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The war on female speech continues: Jessica Valenti driven offline by threats

Carole Lombard as the Targeted Woman
Carole Lombard as the Targeted Woman

The war on female speech can claim another victory of sorts.

Feminist writer Jessica Valenti — the longtime target of an organized campaign of harassment and slander by Men’s Rights activists and others — has been driven off of social media by death and rape threats posted on Instagram, aimed not at her but at her five-year-old daughter.

Valenti, a Guardian columnist and the author of six books on feminism and sexuality, explained her decision in a series of tweets yesterday:

Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti This morning I woke up to a rape and death threat directed at my 5 year old daughter. That this is part of my work life is unacceptable. 12:04 PM - 27 Jul 2016 2,780 2,780 Retweets 2,408 2,408 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I am sick of this shit. Sick of saying over and over how scary this is, sick of being told to suck it up. 12:05 PM - 27 Jul 2016 689 689 Retweets 978 978 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I should not have to fear for my kid's safety because I write about feminism. 12:06 PM - 27 Jul 2016 1,840 1,840 Retweets 2,707 2,707 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I should not have to wade through horror to get through the day. None of should have to. 12:06 PM - 27 Jul 2016 440 440 Retweets 727 727 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I can deal with a lot of things, I've taken a lot of abuse over the years. But my child? No. 12:07 PM - 27 Jul 2016 395 395 Retweets 675 675 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti Law enforcement needs to get their shit together on online threats. Social media companies need to fucking do something. 12:09 PM - 27 Jul 2016jvt2jvt3At this point, does anyone other than the harassers and their apologists doubt that what we’re seeing is a free speech issue — and, beyond that, a civil rights issue?

Every woman writer knows that the moment she puts her words online she could face literally years of abuse — insults and threats and often outrageous slander — if something she says manages to offend some thin-skinned dude who doesn’t like to see any of his opinions challenged by a woman.

This is even more of a danger if the women in question writes about feminism as anything other than a “cancer,” or offers her thoughts on topics that many men seem to think their gender owns the rights to — from videogames to the Ghostbusters franchise.

If women can’t express their thoughts online without facing the very real threat that their lives and reputations will be ruined by years-long campaigns of abuse and slander that social media companies and law enforcement authorities by and large refuse to do anything about, this is a threat to the free speech of women everywhere.

It isn’t simply a matter of a few “trolls.” The abuse is often organized, sometimes quite openly. The vicious harassment of Valenti began a number of years ago after a video of hers mocking Men’s Rights “activists” caught the attention of the misogynistic hate site A Voice for Men — a site whose “social media director,” Canadian antifeminist Andrea Hardie (aka Janet Bloomfield, aka JudgyBitch), stoked the flames by making up inflammatory “quotes” and attributing them to Valenti, knowing full well that many of her followers would believe even the most outrageous lies about the American writer. (Similar smear tactics have been used against feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian by her enemies, including Hardie herself.)

Valenti is hardly the only woman that AVFM has targeted for organized campaigns of hate — not by a long shot — but AVFMers are so obsessed with Valenti that at a recent AVFM “men’s retreat” the attendees, led by the obviously drunken site founder Paul Elam, shouted out creepy sexual commentary about her and fellow feminist writer Amanda Marcotte; the reason we know this is that Elam, evidently quite proud of his behavior, put video of the bizarre incident online.

The harassment that Valenti and other feminist writers have gotten isn’t just intended to intimidate them into silence. It’s also meant as a warning to other women that if they speak up they could be on the receiving end of a similarly vicious hate campaign.

The harassers are often quite open about this intention. Jack Barnes, a Twitter “activist” who’s contributed numerous articles to AVFM over the years, has repeatedly made it clear that the point of his “activism,” such as it is, is to intimidate all feminists into shutting up.

Sometimes, as I’ve pointed out before, Barnes forgets to put “harassment” in scare quotes.

Jack Barnes ‏@Jackbarnesmra @Shotagonist @niaudesigns @TheFirstPaige no. We harass and abuse feminists. Bigots (feminists) don't deserve to be treated with respect.

