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.

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 28-Jan-13 18:23:50

Ah, they don't tell you they think that at first.

Or they pretend they're being ironic about it and it's all a big joke and if you challenge on them, it's your deficiency for being humorless, rather than their's for being a misogynist poltroon.

OneMoreChap Mon 28-Jan-13 15:03:33

OK - got it thanks.

Poorly phrased on my part.

Wasn't intended to suggest women were to blame, more disbelief that anyone would get close to someone who thought like that.

AbigailAdams Mon 28-Jan-13 14:16:07

" A lot of these poltroons are offended that women can be as smart, clever, rich, capable as any man -and don't need to be some man's adjunct. Who the fuck sleeps with them to give them this exaggerated idea of their own importance - or even relevance."

There. Men's sense of entitlement has nothing to do with the women that sleep with them. Women don't give men an "exaggerated idea of their own importance".

OneMoreChap Mon 28-Jan-13 11:19:56

AbigailAdams Fri 25-Jan-13 20:27:31

Nice blaming of men's behaviour on women there, OneMoreChap.

Re-read, didn't see where I did that, but apologies anyway.

AbigailAdams Sun 27-Jan-13 14:37:48

You are right Lara. As women, we have to get past being women before our voices are heard and respected.

LaraInTheSky Sun 27-Jan-13 14:01:27

OP, unfortunately, we still live in a society where the mere fact of being a woman makes you a target for abuse.

It is designed to silence women, to put them down, to understimate their views, their experiences, their lives. In one word: women are of no value.

Whenever I see a woman in a discussion panel like Question Time, I sort of cringe. Not because tthey're not clever, articulate or they're not capable of expressing themselves, but because of the silent judgements they have to challenge in order to be there.

Sometimes those judgements come into the surface and we have seen the results. Misogyny is everywhere, it's so engrained in our society that to many it seems normal.

I've always loved Mary Beard. She's intellegent, highly educated, a perfect role model for any girl today. And what does she get back from some sectors of society? Degrading comments about her sex, just because of one single reason: she's a woman.

MmeLindor Fri 25-Jan-13 21:56:48

yes, tis RowanMN. It is a great blog.

Funnily enough, I googled 'CIF misogyny' and it was one of the first hits.

Beachcomber Fri 25-Jan-13 21:13:27

It is the backlash (which seems to have been going on for ages now).

Putting women (uppity or not) back in their place.

And warning other women not to get above their station.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 25-Jan-13 20:47:22

Oh that blog is very funny! (Good old Rowan smile)

I didn't know Rowan MN had a blog. No surprise, though. smile

LesBOFerables Fri 25-Jan-13 20:42:20

I love that blog, MmeL. It's our RowanMumsnet's, isn't it?

AbigailAdams Fri 25-Jan-13 20:27:31

Nice blaming of men's behaviour on women there, OneMoreChap.

MmeLindor Fri 25-Jan-13 14:22:09

I was looking to see if there were any blog posts or articles about CIF and misogynistic comments and found this one. It is rather amusing.

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 12:17:57

People get insulted for whatever reason the creep doing it has; the insult will usually be based on whatever can be most hurtful.

In this society, where there is a ridiculous focus on what people (largely women, but increasingly men) look like appearance can be one focus. [Hello, fashion magazines, I hate you].

In this society women are still valued far more for their appearance, "sexual attractiveness" and so on - hence the vile behaviour attacking MB - because that's what the idiots think will be most offensive to her.

This is why men are called gay - or other homosexual epithets - as that's what the insecure morons would be most offended by themselves. I've been insulted for the putative size of my genitalia "How big's your dick, nancy?" I got a laugh when I told the arse it was big enough to fill a pram.

A lot of these poltroons are offended that women can be as smart, clever, rich, capable as any man - and don't need to be some man's adjunct. Who the fuck sleeps with them to give them this exaggerated idea of their own importance - or even relevance.

tiktok Fri 25-Jan-13 09:56:39

This is true, Fastidia but in fact it is worse than you say.

Women can be conventionally attractive (like Louise Mensch) but can still have their appearance and body ripped to shreds in sexual, hateful ways. Even, the fact that they are conventionally attractive can end up being used to denigrate them (they become 'bimbos' or 'airheads').

In addition, patriarchal beauty standards are not fixed. The 'favoured' body shapes come in and out of 'fashion' - with the one constant, that the aging face and figure is always up for more criticism (and there is very little anyone can do about getting, and looking, older!).

