Abuse and Threats Drive Women Out of Online Participation (explicit language)

Without self-restraint, the First Amendment becomes a tragic document. Free speech degenerates into who has power, money and aggression. Many who are too kind or wise to return bile for bile retreat from public forums. Their contributions are lost. The April 30 Washington Post reports that threats and harassment are driving women out of Internet debates:

A female freelance writer who blogged about the pornography industry was threatened with rape…

A 2006 University of Maryland study on chat rooms found that female participants received 25 times as many sexually explicit and malicious messages as males. A 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the proportion of Internet users who took part in chats and discussion groups plunged from 28 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2005, entirely because of the exodus of women. The study attributed the trend to “sensitivity to worrisome behavior in chat rooms…”

Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post site is among the most prominent of blogs founded by women, said anonymity online has allowed “a lot of those dark prejudices towards women to surface…”

[Kathy Sierra’s] Web site, Creating Passionate Users, was about “the most fluffy and
nice things,” she said. Sierra occasionally got the random “comment
troll,” she said, but a little over a month ago, the posts became more
threatening. Someone typed a comment on her blog about slitting her
throat and ejaculating. The noose photo appeared next, on a site that
sprang up to harass her…

[After Sierra said she was going to terminate her blog, she] received thousands of comments expressing outrage, including e-mails from women attesting to their own ordeals, “saying I got this. I got that. I went underground. I blogged under a pseudonym,” she said…

Cooper, 37, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., has tried password-protecting her site. She and five other women have asked the man’s Web site server to shut him down, but he revives his site with another server. Law enforcement officials laugh it off, she said, “like ‘Oh, it’s not a big deal. It’s just online talk. Nobody’s going to come get you…'”

“I completely changed,” said a professor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid further harassment. “I self-censor like crazy because I don’t feel like getting caught up in another round of abuse…”

If one wonders where people have learned to treat women like this, porn is a good place to look (recall that in a 2004-2005 Ball State University survey, 49% of men acknowledged visiting a porn site within the last month or more frequently):

in Minneapolis: “Pornography is probably the most extreme example of
anti-women socialization that men receive in this society”

If you look at a lot of pornography, it shows women being beaten,
humiliated, tied up. It shows women tied and stabbed, poked, prodded
and abused by devices, assaulted by several men or animals, and many
ugly and degrading things. When you see a woman being battered, you see
a lot of the same ugliness and violence at the same time. Not only do
they portray women as liking and deserving this sexual abuse, it shows
them as enjoying it, deserving it. And that is what one of the great
myths of battery is, is that women deserve to be battered and that they
enjoy it. If they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t stay…

Video Presentation: A Content Analysis of 50 of Today’s Top Selling Porn Films (explicit language)

Ana Bridges: “…I’m going to begin to talk about what it is that we found after looking at these 304 scenes in these 50 top selling pornographic films. In total in the 304 scenes we coded a total of 3,376 acts of aggression. That ends up averaging…to an aggressive act every minute and a half. The scenes on average contained eleven and a half acts of verbal or physical aggression…”

Bridges: “We also coded for, what…we’re calling loosely in this talk, ‘extreme acts’ (of sex acts). The only sexual sequence that we coded, which is…when one thing follows another, was something called ATM…’ass-to-mouth’. This literally involves anal penetration followed by oral sex…she is literally eating her own shit. That occurred in 41% of the scenes that we coded…

Bridges: “So how many scenes didn’t contain aggression? About 10%.”

Capital Video’s Magazine Rack: Bondage, Racism and More

Punishment Porn: “Whether-She-Wants-It-Or-Not” (explicit)

Quoted in Biting Beaver:

Susan Faludi, Stiffed: “T.T. reflects exactly what that sort of porno is about,” senior video editor Bud Swope said, “where you screw the hell out of the woman and come all over her face. He throws girls around. He pile-drives till they protest…He’s just aggression.” In an interview in the April 1995 issue of Hustler Erotic Video Guide, T.T. Boy had this to say: “I was a shy little kid when I started, and now I’m just a guy who wants to fuck the shit out of all these girls. Just fuck ’em to death.”

Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler: “Women are here to serve men. Look at them, they got to squat to piss. Hell, that proves it.”

