Mary Beard voiced an opinion...

(275 Posts)
AbigailAdams Mon 21-Jan-13 13:53:16

... and received vicious misogynistic remarks as a reward.

Just in case anyone was in any doubt that women were targetted, specifically because of their sex. Mary Beard was recently on Question Time. She has experienced a horrible backlash for this. Mainly focussed around her sex and her looks, rather than what she said. Also not just her, her children as well.

Mary's hellish misogynistic internet experience

She is not alone. There really is a special type of wrath and insults saved for women. It is desgined to silence us. And this is really just a continutation on from Beachcomber's thread on women's voices being drowned (and kim's thread on MN and misogyny). It really doesn't matter about the subject matter, women aren't supposed to have opinions. Unless they of course they uphold the patriarchy.

It also raises questions about keeping anonymity, when speaking out. We shouldn't have to but when you are threatened with "we know where you live" type comments, it is easy to see why it is necessary.

I haven't really got a question, other than why should we have to put up with this shit? What can we do about it?

I think Mary did a really good thing in highlighting what happened to her and Louise Mensch involved the police and these are probably the ways to go with dealing with it. But god, it is so exhausting. So I suppose this is just a rant really.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 13:52:29

LRD and others - help me. I'll do the petition. What is it we are calling for? What do we want done?

Sorry, I've got my hands full right now - there's so much activism going on in this area, which is brilliant. I'm definitely happy to sign when you get it up and running though - maybe a new thread for it would be good?

TunipTheVegedude Wed 23-Jan-13 13:58:53

I think what you are suggesting looks rather diffuse, Rhubarb. There are a number of different issues involved in that. Are you proposing separate petitions for each one? There's so much activism already in these areas; you might have more impact putting your energies into existing campaigns that are more advanced rather than starting another one without any infrastructure. Maybe a new thread to discuss it?

Can we have another thread? I like the idea of petitions with enough signatures to really make an impact, it would be great.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 14:02:16

Shall I do a new thread?

Hang on

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 14:16:04

Ok, call to action thread

Sorry OP, didn't want to hijack your thread.

FairPhyllis Wed 23-Jan-13 14:17:27

Hate speech against women should be criminalised, and domestic violence against women should be classed as a hate crime. That would go some way towards establishing the link between misogyny and these behaviours in many people's minds.

GrumpyOldHorsewoman Wed 23-Jan-13 14:17:43

I don't think we live in a more mysoginistic society - these cretins just have more outlets to express their dim-witted views and as such we all get to hear them. Our society has always been mysoginistic.
Women definitely need greater recourse to legal retribution - the same as if the abuse were racially or homophobically motivated. Hate is hate, regardless of the subject matter and while disagreement should always be tolerated, abuse should never be.
Unfortunately, general society will always consider us humourless or a bit hysterical for even asking for this.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 23-Jan-13 14:18:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 14:28:26

There have been people on Twitter who have been arrested and charged due to racist or threatening tweets. So this is possible. A few years ago nobody thought it possible that a joke on twitter about blowing up an airport would result in a prosecution but it did and now it's changed the way people tweet. It just goes to show that this is possible.

I appreciate other feminist groups may be doing this but really I want to step away from labelling this as a feminist issue. It isn't. It's an issue that affects us all and one which runs deep in our society. In order to bring about change you have to make society realise that this does not just affect one particular group but the whole of society.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 23-Jan-13 14:32:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

torychicetc Wed 23-Jan-13 14:38:45

Mary Beard is very impressive on her own subjects.

I know it's boring when I say this, but: 'cretin' is a word that means someone born with severe learning disabilities. I know lots of people don't know the origins of the word, but that's what they are.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 14:41:54

But Stewie. Racism affects black people yet white people were able to get involved and support their cause largely because campaigners like Martin Luther King were keen to get them on board.

I don't want to exclude men in this. There are men disgusted by these misogynistic views and who would happily give their time to help support a campaign to make such abuse illegal. I'm just worried that labelling it a feminist cause might deter that help and support, not just from men but from other women who don't see themselves as feminists and yet support the cause.

I'm not sure that such a campaign needs a label?

MmeLindor Wed 23-Jan-13 14:42:50

I am appalled by this, but I am sorry. I don't think a petition is the answer. Or a campaign.

