on other networks. ….

Introduction of a similar mechanism on Twitter ironically creates a whole new means by which trolls can abuse those they disagree with. The report abuse button could be used to silence campaigners, like Criado-Perez, by taking advantage of the automatic blocking and account closure such a feature typically offers. In that way, it could end up putting greater power in the trolls’ hands.

Why does it always come back to rape?  by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Holly Baxter of the Vagenda Magazine, in the New Statesman

Rape is the popular choice when women become more visible than they apparently should be, and that’s because it’s easy. …. Whatever their opinion, however they conducted their arguments, however well-researched and nuanced their replies to criticism are, they’re women and male trolls could rape them and that’s what really matters. …

[Academic] Mary Beard got called a “dirty old slut” with a “disgusting vagina” just as [Member of Parliament] Stella Creasy was being tweeted “YOU BETTER WATCH YOUR BACK… I’M GONNA RAPE YOU AT 8PM AND PUT THE VIDEO ALL OVER THE INTERNET”. …

The message is that women’s vaginas are, literally, always up for grabs. If they’re young, the rape threats will come thick and fast; if they’re older, maybe the trolls will settle for insulting their vaginas and telling them that they were “sluts” in the past.

If Every Male Troll Took a Walk in Women’s Shoes, Would He Finally Feel Our Outrage?  by Elizabeth Plank

Withstanding rape threats has become a right of passage for female writers or personalities, just as making them as become a right of passage for cowardly and anonymous misogynist trolls. If you’re a woman who happens to possess opinions, and write about feminist issues (god forbid!), chances are you will be violently trolled. … the issue is not that women receive more criticism than men, but rather that it comes in more violent and vitriolic forms. Men will be attacked for their opinion, whereas women will be threatened because they have opinions.

[O]ne study showed that female usernames in chat forums received 25 times more abuse than male ones. In an experiment conducted by the University of Maryland, researchers found that “Female usernames, on average, received 163 malicious private messages a day.” So all else equal, if you’re a woman online, you’re going to be on the receiving end of more hate.

I believe it. I get a lot of shit from misogynists for running this blog — and the occasional threat — but what I get is nothing compared to the harassment similarly controversial feminist bloggers who happen to be women have gotten.

What women-hating trolls really believe, by Emma Barnett

First troll up was Peter from Whitechapel. …

“She was asking for it,” he told me. According to this nitwit, if you campaign about issues such as keeping a woman on English banknotes, you should “expect to receive rape threats”. I delved further.

“If you put your head above the parapet, like she has, then you deserve this type of abuse. It’s what you get when you are a woman shouting about something,” Peter told me, starting to get a little irate. …

Then Gary from Birmingham decided to call in [and] told me in no uncertain terms that “feminists like Caroline were undermining what it is to be a man” and needed “sorting out”.

“Men are predators,” he explained calmly. “And this [rape threats] is what we do.”

And here, after all this awfulness, is a piece that manages to be funny about it all: How to use the internet without being a total loser.

1K Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Quark, all you’re proving is that you’re a fucking obstinate troll who can’t admit that zie was fucking wrong. For the fucking umpteenth time, no one is fucking abusing, bullying, or harassing you. We just dislike you and your fucking misinformed and awful opinions, and want you to fuck off, and, at least in my case, are attempting to relay that feeling in the most fucking vehement way possible.

Get used to that, fucker.

katz
8 years ago

I just love when people insist that you’re not accomplishing anything but then want you to stop anyway. Reminds me of Wheatley from Portal 2 being all like you’re definitely not going to defeat me, so obviously you should just jump into that masher and not try to fight me at all.

titianblue
titianblue
8 years ago

You don’t become less “deserving” of abuse just because you’ve been here longer.

You completely misunderstood the “regulars” and “been here longer” comments, didn’t you, poppet? Let me explain.

Everyone says something wrong on here, sometimes. Regulars tend to get the benefit of the doubt and it is assumed that they offended people in error rather than by intent because (and here’s the important bit so pay attention) we know them and know that when the offensive posting is pointed out, the regular will apologise and try not to do it again.

