…just to give feminist harpies an echo chamber:
…, just as we would on the streets, in the pub or at work, we have to challenge misogyny, racism, homophobia and intimidation or threats against others that are designed to silence debate.
We need new guidelines and capacity for the police and prosecutors to deal with violent threats.
What, they don’t already have these? I find that strange, not to mention implausible.
Let’s be honest: technology and new media move fast, and this is all so new that no one is sure where we should draw the line, or whose responsibility it is to act.
We know exactly where we should draw the line, don’t we? It’s not like successful prosecutions never happen, is it?
And I won’t pretend to know all the answers.
But as Stella Creasy, who has led campaigning in this area, has argued, we can’t keep ignoring it because it’s hard. So here’s where the debate should start.
First, we need new guidelines and capacity for the police and prosecutors to deal with violent threats, hate crime and stalking, which clearly break the law. Too many people feel they don’t get the protection they need.
But surely the point should be, do they actually get the protection the laws allows? Their feelings about it shouldn’t come into it.
Second, institutions could do more. Pubs give people warnings if they are being abusive, or kick them out if they are harassing other customers. The new social spaces – social media and newspapers that publish online comments – need to think about their responsibilities too. Membership organisations can set standards of behaviour they expect.
They do indeed do this. Every single social media account has T&Cs that you must sign up to, for which you’ll be suspended or banned if you breach them.
You might feel they don’t go far enough, but then, you’re free to set up your own social media company with the rules you want, and see people flock to it.
Third, more support and advice. Those who have suffered the worst persistent abuse say they feel very alone. But right now the rest of us don’t really know how to help or stand with them – whether to confront any online sexism thrown at us or ignore it. I’ve always tended to ignore it, feeling I can’t really be bothered to give it any oxygen.
But @EverydaySexism has shown the power of shouting back and speaking out.
It’s shown something, yes. But I don’t think it’s what you think it is..!
Frankly, all it’s shown me is what a thin-skinned bunch modern feminists are…
And fourth, we need to do more to prevent the next generation thinking online misogyny, racism or hatred is OK – and to prevent it from contaminating offline relationships too. We need compulsory sex and relationship education in schools to promote respect in relationships and zero tolerance of violence or threats.
Hmmm, that’s not going to go down too well with certain sections of the community, is it, Yvette? You know which ones, too.
The ones you hold segregated meetings for, so they don’t have to mingle with the womenfolk. I guess some misogyny is OK, though.
But anyway, what is the awful ‘problem’ that has prompted the latest outbreak of authoritarianism?
The comedian Kate Smurthwaite received 2,000 abusive tweets for objecting when a men’s rights activist called her “darling” in a TV debate.
Some called her “bitch”, “slut”, “harpy”; some were explicit threats of violence and rape.
After going on Question Time, the historian Mary Beard received hundreds of messages attacking her appearance. And the scientist Emily Grossman received so many hostile, sexist tweets when she talked about sexism in science, she was forced to take a break from social media.
Look, love, I’m not going to accept restrictions on my free speech, and tax rises to accommodate the new jails we’d have to build, simply because a couple of special snowflakes don’t know how to use the ‘block’ button, or want to paint themselves as purveyors of ultimate wisdom who should never see any dissent, no matter how dim or dumb their ideas!