Tag Archive for online abuse

Men’s Fragile Egos: Harassing Women Who Dare to Criticise Them

In a number of posts we have had cause to highlight how the fans of a well-known man, or popular (male) internet social media user undertake large-scale harassment campaigns against women who have questioned or criticised their hero. This action is often preceded by one or more pronouncements from the man in question in which he acts out his disapproval of this woman on-line in what looks like a bid to rebuild his fragile ego by seeking the approval of his fanbase. Then in passing, he often also tacitly (or explicitly) encourages his followers to harass the women in question. The aim appears to be to silence the critical voice by inundating her Twitter feed (her email inbox, her blog, the comments on her You Tube Channel and sometimes even her telephone line) with their sycophants’ expressions of ridicule and insults.

In the most extreme cases, such targeting also results in serious off-line harassment -including hoax tip offs to the police so they may storm the target’s home (swatting) and bomb threats to venues where they are speaking- and appears designed to force the woman into hiding. Prominent victims of this kind of harassment are the women targeted by the so called “Gamergate” movement, which derives from the on-line vendetta of one man against his ex girlfriend. Other women, like Jennifer Keller, who case we also have reported on recently, have their businesses targeted and their livelihoods put at risk by harassers who are outraged that she criticised the host of a misogynist You Tube channel.

Kate Smurthwaite, a British comedian, asked a male guest on the BBC Show Question Time, not to call another panelist “darling”. The panelist, a single mother, had been describing her experiences of discrimination.

This reasonable request. It’s hardly an acceptable form of address in a serious political programme. Moreover, it’s patronising and rude. Using this term has a clear sexist overtone in a public context such as this: men often use words like darling, babe, doll etc., commonly used between couples when addressing women they have no social relationship with as a means of demeaning the addressee. The intentional over-familiarity appears to be a manner by which men like to avoid granting women equal status (and more obviously, equal respect) that they would automatically use if they were conversing with another man. Men don’t call other men they are not in a relationship with “darling”, “sweetheart” or “babe” with any regularity, if ever. You will only hear them use (some of) these terms of endearment towards their own (small) male children.

Twitter fans of the male panelist in question –journalist Milo Yiannopoulus (who we have had reason to blog about before)- found Ms. Smurthwaite’s request offensive in the extreme. For the next two days, they -aided and abetted by Mr. Yiannopoulos- bombarded her Twitter feed with objections and criticism of her actions, in the best of cases. And with insults, ridicule, threats and harassment in the worst.

The following is a small selection of the tweets Ms. Smurthwaite received. I have ordered them thematically with the aim of showing how this kind of internet harassment works.

The first batch show how Mr. Yiannopoulos tweets a number of disparaging comments about Ms. Smurthwaite over the course of three days. It contains one of the most regular tactics of the internet harasser: the revision of Ms. Smurthwaite’s social media and internet presence with the objective of finding material with which to attack her. In this case, it is a reference to a show that she had been booked to play at Goldsmith’s.

The gig was not cancelled due to low ticket sales. The number mentioned by this article and by Mr. Yiannopoulus were those sold on-line. As Ms. Smurthwaite’s blog shows, it was cancelled because the organisers were intimidated by protestors who objected to her feminist opinions.

Here is how he replies to Ms. Smurthwaite’s complaint about the abuse she is receiving from what appears to be people who follow him. As can been seen in later shots, these usually include both his (@Nero) and Ms. Smurthwaite’s (@Cruella) Twitter user name in the tweets they make on the subject.

These comments are in reference to the tweet about her cancelled show. Mr. Yiannopoulus could have taken the opportunity to apologise for his statement. Instead, he chooses to repeat it to others and to suggest that Ms. Smurthwaite is the one bending the truth to her own aims.

Next are the tweets from 15-17 March 2015 from people replying to Mr. Yiannopoulos tweets about Ms. Smurthwaite. As you can see, this contains the depressingly reoccurring tropes we have highlighted repeatedly on this blog:

1. Death wishes:

Death

2. Feminists are men dressed up as women:

Ape

3. Feminists are just women in need of a man (to subdue and dominate them via the sexual act).

 

Misogyny 1

 

4. Same as above, with the caveat that the lack of a man is because they are unattractive. Another variation being they are old, bitter about being single and childless (because obviously only women’s worth and happiness only depend on men and children).

Imagen 25

Imagen 20

Insults 5

Noone wants you

5. Claims that the insults are not “sexist” whilst, of course, often employing language that suggests they are (“moaning women” etc.)

Imagen 8

Awful personality

Fish wifw

General 5

General 6

Victim blaming

When in doubt throw a tantrum

 

6. The celebration of the idea that the woman has been put in her place (violently) by a man:

Brutally gorgeous
Calm down 3

Imagen 23

You got wrecked

Victim blaming

7. She is over-reacting, she needs to get a thicker skin and not be so hysterical:

Calm down

Calm down sugar
Insult 2
Hateful & emotionally unbalanced Grow a thicker skin

Imagen 39

 

Over estimate

 

Minimising

Imagen 33

 

Banter

 

And finally, we have the gloating of tweeters in response to Ms. Smurthwaite’s distress and the call to continue.

Please do note here the reference to other women who have been targeted and the implication that the treatment of Ms. Smurthwaite is not unique.

Ref to other victim

Teach some hmour

Gloating
Thorn in her side



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As ever we extend our solidarity to Ms. Smurthwaite and all those women being harassed and abused on line.

How Dare You Be Offended! It’s Just a Joke

This post was first published on our blog on February 26, 2014. It has been rescued and republished thanks to the Internet Archive Way Back Machine

I am sure someone who actually knows something about English language culture can tell me who Pérez Hilton is. For now, I am just going to file him under “self-righteous misogynist”.

He made this comment:

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As a “joke”. Because referencing a racist misogynous stereotype is hilarious.

And when people -and by that I mean women of colour- complained, his response was so typically misogynous it could serve as a manual:

1. It was a compliment; how dare you take offence?

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2. I get to decide what’s complementary not you hysterical women:

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3. Don’t like it? Take a mouthful of my “manhood”. That’ll shut you up.

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4. Because pleasing men sexually is the only way women could possibly be powerful. And did I say shut up?

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5. And anyway, my penis is huge.

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6. Repeat the “joke” in order to capitalise on the offence caused and, above all, to make sure everyone knows how unimportant he considers the feelings of the women of colour to be:

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Yes. All hilariously funny gags on misogyny and racism. Perhaps he would be better sticking to making them about his personal situation seeing as his ability to satirise that of others is about zero.

Soldiarity with @CoralieAlison

Misogyny on Social Media, Femicide Apologists and Macho Infiltrators

Mexican feminists denounce harassment and online abuse from Luis Enrique Sánchez Amaya and other administrators of anti-feminist sites that post death wishes and insults against women [in Spanish]

A Selection of Misogyny From June 2014

Offensive images and memes:

From the “any excuse to criticise a woman” camp:

From #opspamblock this week:

From the “headless women as a marketing tool” school of misogyny:

General misogyny, racism and insults:

Twitter doesn’t give a sh*t about women

Twitter doesn’t give a sh*t about women

It has been brought to our attention that a certain serial online harasser of women tweeted out, four days ago, personal details of a woman who was raped. This is illegal.  In the UK, victims of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault, are protected by law to lifelong anonymity.  It is illegal to publish any identifying information about a rape victim, unless she chooses to waive her anonymity,…

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