At the height of the BBC’s “Jimmy Savile crisis”, when police were estimating that the old, dead child rapist and his associates had assaulted at least 40 boys, a female media twitterer tweeted that she had no sympathy for the BBC’s predicament at all, after the way they had blocked her promotion, because she was a woman, over years when she had been a TV executive at the corporation. For her, the aspect of the crimes under investigation most worthy of comment wasn’t the physical and mental suffering of scores of abused young people, male and female, but the way the BBC’s patriarchal culture had interfered with her career development.

Today, Laurie Penny, a opinionist for the Independent, shared this with us:

Laurie Penny: "It's all about me, buy my book to find out why"

Laurie Penny: “It’s all about me, buy my book to find out why”

And, this week, Stella Creasy, a Labour MP I used to have a lot of time for, said on Newsnight that the problem of spamalanches of threatening tweets—mostly generated by computer programs wielded by teenage boys—like those she had received for supporting feminist campaigns should be taken seriously by the authorities because her experience of abusive Twitter spam was “about violence against women”.

This is a material untruth—at worst, the most recent eruption of this not-even-slightly-new phenomenon is about the anonymous, impotent rage of pathetic young men—but it’s also sick-making—precisely because violence against women is a serious matter, and because no violence had been perpetrated or is ever likely to be perpetrated against Creasy or any of the other prominent successful female users of the free service who were referred to by name during the discussion.

Imagine if you were a female victim of domestic violence watching a powerful, professional, educated woman—with an income several multiples of your own, who could pick up a phone and summon police protection in moments—sit in chair worth more than all the furniture in your home, in a studio of the state broadcasting service. Imagine how you would feel when that woman tried on your battered skin in a public dressing-up game calculated to advance her political interests. Imagine how you would feel if you were a real feminist.