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Jane Austen and the Rape-Threatening Men

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

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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.

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Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Nawh, his war hammer figurines are downstairs. Taking up a good third of the only functional room in the basement. A good bit of the rest sums to throw out the goddamned CRTs!

Shadow
Shadow
7 years ago

Lollll. My ol’ CRT’s in my basement too 😛 I’ve been meaning to throw it out, but it just SOMEHOW never happens 😛 Of course, that may be because this is a much better circumstance considering it was in my room in its box two years ago when we were in an apartment, so it still hasn’t reached the “annoying the shit outta me” stage.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Oh it will, it will XD

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Fistful of Aliens! He found the box!

amandajane5
amandajane5
7 years ago

My middle school had a pool and so I got ‘getting naked with your classmates’ having blonde hair, (that green problem is no joke) plus I cannot tell you the degree to which black girls don’t want to get their hair wet. They spend time, energy, and money on that, and I went to public schools that heavily tilt black. We were all down there in the shallow end keeping our hair out of the water while the boys were ‘being athletic.’

What’s that? None of the boys realized that we weren’t swimming because of our hair and having to extensively shave to be seen in public in a bathing suit? Well golly gee, maybe Hug[e eg]o Schwyzer would be nice enough to come try to kill us.

I first started reading feminist websites when I got married and had a load of patriarchal bullshit dumped on my head so fast that it was kind of unreal, but every time I got linked to Schwyzer I couldn’t even finish the article. The mansplaining of feminism, with bonus felonies!

pecunium
7 years ago

A friend of mine seems to have gotten some rough treatment for a post he wrote at pharyngula about Schwyzer: http://coyot.es/crossing/2013/08/05/about-that-post-on-pharyngula/

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Read the comments on his OP, rough is an understatement. And his wording could’ve been better at times but I thought he was clear. Of course, I agree, which may bias me on that one. Double of course! I’ve tried, been on the receiving end of that sort of threat, and, once, the giving end…can I hope that someday Hugo. Fucking. Schwyzer. will understand how fucking horrible such threats are, whether you’re serious or not? Because “you drove me to this!!” is never okay, not from an adult anyways…a kid who doesn’t know any better way to ask for help I can sorta forgive, but it’s still manipulative.

And this is Hugo. Fucking. Schwyzer. he’s got a doctorate in being a manipulative asshole.

Howard Bannister
7 years ago

I saw that one go down, and it got pretty ugly.

It’s a sensitive area; there is a significant stigma around suicide, and it is important not to add to it.

But using threats of suicide to manipulate others is also an abuser tactic, and we do need to be able to talk about that.

So, yeah.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I’m having a really hard time not slapping a DSM diagnosis on Hugo, but let’s just put it this way – if he told me the sky was blue I’d go and check. At this point I think it would be wise to assume that pretty much anything he says in public is an attempt at manipulation, given his history.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Cassandra — wary as I am of armchair Dx’ing him, oh hell yes about the rest. He’s long since used up his benefit of the doubt.

pecunium
7 years ago

I didn’t read Chris’ pharyngula post (I am not comfortable in the comments,and I don’t tend to follow blogs I don’t want to comment in), only his Coyote Crossing post, so how rough it got I was inferring: from knowing what he thinks merits comment.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

The post itself is, more or, less, what I’ve been saying since I asked you for more vodka. The comments…he’s increasing the stigma of asking for help when suicidal! And worse.

Xor (@CartoonDiablo)
7 years ago

I consider myself a feminist and obviously am appalled at the death/rape threats but I honestly think Jane Austen’s work is pretty terrible (and certainly not worth reading for any kind of feminist value today). Although the comparison is nowhere near as bad it’s a lot like putting Stephenie Meyer on future American currency.

Couldn’t they have chosen another accomplished and progressive British women?

Yahul Wagoni
Yahul Wagoni
3 years ago

Feminism is degenerate vulgar Marxism-Leninism. It is a classic example of how a war for rights degenerates into a war on all rights. Men have had enough of female demonization. It is a global change and replace of the proletariat with women. All women are oppress, all men are oppressors. Clement Atlee’s comment about Communists is apt here – there’s no point in negotiating with a Communist, because they only come back the next day and ‘rate’ (british term for verbal abuse) all more.

Men have had enough. Men are going on strike. Until the laws, manners, and mores are changed so that a man is respected as head of household, that deniration of the male sex ceases, men will simply drift away. Men not needing much on their own, they will work less, paying less into the State. Women will find, as did the Communist Party in the USSR, that they can no longer use the State as a means of extracting wealth from men.

Don’t look for Mr. Darcy – he’s gone his own way.

Crip Dyke
6 months ago

Okay, I know that there’s a certain silliness to responding to a 3 year old comment that was responding to a thread that was 4 years old when the comment was written (and was essentially non-responsive to the OP anyway).

That said, I found Yahul’s bit terribly, terribly funny:

Men have had enough. Men are going on strike. Until the laws, manners, and mores are changed so that a man is respected as head of household, that deniration of the male sex ceases, men will simply drift away. Men not needing much on their own, they will work less, paying less into the State.

Yes. Please go on strike. Women can step in and be the CEOs and the President and the Senators and the MPs and the MLAs and in the US they can be the House members and the state legislators and the governors. Men can simply drift away and involve themselves less in the work of the state. Just like they’ve been doing since 2017 and before, apparently, despite Trump actually having a job and BoJo having a job and Trudeau having a job.

Or, wait. When Yahul said that men are going on strike, is it possible that was entirely contradicted by like all the evidence of all the realities?

Huh. So surprised that an MGTOW has lost touch with the real world.
:rolls eyes:

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
6 months ago

Feminism is degenerate vulgar Marxism-Leninism.

Vulgar? Anything but that!

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