Tuesday, October 28, 2014

In the News: Male Violence Against Women, Online Harrassment of Women — "We Are So Very Lost Here in America"

As I prepare for my day of presentations (see my last posting yesterday), I'm going to share with you some clippings from articles I've read recently that seem to me worth recommending — these dealing for the most part with questions about male power and privilege (and violence) and women as the brunt of said male power, privilege, and violence: 

But it’s no coincidence that anti-feminist backlash happens most often when women’s rights are on an upswing. And male anger towards women isn’t going anywhere – if anything, it’s gaining steam. Online forums that provide anonymity are creating spaces for men to say the things they no longer can in "real life", police and courts that disbelieve and blame women for the violence done to them give men the impression their bad behavior is acceptable and a conservative movement that refuses to let go of traditional gender roles teaches our children that being a man is synonymous with being "tough", having guns and, yes, being violent.

At Salon, Katie McDonough notes the continued refusal of our (male-dominated and male-entitled) culture to address these issues head-on:

But try to talk about toxic masculinity and you're likely to get dismissed as a cynical opportunist pushing an agenda. Or a misandrist. (A “creeping” misandrist, even.) I saw that happen a lot over the weekend when women I follow on Twitter tried to talk about the Seattle shooting, in which a 14-year-old boy killed a girl and badly injured four other students, as part of a pattern we’ve seen before. It was a familiar script. When I wrote about Elliot Rodger's misogyny after he killed six people in Isla Vista, California, I received a lot of angry emails telling me that I was politicizing a tragedy. It seems that, even when a killer leaves hundreds of pages detailing his racist and misogynistic worldview, we aren't supposed to talk about those things. (We also aren't supposed to talk about the data we have showing that 98 percent of shooters are men. Or, as the Guardian's Jessica Valenti pointed out on Monday, research that shows that responses of “explosive anger” are ”two to three times more likely to occur in male teens, and twice as likely in adult men.”)

A new Pew study finds that women, especially young women, are more likely than other Internet users to experience serious problems of harrassment online:

Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment. In addition, they do not escape the heightened rates of physical threats and sustained harassment common to their male peers and young people in general.

Journalist Melissa Harris-Perry reports that she is subject to online harrassment that now cripples her as she tries to carry on conversations at sites like Twitter:

Melissa Harris-Perry used to love Twitter, she told viewers on Saturday. But now she finds it hard to even retweet things without the fear of online harassment. 
"I am at a point where I don't retweet anything that I really like because I fear that I would send all of my haters, all of the harassment that comes to me, over to some person who doesn't deserve it," the MSNBC host said. 
Harris-Perry said that it is this very response -- to become less active online due to the harassment she receives -- that allows the perpetrators to win.

At Salon, Amanda Gailey reveals what happened when Moms Demand Action mounted a boycott of Kroger for permitting open-carry of assault weapons in its grocery stores:

Secret Facebook groups such as "People Who Were Blocked by Moms Demand Action Demand Action Now" — which has well over a thousand members — disseminated gun rights propaganda and helped orchestrate attacks on individuals commenting on Kroger's page. Some gun nuts combed the profile pages of people commenting in support of gun reform, harvested personal photos of them and Photoshopped them to include obscene or humiliating comments, before reposting the photos on Kroger's page, or on other social media sites. Because Kroger frequently bans users who post that kind of content, the gun extremists created disposable fake accounts — sometimes using the name and profile photo of an opponent— to quickly dump posts without being held accountable.

At Esquire, Charles Pierce hopes we find our way out of the mess that all of the above is creating for our society:

This is the 87th school shooting since we arrived at that Teachable Moment in December of 2012. It is the third one in the state of Washington since the beginning of May. But we should not consider this a public health problem because freedom, and also because Rand Paul is a doctor and says so. Therefore, we shouldn't have a qualified surgeon general in place during an occurrence of Ebola in this country so that, when the president sends up an experienced administrator to coordinate the response, we can drawl contemptuously that the guy isn't a doctor. We are so very lost here in America. I hope we find our way.

It was the 87th school shooting since Newtown. Yes: 87th. Last night, another victim died. She was 14. When will this stop?

My own very tiny report to add to the pile: this weekend, when I carried on a discussion with other folks here about some bullying presences in discussion threads at National Catholic Reporter, people who have specifically targeted me and this blog employing pseudonymous usernames and with their Disqus accounts locked down, this happened immediately following that discussion: I got an email from Disqus telling me I had submitted a request for a password change.

But I hadn't requested a change of my Disqus password. I notified Disqus that I had not sent any such request to them. Disqus then advised me on how to handle what appears to be an attempt by . . . someone(s) . . . to hack into my Disqus account.

Online harrassment is a real thing. It can affect all of us. All you have to do is open your mouth and speak out.

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