Sexual Threats are Bad Arguments. Also: Fucked

Clementine Ford is My Spirit Animal. See here why she is basically amazing.

She, more than any other lady-journalist I know or am familiar with, puts up with the vile, disgusting, base, easy, big bowl of fuck that is men threatening rape etc just because she dares to write about this issue of misogyny and they disagree.

I’ve had those threats. So has every other female journo I know. Not always when I’ve written about lady-things, but certainly more often. A few years ago a male colleague of ours wrote an opinion piece about the shit female journalists receive as opposed to men. It started with a seemingly innocuous conversation when we were comparing the worst feedback we had had.

“You are a fat bitch”, “You are too ugly to rape” “You should be raped then maybe you’d shut up” etc etc.

He was shocked. When people disagreed with an opinion piece he’d written, he said, they called him Un-Australian, or a bleeding-heart liberal. Or stupid. The personal and sexual attacks floored him. So he wrote about it. We waited with baited breath. You know what? Nothing. Tumbleweed.

But if any of us had dared to write that in a daily newspaper, the vile comments would have flowed.

The men (and they are 99% male) who make these comments, who take time out of their lives to comment on the internet, to email us under aliases, to write letters abusing and threatening us. These are the men in your family, the ones you sit next to at work, the ones who come to your house for dinner, the nice guy that you just met.

It’s an uncomfortable truth but it is true. And it is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that a man may write an opinion piece on “women’s issues”, such as rape and possibly be told, probably reasonably politely, that he is wrong and women are horrible. If we do it, we “should be raped” or “just need a good hard dick”. These are but two of the comments I have had recently.

Attacking my gender, my appearance, threatening me with sexual violence instead of addressing the argument I have put forward is a cheap, easy and all too familiar trick. But every one of us female journos who especially write about ‘women’s issues’ brace ourselves for the shitty, threatening and offensive responses we will receive. And often think twice about writing them when you know what is in the post.

This is why women like Clementine Ford are my heroes. I know the kind of ‘feedback’ she’s getting, although I cannot comprehend the volume and veracity of it and how she fucking well copes. I know how hard it can be to deal with but not on the scale she’s dealing with. And how difficult it can be sometimes to carry on, but because these are reasons why you must.

Some dickhead little cunt sent her a private message on her (open) FB page. It was vile and awful. So she made it public and revealed who he was. Some people defended his ‘right to privacy’ and decried Ford’s decision to delete and block his dickhead cunt friends who were bombarding her FB page with more vile shite.

This is my space, she said. You go ahead and have your own. I can block and delete what I like. YOU sent this to me. So stand by it in the light of the public glare.

The fact is that the men making these utterly horrific and abusive comments and threats are not sweaty, lonely, rejected, chronic masturbators that hide behind their computers and vent on women. They are educated, privileged private schoolboys. They are your friends, your neighbours, men you know and trust. They don’t air these views to you, in public under their real names, or to most people in their lives. I hope, because deep down they know these comments, threats, bullshit opinions are wrong.

If that is what they truly believe and want to fight for, then they should be ‘man enough’ to stand up and say them out loud. Not hide away making anonymous sexual threats because Ladeez Dare to Have Opinions, Yo.

It’s Fucking Obvious 101. I have nothing but respect for women like Ford who keep on, despite the hideous barrage of utter fuckedness they are on the receiving end of. Sometimes it gets you down. Sometimes you want to give up. Sometimes it’s just one shitty, shitty, horrible, awful threatening comment that derails you, rather than the very many of support – or at least those of reasoned argument and intellectual engagement.

I’m sad. But I thank the rainbow-loving-Jesus-unicorn-lord for people like Ford. I’ll keep tapping away here and on FB and on Twitter and doing freelance articles now I’m not on the books so much any more. But until men, actual, proper, good men #SomeMen! get on board with us, there’s only so much that can be done.

If real, reported incidents, comments, assaults, statistics, facts don’t move you, then congratulations, you’re a cunt. You’re not even a human being. And you give #SomeGoodMen (many of whom, I am lucky to know) a bad name, not us.

It’s hard to keep going and shooting shit down, but we have to. If Ford can do it, so can we. On blogs, on social media, among our friends and family, with people we know.

Fight the Good Fight. It’s worth it. It will be. For all people.



About ohhellwhatthehell

I like gin, mittens and otters, not necessarily in that order. Here's some stuff I felt like writing down when I'm not chained to a desk writing other things for a living. Please use caution when using this site; there may be sweary words, cute animals and general bullshit. Don't say I didn't fucking warn you.
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