These campaigns of harassment do indeed have a chilling effect. I know female writers who refrain from writing about feminism and other such “sensitive” subjects because of the abuse they know they would get if they did. Feminist writer Leigh Alexander has stopped writing about video games because of the abuse she endured at the hands of GamerGaters and their fellow travelers, many of whom openly rejoiced at the news.

Sarkeesian, meanwhile, has made clear that she’ll be moving on from video games after she finishes the rest of her videos in the Tropes Against Women in Video Games series. “For me, the work of Feminist Frequency has become synonymous with constant daily harassment, death threats, bomb threats, intense public scrutiny and profound violations of privacy that have spilled over into the lives of my friends and family,” she wrote in a Kickstarter update.

The enormous amount of stress caused by the harassment, along with how the project unfolded, took a huge toll on my physical and emotional health. I have been dealing with depressive tendencies for the better part of my life but with my physical health declining and the added pressure of this project, my depression became quite intense. Looking back from a place of greater clarity and balance, I don’t know how I managed to survive from day to day, let alone how I continued to step into the public eye online, in newspapers and magazines, and even on national television. Many of my personal relationships were strained or collapsing, and getting out of bed every day felt like climbing up a mountain. There was no end.

And all of this because she shared her thoughts about video games with the world.

Obviously, not all the victims of this sort of harassment are women. Indeed, I’ve been targeted for abuse and slander by some of the same people who’ve harassed Valenti. Nor are men the only harassers — AVFM’s Andrea Hardie is one of the site’s most vicious attack dogs.

But the people who have been on the receiving end of the most surrealistically over-the-top campaigns of abuse — Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, Chanty Binx, and many others — have been women, with black women enduring some of the worst abuse. And their harassers, for the most part, seem to be male.

That’s what makes this not only a free speech issue but a civil rights issue. Women bear a disproportionate share of abuse online — amongst Guardian writers, eight of the ten who get the most abuse online are women, with Valenti taking the top spot — and women generally have more of a reason to fear the threats they get online.

But women have little recourse when it comes to actually doing anything about this abuse. Police — with only a few notable exceptionsdon’t take online abuse seriously. Social media companies are glacially slow when it comes to shutting down obvious abusers, and arguably even worse about dealing with ban evaders.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me pretty clear that women are being denied equal protection of the laws.

That said, it is a bit of an oversimplification to talk about this in terms of the male-female gender binary, as Soraya Chemaly has noted. LGBT folks and others “who defy rigid gender and sexuality rules” are far more likely to be harassed and threatened online (and off) than their cis counterparts. They are also, quite clearly, being denied equal protection.

Threats against women online aren’t just crimes; in many cases they are hate crimes. Unless those who abuse and threaten women online face serious legal consequences for their actions, more women, like Valenti, are going to be forced offline.

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Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

NickNameNick | July 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm
Which is unfortunate, because she was one of the few people on YouTube who treated videogames seriously as an art – it’s why I see so much of the reaction against her as anti-intellectual.

Which is extra bullshit because the main kind of critics who rally against her are the same people who will then turn around and demand that games are “taken seriously” as “art”.

But they don’t want the critique that goes with that. What they mean by that is “I want my games to be taken seriously because I’m an adult, but I don’t want my games to be critiqued as art, because I’m still a child who hates when people say things I don’t like about my favorite toys.”

As someone who actually sees games as art, this pisses me off to no end.

They’ve fucked up game archival for everyone, because academia won’t take games seriously (and this is something those idiots celebrate). They’ve set us back to the nineties in terms of being “taken seriously” as people who appreciate art.

Thanks for fucking it up for all of us, you human compost bins.

Though, that’s not fair. I shouldn’t be comparing them to compost bins. Compost bins are at least useful and wanted by their respective communities.

They either project many things they’ve internalized about videogames onto her, whether she’s actually made such a statement or not (she usually hasn’t),

Yup. They like to twist her words into something that she never even said, mostly because they won’t watch her videos and instead take TF’s word as the gospel truth on that one.

