Picture the scene. You’re walking down the street, minding your own business, possibly chatting with a friend, when along comes someone who decides (for whatever reason) to start giving you crap. They’re being plain nasty and abusive, shouting and screaming at you for whatever arbitrary reason has come to mind.

Obviously you’re not minded to tolerate this behaviour, and why should you? In a public place, you can rightly call the police and have them deal with the offending individual. If you work in a store, you can have that person banned from the store for unreasonable behaviour.

The bottom line is, how you conduct yourself in public is a matter of choice, within certain boundaries. You have the right to speak openly and discuss things in a reasonable manner. You don’t have the right to be abusive toward anyone and expect there to be no consequences. Why therefore, is there such an outcry that similar behaviour online should be treated the same way?

The trending hashtag on Twitter, #Istandwithhatespeech, has highlighted the curious attitude we have as a society toward behaviour online. It’s as though we’ve built a partition between our real world behaviour and our online personas. I’ll freely admit to being guilty of this sometimes – I think we all are – but some people take this further than others, delving into hurtful behaviour online that they wouldn’t dare indulge in out in the real world.

I can’t emphasise this enough – if you believe in freedom of speech then you accept responsibility for it too. It isn’t a free licence to be obnoxious and abusive, and this includes the online world. If you want to be invited to take part in adult conversation then you can behave like one.

Let’s also draw a distinction here. The new rules governing what constitutes hate speech on sites like Facebook are less to do with statements like ‘I hate religion X’ and more to do with bullying. To be clear, bullying doesn’t have to be blatant insults. It can also be subtle. It can be insidious, and it would not be condoned or excused in real life, so why online? My view is that if we were more capable of acting reasonably, rules to regulate our behaviour wouldn’t even be necessary. Unfortunately we have demonstrated time and time again that we’re not able to do this, so now it’s time for those who behave like trolls to reap what they’ve sown.

There’s been some stuff in the news lately about some of the web’s biggest platforms (Microsoft, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) agreeing to do more to tackle hate speech online. Already on Twitter there is a trending hashtag: #Istandwithhatespeech.

The backlash to the Big Four’s move is two-fold. Some genuinely fear this is oppressing free speech and the right to be critical of other ideas – others are seemingly angry they won’t be able to say what they want with consequence anymore. If you search Twitter for that hashtag you’ll see exactly what I mean.

I’ve tended to run a reasonably loose ship when it comes to comments and moderation here. Anyone can submit a comment, and the chances are I’ll let it through (unless it’s really offensive). I do know that if someone trolls me and I block the comment, they’ll pop up on some other corner of the web, knowing they face no consequences to their actions. They cannot be held to account. This is annoying with the trolls – it is downright scary with those who are openly racist, sexist and bigoted.

Block them on Twitter or Facebook and they’ll simply start over with someone else. They abuse the privilege of free speech, making a mockery of it. This is why I am in favour of this new measure. It will hopefully force people to think before they post. If actions suddenly have consequences, they might stop to reflect upon them.

As those of you who follow this blog are by now aware, I quite frequently dip my toes into potentially choppy waters. I discuss things like religion, homosexuality, and feminism. I’ve recently been talking a little bit about vaccination too.

Today’s post is about feminism, in case you were wondering, and two very different perspectives (MRAs, if you’re reading, take note).

The quote below is from a site called Story Ending Never, and I would dare say from the content that the author would identify as a radical feminist.

A long, long time ago, men realized something.

They are next to useless. Essentially obsolete. There is almost no reason for their existence. And as scientific knowledge has progressed, we can correctly say that now, there really is no purpose for men. Women have the capacity to breed with other women. We don’t even need freeze-dried spunk or the jizz of farmed or jailed males to replicate anymore. Men know this, and especially lately, we are seeing backlash against women in all corners of the world by men and sometimes by women on behalf of men. Male violence increases as their self-awareness and fear of reality increases. Infantile violent backlash: classic male modus operandi. But it is not to be disregarded in the way that you might the temper tantrum of a toddler.

She continues.

