Monday, April 30, 2007

WaPo Laments Weak Women Bloggers Who Can't Receive Threats As If They Are Nothing

As several other bloggers have noted here and here the WaPo article on threats against women bloggers focuses too much on women's actions and too little on the actions of the men making threats against women.

It's as if death and rape threats against women are as natural as breathing. They support this view by quoting studies of chats which show that in chat rooms women receive on average 25 times more sexually explicit and malicious messages as their male counterparts. Joan Walsh editor in chief of Salon said it was hard to ignore that in the letters against women writers are "much more brutal and vicious" but why does she try to ignore this?

Why are so many people tolerating this pervasive viciousness commited for no reason other than the gender of the person being written about? For those who say the reason isn't gender then women wouldn't be attacked for blogging on controversial and mundane topics.

This isn't about civility and decorum. This is about ethics and respect for all human beings -- even women. Without a change in the underlying attitudes all civility will do is cloak brutality and viciousness in prettier packages so those with those attitudes can say their victims are imagining the carefully worded attacks are just that.

Sexual violence against women -- in person and online is a choice. A man who partakes may say his target made him do it, but that is a crock. He wants to take the actions, but he doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions.

What this online behavior should show us is that sexual violence isn't dependent on pheronomes, physical proximity, mixed signals or any of the victim-blaming excuses people make to let rapists and in-person sexual harassers off the hook.

Sexual violence reflects the character of the person who commits it whether it is physical violence or virtual violence. When we forget that or ignore it, we give those men a free pass to continue unabated.

If anyone should be lectured on proper behavior, it shouldn't be the targets of threats it should be the issuers of those threats.

If we shun all those who issue threats or tolerate them, then we will make the blogosphere hostile territory for thugs and abusers and a better place for the rest of us.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:57 PM   1 comments links to this post


At April 30, 2007 11:34 PM, Blogger Holly said...

Hi Marcella,
Thank you so much for this post, I have been threaten online.
It is very difficult for people to understand the real danger involved.
I even limited and deleted my email accounts to avoid any contact from this person.
It only made it worse because the control is being taken away from them. It really is scary. Honestly I wonder when will they finally get the message to leave me alone.
Take care Holly


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