I wonder why so many of them still harp on her Hitman video? (I don’t wonder. I know.)

or have to start making conspiratorial claims about how she somehow ripped people off with her Kickstarter (never mind no one was forced to donate to it).

It is possible to rip off people who voluntarily donate to a Kickstarter out of the goodness of their hearts.

The problem is, Anita hasn’t fucking done that. At all.

She’s done everything she said she’s going to do, and then some. G*G’s literal complaint is that she’s not doing it fast enough.

She takes a long time to research, write, and plan her videos before she records them. She doesn’t just spew a stream-of-consciousness like TF or Owens or Aurini do, and that’s why they can make videos so quickly to “respond” to hers the same day. Because they don’t do the same level of research that she does.

They’re just watching to respond with opinions they feel are the “right” ones to have and to whip their fanbases into a frothing hatred, and then they rake in the money of angry G*Gers who throw their money at anyone who has demonstrated a sufficient level of hate at Sarkeesian (even people who have previously mocked them or despised them for their precious games, like Milo or JACK FUCKING THOMPSON), even if they don’t come through.

But hey, no one in G*G seems to have accused The Sarkeesian Effect of being a massive fucking rip off to the extent they like to screech at Anita.

Paige Hamilton
4 years ago

I wrote a guest post for a little blog called “REDACTED” a few years ago.

It was about women and responsibility, and took a look at the fact that women are both expected to be “responsible” then denied any agency to do that very thing – even within the parameters of what “responsibility” meant when brought up to use against them. At one point in the article I posited that for some women, having an abortion could be the only “responsible” thing to do. (The whole article wasn’t about abortion specifically, but it came up.)

The server the site was hosted on went down. The stuff I got mailed to me – Jaysus. An example (one of the worst but by no means the only,) said:

— TW for threat of graphic sexual violence against a child —

“You fucking bitch. I know where you live (redacted). I know where your kid goes to kindergarten (redacted). You think murdering little kids is funny, I’ll show you. I’ll rape all your holes and make him watch. Then I’ll cut his head off and fuck the neckhole and make YOU watch. Maybe I’ll be merciful and put you out of your misery when I’m done. Like it now, bitch?”

(My son was five. I received hundreds of other messages, many of them similar in tone and content. The six women who ran the website shut it down not long after, citing personal safety concerns.)

(Obviously my name is not really Paige. I learned my lesson.)

chesselwitt
chesselwitt
4 years ago

“He/she” like discussions of gender in general or like transpeople specifically? You’re right either way, I’m just a bit confused

@Axe
It was gender in general. It was more along the lines of everything would be fine if women would quit complaining. Given that he’s a FoxNews watcher I’m sure he thinks trans people are just men in dresses sneaking into women’s restrooms to attack women.

As an aside, it’s very difficult to type on a tablet while simultaneously trying to guard your pizza from being stolen by a cat.

@Paige
Holy crap. Hugs if you want them.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
4 years ago

@KafkaNoMore:

It shouldn’t be. It makes them money. Thunderfart has a patreon, his audience pays him to do such videos. The Amazing Farteist also makes money on being an online duchebag.

I’m well aware of that, but it’s still strange because – of all the people out there – they decided to go after someone who talks about a subject they have no interest in. It’s like listening to someone rant endlessly about how much they hate some sports team, only to find out they don’t really like sports at all.

@P.I.:

Which is extra bullshit because the main kind of critics who rally against her are the same people who will then turn around and demand that games are “taken seriously” as “art”.

But they don’t want the critique that goes with that. What they mean by that is “I want my games to be taken seriously because I’m an adult, but I don’t want my games to be critiqued as art, because I’m still a child who hates when people say things I don’t like about my favorite toys.”

If there’s anything I learned about the internet, it’s that it exacerbates the Dunning-Kruger Effect to a dangerous degree. It’s why you can have such cretinous individual pat themselves on the back for being “rational” despite the fact none of their attitudes are based on rationality as much as they are on emotional egotism.

Yup. They like to twist her words into something that she never even said, mostly because they won’t watch her videos and instead take TF’s word as the gospel truth on that one.