Violence is a mandatory part of male existence, and paired with female enslavement and forced breeding, war and conflict are a constant. This is exciting for men because war creates jobs and a false sense of male purpose. There is absolutely no incentive for men to end conflict. 1) They lose a massive supply of rape fodder (‘enemy’ women and forced prostitutes in devastated areas). 2) Natural male bloodlust is satisfied. 3) Money is made off of war through the creation and fake-solving of problems. Take away conflict and men become useless. Look at the aftermath of WWII in North America. Women like my grandmother easily held down the home front. They found new purpose after being freed from mandatory rape and other wife/slave duties. They had jobs. They took over sports and entertainment. They renewed friendships with other women without men getting in the way and making demands. When men came back from war, they were lost with no purpose. They saw that women had easily gotten on without them. Men were not needed at all. So they solved this problem by displacing the women, brainwashing them once again, putting them back in the kitchens and laundry rooms, and forcing them to spread their legs and believe in ‘romance’ (hello Baby Boom – aka post-war-rape-babies).

The link to the article is here, should you want to read what she has to say in its entirety.

This isn’t the first time I have read of the idea that men are predisposed to aggressive and violent behaviour. It’s true that we probably do carry within us more aggressive instincts, but the blanket statements on show here set a dangerous precedent. It was pointed out to me once before that arguments from biological determinism cut both ways – would radical feminists like this one be inclined to listen to arguments that suggest women should be treated as weaker, because this is what happens in nature?

This obviously wouldn’t be fair and one of the goals of feminism is to inform people that a woman is not predetermined to be a sex object just because she’s female. She should be treated as a person, defined by who she is, not what she is. Sadly, this is a struggle that’s far from over (and the author of the article is not necessarily wrong in that society does disadvantage women – despite what MRAs claim). What concerns me is the author wishes to fight this sort of blanket argument with… Blanket arguments.

This is the face of feminism that MRAs and MGTOWs latch onto and use to undermine the idea of equality with the notion that feminism is out to marginalise and destroy men. It’s a position motivated by anger, and whether justified or not, arguments formed in anger are usually more destructive to their cause than their opponents.

I mentioned earlier on that this post is about different takes. Next up, some words from Carla Louise:

Recently, thanks to Curiosetta, I decided to investigate MGTOWs (Men Going Their Own Way, in case you’ve never really heard that phrase before. I hadn’t; nor had my husband, so I’m guessing they aren’t the most relevant group).

To be honest, I could target any one of their videos or threats that I watched or read. Seriously. There was so much for the taking, and you’ll probably hear about it in the future – I definitely plan on dissecting a lot of their opinions. But, basically their intention and main goal seemed to be set on humiliating and demeaning women.

Seriously.

Literally seems to be their motto. 

For example, one video was celebrating a man breaking up with his girlfriend of five years over the radio. Apparently she’d cheated on him, but instead of behaving like an adult and confronting her and asking if there was any truth to the rumours, he set up a break-up scheme with a radio station. During the segment, the radio hosts and her boyfriend led her to believe he was about to propose.

The radio hosts also insulted her continuously throughout the segment (I don’t know how she stayed on the line for so long, I would’ve hung up), mocking her for having the audacity for being a woman.

Then her boyfriend dumped his very confused ex.

While I don’t condone cheating, to me, an act like that is despicable. (And in case anyone’s claiming “You’re a woman!”, my husband listened to the audio as well, and was more horrified than I was. On top of which, I have been cheated on, and have never felt it necessary to behave so pathetically.) No one deserves to be treated that way. Ever. Whilst most commenters felt that the guy was lucky, I felt that opposite (and so did my husband). We both felt that the woman was lucky he’d dumped her.

Anyone capable of such disrespect and hate, so fuelled with vengeance, doesn’t love you, doesn’t care for you, and certainly doesn’t respect you. And – let’s be clear – he didn’t know for certain if she had cheated, or what had happened, before he started the radio segment.

There were plenty of other videos – hundreds, if not more – but they all seemed to share the same theme: shaming, bullying and harassing women.

Carla is not wrong. The attitude taken up by these MGTOWs is fueled by anger. It’s fueled by expectation and bitterness that women are not conforming to those expectations. It’s fueled by entitlement. Women are being harassed and shamed for being women, and later on Carla exposes the double-standard applied between men who want casual sex and women who want casual sex. She’s not wrong that rejection is behind the slut-shaming that takes place there.

What’s quite important here is that Carla makes her points in a controlled fashion. Yes, she is angry (and why shouldn’t she be?), but the arguments are smart. They are well-constructed. They aren’t blanket statements that tar everyone with the same brush. This is the face of feminism that deserves attention.