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Angie Varona was a 14 year old girl who took pictures of herself on the internet. Somehow, the pics were leaked and now she is a bit of an internet celebrity due to numerous people sharing images of herself for their own sexual pleasure. Now that she’s older, she recently did an interview with ABC, and there’s about 700 comments on reddit blaming her for taking the pictures, not the people who helped spread them, or the people who set up entire areas of the website for her photographs. Nope. They aren’t to blame.
However, she was 14 years old. 14 year olds are still kids in many many ways. So my only rebuttal is one taken from the movie Hard Candy
‘Oh, she was so sexy. She was asking for it.’ ‘She was only technically a girl, she acted like a woman.’ It’s just so easy to blame a kid, isn’t it! Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, does NOT mean she’s ready to do what a woman does.
I mean, you’re the grown up here. … If a kid says ‘Hey, let’s make screwdrivers!’ You take the alcohol away, and you don’t race them to the next drink! (emphasis mine)
And that is the fundamental failure. The victim blaming only builds on that failure.
And that’s one big fuckin’ failure.
AVFM, the notoriously garbage website run by the also-coincidentally-anonymous “Paul Elam” is offering a cash reward for invading the privacy of a blogger. They then promise to harass said blogger. Does anyone see this not leading to violence?
Today’s required reading: TigerBeatdown on #mencallmethings
The good news? Because I hate online misogyny, I’m an “ALL-POWERFUL TOTALITARIAN OF THE SORT DESCRIBED BY GEORGE ORWELL” – pssht, as if you didn’t know that. Here at gynocrat central, we’re all about expanding our own freedoms while limiting the freedoms of others, because human rights are totes a zero sum game. Wait, no. We just think sexist harassment isn’t alright.
So if you’d like to share your stories of internet harassment and misogyny at #mentellmethings on twitter.
I’ve always been a fan of creative protesting. My personal favorite came a few years ago when protesters effectively disrupted a KKK/Neo-Nazi march in downtown Knoxville.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.
Now, in my mind, this is how protesting hateful, ridiculous opinions should go. Unless you already have a personal relationship with the person holding that opinion, arguing and getting in their faces isn’t going to help. If anything, their hateful beliefs will become more entrenched. Add to the fact that when you are a bit of a minority belief, it’s difficult to argue with everyone. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many times you can say the same argument over and over again, before you want to beat your own head into a wall.
Sometimes it’s easier to just point and laugh. And that’s where my affiliation with a subreddit called “Shitredditsays” comes in. You see, one day I was browsing reddit and was tired and cranky about some misogynistic shit that happened, when I discovered that there was a magical subreddit that did what I desperately needed: Mock the stupid shit that people say on reddit and get upvoted for it.
Because the opinion that women are objects is ridiculous. The opinion that child porn doesn’t hurt anyone? Patently silly and harmful. The idea that humor is throwing racist slurs around? Pretty dumb.
I could get mad at these people. I could argue with them. Maybe someone would see reason. But the most likely result is that I would get hate PMs from angry people, and I would be discredited because of my opinion.
Alternatively, I could make the point that their opinion, much like the opinion that the sun is smaller than the earth is so stupid, that my only option is to laugh at them and at how ill informed and self-centered their world view is.
Maybe that won’t win hearts and minds, but it’s hitting these opinions where they hurt and taking a shovel to the problem of shit opinions, rather than individually arguing with each crap opinion that stops by.
To those hurt by someone making fun of your opinion that pedophilia is just like homosexuality, or that black people are the reason that bad things happen in poor neighborhoods, or that women are actually people and not objects, perhaps you should examine why you’re hurt by a little laughing at your misguided expense.
Like many other bloggers, I’ve decided to cover Stop Internet Misogyny Week. It’s a topic that needs more attention, and is a topic near and dear to my heart.
Echidne has a great overview of some of the posts that kick off Stop Internet Misogny Week, I recommend reading all the links. I thought I would touch on the most important points here.
You come to expect it, as a woman writer, particularly if you’re political. You come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies of how and where and with what kitchen implements certain pseudonymous people would like to rape you cease to be shocking, and become merely a daily or weekly annoyance, something to phone your girlfriends about, seeking safety in hollow laughter. – Laurie Penny
How can we combat misogyny online, dear reader?
Reddit is so rife with misogyny and sexism that specific subreddits have been set up to monitor and report it. I’ve received repeated death threats, threats of violence, and fanatics have tracked down and posted my personal information. On the whole, these threats have been met with near-total dismissal from admins and mods. After all, I’m a woman, writing about controversial topics online, didn’t I expect that someone would threaten to rape me to death?