This cover story details #young #vulnerable #feminist writer Amanda Hess's frustration with disinterested male law enforcement when, after writing an article about receiving rape threats from a troll, she received rape threats from a troll. I sympathize, though in my experience what's even more frightening than a guy telling you he's going to rape you is a guy not telling you he's going to rape you.
There's a big push for "women's safety" online, for getting rid of trolls and cyberbullies and cyberstalkers, not coincidentally another one of Randi Zuckerberg's pet causes; and while these are all legitimate worries someone should take a minute and ask why, when mustached men have been stalking women since the days of Whitecastle yet no systemic changes have been effected, the moment women feel threatened from the safety of their LCD screens America opens the nuclear briefcase. No one finds that suspicious?
Here's just a sampling of the noxious online commentary directed at other women in recent years. To Alyssa Royse, a sex and relationships blogger, for saying that she hated The Dark Knight: "you are clearly retarded, i hope someone shoots then rapes you." To Kathy Sierra, a technology writer, for blogging about software, coding, and design: "i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob." To Lindy West, a writer at the women's website Jezebel, for critiquing a comedian's rape joke: "I just want to rape her with a traffic cone." To Rebecca Watson, an atheist commentator, for blogging about sexism in the skeptic community: "If I lived in Boston I'd put a bullet in your brain." To Catherine Mayer, a journalist at Time magazine, for no particular reason: "A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT EXACTLY 10:47 PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING."
As the recipient of not zero decapitation emails I admit it does make you curious about whether or not you can buy an alligator, but while you're arming your windows like a Saw movie you should contemplate the difference between what should be done and why it appears something should be done.
What Hess didn't realize is that while she was fumbling impotently with the cops, the media company that she worked for could have crushed the troll if it was worth it to them. Did you have this thought? If not, it's not your fault, some people are trained not to have it while others were trained to have it immediately. Which are you? If the founder of Religions For New Atheists Sara Miller McCune herself had received an electronic rape threat from some Fox News stenographer in a Kentucky man cave, you think she's dialing 911? From her apartment? She would have waited until she got to the office, waved her hands like in Minority Report and her lawyers would have midnight Seal Team Sixed him while he was overhand jacking it to interracial porn. Do you know what Hess's employers did for her? No, I'm serious do you know? It can't be nothing, right? That would be Bananastown. It was nothing? Really?
Maybe hypotheticals aren't your bag, ok, here's a true story: "Amy" received a couple of voice messages from a "customer" she met at work who wanted to put something in her vagina. These messages were not violent, in so far as forcing your fantasies of consensual sex into an unwilling girl's ear is considered not violent, but of course they creeped her out. There's one other crucial piece of information needed to understand this story: her harasser probably had large sneakers. I'll give you all a minute to catch up.
Every woman has some version of this story, with one important difference: Amy was a medical student, which meant a lot of money went into her and a lot of money was expected of her. One (1) phone call from the Dean to a phone number that was not 911 and that guy was evaporated. Two cops located him minding his own business, and because he defended himself with the magic words-- and you should write these down, they're gold-- "it's a public street, I have a right to be here"-- he was jailed for eight months for harassment and resisting arrest-- pre-trial. Pre means without. Of course his case was ultimately dismissed. Does that matter? Please observe a) Amy herself didn't have to do anything to effect any of this, she was mostly unaware of the results, the system was on autopilot; b) he was jailed not for what he did but for whom he did it to, had Amy been a 1040EZ at the Footlocker we'd say she was asking for it. "But it isn't fair that her protection money should get her concierge policing while the rest of us have to make due with socialized law enforcement." Was it fair that he did eight months because he couldn't afford bail, is it fair that he didn't know that it wasn't fair? On the other hand, was he a dangerous nut, should he have been punished? Of course. Was he operating from a perspective of institutionalized sexism, patriarchal thinking, misogyny? Sure, #whatevs. Sometimes the structural imbalances go your way, and sometimes they don't, better figure out who makes the scales.
After Hess got the runaround, she spent a lot of time trying to get a protection order, a force slightly less compelling than wind. Why didn't she just call the Mayor? "Hi. I work for the city paper, the one that caters to voting Democrats and men looking for Russian companionship. I'm doing a story about police apathy regarding sexual violence from a first person perspective, by which I mean your perspective. Comment?" That would have solved her problem, but more importantly it would have forced her to think about WHY that solved her problem. What is the difference between a "woman" who is threatened and a "reporter" or "medical student" who is threatened? Why is it more bad to attack a journalist than a woman? Think about that, it has not always been so. The former is an attack on the system, so the system must respond; the latter is an attack on a woman, so -------------------------------------. And so it goes.
But Hess preferred to see misogyny on the internet, so instead we get another trending article about how the problem has a penis. This coincides perfectly with the media's desire to frame it as a gender war because that makes for good clicking. Let's summarize the media's thesis via unwitting Hess: 1. cyberharassment is a women's issue, never mind the men who are harassed. 2. The appropriate way to handle women's issues is not necessarily to solve them but to discuss them in the media. "It's called awareness." We are all aware. Are you aware of how much you made for Pacific Standard at your expense and to no avail?
Äärioikeisto sanoo vihaavansa neekereitä, siinä missä tiedostava vassari tietää että heitäkin vituttaisi olla neekeri.