Watchwoman: Before you leave a comment, please keep in mind, I did NOT write the following article and I am not prone to wanting the government to get involved in this issue by passing another law. Here is what I will add to it though, the worst I’ve been called is a “f-ckin’ c-nt b-tch.” I guess that qualifies as a misogynistic statement, tee hee. That was written by a so do mite. So I guess so do mites can be misogynists, as well as what liberals think all Republican White Guys are. Tee hee. One thing, please don’t include me in the category of “feminist blogger.” FYI: I am not by any stretch of anyone’s farthest thought to either the left or right a feminist!!! I am a Christian, Bible-believing woman, who loves my husband, my children, my LORD, my church, with all my heart and soul, that every other feminine woman who loves and enjoys doing all the things that being a married woman and mother entails. In fact, I think feminists would consider me an example of their worst nightmare! — And glad to be so!!! ▬ Donna Calvin
By Caroline May (Blogger)
Just what are these women so angry about? Misogyny. And not just any misogyny, but Internet misogyny that ends up in their email in-boxes, comment sections, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
While women decrying the hatred of women is nothing new, what is new is the number of women bloggers coming out of the woodwork to openly share their experiences of hurt in an effort to launch a campaign against online misogyny.
The New Statesman’s Helen Lewis-Hasteley recently brought together nine female bloggers to recount their plight as victims of online hate. The women’s complaints focus largely on being called mean things, from the traditional women insults (“bitch,” “fat,” “ugly”) to those overtly sexual and violent.
“I’m not sure what the solution to all this is, although I’m beginning to wonder if it might be worth one or more of us having a go at taking a test case through the criminal justice system,” wrote freelance writer Eleanor O’Hagan, telling her tale to the New Statesman. “In the meantime though, I think it’s imperative that women who write online continue to speak out about the abuse we’re subjected to, and that we expose the Internet misogynists at every opportunity we get.”
Lewis-Hasteley told The Daily Caller that people are generally unaware of just how much hatred women are subjected to online. While she advises female bloggers to try to find the motivation for the hate, she doesn’t recommend engaging the haters.
“What I wouldn’t recommend is responding to individual attacks on email, or if a website is created about you, by trying to engage the abuser,” Lewis-Hasteley noted. “From everyone I’ve spoken to, very few have had a good response, and in one case it led to an escalation.”
“Germane Greer wrote many years ago that women have no idea how much men hate them. Well, thanks the Internet, now we do,” Smurthwaite explained. “And it’s a problem that needs to be faced up to. Many schools already teach students about the history of ethnic minority communities and the ongoing battle to end racism. Women’s history (herstory) should be compulsory for male and female students from an early age and young people should be encouraged to understand the issues that women still face in the home and the workplace.”
Being from Great Britain, Lewis-Hasteley explained that they have laws against “hate speech” which allow female bloggers to turn their negative comments into a criminal case. In the United States, however, no such remedy exists, so American women bloggers have to find other avenues to combat the hate.
Feminist blogger Sady Doyle’s suggestion to create an awareness raising hashtag — “MenCallMeThings” — took fire on Twitter at the beginning of last week.
“Misogynists don’t like women,” she wrote at her site, Tiger Beat Down. “It doesn’t matter how uniquely charming and witty and acquainted with various fine bourbons you are. Are you a woman? Then they don’t like you. And they especially don’t like you telling them what to do. By, for example, asking them to cut it out with the misogyny.”
There is also is a petition, boasting over 189,230 signatures, calling for Twitter’s peer, Facebook, to begin policing pages that promote sexual violence.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told TheDC that Facebook’s mission is to increase openness and connectivity. The site, he said, prohibits content that advocates or could lead to violence or real world property damage, but allows for offensive and ignorant content in the name of openness.
“We find many of these Pages to be ignorant, just as we may object to other statements made on Facebook and around the web, but we believe that people have the right to hold such opinions as long as they don’t result in direct harm,” Noyes told TheDC. “We’ve spent considerable time internally developing and discussing our policies around offensive or controversial content and have also consulted numerous outside experts, inviting some of them to speak to our employees.”
The calls to eliminate online misogyny have not been without their critics, who note that the Internet is a place for open discussion of all things, even the most unsavory.
“Anyone who cares about freedom of speech should sit up and take notice when campaigners start talking about words and violence in the same breath, because to accept the idea that words are as damaging as violent actions is implicitly to invite the policing and curbing of speech by the powers that be,” he wrote.
He went on to note: “Muddying the historic philosophical distinction between words and actions, which has informed enlightened thinking for hundreds of years, is too high a price to pay just so some feminist bloggers can surf the web without having their delicate sensibilities riled.”
Civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer wrote at The Atlantic that she is also concerned that movements like this threaten free speech.
Kaminer added that, ironically, that women who speak out against misogyny demonstrate they actually haven’t been silenced by it.
“And I shudder at nonsensical efforts to distinguish ‘hate speech’ from free speech; freedom for the speech you like would merely be redundant,” she wrote. “But when women complain about speech they consider abusive or downright frightening, I have to say, welcome to the fray. You may mock them for complaining, but ‘complaint’ is just another word for protest. Besides, women who speak out against misogyny can’t claim to have been silenced by it.”