“When feminist filmmaker Cassie Jaye sets out to document the mysterious and polarizing world of the Men’s Rights Movement, she begins to question her own beliefs. Jaye had only heard about the Men’s Rights Movement as being a misogynist hate-group aiming to turn back the clock on women’s rights, but when she spends a year filming the leaders and followers within the movement, she learns the various ways men are disadvantaged and discriminated against. The Red Pill challenges the audience to pull back the veil, question societal norms, and expose themselves to an alternate perspective on gender equality, power and privilege.” (Source)
More than 8,000 people signed this – almost four times the number of people who signed the petition that saw the screening axed! This petition provides a copy of the letter sent by Palace Cinemas advising that they were cancelling the event. The comments added by petitioners are also quite instructive.
Feminists say publicly that they don’t want The Red Pill screened because of it’s alleged hateful and misogynistic message. That’s only partly true. In actual fact they are more frightened by the prospect of:
a) ordinary people being exposed to an alternative perspective on various gender-related issues, and in particular the public becoming more aware of, and sympathetic towards, the men’s rights movement
b) the public questioning aspects of both the feminist narrative and the actions of feminists in the community. They are quite simply terrified of the prospect, knowing that exposure to those ideas will inevitably further erode the already dwindling level of support for their tainted ideology.
To my knowledge (at the time this blog post was uploaded) no-one in Australia had yet seen The Red Pill. Not the feminists who started and signed the petition, nor Palace Cinemas, no one. All we know about it comes via interviews with the film-maker, a movie trailer and reviews from screenings in the USA. There is no evidence to indicate that the film contains anything offensive or upsetting to the average adult.
This is what feminists do. Not the benign dictionary-definition feminists, I mean the ones in real life. You only need to see how often the ‘censorship’ tag appears in posts in this blog. Censorship and the erasure of dissenting voices, by whatever means, is absolutely a central theme in gender feminism.
What does that tell you about the inherent nature of this ideology? Why do not more people recognise this for the enormous red flag it is, and speak out accordingly?
Update April 2017: Dendy Cinemas in Canberra and Newtown cancelled scheduled screenings of The Red Pill. And again a petition was started calling on the cinema operators to reverse their decision.
Update June 2017: Cassie Jaye visited Australia to speak at the International Conference on Men’s Issues. During her stay she was a guest on Channel 10’s ‘The Project‘ and on Channel 7’s ‘Sunrise‘ program, both of which generated a lot of media attention.
Not content with that, in the face of a tsunami of condemnation on social media, Sunrise then demanded that Facebook remove copies of the interview from The Red Pill’s FB page and presumably elsewhere. So rather than do the right thing and apologise, Channel 7 tries to hide the evidence instead. This mishandling of the incident has only served to create further publicity for the film (and again here). Such clowns, and what a great example of why people have lost all faith in the MSM.
Feminists, don’t ban The Red Pill, watch it instead (7 January 2017) Even when feminists try really hard to appear mature and empathetic, they fail to convince … e.g. “a movement based on the notion that men and boys, not women, are the real victims of structural inequalities in modern society“. Said by no MRA, ever, Lauren. MRA assert that men and boys are ALSO “victims ofstructural inequalities in modern society“.
Most public sector agencies, and many businesses, develop and enforce policies to guide their employees in the appropriate use of social media. The focus of most such policies is to reduce the likelihood that employees will post something that compromises the organisation that they work for. Conversely, the main criticism of social media policies is their potential to muzzle employees from communicating freely with the public.
A study commissioned by the Australian Electoral Commission recognised that “social media afford(ed) new opportunities for engaging citizens in democratic processes” (p8), but warned that sites can “become ‘digital enclaves’ or ‘echo chambers’ for small groups of like-minded citizens who dominate discussion.” (p29)
Social media policies may make provision to block members of the public who post spam or abusive or threatening messages onto the Facebook page/Twitter stream/etc of the organisation in question.
Few social media policies, however, seem to address the issue of whether staff are allowed to block/ban or remove posts in relation to members of the public who post material that is not offensive, but which may embarass the individual/organisation and/or promote or reflect alternative ideologies or belief systems.
Granted, my research has been limited, but the sole exception I have come across thus far in the public sector is the ‘ACT Government Social Media Policy Guidelines‘. That policy includes the following clause:
“Openness and transparency should be the defaults, meaning blocking users on Twitter and locking Facebook groups designed for public interface is not advisable” (Source – refer page 27)
This topic recently reared its head as a result of my interaction with a government agency known as the Australian Human Rights Commission (‘AHRC’).
As readers of this blog would be aware, I maintain an ongoing interest in the operation of the AHRC (example). That being the case I periodically check the relevant social media accounts to maintain an awareness of what is being said and done, and occasionally to comment.
The other day I was surprised to discover this notice upon attempting to view the Twitter stream of the Sex-Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins:
I looked at my most recent tweets to Ms Jenkins to see if I had inadvertently stepped over the line re: civility. This is what I found:
Fairly tame stuff, huh? As I expected. I challenge Ms Jenkins or anyone else I have communicated with to produce anything that they consider to be so offensive as to justify punitive action. I mean aside from generalised hurt feelings arising from transgressions against cherished ideology.
I’m both a tax-payer and a former public servant, and I would no sooner have binned correspondence from the public/hung up on people/etc than walk to work naked. And make no mistake, blocking constituents on social media is the current-day equivalent of such actions. How things have changed.
I wonder if such action is permissible for federal public servants under the existing legislative/regulatory framework? I wonder how commonly it occurs, and whether anyone actually knows?
I also wonder if the staff who engage in this type of systematic disengagement are more or less likely to hold particular ideological views? This PEW Research article, for example, found that the people most likely to block others on social media held consistent leftist/liberal views.
As I discussed in another blog post, this default position of silencing rather than engaging dissenting voices has become a hallmark of gender feminists.
It must be quite intoxicating to believe that your position is so right, and others so diabolically wrong, that dialogue with unbelievers is not just redundant but seemingly an affront to decency.
General guidelines for public sector staff, in relation to engagement with the public including via social media, are set out in ‘APS Values and Code of Conduct in practice‘. It contains a number of provisions relevant to this issue such as:
2.2.3 The Directions about this Value require APS employees to engage effectively with the community, working actively to provide responsive, client-focused service delivery. <snip> Employees must also ensure that decisions and interactions with clients are objective and impartial, and in accordance with government policy.
4.5.7 <snip> employees should avoid partisan comment and ensure that their approach to speaking publicly about policies supports public confidence in the capacity of the APS to be impartial.
5.1.3 A real conflict of interest occurs where there is a conflict between the public duty and personal interests of an employee that improperly influences the employee in the performance of his or her duties.
The Australian Human Rights Commission comes under the oversight of the Australian Attorney-General. That being the case I approached that Department (the ‘AGD’) as follows:
“Today I noted that I had been blocked from accessing the Twitter stream of a senior member of staff of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Prior to this occurring I can confirm that I did not communicate in a manner that was abusive, threatening, etc (nor make an excessive number of posts for example) … actions that would reasonably justify being blocked or banned. Such an action on the part of a senior public servant appears not just unprofessional, but amounts to censorship being applied to stakeholders simply on the basis of holding a dissenting viewpoint. I am writing to you now to request details of the guidelines under which staff (or agencies themselves) within the AGD are permitted to ban or block members of the public from social media streams or pages. Specifically, is such an action even permissible in the absence of bad language, threats, etc? I look forward to receiving your timely advice regarding this matter.”
The AGD subsequently replied:
“Thank you for contacting the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department (the department). The department is not able to directly assist you. Your enquiry would be more appropriately directed to the Australian Human Rights Commission … “
The social media policy for the Human Rights Commission is provided here. The policy does not clearly state whether staff members are empowered to block people for reasons other than those specified therein – which I did not contravene.
I then directed relevant questions to the Australian Public Service Commission (‘APSC’) and the AHRC. In their initial response the AHRC directed me to their social media policy, which I had already indicated I had read. I replied:
“I am seeking an indication from you as to whether the Commission has either a policy or accepted practice whereby members of staff are empowered make unillateral decisions to place blocks or bans on members of the public seeking to access and engage with various online portals estatblished by the AHRC.
As I indicated in my initial email, my focus is on situations where there has been no clear contravention of the standards of behaviour set out in your policy. I look forward to receiving your further advice on this matter.”
The subsequent response from the AHRC again directed me to their Social Media Policy. From that I think we can assume that they have either not understood the nature of my concern, or that such concerns are only to be addressed on an ad hoc basis.
In contrast I received useful feedback from Paul Casimir, Director Integrity, Employment Policy Group at the APSC:
“The Australian Public Service Commission has not developed guidance for APS agencies about the circumstances in which it would be appropriate for an APS employee or an APS agency to block access to a Twitter feed or similar social media platform. This is a matter for individual agencies to consider in each case having regard to a number of factors including, but not limited to, the obligation under the Commissioner’s Directions to engage effectively with the community.
Where an APS employee has acted in a manner inconsistent with the APS Values or Code of Conduct that matter may be referred to the head of that agency for consideration as a potential breach of the Code of Conduct.
However, it may also be relevant to you to know that the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Ms Kate Jenkins, is a statutory officer appointed under the terms of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. As such, she is not an APS employee and is not bound by either the APS Code of Conduct or the APS Values in the way that APS employees are. The excerpts of your blog post from the APS Values and Code of Conduct In Practice do not apply to her.”
My own position on this matter? I don’t take Ms Jenkins gesture personally in the least. I do find it ironic, however, that someone whose job it is to protect rights should be so amenable to the removal of rights. Indeed the Commission is on record as asserting internet access to be a fundamental human right. The possibility that Ms Jenkins action was tainted with a degree of misandry is similarly repellent.
I believe that the sort of waspish and self-indulgent behaviour common to online feminist echo chambers is completely inappropriate when transposed to the digital portal of a public sector agency. In the latter situation the priority should not be shunning and shaming, but rather sharing and engaging. Such as approach should be consistently applied to all interested stakeholders – regardless of their ideological preferences and/or the extent to which their views align with those of the relevant agency or individual managing the account.
An article by Ruby Hamad has leapt to the front of the field in my ‘Foolish Feminist Articles of 2016’ competition. It’s entitled ‘Why do so few men turn up to hear women speak?’. That’s the question, but we don’t have to read too much before we realise that Ruby already knows the answer … men don’t attend because they are disinterested or even contemptuous of women’s issues.
I beg to differ as I think that many men are keenly interested in women’s issues, if only because in most cases these are actually shared issues. It might surprise Ruby to learn that many advocate s for men’s rights were originally very supportive of feminist principles … prior to realising the chasm between dictionary feminism and feminist strategy/priorities IRL. In terms of showing contempt for the opinions of people of other genders, well with feminists I’d say that’s very clearly a case of ‘pot-kettle-black’.
The focus of Ruby’s article was a particular event, the All About Women Festival.“It’s a full day of talks and discussions about ideas that matter to women and provides an important platform for women’s voices … So, invite your friends, your colleagues, your best friend or your sisters.”
Ruby notes “It is astounding to me that men think they have little gain from an event such as this. Men need to hear first-hand what the world is like for women. Men need to listen while women speak.”
Anyhow let’s move on to consider the real reasons why men might have avoided this event, and other similar events in general. I’d also heartily recommend that readers consider the opinions of others as expressed in two related Reddit discussion threads here and here.
The first and most obvious answer is that men/men’s groups weren’t specifically invited to attend the event, a feminist event which is clearly presented as being about women and women’s voices. It’s hardly surprising that men might be disinclined to attend for fear of causing upset by intruding on a womens safe space. In other words some men may not have attended the event out of respect for women.
Secondly, feminist’s have a history of telling men who attend their events to keep their mouth’s shut, even in the case of men who identify as feminists. Why then would men wish to attend an event where they would be denied the opportunity of full and active participation, or perhaps even singled out for abuse?
Here’s one of countless examples of that occurring:
There’s even a key scene in the film when she gets really mad at a man in the audience and gives him an intense ball-busting dyke response to what simply seems to be his presence. She says: “Like, I feel a hostile male element in here and it’s bothering me…I don’t mind guys being here but I feel a hostile male element and, um, that’s making me, that’s making me agitated.”
When the young man attempts to engage her she explodes at him: “You better get the f–k out of here or I’m going to kick you right in the balls and get you out of here so fast man…. I don’t like your generalizations, man…. So sit down, shut up, or get out. I feel a hostile male vibe in here, and I don’t like it….You don’t feel it and I feel it. You feel something different than I feel!” (Source)
Thirdly, feminist’s themselves rarely attend events discussing mens issues unless to deliberately disrupt the proceedings, and usually after their earlier attempts to have the event cancelled failed (using lobbying and misinformation campaigns). Go ahead and google on ‘feminists disrupt mens event’ to rustle up some examples (here’s something to get you started). Clearly the notion that ‘women need to listen while men speak’ doesn’t fly. Can’t feminists just be grateful that men don’t stoop to reciprocating feminist’s own actions?
Fourthly, feminists, both individually and collectively, routinely use many and varied forms of censorship to block and silence men who endeavour to reach out to women to tell them what the world is like for men. Details in this blog post.
Does anyone else think the underlying message of this article is that feminists have ‘all rights and no responsibility’ when it comes to presenting their case?
And in case anyone thought that only Australian feminists would be sufficiently detached from reality to complain about men not wishing to attend feminist events, here is an example from the northern hemisphere:
If any further proof were needed about the extent of power wielded by the feminist lobby in Australia then consider the fact that gender issues are rarely mentioned by politicians unless their views are in lockstep with the feminist position on the relevant matter. As for direct criticism of feminists or feminism … well that’s as rare as the proverbial hen’s tooth.
That this is the case speaks far more about the effectiveness of feminist lobbying and infiltration of the media and public service, than about the actual number of adherents to feminist ideology out in the broader community.
Yet despite this our elected representatives, from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on down … are too busy cowering in fear at the thought of being labelled misogynists to take a stand. Thus they would rather please a screeching minority group than represent the best interests of the majority of their constituents.
“The recurring theme is the number of MPs in different parties who tell me, privately and in a whisper, “Of course you are absolutely right about this, it is all ridiculous” but – with very few but notable exceptions – will not dare to say so publicly.
This highlights two things. Firstly, most MPs lack courage – even to say things which are just plain common sense.
Secondly, it demonstrates how petrified MPs are at standing up to the increasingly extreme feminist agenda, which no longer seems to argue for equality and thinks it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against men.”
The sitting politicians’ concerns are, unfortunately, understandable when one considers the harsh criticism meted out to those rare individuals who do dare to speak out (related article).
In January 2016 Mark again found himself the target of furious feminist and ‘white knight‘ scorn after he commented upon the rampant gender bias and misrepresentation within the domestic violence debate:
Beyond these few courageous individuals the picture is bleak indeed. So much for living in a parliamentary democracy. So much for freedom of speech. So much for teasing apart a problematic issue and discussing new and/or alternative solutions to achieve positive change.
Now shut-up and prostrate yourselves before the wonder and wisdom of 3rd wave feminism.
In an earlier post I mentioned how feminists routinely assert – or at the very least imply – that women are continually abused by men online. They consistently neglect to mention that many women perpetrate online abuse, and that many of them appear to be feminists/SJW. I have also previously written about the widespread feminist proclivity for silencing those advancing alternative perspectives and/or wilfully dishing-out retribution.
Clementine Ford is a feminist journalist known for the virulently anti-male commentary she disseminates by virtue of her position with Fairfax Media. Should you wish to lodge a complaint in relation to a Fairfax journalist, the first step is to go to the website of the publication that published the offending article. Find and click on the ‘Contact Us’ link, and then send your complaint to the editorial team. For example, with regards to The Age website click on http://www.theage.com.au/support/ and then click on ‘Editorial Feedback’. The next step is to make a complaint to the Australian Press Council.
In late November 2015 Clementine received a message from some fellow called Michael Nolan, who called her a “slut“. She lodged a complaint with his employer which resulted in Michael being fired. Clementine’s version of events is detailed in this article, with a related radio interview here. The incident was also picked up by the international MSM (and note the more than 1,750 readers comments it attracted).
Clementine asserts that there are no consequences for men who threaten women online. That’s demonstrably untrue given that there are laws in place to address such behaviour, as well as actions that can be (and are) taken by ISP’s or web site providers. To the extent that such measures prove ineffective, then any such deficiencies would apply to both male and female trolls. As a consequence it seems pointless to single out men as being immune from repercussions, unless of course the intention is simply to demonise men and build further support for the women-as-victims narrative.
The feminist response to Clementine’s action sought to have us believe that doxing and punishing people for making actual threats of violence was the focus of their fury. This is little more than a ‘red herring’ to win public support, as the true emphasis appears to be silencing those advancing opinions critical of the feminist narrative. We are talking here about comments that very rarely threaten violence, and whose impact is no more severe than one of hurting the feelings of the recipient feminist.
The feminist rage quickly grew and quickly manifested itself in the creation of an online blacklist of those people whom feminists consider to be trolls … essentially a vigilante response.
I don’t support people using foul or threatening language online under any circumstances. But neither do I champion those who respond to such messages by way of shrill over-reaction. Especially when they themselves have an established track-record of disseminating online abuse. And god knows, Clementine Ford falls well and truly into that category …
“Who among us hasn’t had a daydream of going on a rampage and wiping out a third of the male population, AMIRITE?” (Source)
A sampling of some of Clementine’s other noisome literary offerings is provided below (with a few more listed in this post). I might also point out that Clementine recently saw fit to label another Aussie journalist, Miranda Devine, a f**ing c**t! This is mentioned part way through Miranda’s article about pro-feminist censorship entitled ‘So now banks are censoring columnists?’
Clementine Ford truly is a stunning hypocrite, and a potty-mouthed one at that. And if Michael deserved to lose his job then so too does Clementine. And given her prolific and protracted output of gender hate – far more so. So with that in mind, please consider signing this petition.
The response from the online community (to Clementine’s response to Michael Nolan’s comment) was certainly polarised.
Three examples of the anti-feminist response were:
“Australia’s most prominent feminist” Oh god, if that’s the best the movement can offer up. Someone at ABC clearly has been hitting the Kool-Aid fairly darn hard.
This August 2016 article describes how Clementine Ford attacked Erin Pizzey, the founder of the Women’s Shelter movement (but now campaigns for better recognition/support for male victims of DV. See related Reddit discussion thread here.
Opinion: Pricking the social and sexist conscience can sometimes hurt (7 December 2015) “… some commentators chose to remind readers that Ford had called people such as former PM Tony Abbott and columnist Miranda Devine crude names too. The huge difference is that Ford owns her words. She does not threaten violence.” Yoo hoo, Karen, Micheal Nolan didn’t threaten violence either.
Neither this article nor this one really say anything new, but do feature some interesting readers comments. This article, on the other hand, sees a male feminist author calling for compromise get shouted down by feminist readers (related discussion thread here).
Clementine with Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria prior to appearing together on ABC’s Q&A program. Politicians like Dan appear to care more about the number of followers that someone has on social media, than they do about what a person thinks, says, and stands for. His is an attitude that has no doubt played a big role in bringing about the abysmal and still declining state of politics in this country.
The same WA government web page was also the focus of this reddit mens rights discussion thread. Within that thread I came across an interesting post from someone with the moniker ‘dragonsandgoblins’. It’s interesting not just in relation to the information about domestic violence that it contains, but also because of how it demonstrates the censorship that occurs in relation to efforts to broaden the DV debate beyond the feminist-framed male perp/female victim model.
Anyway, this is what the author had to say:
“I actually wrote an article inspired by this exact webpage in 2013 that was published by http://rightnow.org.au/. Or at least it was published for about 4 hours before they pulled it. I’ll copy/paste it here because people may as well read it:
This webpage, hosted by the Government of Western Australia Department for Child Protection, contains two short paragraphs describing the domestic helpline services provided by this state government. The women’s helpline offers a range of services for women experiencing domestic violence. The men’s helpline on the other hand is more singularly focused, only offering counselling, and only for “men who are concerned about becoming violent or abusive“.
The Government of WA does not offer a helpline service to male victims, instead assuming that women are the only victims and that men will always be the perpetrators. This is despite a growing body of evidence that males do suffer from domestic and family violence in significant numbers. For example, the Personal Safety Survey (2006) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that, 780,500 women and 325,700 men aged 15 years and over experienced violence from a current or previous partner in the last twenty years. In other words, 29.4 per cent of victims who suffered domestic violence were men. 92.5 per cent (301,400) of these male victims suffered this violence at the hands of a female partner.
The Publications and Resources webpage from the Government of WA provides domestic violence resources aimed at the general public and they are as gendered as the helpline services. Out of the “Freedom From Fear” resources, three fact sheets and one booklet are targeted at the violent party and, excluding the fact sheet “How do I know if I’m abusive?”, they all use gendered language that exclusively refers to the violent party as male and the victim as female. All of them bear subtitles describing themselves as being “for men who want to change”, with no reference to women who may want to do the same. The fact sheet aimed at victims also uses the same gendered language.
WA isn’t alone. For example, NSW Legal Aid offers a Domestic Violence Practitioner Service and a Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program which aid women and children who are victims in legal matters such as getting Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) and victims’ compensation. The NSW Government Family & Community Services Staying Home Leaving Violence program “…aims to prevent homelessness by working with the Police to remove the perpetrator from the family home so that women and children can remain safely where they are.” If the NSW Government offers similar programs specialising in male victims, I was unable to find them.
The federal government also discriminates against male victims. The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (The National Plan) paints a pitiful picture of the federal stance on male victims. Along with use of gender biased language The National Plan has seen the Commonwealth commit $86 million to support women and children who are victims and only $0.75 million to male victims. This discrepancy in funding is justified through the use of misleading statistics from the ABS Personal Safety Survey.
The section of the page that discusses male victims provides statistics that only 4.4 per cent (21,200) of men who were physically assaulted in the 12 months prior to the survey were assaulted by a current/previous partner compared with 31 per cent (73,800) of women who were physically assaulted. This is misleading because it doesn’t compare the quantity of male victims to female victims – instead it compares what percentage of all assaults against men were domestic violence to what percentage of all assaults against women were.
Looking at just these numbers – 21,200 male and 73,800 female victims – the divide in funding is twenty-five times greater than the divide in victims. The National Plan claims only “a small proportion of men are victims“, yet the ABS survey shows that they are roughly a quarter of all domestic violence victims. Is that really such a minority as to warrant less than one per cent of the funding committed under The National Plan?
Our state and federal governments are perpetrators of gender discrimination. Those discriminated against are not only men, they are victims. Victims who are denied services and support they need based on their gender.
(I apologise for the fact that some of the figures are out of date (for example I am pretty sure the funding disparity under the national plan has increased since 2013), and any dead links. This is presented unaltered from when it was written in 2013.)”
The author of the paper was then asked “Why was it pulled?” and responded:
“Well it was refined by 3 of their editors and myself before going up. After a while one of them was contacted by the editor in chief who pulled it and asked me to make changes such as explicitly mentioning that women are victims more than men (which I do already, since I actually state numbers), saying that I didn’t want funding for women reduced, and calling DV a gendered crime. He also said that I could be “more critical in relation to statistics”. Note that I only take stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, hardly a biased source. He also wanted me to mention that women under report DV. He also said and I quote:
The internet has provided a haven for those inclined to strike out at people in anonymity and usually without fear of repercussion.
The purpose of this blog post is not to propose solutions to this problem, but rather to take a step back and call for an objective, measured and truthful discussion of the relevant issues.
There’s no doubt that women are often targets of online abuse, although there does appear to be a tendency towards embellishment and exaggeration with regards to the nature and extent of such abuse. The author of this article, for example, would have us believe that life on the internet is unbearable for women due to the oppressive behaviour of male trolls.
What is generally absent from articles on this subject is an honest admission that a considerable amount of online abuse is directed at men, and that a substantial proportion of those perpetrating abuse are women/girls. Have a look at the information provided in the chart below, extracted from a 2014 paper by PEW Research.
Why do so many commentators and ‘experts’ fail to acknowledge these significant points?
Surely not the desire to support the feminist narrative of women as the perpetual victims of an unyielding male patriarchy?
The findings of a survey by Norton painted a different picture. Unfortunately however the results were compromised by poor methodology, a common problem with pro-feminist research. In this instance the researchers failed to include questions about male victimisation via online abuse.
So why has this issue garnered a large and increasing amount of attention in recent years? Are people becoming nastier? Is that nastiness becoming more gendered in nature?
There are a number of significant factors that need to be considered here.
Further along the scale one encounters behaviour that does not involve actual threats, but is so persistent and pervasive as to be genuinely threatening in nature.
At the other end are interactions that are little more than assertive dissent in relation to a particular idea or opinion being put forward.
More and more we are witnessing the definition of terms such as online abuse and ‘trolls’ expanded to include behaviour and people who seem undeserving of these pejoratives. Also troubling is the fact that the same types of behaviour decried as abuse or trollish when used by conservative/non-feminists, are seen as acceptable when used by feminists/leftists/SJW. This issue of finessing definitions to suit a narrative is discussed in another blog post.
Why do people, particularly in this case feminists/SJW, so readily misinterpret online communication in this way? I’d suggest that in part it is a deliberate strategy, whilst at other times simply a misunderstanding.
It has been suggested that feminists interpret relatively innocuous messages as hurtful because online communication is a forum where women are truly treated as equals. Men speak to women online as men would speak to other men in real life. It is said that many women are unaccustomed to this gloves-off banter, and interpret it as vindictive rather than as heartfelt and direct. I believe that there is an element of truth to this, although again it is but one of several factors in the mix.
One other reason for exaggerated claims of online hate and abuse is that it provides an excuse to instigate progressively harsher and more intrusive forms of censorship. Censorship is a recurring theme in real-world feminist tactics, and one which I address in another blog post.
Turning again to feminist research, let’s examine a project called the University of NSW ‘Cyberhate Project‘, which is being supported by the Australian Research Council (‘ARC’) with AUD$372,095 of public funding.
I was more than a little concerned to learn that this research project will only survey women. That looks an awful lot like a research project designed with a particular conclusion already firmly in mind. I immediately took this up with the ARC, who dismissed my complaint regarding this obvious ideological bias in the following manner:
“Proposals for ARC funding undergo a rigorous peer review process involving experts in their fields who assess the quality of projects and the capabilities and achievements of applicants. The planning and management of ARC-funded research projects is a matter for individual researchers and institutions (in accordance with ARC funding agreements).”
I’m left wondering just how many of those peers were likely either fellow feminists or sympathisers. Hands up who else thinks that this might not be the most effective vetting process in the case of a polarised issue such as this?
As is virtually de rigeur at The Conversation, readers comments that were deemed unsupportive of the feminist author’s position were quickly excised. In this case that amounted to at least one in four comments. Of the many I read before they disappeared, none of these were in the least bit threatening or abusive.
I posted one of those comments removed by the moderator. It simply stated:
“Emma, Is it not a fact that men are subject to more online harassment than are women? Is it not a fact that many of the perpetrators of online abuse are women? … Might it therefore not be more accurate to say that the real online divide is one between trolls and the rest of us, rather than between men and women as your paper implies?”
Given that men are subject to a considerable amount of online harassment, they should not be excluded from research on this subject. The fact that the finger of blame is often pointed at men alone, when we know full well that many women perpetrate online harassment/abuse, does tend to stick in this writer’s craw. One might consider at this point the example of Australian radfem Clementine Ford.
As with domestic violence and various other topics, feminists persist in labelling issues as “gendered” when they are not, in order to create support for their global war-against-women conspiracy.
What now follows is a collection of links to articles that provide various perspectives on the issue of online harassment/abuse:
Eight things not to say to someone facing online abuse (20 April 2016) See point 4 in this article by misandrist Laura Bates: “Silencing is the end goal of the majority of abuse”. Erm, so all those feminists systematically lodging bogus reports to have people’s social media accounts closed, they would be online abusers then?
“A new survey by the Internet security company Norton (for which I’m an ambassador) shows that nearly half of all Australian women (47 per cent) experience online harassment. That rises to a staggering 76 per cent for women under 30. Unsurprisingly, 70 per cent of women believe online harassment is a significant problem and 60 per cent believe it has got worse in the past year.” And nowhere in this article will you find corresponding statistics in relation to men – the survey didn’t include questions about male victimisation. I wonder why not?
Online harassment of women at risk of becoming ‘established norm’, study finds (8 March 2016) Australia. Guardian article drawing on the Norton survey which air-brushed out male victimisation/female perpetration, and thus robbed the findings of social context. No doubt a good thing from a feminist perspective if that would have diminished the victim status on which their ideology is based.
Were examples of specific rape threats made public? No. How about a formal complaint to police? Apparently not. “Oh look, another politician ginning up fake threats to boost her feminist cred. Never seen that before….” (Source)
I’d say it was no coincidence that it occurred the day after I had an encounter with a couple of aggressive/threatening women whilst I was commenting on an article in the Facebook page of The Guardian Australia. (Hi, Louise and Rebecca).
It’s not the first time this has happened to me, and I doubt it will be the last. But for the time being at least, I couldn’t be bothered persisting with Facebook.
I didn’t actually say or do anything hateful on that day, or on any other day. I didn’t upload porno. Or threaten anyone. Or even use profanity (unlike the two women in question). But those that reported me didn’t care about Facebook rules per se. They just wanted to stop me, and people like me, expressing our views online. And they sought to have all trace of that which had already been posted, removed.
You see, all of my posts using that Facebook account concerned gender-related issues. More specifically, my stance generally contrasts with the feminist position, and feminists don’t take kindly to dissenting views.
I could try to contact Facebook HQ (as I have attempted in the past) to discover what was alleged, and to rebut those allegations. But that would be difficult/impossible because whilst Facebook has streamlined the reporting process, they clearly don’t want to get involved in time-consuming dispute resolution. Read about another person’s experience with Facebook here.
Given previous feminist campaigns against Facebook, I suspect that Facebook is as wary of feminists as our politicians appear to be. And of course, those who made the allegations against me know this.
People reading this who have crossed swords with feminists online would be rolling their eyes at this point in time. They would be thinking “well what does this person expect? Everyone knows that feminists do that stuff all the time”.
The thing is though, I don’t think people in the broader community are fully awake to this. Not even those people sympathetic to what they understand to be feminist ideals.
So to those who don’t realise how real-world feminists behave, consider this post your very own ‘heads-up’. For I can assure you that many in the feminist movement make it their mission to consistently and persistently block the dissemination of messages that run contrary to the feminist narrative.
Feminists even discuss ways and means of getting people off-line – refer examples here and here. It’s always phrased in noble terms such as stopping “trolling” “online bullying”, etc. But the truth is that in the hard-done-by & perpetual-victim mindset of the fervent gender feminist, ANY dissent constitutes trolling, no matter how tactfully expressed.
And indeed I have seen this scenario played out more times than I care to remember. This blog post talks more about this issue, and indeed the theme is revisited in several other posts.
The various tactics that feminists utilise to try to deny their perceived enemies a voice, include:
Blocking specific people from posting on pro-feminist Facebook pages
Removing posts from pro-feminist Facebook pages when they disagree with the views being expressed
Blocking specific people from accessing/posting to pro-feminist Twitter accounts
Lodging exaggerated or false reports with Facebook or Twitter in order to have certain peoples’ accounts suspended/closed
Not uploading readers comments to blogs or web sites when they are seen as unsupportive of the feminist position on the matter
Removing readers comments from blogs or web sites (ditto)
Reporting posts to moderators when they are seen as negative towards the feminist position on the matter
Not allowing any readers comments to be posted
What does it say about the credibility of a social movement when its adherents devote so much time and energy to blocking debate and suppressing information, rather that doing the opposite?
The truth is that feminists of this ilk don’t want to engage in debate, and they don’t want to provide a ‘right of reply’ (even after they have attacked a specific organisation or individual). And they certainly don’t want information circulated that provides the contextual background the public needs to properly consider feminist claims/grievances, particularly when it serves as evidence of feminist double-standards or hypocrisy.
Why not? Well in part it’s because this unchecked element of the feminist movement carry such intense feelings of contempt and anger towards those who question their cause. And in part it’s because they realise that their position on many issues simply cannot be supported with facts and logic. Thus they far more to lose from enabling informed debate, than they have to gain.
So they stifle debate, censor, deflect and misrepresent. Because they can. Any way they can. And feel completely justified and exonerated in doing so. Like so many cockroaches scuttling about in dark places.
TL:DR version: I posted perfectly civil comments in relation to pro-feminist article in The Guardian that weren’t fully supportive of the author’s position. The article was about the horribleness of women’s voices being silenced online. TG then:
deleted my comments from their web site
deleted my comments from their Facebook timeline (in relation to post on same article)
I would suggest that you read the article now and then come back for a brief discussion.
I submitted a comment on the article which briefly appeared online only to then be removed without trace. It didn’t even get the usual place-marker of “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards“. Well, I have read the “standards” and (hand on heart) my comment did not contravene them.
So just how hypocritical is that? Publish an article bemoaning how people are silenced online only to then silence others. Not that The Guardian is any stranger to employing heavy-handed pro-feminist censorship.
Let’s look at a couple of the readers comments that made it through the wringer:
“I dunno. Speaking as a female here, I’ve never had a problem being bullied by the boys online. If we disagree, I can usually deliver a sufficiently ferocious tongue-lashing to make them cringe back in respect. More often, though, we end up flirting through our discussions.
I’ve also had more than one off-putting experience in heavily-moderated forums. While I’m all for civility and respect for fellow-commenters, emotions will rise, taboo words will be used for emphasis, and respecting diversity needs to include accepting that many people don’t share the Official Civilized View on any given issue. There are otherwise intelligent and moral people who have genuine reasons for supporting racist, sexist, and homophobic viewpoints, often backed by science which is at least as solid as that backing the Politically Correct Ideology. And it’s these off-center, alternative, maverick views which offer the most interesting diversity in the marketplace of ideas. Moderating them out of existence because someone will be offended is the worst way to prevent intelligent conversation.
I know I’m not a typical female. But frankly, “typical females” bore me, and I’m afraid that when internet forums are made safe and secure enough for the lame and timorous, it’s the intellectual equivalent of pulling half the water out of a swimming pool so that it’s safe for the little kids. I’m not a little kid anymore, and I don’t swim in the wading pool.” (Cynndara)
Another reader stated:
“Whilst you may have a some of data, on “who” is posting, your analysis is deeply flawed. Let’s start with the click-bait: “Women are silenced online, just as in real life”
The first analysis of your article shows that women are quiet (vs silenced) online and this probably matches offline behaviour. (Yes, in ANY gender balanced group, the loudest are often males… oh goodness… online news matches)
Sadly, this hyperbole characterises much of the rest of your article. Limited data – eg. a paucity of obviously female pseudonyms on some news commenting sites – are extrapolated to such breath taking gender stereotypes as:
Many women are still doing the primary family management and caring roles, so don’t have time.
Yeah, that’s implied by the data isn’t it? Me (a male name) must be hacking out comments whilst my female-type partner (if I have one) would be cleaning the kitchen and caring for the kiddies! Jeez men are slobs.
Of course, matching the template for a standard gender-based argument, the next sentence completely contradicts this:
On the other hand, women are bigger users than men of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, platforms that offer a public voice in a personally controlled social environment.
Whut!? No time to write, but time for FaceBook… yes, of course… no problem, keep that mud slinging…
And so we move on to “hey, but women don’t post because THEY’RE FRIGHTENED!!” (ie. women are abused)
Yes, people – and probably more women – are abused online. although seriously, the “article” that you use to support this – 100,000 tweets mentioning rape – hardly merits mention on scientific grounds, let alone relevance for news-based blogs.
Then we go beyond mere hyperbolic extrapolation of limited data, to explaining the whole news-blog world should be reformed in the image of a single web site, because
moderators silently delete, block and ban rather than facilitate conversation, and journalists don’t take part.
Wrong! Sorry, but even here, on the Guardian, where you’re making this claim article authors DO sometimes contribute. In fact (in my anecdotal experience) the most common authors who respond are those with female-like names! And the Guardian already gives the ability to “up vote” (but not good enough, because they don’t throw in a buzz word like respect…)
Moreover, it is best practice to remove (without trace) reported comments. It does not improve the conversation to tolerate/facilitate trolls.
Here’s a thought: stick to what you can argue from the data, and don’t use a sample to help drive your own barrow. For future research you might consider: 1/ IS there ANY relation to female/male roles on the posting of news items — eg. why is it that most Guardian posts are NOT during evening times and other “males do nothing in the home” time periods, but rather, during normal office hours?
2/ MAYBE (just maybe) women AREN’T INTERESTED on commenting on the news and opinions of random strangers. I’m taking a sample size of one here, in that I actually asked an actual female, rather than impying gender from anonymous poster names, but I say that’s one more than you’ve done.
It could be shocking to internet-gender researchers, but a LOT of people could not care less about commenting into the void, and many females (at least that I talk to) find it quite funny that so many men do so: no-one is hiding 19th century style, they just have whole lives to lead.
3/ TOP posters are irrelevant. They are just loud. Look for meaningful attributions, such as “who becomes a Guardian featured poster” OR “who gets lots of replies”
4/ Keep your abuse tags to where they are relevant. Yes, on Twitter there is a surfeit of abusive idiots. Here, less so. As a male-pseudonym, I get ‘abused’ 2 posts out of 5 or so. Of the most critical, I’d say 50% are female pseudonyms. Why not actually look at (on this site) (i) the type of articles that attract abusers (I can give you some guesses) (ii) the type of post that attracts abusers (iii) the “gender” of abusers.
5/ How many female authors have posted, but then stopped. Preferably with correlation against abusive responses.
At that point, please, feel free to extrapolate.” (Stephen Weaven)
I also subsequently posted a comment on the Facebook entry for this story, which can be found here. That entry is no longer visible in the Guardian’s Facebook timeline, having been removed soon after I posted my comment (shown below). Was this a coincidence? Perhaps, but probably unlikely given that other stories uploaded the same day are still visible.
Below again you can see another person’s comment taken from the Facebook entry for the article. This is one that perfectly typifies the entitled feminist mentality that anyone not fully supportive of the feminist position is a “male troll” whose views are unworthy of publication. On the other hand, feminists who “challenge too directly” are victimised when their posts are deleted.
I’ve had many of my comments removed and am on final warning prior to being banned from the site. On 1 April 2015 a moderator at The Conversation removed yet another comment, one that I added to this article about sexual assault. This is what I wrote:
“It’s deeply ironic that the title of your article is “let’s turn the spotlight on known perpetrators”, but within the first sentence you exclude acknowledgement or consideration of all female perpetrators of sexual assault. On what basis? There’s less reported crimes involving female perps, so it’s OK to just airbrush them out?
I’m also troubled by you referencing the 2013 National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women survey, which didn’t bother to ask respondents about their attitudes towards violence to men. Thus the questions about violence towards women were robbed of context and so we don’t know the extent to which the issue is men’s attitudes towards women, or Australians attitudes towards violence generally.”
As usual my comments were fairly benign in the overall scheme of social discourse. But this time, on impulse I wrote to the two authors of the article to see how they felt about the level and nature of the moderation that was taking place:
“Dear Nicola and Anastasia
I write to you this morning in relation to your article in The Conversation entitled ‘Everyday rape: let’s turn the spotlight on known perpetrators’.
I’m a keen reader of The Conversation and like many other readers often feel compelled to offer a comment on the article presented therein. Also, like many other readers, I am frequently frustrated by the actions of the moderators in removing many of the comments contributed – indeed sometimes most of the comments contributed.
You will have noted that as of now, about half of the comments concerning your article have been removed (including one of mine btw). On this, as on previous occasions, my comments were neither offensive nor irrelevant to the matter being discussed.
I have previously raised my concerns about moderation policy with the relevant people at The Conversation. On those occasions when the moderators do not intervene as readily there have been some very good and quite robust discussions played out with no hint of undue unpleasantness.
Rather than just grumbling about it on this occasion, I was wondering how you – as authors – felt about the situation. Are you being consulted about which comments are removed? I assume not. Do you believe that your article – and indeed your own professional development – would be strengthened by allowing a freer interchange of ideas? My own view is that if one can’t have an honest and robust exchange of alternative viewpoints within a web site run/funded by universities, then where can you?
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing your views”
Dr Nicola Henry of Latrobe University, kindly wrote back on 2 April 2015:
“Thanks for your email. I think you raise a valid concern. I’ve read all of the comments that have thus far been removed (including yours). We of course have no say in this, but I did wonder why they were removed and personally wished they had remained on the site so that people can engage in debate about these issues. Sometimes there are very offensive personal attacks and inappropriate comments made on this site – so I can certainly see why moderation is important. In other words, I can understand why comments that contain vilification are removed, but not comments that pose an alternative view.
This is an issue that I discuss with my students who take my subjects – we discuss freedom of speech and censorship and the sometimes difficult lines that exist between offensive/discriminatory and opinionated speech (the latter I personally don’t think should be censored by the way).
I’m sorry I can’t offer you an explanation as to why your comment was removed from the Conversation site, but I can assure you that both Anastasia and I are always up for critical debate (that’s our job!).”
All good there. I wonder if other authors are mostly of the same view? If so then the problem lies with the attitudes of the management team at ‘The Conversation’.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Conversation is a publicly funded forum for the discussion of current affairs and contemporary issues. It is operated under the auspices of Australian universities.
The Conversation should be about mature, free and open discussion (obviously sans expletives, threats and personal abuse).
The Conversation should not continue to be fettered by political correctness and ideologies du jour like gender feminism.
Here’s a relevant comment that appeared in an October 2015 reddit discussion thread concerning another biased gynocentric article appearing in The Conversation:
“I have opted out of The Conversation. Look at the number of “content removed by moderator” and you can bet that most of them were disagreement with the original article which Cory (the moderator) conflates with “breaching community standards” …
I have written several times to Cory pointing out that their editing is not ‘balanced’ and that they only publish a torrent of hate speech masquerading as academic “research”. His reply was to refer me the “community standards” which is a euphemism for a licence to censor opinions that they don’t like.”
This October 2015 Breitbart article provides an overview as to what is occurring in reader’s comments sections in left-leaning organisations like The Conversation.
And yet thankfully here and here we find evidence of a push-back beginning in some US universities. It’s been a long time coming & there’s such a long way to go.