Hustler: “There are those who say illogic is the native tongue of anything with tits…(women) speak not from the heart but from the gash, and chances are that at least once a month your chick will stop you dead in your tracks with a masterpiece of cunt rhetoric…the one surefire way to stop those feminine lips from driving you crazy is to put something between them–like your cock, for instance.”

Sample Hustler cartoon:
A man watches TV while a woman looks on. On the wall, there’s a
baseball bat in a case with this sign: “In case the bitch gets mouthy,
break glass”.

Sample Hustler cartoon:
The police are called to a home with domestic violence. On the wall are
portraits showing women in bandages and smiling men. One cop says,
“Yep, it looks like another family with a history of wife abuse.”

See also:

“Sex-Positive” Debate-Killing Tactics Stretch into Their Fifth Decade

Our opponents profess extreme devotion to free speech, yet in reality many of them freely employ debate-killing tactics such as disrespect, ridicule, misrepresentation and intimidation.
Tactics like these have a history in this debate that stretches back
for nearly half a century. They have been effective at skewing the
public dialogue over issues of love, sex, relationships and the rights
of communities, even as the evidence of the harm of porn and adult enterprises piles up into a mountain.

King and Queen of MoPornNorthampton Savagery Do Freelance Work for Republican, MassLive (explicit language)

“Nice work, Northampton. You’ve let a sexless, impotent half-man and his frigid and humorless wife dictate public policy for the rest of us relatively normal people. In the town I’d want to live in, talentless gasbags Adam Cohen and Jendi Reiter and their transparently self-serving cause would be shunned by us all, lest their repulsive and fascist behavior be somehow construed as representing us all. I had thought better of you, Northampton. I figured you for the kind of town where you would trust in your citizens’ ability to choose for themselves. Apparently not; apparently Northampton is so cowed by the idea of grown-ups having sex that you’ve let freaks like Cohen and Reiter — two people who clearly haven’t had sex in years — hide behind their impenetrable fortress of hopelessly dull propaganda and methodically impose their creepy puritanical fetish on the entire town. Just because Adam’s not getting anything doesn’t mean that needs to be your deal too, Northampton.”

It’s time to suggest to The Republican that it sever its ties with Jeff
Hobbs and Jennifer Ruggieri [the webmasters of mopornnorthampton.com]. This association dishonors The Republican
and might even put its objectivity on the issues into question. To
contact The Republican, click here.

Gazette on Free Speech: With Power Comes Responsibility
“Karson thinks he’s doing us all a favor by pushing the limits of free speech, but free speech is not without responsibilities. Karson has a right to his opinions, but his fellow students have a right to react to what they find hostile and offensive and to protect themselves in the face of threatening remarks.”

George Will: “Anger Is All The Rage”

Back in March we discussed the bile and vitriol
on offer at MoPornNorthampton, and the consequences for the quality of
public debate. Peter Brooks of TalkBackNorthampton considered the
matter, then issued a defense of “trash talk”. George Will discusses this phenomenon in “Anger Is All The Rage”, published March 25 by The Washington Post…

Firestorm Rages Over Issue of Civility in the Blogosphere
“That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make — believing that
uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil
dialogue is actually the freer speech,” he said. “Free speech is
enhanced by civility.”

The Virtue of Civility: Bringing depth, respectfulness and integrity back to our national discourse

Patricia Schroeder: Having
participated in the political arena for a very long time, I find the
meanness is way over the top. One of things we track is the number of
women going into politics, and in the last four years the number has
been going down instead of up. When you ask women who are more than
qualified why they won’t get into politics, they look at you as if to
say, “What, do you think I’m nuts?”

3 thoughts on “Abuse and Threats Drive Women Out of Online Participation (explicit language)

  1. Yeah. I hate it when people use cheap, ad hominem attacks to stifle debate and silence opposition. Like when you compare people to racial sergregationists because they disagree with you about the constitutionality of your stupid zoning law. That’s the sort of thing I absolutely cannot stand.

  2. Obviously you’re very concerned to be sure that the voices of women are heard. So concerned that you supress their comments when they are critical of you. I didn’t realize that a person could be that hypocritical.