One of the oddest arguments I heard from someone was how her damsels in distress video was…shaming people who needed to be rescued. Like, how do you get that from the video unless you’re projecting some kind of internalized feeling about videogames? All she stated is that female characters who are damsels in distress are treated more like an object than a person and, in the case of Princess Peach, being constantly tossed between Mario and Bowser like some kind of prize. Y’know, that thing that’s been obvious about the trope for a long time now in other mediums like films, television, novels, plays…

Then there’s the “I like the character and she obviously doesn’t get them!” argument that seems to ignore her constant clarification that she’s not judging the quality of the works those tropes are used in, but pointing out a narrative trend that is problematic in its gender politics. Again, God for-fucking-bid anyone make such a reasonable observation!

It is possible to rip off people who voluntarily donate to a Kickstarter out of the goodness of their hearts.

True.

It’s just that, when it comes to Sarkeesian, some act as if she was literally holding people up at gunpoint while asking for an exorbitant amount of money. But, again, nevermind the fact she was originally asking for a much smaller amount than she got and thus the project and its goals grew. If her “critics” weren’t being obsessive and making violent threats as they did – I doubt any of that would have happened. But, when they brought more attention to her, they had to come up with the conspiracy theory that she made up the flood of threats against her or purposefully instigated it for attention or some other bullshit.

But hey, no one in G*G seems to have accused The Sarkeesian Effect of being a massive fucking rip off to the extent they like to screech at Anita.

What makes it particularly funny (not the “ha ha” kind) is that, for all the “she’s ripping people off!” nonsense, she’s been transparent about the amount of her budget and how it gets used. Aurini nor Owen have such expense reports and, given what little I’ve seen of their film, most of it didn’t go into any of the production and what little is known was for personal expenses. IT’S ALL ‘BOUT ETHICS, FOR SURE!!!

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ chesslewit

You may appreciate this:

Paige Hamilton
4 years ago

@chesselwit — I love hugs! Thanks for asking 🙂 <3

chesselwitt
chesselwitt
4 years ago

@Alan
That looks very familiar.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@chesselwitt

It was gender in general. It was more along the lines of everything would be fine if women would quit complaining

Ah. That’s… better? ‘I don’t wanna think about it’ seems less bad to me than ‘those degenerates shouldn’t exist’. Tho, as you point out, it’s probably both. Sorry

As an aside, it’s very difficult to type on a tablet while simultaneously trying to guard your pizza from being stolen by a cat

Also on a tablet, I’m cooking, and I have a dog with a taste for human food. I feel ya 😀

Unlucky Blackjack
Unlucky Blackjack
4 years ago

Wait, they sent rape and death threats to a child? Over articles and videos about video games?

…You know what? I want to tell you all a story. Please note, that it is a graphic story, so TW:

I went on deployment to the Persian gulf a couple years ago. And while we were there, I saw a video. It was a uncut and uncensored video released by ISIS as part of a recruitment campaign they had. It was… not pretty, to say the least. It showed people getting shot, running in fear while getting shot, cars blowing up, executions, and other terrible shit. Do you know what stuck out to me the most? The fact that they synced it to music, and edited it to have slow-mo.

When I was in high school, I did a lot of film classes. And I remember hating editing the most. You watch the same things over and over again, trying to get the cuts perfect. You got to match just the right music to just the right moments. To properly edit something like that ISIS video, it would have taken hours. Some sat and watched people die for nothing. For hours. And then synced their deaths to music.

And that’s when it hit me: Evil isn’t grand. It’s monotonous. Boring. Quiet. The fact that you could wake up, go to the computer, and edit a video showcasing crimes against humanity, and then complain to your friends that “work sucked! All I did was edit a video for my boss all day.” Evil is that people could do terrible things, and still call themselves the good guy, fighting for the greater good.

END STORY.

I’m not saying that MRA’s are ISIS, nor do I mean to say they are just as bad. I’m just saying that MRA’s threatened to rape and kill a child, and then have the balls to say they are the good guys. That they can wake up, harass people all day like it’s fucking nothing, and then go to bed without a care in the world. Mostly though, I’m just saying that they sat and watched awful people do awful things, and instead of doing anything good, they worked on making it prettier, and on syncing it with music.

