When I started I Blame the Patriarchy back in 2004, the idea was that I would out the gazillions of secret little misogynies hiding in plain sight in every woman’s life, and that, once revealed, they would all wither and die under the burning light of scrutiny, and women everywhere would be free at last.
Well, you can see for yourself how that turned out.
Fortunately, Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project is having somewhat more success. She’s one of our favorite young feminist activists here at Spinster HQ. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out her TED talk on the origins of the project. She discusses debunking the liberaldude myth that “women are equal now more or less,” the torrential outpouring of rape threats she received as a result, how the project eventually began to inspire women to stand up to harassment, and how it led to real social change. A tear of inspirationalized joy will spring to your jaundiced eye.
Speaking of Laura Bates and online abuse, what gives with these “Spotted” Facebook pages about which Bates writes in the Guardian? Since Facebook suspended my account over a year ago (“Twisty Faster,” they cleverly figured out, is not my real name), and since I haven’t been a college student since the 80s, I have been pleasantly out of touch with the latest FB youth culture trends. This one sounds pretty ghastly:
“To the dirty skank… for gods sake buy some new leggings!! jesus christ! i can see your minge!” [sic] – ‘Spotted: Swansea University Campus’ (2407 likes).
These are the kind of comments that proliferate on university “Spotted” pages – Facebook pages encouraging students to write in with comments and messages about their peers, which are published anonymously by page administrators. […] Many of the pages veer into heavily sexualised and offensive comments about students’ appearance and sexuality, and female students are targeted with particularly misogynistic comments.
?“To the stuck up slut who looked at me as if I’d just slipped a finger up her grandma…” –‘Spotted: University of Portsmouth Library’ (7460 likes).
Some posts include images, seemingly uploaded without the subjects’ knowledge or consent. A current post on the ‘Spotted: University of Essex’ page (3955 likes) shows a young woman sitting at a computer, apparently unaware of the fact that her underwear is exposed above the waistband of her trousers, or of the fact that she is being photographed from behind. The caption on the photograph reads: “Nice bit a crack in the reading room.” [sic]
As a middle-aged crone who used to write English papers on a Smith-Corona, I have a hard time imagining how the modern woman of tender years manages to navigate the hostile waters of this ceaseless, judgey, hateful peer surveillance. The creep factor is off the charts.
I’m not saying this kind of thing didn’t have non-digital analogs back in the day. In high school and at college I was abused, mocked, and harassed like every other girl trying to mind her own beeswax. But nowadays the size of the audience, and the potential horror, is orders of magnitude more ginormous. When some asshole groped me at a frat party in 1977, maybe he told 5 of his idiot friends, but it was inconceivable that 7460 spiteful strangers would ever see a photo of my butt — complete with disparaging commentary — and “like” it.
My nieces are 8 and 10. I want to roll them up in bubble wrap. The thought of some cretinous teen jagoff posting stealth-shots of them on Facebook makes my lobe boil.
Since men perpetually insist that boys will be boys and are hardwired to engage in criminal behavior, the apparent solution would be to ship them all off to a charm school planet— or prison — until they turn 40 or so. The prison planet would have all the amenities, except no internet connection. Can you imagine an internet with no dudes? I can’t! The notion that I could go a whole day without receiving a rape threat, or a description of my physical hideousness, melts my processors. So far today I’ve gotten 3 harassing comminiques, like this one:
This is so funny. Ya’ll beardy bitches or what? :-)?Anyway, keep that dried up old prune of a pussy.
And 2 mansplains, like this one:
As a philosopher, I find the foundational roots of patriarchy theory to be severely lacking and the oppressor-oppressed dialectic to be far too simple a model to apply to such a complex issue, especially in creating essentially a warring chasm between the sexes – psychologically damaging to say the very least! There needs to be a transcendency [sic] of the Marxist dialectic here and an understanding of a rather different hierarchy – hierarchies that are immediately present as a result of the human condition and the social fabric of existence, if you will. I very much contest the notions of power and liberation in the feminist movement – power is a measure of control over one’s own life, and their ascendency towards self-actualization (and accountability also, I would argue), rather than an exertion of will over other people, in for example, the corporate or governmental spheres (with the employer-employed relationship or the Hegelian master-slave dialectic) [… 5 long paragraphs about Heidegger and “dialectics” and of course postmodernism, and finally an apology if he’s coming off as too aggressive, but he has his own model of Western feminism blah blah blah …]
And it’s only 8:00 AM.
I know it’s wrong, but I want to punch that “philospher” in the neck even more than I do the 4chan dickhead.