In my opinion petitions are easy to start, and easy to ignore. I haven't seen many online petitions actually bring about a change in policy or law.

I don't know the answer, other than challenging this each and every time we come across it.

If you close down one website, five others will spring up to take their place. I don't think that regulation is the answer. I think that education is more important.

We need to be talking to our kids about cyberbullying, and we need to understand it ourselves. Users of fora such as MN are more internet savvy, but many parents aren't. It is left to the schools, and that depends on how interested the teachers, and how well they know Social Media.

That is the online side of it, anyway. The sheer horror of the misogyny is another matter.

rhubarb - why couldn't we involve men in a feminist campaign, though? I agree it's important to have men involved if they want to be involved, but I'd have to say, I do think this is a feminist issue, myself.

I agree with mme too that ultimately, education is the answer.

MmeLindor Wed 23-Jan-13 14:47:59

XP
Rhubarb. How can this not be a feminist issue?

Yes, men are trolled, but this thread was discussing this particular instance in which a woman was subjected to horrible misogynistic abuse.

I agree with Mme that this issue needs to start being addressed in education. I have two boys and although they are only 6MO and 4YO, I will be bringing them up to respect women. Thankfully DH does and I believe that, along with education, goes a long way with boys in their attitude to women. I stopped buying women's mags a while ago and feel quite liberated from all the must have this, must look like that, look at that celeb with a spot, rubbish.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 14:59:27

Fair enough, I take your points on board.

Petitions do work, Change.org lists some petition victories

Yes we need to educate and every single person on this thread is probably already doing that. But then every single person on this thread does not need the message that misogynistic attitudes are wrong. We already know that. Unfortunately there is a good percentage of people who don't think that or know that.

We are preaching to the converted. We need to widen the message. A petition was just one idea. I'm open to others and would love to get involved.

CelineMcBean Wed 23-Jan-13 15:01:10

Just wanted to say the previous comment about Fascism was spot on. I'd never thought of it like that before but it's really true.

I tell my 4yo we judge others on their words and actions, not how they look. I think a few adults would do well to learn this. I'm still agog at the idea Mary should change to fit in with some sort of irrational ideal. Disagree with her words if you must but use a cohesive argument to do so, not personal insults.

I fear for my daughter's childhood and adolescence - will she even get one with the rampant and unchallenged sexism that seems to be getting worse? And my son's adolescence and adulthood - will he have unrealistic expectations due to porn? Will he be at risk of becoming an accidental rapist because he believes rape myths and doesn't understand that incapacitated women cannot give consent? Will he behave as an entitled man child due to the sexist attitudes that are pervasive? Will either of them understand what a healthy relationship is and why they deserve one? << Those are my fears and why we need to challenge hateful comments against women. Parental role modelling and education are not enough. Society needs to change too.

I don't think we are preaching to the converted - or rather, I expect I am a lot of the time, but I don't think that's true of people on this thread who blog about this issue, or write for the newspapers.

And I don't know to what extent it helps, but I certainly don't only talk about this on MN - I talk to my students too, and I try to reach out to people who wouldn't be likely to go on a feminist section on a woman-dominated website.

It's probably true that MN FWR is full of people who've already got the message, but why should we assume we never talk outside of it?

MmeLindor Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:10

I can't seem to view that on my ohone Rhubarb, but in my opinion when petitions work they are a sign of activism and pressure by a strong movement. The success of the campaign is not brought about by the petition but by the attendant lobbying going on. Writing to MPs is much more effective, in my experience.

390.000 signatures to the Gov of India to change their laws on rape - admirable but does anyone think that the petition would change anything? Or would it be the national and International pressure?

One click activism - easy to click <like> on FB but the attitudes and responses to RL misogyny is more important. And educating our kids about this.

I hadn't thought of that, Mme.

Writing to MPs could be good, though. Mine is a woman and in theory ought to 'get' this, though I've not seen the slightest sign she does.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 23-Jan-13 15:27:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OneMoreChap Wed 23-Jan-13 15:28:49

Did you notice that Mary Beard was later accused of racism?

When the deputy ed of the New Statesman asked where she'd said that, it ended with her being accused of speaking from privilege herself, and always taking the white cis side in feminist arguments.

twitter.com/helenlewis

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