I guess my story doesn’t have a moral, except that sometimes, we can be awful to each other. But, considering what site we are currently on, you all probably already knew that.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
4 years ago

Which is extra bullshit because the main kind of critics who rally against her are the same people who will then turn around and demand that games are “taken seriously” as “art”.

I’m actually seeing a schism lately in places like the Extra Credits and Jimquisition trolls. There’s now a faction of the “anti-sjw” assholes who explicitly deny that games are art.

The idea seems to be that games are “supposed to be fun”; The sort of games which are poised as “art” are not “fun”. They’re less invested in gameplay mechanics than story, offer better representation of non cis white straight males, lack gratuitous pandering to vices, or tell emotional or ethically challenging stories

I’m pretty sure these are the kinds of people who yell at critics for failing to validate their personal enjoyment or hatred of any given thing.

Ichthyic
Ichthyic
4 years ago

Free speech absolutists need to understand that hate speech is NOT free speech; it’s the opposite. literally speech that intends to STOP a free response by bullying the intended target into submission.

if you know someone that does not get this, have them spend 15 minutes of their precious time watching this, and it will not be wasted:

Mike Hisandry
Mike Hisandry
4 years ago

The chilling effect is huge. I do not have a blog or any consistent social media presence because I don’t want to be harassed any more – I express myself in fucking comments, such as here.

My wife has absolutely no Internet presence, because the man who raped her as a teenager found her on Facebook.

My wife contributed to the development of a lot of the code we use on the web. In some senses, she helped build our current web experience. She is brilliant and kind, and the Internet is worse without her. She helped make the Internet, and she’s basically had to leave it.

And there are others, of course. We will never know what we lost; we’ll never hear what these people could have said. How do you stare that fact in the face and not be heartbroken?

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Axe
What are you cooking? I made a peanut sauce stir-fry that was delish. Thankfully the cat doesn’t try to steal my food since she’s allergic to practically everything, apparently except venison and hydrolyzed soy. :p

I just got a sous vide cooker in the mail so I’m thinking about food a lot today. 🙂 Also, if I think about this at all it will just make me depressed because I’ve decided not to even try working in video games because of these assholes.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@kupo

What are you cooking?

Spaghetti, ground beef, red sauce, half assed seasoning, mix that shit, parmesan cheese, ate it, same thing tomorrow 😀
I’m not adventurous (at all, but we’ll stick to food), so odds are, if I say I’m cooking, that’s what it is (you might just catch me on an alfredo sauce day). Way too picky, palette too persnickety. Don’t even know what sous vide is…

I’ve decided not to even try working in video games because of these assholes

Recent decision? Either way, the industry and the craft itself are lesser for having lost you, and they’ll never even know it. Fuck em

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Axe
Sounds delicious. Spaghetti was the first thing I learned to cook and for a long time was the only thing I felt comfortable cooking.

Sous vide can refer to a couple of things. It means under a vacuum and can refer to fancy vacuum chambers that allow you to freeze foods by changing the air pressure (the opposite of pressure cooking) or, more commonly, vacuum sealing the food on a bag so that you can cook it in a water bath set to a specific temperature. It’s used in many restaurants now and it’s how you can get fully cooked but still tender meats. The device I got circulates water so I can set a specific temperature and get repeatable results. I’m a food science geek who has a huge fear of accidentally poisoning myself or others, so it has the added bonus of being able to pasteurize my food while keeping it nice and tender. 🙂

As for video game development, that was a decision I made a couple of years ago while I was still working on my degree. I was already on the fence about it because I know a few game developers and seeing how tired they looked during crunch….ugh. And then GG happened and I just didn’t want to deal with that.

