Do read my previous post first!
And I should credit “Ban This Filth!” for the caption to the Laurie Penny tweet.
In addition to the Dan Hodges blogpost that I linked to at the end of that one, here are some other relevants articles worth reading that I couldn’t shoehorn in.
Here’s Mrs Trellis, writing a Dear Joan letter to feminism to explain why she’s taking some time away. I’m tempted to quote all of it, but here’s a hefty block:
You tell me I’m strong and that I can fight for myself. But when someone threatens me with assault online your reaction is that the forum used should be banned, or heavily restricted. My instinct is that toxic comments will die out when women in public life reach a critical mass and it simply isn’t possible to tweet rape threats to them all without getting RSI, but you say I’m too delicate and your responses deter other women from putting their heads over the parapet.
You tell me that I constantly have the risk of sexual assault hanging over my head. You regularly assume that this has happened to me—that I’ve been groped or propositioned on the Tube and it’s part of a woman’s experience. Well, I haven’t. You alienated me then. You said it was so ubiquitous, I found myself wondering why not me? Am I too ugly even for an anonymous grope? Too unapproachable to pester on public transport?
You tell me I can dress as provocatively as I wish, and I’m cool with that. But at the same time, feminism, you tell me that if I dress provocatively, have photographs taken for money and get those published in a magazine, I am responsible for “pornification”? That this “pornification” has caused an increase in sexual assaults, is destroying the futures of young girls and boys and sending this country to hell in a handjob? So instead you’ve suggested extreme, swingeing censorship, the like of which we’ve only seen before in repellent dictatorships like Iran or China: it’s for my own good, you say. Men can’t control themselves. That made me wonder if you’d listened to yourself during the slut shaming.
You say I can have sex with whomever I wish. But I am not permitted willingly to have sex with people in return for money. God forbid I should film this sort of business and sell these movies on, independently, to interested third parties. In fact, it’s best that such behaviour is utterly, utterly forbidden under any circumstances because, again, some men are slime and can’t control themselves. In absolutely no way whatsoever would this ban lead to anyone being maltreated or exploited, you tell me. No, you say, it’ll prevent that from happening in the first place – but I know you are ignoring the evidence to the contrary.
So, feminism, you’ve done a lot for me, but we are going to go our separate ways for a bit. I know it’s going to be sad for a while, but you have some growing up and some thinking to do. You need to focus on what’s important. You need to stop ignoring the revolting treatment of women in countries like Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. You need to understand that what makes women free is allowing us to have sex with whom we want, when we want–to dress how we want and have children when we want. That’s not a menu. You can’t pick and choose from it. We need all of it. You may not like some of it, but tough.
Here, God help me, is Brendan O’Neill correctly, I think, identifying the demographics underlying this recent silly season Twitter hysteria.
[M]ost of the recent controversies over insults and threats being exchanged on Twitter seem to spring from this unfortunate coming-together of two variants of lazy people-the leisured classes and the layabout classes. The most offensive tweeters seem to come from the studenty, unemployable end of Twitter’s time-rich population, whether it’s Liam Stacey, the racist student tweeter who was jailed for 56 days, or that 17-year-old bloke who harangued diver Tom Daley, or more recently Oliver Rawlings, the student who insulted Mary Beard. The Daily Mail has a picture of Rawlings “lounging on a boat in Marbella” and describes him as a student with a lot of time on his hands.
Meanwhile, the offence-takers—who often, it has to be said, take offence quite ostentatiously—come from the other time-rich section of Twitter, from the not-very-productive cultural elites who have in recent years almost completely decamped from the real world to the virtual world. So on Twitter we have happily time-rich people on one side and regretfully time-rich people on the other, well-off wasters of time versus less well-off wasters of time, and that is inevitably going to generate envy, spite, sometimes even malice, the exchange of hostilities. One side has all the time in the world to insult people it doesn’t know and thinks it doesn’t like, while the other side has all the time in the world to turn those insults into a big media issue and national campaign.
One recent example of femi-narcissism that I didn’t include in my earlier post is this minor classic of the genre, that could be summarized as “lad mags are to blame for my terrible taste in boys“. The comments are far better than the article—for example, this one:
Daisy, to blame lads mags for the failure of your relationship is ridiculous, and looks like you’ve done it solely to be topical. As someone that’s worked for one of the ‘less high end’ magazines you describe (but don’t name for some reason) for many years I can tell you that not once, ever, have we published a single joke that’s been at the expense of women, let alone a whole section like that every week. Promiscuous are never championed, at all. And sexually adventurous women never, EVER had their value diminished.
I actually doubt you’ve ever read a copy of Nuts, seeing as you’ve quoted an advertising line (incorrectly) that’s not been used since 2005. Why don’t you write a piece decrying the use of close-up photos of celebrity cellulite that the women’s weeklies thrive on? That’s what young impressionable women will be looking at. Or the ‘look at the state of her without make-up on’ pics in the likes of Heat magazine? How about Cosmopolitan, presumably you’re absolutely fine with this. Nothing like treating men as human beings when they fit in the ‘sexiest tennis players naked’ eh?
And interestingly you championed the ’50 shades of grey’ effect in your piece for The Guardian, a book about women submitting themselves sexually to men, and said you hoped it would have an ‘effect’ on teenage girls? As with most of the arguments over the past couple of days, this piece is riddled with hypocrisy.
And, for those of you wondering what Twitter looks like under a real patriarchy where the authorities really take Twitter abuse seriously, here (via Claire Berlinski and Susae Elanchenny is a clanky Google translation of a story about a popular Turkish actress having to report to the police to justify a tweet “insulting” the Prime Minister of Turkey.