I have to hand it to the feminists – they certainly are making things happen. Web giants such as Facebook and Twitter are (or will be very shortly by the looks of it) changing their policies, in the UK government policy is being changed, important issues regarding social media and harassment are finally being dealt with. As I have mentioned before, all these issues are concerned with what should and shouldn’t be possible to do on the internet and that is a debate we need to have. However, what frightens me terribly is the fact that all these things are being done in accordance with the feminist agenda, and in some cases feminists are even dictating the changes altogether.
I find this incredibly disturbing – the entire new feminist wave is based on the idea of the ‘patriarchy’ and the fact that women have such a ‘long way to go’. I have no problem with people expressing these ideas, but the issue for me is that they are not a foregone conclusion – exactly who has proven that there is a ‘war on women’? Nobody! And yet this is being discussed as an absolute fact and allowed to dictate the agenda and actions of both commercial entities and government.
What we have here are a group of women who present themselves and their achievements solely on the basis of their gender. People like Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Catlin Moran etc. do what they do specifically as women. This strikes me as contradictory anyway, since the whole point of feminism is that gender shouldn’t be a massive factor in what someone can or can’t achieve, but the point here is that they, their purposes and agenda are overtly feminist and call attention to their gender.
And then we have the trolls. Trolls are people who get a kick out of saying the worst possible thing at the worst possible moment. This is an appalling, upsetting and immature thing to, but, once it has already become someone’s objective, what is the worst thing you can possibly say to a woman directly involved in the present day feminist wave? I’ll rape you. So that is what they said. Someone in the Times last Wednesday described their tactics as ‘classic trolling behaviour’, so its not as if this practice was invented to attack this particular group of women. Once again, I am not saying that this behaviour should not be stopped, simply that it is not evidence of a ‘war on women’.
When you couple this behaviour with the present atmosphere in which sexism has become the default explanation for any unpleasant behaviour or social problem, suddenly you get people taking the threats of trolls seriously. I believe that there is a very valid parallel to be drawn with the accusatory atmosphere that led to the Salem Witch trials – anything odd or unpleasant was immediately attributed to witchcraft – with disastrous consequences. Society and the media, wild with feminist frenzy, observe anything that might cause a woman distress and then constructs a narrative which attributes it to misogyny.
When trolls leave disgusting comments, say, after a child has died pretending to be that child telling its parents it is alive, we are rightly shocked. But do we construe from this a parent/child hating culture in which there is a war on the family? Do we decide that as a society we lack sympathy for the bereaved? Of course not! Disgusting comments that have been made to the editors of GQ Magazine about their One Direction covers have failed to offend anyone, as do graphic and vitriolic comments about Conservative politicians, yet these are not being construed as evidence that society is totally unbalanced.
I am sick of listening to people like Mary Beard on Woman’s Hour talking about how much ‘courage’ it takes for any female to speak in public. There is a huge amount of women out there who talk about themselves, how they approach life and everything they do from the stand point of their gender. How do these ppeople expect the idiots out there to react? There are loads of women with a public profile who do not receive graphic messages about what men think of their vaginas, and that’s probably because they are getting on with an honest day’s work rather than asking for a medal for being a woman. And what is the best thing to do if someone sends you an obscene message? Of course, if you believe there is a genuine threat then you need to inform the police, but is the best thing to do really to give these people huge amounts of publicity while at the same time giving other people obscene ideas? The trolls who recently targeted feminists have made headline news and will be remembered for it for a long time. Probably exactly the result they were looking for. And what do the targeted women get out of the publicity that it generated? Vindication of their cause.
I am sure that I will be accused of wanting women to suffer in silence after what I have written above; not at all. Both the authorities and Twitter/Facebook should be able to instantly suspend and take action against people who create obscene material without the media having to get involved, and the fact that this is changing is good. I am just appalled that feminism is the only force that seems to have the power to make things happen – and that they are essentially happening because of an ideology which takes everything as evidence of its own righteousness and that threatens to demonise anyone who dares to question its supremacy. Not to mention the fact that for abuse or threats against women to be taken more seriously than the terror that faces any other group is sexist and unfair in the extreme.
What would I have these vocal feminists do differently? Well, for a start stop making a career out of your gender when your philosophy is supposed to be about men and women being the same. Maybe go out and do something worthy of getting a your own face on a banknote rather than spend your life campaigning for positive discrimination. Perhaps you could take a leaf out of the book of Susie Wolff, who despite having experienced people thinking she might not be able to become a Formula 1 Driver because she’s a woman very proudly states “I’m not going to play the card ‘I’m a girl so give me the car I’m fast enough’”.
I have seen people responding to the targeted feminists with messages of support. Of course, I have no problem with this – when someone has said hurtful things to you support from others really makes a difference. But some of these are really quite telling of what is actually going on here. Many of them praise these women for being ‘brave’ in the face of abuse. OK, even if we assume that society is so biased against women that becoming a women’s rights activist is in itself incredibly frightening and dangerous, surely once you have already become an activist these kinds of messages are exactly what you want to stand up against and exactly the kind of evidence you want that you are right. These women are all about bringing so-called sexism to the public eye, so what do you expect them to do? Quietly report it to the police and then drum up no public support at all. Oh, and nobody supports these women, do they? One of the most worrying comments I read involved someone saying that one of these women should keep fighting because ‘you have helped me feel so much less alone’. How are 52% of the world’s population supposed to be alone? Reading this you’d think we were all locked in cupboards! Has this woman turned on a TV, opened a newspaper or looked at the internet recently? How can she not see that anyone who doesn’t support feminism is being laughed out of the room? If they think they are alone maybe they should try being one of the people who doesn’t think feminism is the answer for a while.