Ooglyboggles
4 years ago

@Ichthyic
Thank you for another user who knows what he’s talking about and not a jerk.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@kupo

it has the added bonus of being able to pasteurize my food while keeping it nice and tender

What fuckin sorcery…

And then GG happened and I just didn’t want to deal with tha

#GG’s bullshit won’t go on forever. In a decade, it’ll likely be a disgusting, lurid footnote in the history of gaming and of the internet. The people, the goddamn voices, chased away from both by their harassment and intimidation. That’ll last
These… people… are doing that with something they claim to love. As more opportunities open for minority creators in the industry, nobody will want them. Brilliant coders, visionary designers, powerful storytellers. A generation of them we may not see
Girls, children of color, LGBT kids, LGBT girls of color, who, by the time they grow up, will see this shit and ask why they should even bother. Righteously indignant white dudes too. You’d think, if ethics in treating people with basic decency ain’t enough, not scaring away the future of your hobby would be sufficient reason for behaving themselves. Fuck em all

(Seething ramble over)

Stempke
Stempke
4 years ago

My daughter will be 6 years old in a couple days. She is pretty precocious for her age (reads at a 2nd grade levelI Please excuse me becoming one of those dads that brag about every little accomplishment, for a second).

She LOVES watching “Let’s Play” videos of Stardew Valley on YouTube. She has a very feminine name (her name literally translates to butterfly in Spanish) and uses the abbreviated version of her name as her username on YouTube.

In one of the videos, the uploader asked people comment on what he should do next with the character. My daughter left a two word comment, something like “go fishing” or “buy seeds.” Within like 10 minutes of leaving this comment someone replied with “Shut up, bitch”

TO A SIX YEAR OLD, COMMENTING ON A GAME ABOUT GARDENING AND FRIENDSHIP.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

I really do fear that it’s going to take a murder related to online harassment – and a murder of someone prominent at that – in order for law enforcement and social media companies to finally do something. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I fear that it will.

Grace Mann. Murdered by an MRA for the death penalty crime of being an outspoken feminist, stripped of his motive in the media (minimal mention of the full year’s worth of threats, no mention of the MRM or the misogyny, OMG MENTAL ILLNESS, the usual) and immediately forgotten about.

Tosca
Tosca
4 years ago

HOW CAN IT NOT BE ILLEGAL TO THREATEN THE RAPE OF A 5-YEAR OLD CHILD? Get your shit together, law enforcement. Jesus.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

One rather cheering thing happened in Australia.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/29/court-sentences-sydney-man-for-sexually-explicit-facebook-comments

The bloke made the usual claims – amounting to ‘just a joke’.

He “absolutely denied” he had threatened to rape, said Walsh. His comments had been made to many with the intention of being deliberately offensive …

And an imaginative judge came up with a new angle on culpability despite saying that he thought the messages were _not_ really threatening rape.

The sentencing judge, William Pierce, held that the comments did not amount to threatening rape.

He explained his line of thinking to Alchin with a football analogy.

“If you’re on the football field, you consent to a few bumps, so a few mildly explicit comments, in this analogy …
… your sexually explicit comments were the equivalent of socking someone in the jaw with a right hook.
“You overdid it.”

Obviously it will depend on the words of laws in different jurisdictions, but it’s an avenue for police and prosecutors to advance that might – a bit more often – give a direction or a path for judges and magistrates to follow towards convictions. (Even though the penalties imposed are normally pretty mild, good behaviour bonds mainly.) But the mere fact of prosecution, publicity and possible conviction might get through a few thick skulls. More importantly, there are probably better arguments/ analogies than this one. It might provoke someone’s imagination somewhere else in the world to come up with one or more better approaches.

stempke

Hell’s teeth. I’m lost for words for this one.

Claire
Claire
4 years ago

It is completely beyond me what kind of person would threaten to rape a child, even in jest. I mean, what kind of fucked up bullshit is that? Good god, people are the worst.

Stempke
Stempke
4 years ago

Mildly Magnificent, so were we. The only other comments on YouTube she’s made was asking a YouTuber to do a playthrough as a girl nd one other comment on a Peppa Pig video expressing her love for that weird British cartoon. So it’s not like this person could be upset by something she typed before.

It was such a jarring experience. I have no idea the kind of world you have to live in to be so mean.

We’re pretty stringent on which communities we let her participate in and figured that game would be a safe one to comment on.

I guess not.