You, we don’t know so well. So you don’t get the same leeway, at the start. And on tonight’s showing, you never will.

Simple as that. No special rights for long service, just a little well-earned trust.

freemage
8 years ago

To everyone who hates me

Oh, My Precious…. Please don’t give yourself airs. I sincerely doubt that even hellkell ‘hates’ you. You just aren’t important or effective enough for us to bother with hate. We’re mocking your pathetic little whinefest, and urging your departure in a manner that varies according to our individual temperaments, but no, no hate. You are a source of bemused irritation, at most. Sand in a bathing suit, that’s you.

We save our hate for the big guns; you’re not even a little squirt.

chibigodzilla
chibigodzilla
8 years ago

@ Chi – okay.

I’m sorry THAT I offended people.

Is that really what this is about, the difference between “if” and “that” – ?

No, it’s that I don’t get the impression that you know why you’re apologizing. I notice that you have left out the [did thing] portion I suggested. Why might that be?

Briznecko
Briznecko
8 years ago

I found a booclub hosted by my library that specificially deals with social justice topics. I’ve heard so many horror stories about bookclubs I’m a tad hesitent…but it’s hosted by the library and it just sounds neat! I should probably just show up and see what I think.

katz
8 years ago

Quark is leaving because she wants to, not because we tell her to!

cloudiah
8 years ago

Ooh, Briznecko, if you go, would you mind posting a booklist?

chibigodzilla
chibigodzilla
8 years ago

Everyone says something wrong on here, sometimes. Regulars tend to get the benefit of the doubt and it is assumed that they offended people in error rather than by intent because (and here’s the important bit so pay attention) we know them and know that when the offensive posting is pointed out, the regular will apologise and try not to do it again.

But Quark was given the benefit of the doubt up until she claimed that sarcasm is harassment.

katz
8 years ago

Briznecko: Aww!

freemage
8 years ago

briznecko: Okay, my curiosity is piqued. What sorts of horror stories do you hear about book clubs?

Quark
Quark
8 years ago

You know, vitiriolic anger is like an acid and causes much more harm to the vessel it is stored in than anything it is poured over.

All this venom and vitriol you throw at me is damaging you too, whether you understand that or not.

Cue more mockery, abuse, etc etc.

chibigodzilla
chibigodzilla
8 years ago

Oh, and by that time she had already tripled down on the whole “They’re not real threats” meme.

titianblue
titianblue
8 years ago

Now I’m getting quite nostalgic for my first few postings on here. I was so nervous I’d say something stupid, I kept them really short & bland. Must have been some of the most boring comments ever.

Took me a few months to say something really stupid – a moment painfully thoughtless ableism that got me short shrift. Strangely, I apologised immediately, promised to try my best to do better and that was that. 🙂

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Seconding Cloudiah on the booklist request!

Kris Nelson
8 years ago

As @kristineedscats alluded to, Twitter really does seem to be dragging their feet on dealing with online harassment. Yes, it isn’t amendable to an easy technical solution (though algorithms can be adjusted to do some of the heavy lifting), but yes human beings can (if trained) do a pretty good job of it.

So, Twitter: it’s time to GROW UP! You’re no longer a small player used only by (white male) tech people. You need to accept some responsibility, even if it involves complex and challenging issues and some balancing. That’s what it means to be a significant part of society. Deal with it.

Note that this doesn’t excuse the behavior of the @#$&*@% who harass and threaten. Online is not separate from the “real” world. Trolls: you need to GROW UP too. Free speech (freeze peach!) is not all about rights. It comes with responsibility, too. And, even in the US, threats to harm someone are criminal acts. Deal with it.

saintnick86
8 years ago

Everyone says something wrong on here, sometimes. Regulars tend to get the benefit of the doubt and it is assumed that they offended people in error rather than by intent because (and here’s the important bit so pay attention) we know them and know that when the offensive posting is pointed out, the regular will apologise and try not to do it again.

