anonymity + misogyny on the internet

*trigger warning*

This may be old news to some, but a few weeks ago my grandma sent me some articles from a few newspapers in the UK that had to deal with feminism or women’s issues. I had strong reactions to all of them, but the one that really ‘got my knickers in a twist’ was the article titled Young men talk openly of my ‘rape potential.’ Why are they so vile to clever women like me? I mean the title alone is upsetting, right? Well, the article is even more so.

A brief summary of the situation: Rebecca Meredith is a student at King’s College Cambridge and is a top ranked university debater in Europe. During a recent debate, her and her debate partner, along with the other women debaters, were verbally harassed by fellow male debaters. From sexist remarks and sexual comments about the women’s appearance (because appearance and having a vagina is grounds to judge someones debate ability). After the incident, Rebecca and her debate partner created an anonymous survey to see if other female debaters have ever had experiences like these; not surprisingly, over 200 responses from around the world indicated similar events.

I mean, I just don’t understand the correlation between breasts and debate performance? Why is that even a first thought for men? I’ve never looked at a guy and thought “Wow, look at the size of his penis! I bet he’s horrible at science.” Like, come on!

The worst part of this story happened after some press was written about Rebecca’s story. In online forums, men discussed graphically about how they would rape her. How the hell is that normal online discussion? How could anyone sit down at a computer and publish, in great detail,  their thoughts of raping women? The article goes on to talk about other online forums where one user asks advice on how to ‘properly rape a woman without leaving any evidence’ and if he were to leave evidence, he would “probably kill her” claiming that “the world doesn’t need so many women, so I’m probably helping out.” It’s absolutely sickening that these types of forums exist and even more horrifying that there are people out there who would write those things.

When did we become a culture where rape jokes are okay? Why do we judge a woman’s intellectual ability based on the size of her breasts, the color of her hair, or the length of her skirt? The intellect of men isn’t based on the size of his penis or the color of his tie, so why the double standard? Is it so hard to believe that women are smart and capable of more than ‘traditional gender roles?’ How do we move past this? How do we make men learn to appreciate women and view them as their equal? I’m not saying that men need to agree with women and only have nice things to say about them, but what are your grounds for judgement? Appearance and sex should have nothing to do with that.

I don’t really know how to end this, I certainly don’t know how to fix that kind of behavior. You would think it would be common sense, empathy, respect for human beings? Who knew that was so rare?

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One thought on “anonymity + misogyny on the internet

  1. I think there’s a horrible element of trying to keep women in their place to it. And there’s also a sad culture, among some guys, of showing off to a group by belittling women. Somehow, this makes them more overtly heterosexual and macho.

    I don’t get it either.

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