  3. That an opinion happens to come from a man or a woman is no guarantee
    of its quality. Some comments show compassion, wisdom, and a genuine
    desire to understand the concerns of others. Others are more callous.
    We have entertained plenty of callous comments in this blog in the
    past, from men and women both. Generally we feel they degraded the
    quality of the debate, and may well be discouraging others from
    participating, so we are publishing fewer of them. Women can drive
    other women out of the public space just as men can.

    D.A. Clarke explores the phenomenon of women adopting men’s aggressive attitudes and habits in “Consuming Passions:
    Some Thoughts on History, Sex, and Free Enterprise”

    Bewilderingly, I now have more solidarity and sense of community with straight women who seek creative ways to redefine their relationships with male lovers (such as agreeing to forego standard heterosex entirely in favour of more egalitarian activities) than with lesbians devoted to sm, or gay apologists for pornography (though these are in theory my people). Their desire to derive entertainment from weary old racist and sexist clich­es, from glamourised woman-hatred, from the look and feel of fascism – and their pride in this desire, their inconceivable arrogance in claiming it as an achievement and a liberation – anger me beyond words and beyond any sense of commonality…

    …it is hard for me to know exactly what to feel, when young women decked out in a close imitation of SS regalia call their lesbian sisters Nazis or sex-fascists for opposing pornography or prostitution – when both are traditional tools and institutions of 20th century fascism as well as ancient despotism…

    It has been said of lesbian sadomasochism and of pornography in general that they are a way of transcending or transforming women’s suffering under male rule: victimisation turned into art. Well, that has been done before – but the last time I heard about it, it was lampshades they were making. This may seem a rather shocking reference, but I cannot better express the insane arrogance of those who presume to turn other people’s pain and death into an art object, or (heaven help us) an entertainment…

    Why is it that women, women who call themselves feminists, lesbians who of all people should have the least faith in Big Daddy, are more anxious and willing to stand up and defend sex than to stand up and defend women? Why does the freedom to choose from a familiar menu of sexual alternatives mean more to us than the freedom of all women to live our lives in safety and security?…

    For women, including lesbians, have absolutely nothing to gain from nihilism, fascist chic, self-conscious decadence, and a romanticisation of the crimes of dead privileged men. That is not the way to legitimise our lives and lovers. When life is valued cheaply and pain is in vogue, it is women’s and children’s lives which will be valued cheapest of all, and women’s and children’s pain which will be the raw material for entertainment. When fantasy is valued over truth, it is the truths about our lives and deaths which will be hidden, and the fantasies of others which we will be made to serve. When brute force is admired and bullies are cultural heroes, the vast majority of women and children will be the losers.

    The conflict of values can be represented as a struggle between ethics of excess and moderation…

    To accept that the costs borne by strangers in far-off lands make our way of life unaffordable implies that we learn to respect those people and that we become ashamed of living at their expense; to accept that we are responsible for the damage that we do to our soil, water, and air means that we learn to clean up after ourselves; to accept that resources are precious and should not be wasted is to learn that the world is not a consumable, an expendable – and neither are its people. To accept that our way of life is costing too much means accepting less: giving up excess, resolving to live within our means. Shoving off the costs of your behaviour onto others, expecting someone else to clean up your mess, blowing away the household economy with irresponsible spending, treating other people as objects to be used and discarded: are these not some of the traits for which feminists have persistently criticised and confronted men, the habits of privilege and arrogance?

    Grabbing all you can while you can get it is an expensive way to live. It may turn out to be an expensive way to die. A generation which took this lesson to heart would be less likely to use up, despise, abuse and discard women and children as sexual toys…

    The symbols, language and style of lesbian sm chic are the symbols and language and style of male supremacy: violation, ruthlessness, intimidation, humiliation, force, mockery, consumerism. Words like respect, tenderness, gentleness, are boring and pass­e, according to our new fashion leaders. What we want is excess, and lots of it: extreme experiences of every kind, a great bazaar of fantasy for our shopping pleasure…

    Ruthlessness, hardness, force and intimidation have characterised the successful businessman, soldier, gangster, politician and pimp from the very beginning. If we admire those qualities, we implicitly endorse the world these men have created – perhaps we subscribe to the fantasy that women can become hard enough and mean enough to compete with men on their own turf. Suppose we do so, and suppose some of us win: will a world that contains a token handful of lesbian aristocrats among its ruling class be a better world?

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