Writer gets in touch with people who sent rape and death threats online

via Tabatha Leggett: “After writing a light-hearted post about how I didn’t get The Simpsons, I received death and rape threats. Tracking down the people who abused me turned out to be unexpectedly emotional.”

When the foundation is so poisonous, even comments that aren’t swearing or threatening can be part of what makes it all scary.

‘One London-based journalist who sparked a particularly hurtful conversation about my post on Twitter emailed me: “I have several female friends who have gone through what you’ve experienced, and something I didn’t really appreciate at first was the distorting mass of the crowd. Huge numbers of people coming at you – even if each individual might be being relatively innocuously so! – is scary, and now I know I was a part of one of those crowds I have to say sorry.”’

This is what people often don’t understand about being targeted en masse: Imagine 50 people, all speaking to you at the same time, demanding you answer their questions, that you respond to their hot take on the issue at hand, all while one or two others are literally screaming for you to be killed. Context is everything: shouting “get over yourself” or calling someone derogatory terms like “pussy” “weak”, etc., doubling down on making a harmless stranger feel targeted. It’s so common and so horrible. It’s incredible that people think this is acceptable behaviour and feel nothing even when targets ask you to stop.

To the men “concerned” about the new Ghostbusters that happen to star women

Hey, fellow male Ghostbuster fans. I wanna talk.

But let’s first recap.

So, I’m also quite the Ghostbusters fan. I saw the first two films probably about ten times each, owned the toys, watched the TV shows. A few years ago, I rewatched both and bought the video game (which was scripted by Aykroyd and Ramis, serving as the official third part of the Gozer trilogy).


In other words, I’m a really big fan of this franchise.

I was really excited about a third film. Then Murray showed hesitation. Then Ramis died. Then we heard rumours that it would star only women. And then, yesterday, it was kinda-sorta confirmed.

Via The Hollywood Reporter:

Melissa McCarthy, who was already in talks for one of the leads, has signed on for the Paul Feig-directed reboot, and Sony is now negotiating with Kristen Wiig as well as Saturday Night Live players Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Negotiations are ongoing, but the quartet are expected to sign on as the specter-seeking, poltergeist-punishing, phantom-phollowing foursome in the reboot, which is eyeing a summer shoot in New York.

Of course, you may notice an issue that always upsets the internet: Women. Yeah. Women and their… existence. The Internet and humanity doesn’t seem particularly happy.

Amy O’Connor, from The Daily Edge, noticed some not very friendly responses. (I’ve blocked out the users’ names for ethical reasons.) [Read more…]

Don’t let Steven Santagati & his supporters be the voice of men in street harassment videos

We all saw that street harassment video.

Here’s a follow up, on CNN, discussing it with comedian Amanda Seales and a… well, a bro.

As soon as The Bro starts speaking, though, good luck trying not to desk-flip.

The Bro in question, Mr Steven Santagati, is the author of the book The MANual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date, and Mate–and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top. The book cover is wonderful, with various lines stabbing the man’s anatomy – like one pointing to a watch saying “Time to meet another girl” (geddit?), and another pointing to his eye: “Sees you whenever he feels like it” (so bad *giggle*!). So yeah, Santagati was obviously a great representative for men.

Or rather, the men that think catcalling is fine and that women wouldn’t have a problem with it, if the guys catcalling “were hot”.

Yes, Mr Steven Santagati says this, among other insightful things, so let’s review his wise words for the mens. Beware… it’s stupid. And it’s long. Here we go… [Read more…]

Remember: Nice guys can do bad things and sex workers are people

So this happened in my city of Cape Town, in South Africa.

Another day, another brutish man decides to show the world how brave and strong he is by beating up a harmless woman. Well done, big strong man.

A shocked and traumatised Cynthia Joni, 44, of Khayelitsha, said she was on her way to work in Kenilworth on October 2 when an unknown man leapt from his car and slapped her repeatedly, then threw her to the ground, without any explanation.

He was traced after people in the neighbourhood responded to her screams, and took down his registration number.

What could spurn such rage and hatred? Trying to tease out why men beat up women is complicated and horrible. But we can operate on what this individual, Tim Osrin, said.

Later, Osrin… who is a committed member of the neighbourhood’s ‘security committee’ and lives close to where the incident took place in upper Kenilworth, claimed he had assaulted Joni because he had mistaken her for a prostitute.

