Internet misogyny is just another form of violence against women
The internet had a lot going for it. Since we ended net-neutrality it has quite a bit less going for it, but that’s another story. However, there is a dark side which is complicit in furthering the ability of those who seek to perpetrate violence against women.
This is not trolling. Both men and women resort to trolling when there’s little they can add to the conversation. Rather this is a methodology of attempting to silence women by decrying their opinions or when that fails of attacking them on a personal, sexual and gender-based way often anonymously
Overt and covert
Women are used to being under threat from men they know, they are also educated against the threat from the individual they do not know. What makes the internet different is it is open to bullying gangs who have nothing in common necessarily, other than their bullying of the victim.
What makes this immensely worse is that it is a form of violence about which little is done, and there are few consequences other than encouraging the victim to give up and go home.
Internet attacks express a shocking level of violence
Part of being in the public eye is knowing that people will not agree with you. By being in the public eye and accepting a public position you have to be ready to face opposition. It comes with the territory.
What makes it different from the opposition that men face is the language in which it is couched, the extent of the violence which is proposed and the victimization not of a class of people but of one individual.
When writing about this, there comes a point where even the most hardened male writers will comment that it was too disgusting to repeat. Let your imagination go where it will, but for commentators to stop short of a reprint, especially if they have a level of misogyny personally, means it must have been really bad.
They also are not limited to the victim
A short-cut to threatening anyone is to threaten their children. This is not unique to women. Men can be coerced into action through threats to their children. The point is men’s children are not threatened by unknown people on the internet. Threatening their children is a direct attack on one victim and the aim is to get them to be silent.
There is no answer
Websites can be taken down. Comment sections can be closed. Moderators can moderate and remove the more hateful of the commentary. That will not stop the problem. There will be other hate sites. In fact, people will create other sites for the very purpose. The democratization of the internet means more people have a voice, and in theory, we would not deny them a voice.
But when does their right to a voice step beyond the line? Maybe it is when an individual is not prepared to add a name to it.