The point is, MB (and LM and all the others) are not insulted and threatened because of their looks. Whatever women look like, it can happen...because of the still-alive-and-kicking women hatred that's around us sad

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 25-Jan-13 09:14:13

Men get insulted because of what they say and when people are being stupid, because of what they look like.

They don't get insulted because they are*men*.

Mary Beard was insulted because she is a woman. And she is a woman who fails to meet patriarchally approved woman standards. It's notable that most of the insults were about her not meeting patriarchal beauty standards - all her knowledge, expertise, intelligence, are all utterly irrelevant because she doesn't meet beauty standards which is the most important thing a woman can do.

It's really simple.

seeker Thu 24-Jan-13 23:28:40

Clever of you periwinkle! Could you link to the pictures of men's face superimposed on a cock and balls? And the references to shutting a man up by sticking a dick into his mouth?

MmeLindor Thu 24-Jan-13 22:48:52

Perriwinkle
How did you manage that? It has been taken down.

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:52:47

Good article about someone who is disabled and the abuse they got.

www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/disagree-with-me-sure-but-dont-wish-me-dead-8463835.html

But totally agree about abuse and comments women get in the media.

Remember this student on University Challenge and the abuse she got.

www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8746096/Starter-for-10-female-University-Challenge-contestants-subject-to-web-hate-campaigns.html

Perriwinkle Thu 24-Jan-13 20:47:58

Had a look at the site she mentions in her article, just out of interest.

A quick perusal of the content suggests that there is just as much abuse and vitriol directed towards men as women.

I therefore agree with the earlier comment that it's more misanthropic than misogynistic.

Whether it's acceptable to be able to write what the hell you like about other people on the internet is a whole other debate of course.

Susan2kids Thu 24-Jan-13 15:53:11

"If sexist tweets were dealt with in the same way by the police as racist or homophobic ones."

Threats of rape are infact more serious had Mar Chosen to pursue prosecution.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 24-Jan-13 14:49:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CelineMcBean Thu 24-Jan-13 14:45:47

Hmm. I bet if that hotel had enquiries every day about whether business women were also welcome they'd soon update their website because of the sheer hassle and then next time they would think.

Tackling the small stuff is sometimes just as important. Although I cannot get worked up about "chairman" vs "chair person" and I loathe "mangeress", "murderess" or even "actress". So unnecessary to make it gendered.

Greythorne Thu 24-Jan-13 14:34:37

Sorry, not meaning to derail, but given this is an all-purpose feminism thread smile

Just been looking for a hotel in Brussels and came across the Hotel Thon. This is what it reads on their home page:

Avec sa situation privilégiée sur l’Avenue Louise, l’avenue la plus à la mode de Bruxelles en termes de shopping et d’affaires, le Thon Hotel Bristol Stephanie (hôtel 4 étoiles de luxe) est idéal, à la fois pour les hommes d’affaires et les touristes. Il offre les plus grandes chambres d'hôtel de Bruxelles et combine élégance et confort. La Place du Sablon connue pour ses antiquaires et le centre historique sont facilement accessibles.

It's apparently idea for business men and tourists.

It's everywhere.

CelineMcBean Thu 24-Jan-13 14:33:21

A small point but insults like "bitch" and "slut" are actually important too in that they perpetuate the idea of an acceptable level of misogyny. Places like CiF delete words like "nigger" or "fudge-packer" or other equally disgusting terms relating to protected characteristics but allow misogynistic comments to stand.

Maybe online publications should have a code of conduct? A very simple test of...

1. Does the posting contain a misogynistic word? Yes/No - if yes delete.

2. Does the posting reference a misogynistic act? Yes/No - if yes delete

3. Where you are unsure if a post is offensive, exchange the words relating to women or women's parts or characteristics with an equivalent word relating to race or sexual orientation make it offensive? Yes/No - if yes delete. e.g. You don't know anything you stupid bitch substitute bitch for "nigger" = clearly deletable but you are talking out of your arse, substitute arse for an equivalent word and there isn't one. Arse is not common to one particular protected characteristic so it can stay. Although we'd all agree the poster was rather inarticulate.

Of course censorship and deletions are just fire-fighting - they don't immediately tackle the root cause but they do have an effect over time. Those who have become desensitised to the language become re-sensitised and those who want to be heard have to form an argument or opinion instead of throwing out a cheap insult. It's the pernicious patriarchy that we tackle by eliminating some of the symptoms of it and tackling symptoms is easier than going straight for mind sets and ingrained mis-education.

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