Mortarius
Mortarius
4 years ago

http://smitethepatriarchy.tumblr.com/post/147376224348

Welp. This gets more relevant every day.

OwlAboutIt
OwlAboutIt
4 years ago

I made the mistake of following the link to JB’s page. Do I understand correctly that JB and her followers consider the fact that Jessica Valenti sometimes writes about her child, to be sufficient grounds for the threats against the child? Words fail me.

@Paige: How awful. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that.

@Unlucky Blackjack: I think that’s (at least part of) what Hannah Arendt meant when she wrote about “the banality of evil.”

Chloe
Chloe
4 years ago

I am far from being a supporter of Valenti or of feminism for that matter but I have a daughter around that age and this makes me ill. There are some serious creeps online. I say publicly shame those pedos and tell their employers.

Joekster
Joekster
4 years ago

This isn’t meant to be a form of victim blaming, but has anyone attempted to organize a boycott of Twitter until they start actually enforcing their own rules?

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Stempke
Ugh. What is wrong with people? I mean, I know it’s YouTube comments and all, but still.

@Joekster
Quite the opposite; Wikileaks has threatened to create some competition for Twitter if they continue to enforce their rules.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ Kupo

Wikileaks has threatened to create some competition for Twitter if they continue to enforce their rules.

An organisation run by a narcissistic rapist who bleats that he’s the victim rather than the women he abused would be the perfect partner for these aresholes.

Kevin
Kevin
4 years ago

@Ichthyic
Sorry you had to confront ‘the banality of evil’ in such a direct way.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@kupo + Alan
Fuckin Wikileaks… And to think, there was a time back in the day I thought they were the good guys

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ axe

Wow! So now they’ve added mass-doxxing to their repertoire.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Alan
The government is irresponsible!
But, didn’t you edit leaked content?

Corruption!
But aren’t you taking cues from Putin?

Nobody should have this much power!
But, didn’t you just dox a whole country?

Jooooz!
Bruh…

And yet, Chelsea Manning is still in a cell and Julian Assange isn’t

Joekster
Joekster
4 years ago

I just read the huffpost article on wiki leaks that axcalibur posted. I read through the comments section, and noticed a number of men saying, ‘but men were doxed too!’

For those with more exposure to the Internet: is this a common reaction?

Back to twitter: I can’t honestly advocate for a Twitter boycott, as I’ve never used twitter (seriously, can you imagine me saying anything in 120 characters 😀). Might be a good idea, though.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Joekster

I read through the comments section, and noticed a number of men saying, ‘but men were doxed too!’ For those with more exposure to the Internet: is this a common reaction?

Common ain’t the word. Try constant. ‘But men too’ is a companion piece to ‘not all men’, that is ‘don’t blame me’. Except that nobody’s blaming you, unless you’re the shit that did whatever the thing is. There’s also an undercurrent (tho, at this point, it’s more overcurrent) of ‘not about me, don’t talk about it’
As a cisgender fella, I have a vested interest in pointing out when my roughly half of the population is getting the business end. Except that Ms Tufekci is a Turkish woman. Her focusing on the affect of the leaks on other Turkish women is entirely fair. More than that, she uses masculine and neuter language at least 6 times, so it’s not like she isn’t acutely aware that “men were doxed too”. Literally nobody was ignoring or disagreeing, so why the need to say it?
Preaching to the converted here, presumably. Point is, “reaction” is indeed the right word to use. They see something scary (a woman talking about women’s issues) and the kneejerk ‘this should be about meee’ is sure to follow

ETA: They probably just read the title anyway, so doubly stupid

OoglyBoggles
OoglyBoggles
4 years ago

Okay what pisses me off the most about Wikileaks now, are those who defend doing exactly the NSA does, and say that’s a good thing because they do it. Fuck no, this is not censorship this is literally dumping personal information of citizens for no other reason than “this may be/possibly take down Erdogan”, but now they actually hindered that by giving him free access to the personal information do millions of his citizens. You know yes the news are held captive by corporations ensuring they won’t be able to remove money in politics, but this is not related to money in politics, this is Wikileaks actively harming the very people they claim to be for.