Apparently, sex workers can be smacked around because, hey, they’re sex workers. And sex workers magically create crime – because no big business, cops, etc. ever commit crimes, either, right? I wonder if Osrin will smack Wal-Mart and other retailers around who mistreat and underpay their staff? Maybe he smacked cops who are corrupt and allow for bad things to happen? [Read more…]

On Gamergate: Loose thoughts

What a fuck up this all is.

Despite it touching nearly all bases of what I write on – online harassment, game criticism, ethics in media – I’ve not done much on Gamergate itself. Gamergate and harassment of women in gaming has made the front page of the New York Times; it’s had mainstream outlets examine gaming culture. One of the main reasons I’ve not targeted my problems with Gamergate is simple: It’s nothing new.

At least to me.

This doesn’t diminish my support for those facing harassment and abuse from those using this bizarre, leaderless collective. Indeed, why would it  – since I’ve been opposing harassment, writing about sexism in various domains, for years. [Read more…]

Women are not props for your “pranks”, they’re people

There are few YouTube “celebs” I follow. One I greatly support is Laci Green. Please watch this important clip of her response to a rather awful-sounding creep & his ilk, who touch and sexually interact with women without their consent.

Women are not props, they’re people. Their bodies are not there to be fondled without their consent; their mouths are not to there to be invaded by your tongues.

This is not funny, it’s disturbing. Creeps need to be shunned, not given a platform at applauded. I’m glad corporations are taking actions against this particular Sam Pepper guy – but given the ubiquity of the mindset that allowed him to do it in the first place, seeing how many copy-cats he has and how many fans laugh in support, we all need to continue our outspoken opposition to mistreatment of women.

Women: wearing revealing clothes summon dark forces, please beware!

To give some background, Hannah Graham is an 18-year-old University of Virginia student who’s been missing for some time. The police have a suspect:

Charlottesville police named 32-year-old Jesse Matthew a suspect in the disappearance, and he was detained in Texas on Wednesday after he also disappeared for a short time. So far, he has refused to talk with investigators about what he might know about Graham, whom he was seen with the night she disappeared. Police have released little else about what led them to name him as their prime suspect. (NBC News)

It’s horrible story. I will never be a parent, but I have loved ones and have lost loved ones. I can’t imagine the pain the parents must be going through.

Hannah Graham’s parents addressed the public for the first time Sunday when they appeared at a news conference to ask for information about their missing daughter. John Graham spoke lovingly of his 18-year-old daughter. His wife Sue stood by his side.

John Graham asked anyone who had information into the whereabouts of Hannah Graham daughter, a second-year University of Virginia student, to come forward.

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” John Graham said. “We need to find out what happened to Hannah to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.” (Wtvr)

My sympathies go out to these unfortunate people. I would say, “no doubt we all feel this way”, except someone called Debbie Schlussel is being a totally awesome human being about this entire situation. It’s hard to read this. But here we go. [Read more…]

Celebrity hacks and victim-blaming: Responding to 3 common claims

Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities have had (nude) photos stolen. I noticed three, of many, recurring responses, mostly it seems from my fellow men dictating what women should do with their bodies. Cos, yeah: of course.

Others have said these things more eloquently. But here’s some responses to claims about celebrity privacy violations – i.e. nude photo leaks – that we need to keep reinforcing.

  1. “Who cares?”

Celebrities may be annoying to many; celebrity culture itself is to me largely horrible. Celebrities are not necessarily talented, merely people with a large audience. However, the key here is “people” – not monsters. Presumably we want a better world for people – thus if bad things happen to people, we should defend and support them. This isn’t about whether they themselves actually notice – but it does mean setting up an environment that reacts appropriately to when women have their photos leaked and aren’t berated as “sluts“; it’s about reinforcing a space, like the Internet, that doesn’t spread stolen information from people because they’re “hot”. After all, women who are not celebrities at all, have the same thing happen to them. [Read more…]

Robin Williams’ daughter being chased off Twitter is a high-profile example of an everday occurence

and it must stop. I’m tired of tolerating an internet where people are unfairly targeted for their race, gender, sexuality, etc. In my latest for The Daily Beast, I didn’t want to target the “trolls”, but those who shrug this off, claiming it’s not a big deal, who say “That’s the Internet”.

Nope. That’s cover that allows this toxicity to continue. We can and must do better.