Right. I told a particularly homophobic joke and got shit for that, and it was deserved – I made it without a second thought and didn’t consider how it would come off. I made myself look like a fucking idiot and was adequately punished for it by others’ responses.

But, unlike here, I actually felt bad about it and apologized. I wasn’t going on and on about FREEZE PEACH as if nothing I say can ever be wrong.

MaudeLL
8 years ago

Wow. Quark must be one of the most self-obsessed troll I’ve read here (and the bar is high). The response to Cloudiah’s link about space was epic. “IT MUST BE ALL ABOUT ME!”

And thanks for letting us know about the unwritten rules of this blog. I was unaware that as opposed to every other social networks, manboobz requires people to treat each other exactly equally whether we know them or not. I’m glad to know that Quark has made a decision that manboobz will transcend basic social rules from now on. I was under the assumption that, being a sporadic commenter, I had less social credit than people who comment every day. It’s not like building social ties and trust mean anything, amirite? I’m looking forward to welcoming steele’s next sock with flowers, cookies and a big hug. It’s the rules, after all.

gillyrosebee
8 years ago

You know, Quark, you share a lot in common with those threatening trolls, actually. Sure, it has been pointed out by others how your argument has structural similarities, but you also seem to have a massive sense of offended entitlement that makes your “right” to lash out against others more important than the damage you do.

The funny thing is that you are taking this so very personally. Are you 12? You remind me of one of my friend’s 12 year old daughters. Every time her dad tells her she’s not allowed to stay out past her curfew she whines about how “unfair” life is and how “mean” everyone is. Every time someone disagrees with her, it’s always about how the “whole world hates me”.

If you could have owned your mistake and learned from it, you could have avoided all this. No one knows you, how could anyone hate you? Your ideas are wrong and more so they are potentially dangerous. You have decided that it is more important to offend others and be nasty and hurtful to protect your (apparently) fragile ego and tissue-thin pride than to act like an adult and learn from your mistakes, and that makes your behavior and priorities contemptible. But no one knows you personally, so you are the only one making this all about you.

titianblue
titianblue
8 years ago

Now, MaudeLL, remember sarcasm is abuse.

Briznecko
Briznecko
8 years ago

Their 2013 schedule is here. I definitely digg their reading list, especially the biography of Assata Shakur.

Eh, nothing super secific or juicy freemage, but the typical suburban bookclubs that end up being really catty and about one-uping people rather than actually engaging with the text or challenging your perception.

freemage
8 years ago

titianblue: Funny, that’s just about what my experience here was, too. I can’t even remember what my actual offense was, at this point, beyond that it arose because I made a hasty and poorly thought-out choice of wording which made my intention subject to way more interpretation than I was comfortable with on afterthought–which isn’t surprising, because the apology was accepted, I resolved to change the underlying behavior (rather than focusing on not committing a superficially similar error, like, say, ‘using bad language’). Amazing how well that worked. It’s almost like this place has standards, which are easily met and thus, aggressively enforced.

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

Lol, Quark thinks zie knows all about my emotional state and how my mean meaniepants naughty words are totally hurting meeeee! Zie’s so caring, I’m so touched by this display of common humanity and generous interest in my wellbeing! I could just cry! That’s how moved I am, truly what an angel to point out how acids totally can’t be stored safely!

No, but really, fuck off, Quark, you disingenuous asshole.

katz
8 years ago

Folks, I want to make one thing clear: I am NOT losing this tug-of-war. It may appear that way, but I would never let you drag me around just because you are stronger than me. I am choosing to be pulled over the line because I want to, since I have to go to bed sometime and I can’t just stand here for the rest of my life, but the important thing is that I’m ending the tug-of-war exactly when and how I want and the fact that you are all pulling on the rope has nothing to do with it.

sarahlizhousespouse
8 years ago

@gillyrosebee

The Bronte sisters were heavily influenced by Romantic poets like Byron, whereas Austen was writing during the Enlightenment and, to my mind, reflects the sedate, rational feeling of the era.
Personally I like the wild abandon, naturalism, and darkness of the Bronte sisters.

1 18 19 20 21 22 41
%d bloggers like this: