I never intended this blog to become a day by day account of my descent into hell through the various circles of Twitter – maybe it’s a warning to myself that I’m tapping away at that little bell icon too often in search of a dopamine hit that when I sit back before bedtime and survey the day’s wreckage laid out before me, so much of it is Twitter related. Anyway. Misogyny.
I ditched Facebook for good about a year ago. I was sick of the selfies and the histrionics and the perpetual sub clinical exasperation with everyone on there and the whole pointless, echo chamber circle jerk bullshit, so venturing onto Twitter a few weeks ago was an attempt to get back some of the media and less of the social, to discuss things I felt uncertain of with people I didn’t know and to possibly build new alliances with people of common interest. The last few days have felt quite positive, it’s felt as though I’ve been part of a community that’s been building itself from the ground up – lots of people with some similar goals and interests; some JQ nonsense and a bit of low level, bacon waving and not-quite racism, but nothing too horrifying. But then today WAS quite horrifying.
It started this morning with an article about a Muslim woman who was going to compete in a beauty contest, hijab and all. I got into a discussion with a couple of people – I thought this was broadly a good thing, in as much as any kind of beauty contest can ever really be a good thing, some people thought that wasn’t the case, we traded opinions pleasantly enough. But at the same time that this was going on, there were a steadily accumulating pile of grotesque, sexist, racist comments building up – over a hundred at last count. I don’t know why this shocked and disappointed me, really – I suppose I’ve been lucky so far. In the short time I’ve been on Twitter I’ve encountered very little real racism – and nothing like the nauseating misogyny that I saw today; the people I’ve heard defending Tommy Robinson, arguing against Islam and expressing concern over immigration issues have largely been at least as sane and as respectful as myself – the response from a large number of people who espouse the same values was quite revolting – it’s exactly the kind of behaviour they would say is displayed by adherents to a barbaric, medieval religion…
…and then there was an equally gruesome response to some ‘saucy’ photos of the misguided woman who’d led the campaign to have Tommy Robinson removed from Twitter. Someone had got hold of some candid shots of her (possibly him, to be fair – what the fuck would I know anymore?) and people were being encouraged to share them as widely as possible and make degrading comments on them. Vile – to be honest. I’m as appalled by anyone at the vindictive, self righteous way in which her and her team of santimonious outrage merchants colluded to have Tommy’s account closed down, but really folks, this is no way to organise a counter strike. This and the response to the Muslim beauty pagaent contestant just reveals a sizeable and vocal minority (I hope) of ‘our’ side to be disgusting misogynists who can’t spell, can’t think and are just as bigoted and outdated as those they profess to be protesting against. A very shoddy show, which does nothing to bolster ‘our’ credibility. To be fair, I recognised very few names amongst those tossing around the stomach churning comments about women’s genitals from earlier conversations about free speech/Tommy Robinson over the last couple of days – so maybe this is some grubby, muddled fringe element who need to have a serious word with themselves. I dunno. I’m tired and a bit meh about it all.