Great fucking job, the Turkish Government Salutes you Wikileaks for your contributions to help support their regime.

Joekster
Joekster
4 years ago

@axecalibur: yeah, it looks like a lot of the commenters didn’t actually read the article. Maybe they were afraid of seeing something they found reasonable and wanted to avoid the cognitive dissonance?

PeeVee the Sarcastic
PeeVee the Sarcastic
4 years ago

It breaks my heart to read this, and the posts by fellow commenters about their online harrassment…so I will leave this quote from JudgyBitch to lighten it uo a bit.

Pamela is a Harvard educated lawyer, and friend to Derek Futrelle, who himself stalks me on social media and then writes using my legal name, all while making certain to never use the legal names of allies on the grounds that some harm might come to them. Watch. He will write a post about this, claiming the women who have harassed and stalked and threatened me are the victims. Futrelle is afraid of me. He should be. And he should think very carefully about ever showing up on my doorstep.”

Hear that, Derek?
I’m sure you’re quaking.

PteroNychus
PteroNychus
4 years ago

@PeeVee

JudgyBitch: Posts to twitter using her legal name.
Accuses anyone using her legal name of doxing her.
That’s the MRA way.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
4 years ago

Teal deer on the way.
Note: I realize that I have the incredible luck and privilege of not having received any sort of death threats or really, any sort of major sexual/antifeminist harassment, so far in my life. Everything I say below is rooted in that privilege (I’m also probably not thinking clearly due to the facts that it’s late at night and I’m trying to write something else, but the privilege is the main factor here). If anything I say comes across as tone-deaf, offensive, or stereotypical, please let me know so I can address that privilege, add to my bank of knowledge, and adapt my thought processes and wording in the future.
I personally can’t imagine letting anyone threaten me offline, no matter how horrible/violent/sexual/etc. the threat was or who in my inner circle it targeted-I’d feel too much like I was letting the assholes win. Then again, I tend to be a very stubborn person-sometimes too stubborn for my own good.
I’m curious as to what factors drive so many women* who receive social media death threats to make the same choice Ms. Valenti has and leave social media and, in some cases, all of cyberspace. Is it related to the misconception that self-care is women’s work that we discussed Monday-are women generally more likely to rank their personal safety and mental health as their first priority and get out rather than staying in a threatening environment on principle with no guarantee that things will get better? Would staying on the particular site give the assholes more information/ammunition to use in their attacks, either in the real world or in their own perception? Is it that the anonymous, ubiquitous, permanent nature of the Internet gives the impression that the entire world’s out to get you and there’s no way to escape the danger, no safe place? Do they have particular mindsets and experiences that have made them more mentally/emotionally vulnerable? Or, as I’d tend to guess, is it all of the above?
*I’m sticking to the word “women” in an attempt to make the comment clearer and possibly a tiny bit shorter. If you belong to another marginalized group and have made the same choice in a similar situation, I’d like to hear your reasoning (if you’re willing to share it) as well.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

Jessica Valenti details the harassment she’s received on-line and in “real life” in her new book, Sex Object. It started when she saw her first penis on the NY subway, and continues until… she has an entire book’s worth. I’m rather disturbed that someone here would question Valenti’s choice to leave Twitter when has experienced far more harassment than most, and yet she didn’t let that drive her off a platform until her daughter was threatened.

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
4 years ago

Perhaps women who have been harrassed on Twitter can sue for Twitter’s lack of taking any substantive steps to stop the harassment. Or women as a whole could threaten to boycott Twitter until they fix this problem.

There has got to be a way to force Twitter to address the use of its forum to harass women into silence.

P.S. Twitter is not the only forum that needs to be challenged about allowing harassers to use it, of course.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
4 years ago

@LindsayIrene
I’ve read other works of Ms. Valenti’s but not Sex Object. As a result, I didn’t know the full extent of her harassment and I think she absolutely made the right choice for her and her family.
As for my previous comment, I think I took a complex personal decision and tried to oversimplify it, to look at it from a more general perspective. That was a bad idea.