Monday, February 24, 2014

I Hope all the non-Misogynists just Don't Post Online

I've been feeling particularly left out at work lately when I hear the men yelling all around me in response to an email chain they have going among themselves, myself being the only one not included (naturally).  Not that I care particularly about discussing politics with them, but it hurts to be left out.  I can understand why I'm not invited to the strip clubs after work events with them, and why I'm not included on the email chain dedicated to passing around degrading pictures of women, but I feel pretty awful being left out of everything because I'm a girl.  The guy who walks by everyday and asks "Where's the homo?" referring to a coworker won't even say hi to me, but he'll stand there and joke about the Playboy magazines he has back at his desk with the guy next to me as though I'm not even there.  I didn't think that work would be like this - I knew there was misogyny and it was going to be tough for me to break through and get people to accept me, but I really didn't anticipate me working here for a year and a half and some people still not saying hello to me, preferring instead to sniff and announce "I smell the homo!"  Their attitudes are disgusting to me, but I know nothing will change them so I just try to ignore it rather than argue.

There was an interesting article in Gawker about Reddit and their moderator approved policy of protecting pedophiles from abuse by banning users who out others as having admitted to pedophilia.  A moderator was quoted in the thread as saying :
"Look at it this way: you're in a thread, and you see that someone's posted nudie pics if [sic] the chick they replied to. You have one of two thoughts - a) "that's pretty creepy", or b) "nice tits". But if you see that someone has shown that another person is a kiddy fiddler, you're going to be angry. Now, while you may not, other people will want to punish that person."
 which I have found to be a common sort of opinion on the various subreddits I've visited.  Women who post pictures of their bodies are haunted by them in every thread they go into while men who post stories of doing terrible things (including rape and being pedophiles) are protected and even defended by the community.  The common response towards women who complain about this is that they put those pictures out there so they should have known better, never mind the fact that the men put their own stories of pedophilia out there and should have expected such a response.  It's a commentary on the state of Reddit that these men are aghast when their past posts about committing rape or whatever else are used to discount their arguments in relevant threads while women can expect their body pictures to show up in any thread they post in.

This echoes the typical response after a woman has been raped, when she is asked what she was wearing or if she willingly went home with the guy or if she consented to other sexual acts with him.  This is just another form of "she was asking for it", as though her decision to post pictures of her (which, personally, I don't think is a wise one) means she is consenting to widespread use of those pictures to humiliate and silence her.

It's incredible to me that the moderator quoted above can't thing of any responses to someone distributing someone else's pictures in a way they did not intend with the intention of undermining their argument beyond a dismissive "That's creepy" or an interested "nice tits" (and really, women, you should be flattered.)  His lack of empathy for people who go through this as compared to his feelings of protecting pedophiles from anger is disturbing but certainly not uncommon.  The now-defunct website IsAnyoneUp offered a platform for scorned lovers to post pictures and personal information of their now exes, and it was wildly popular despite the obvious cruelty behind the idea.  The people whose lives were upended by having their personal pictures and information posted on this site were overwhelmingly women, and the fact that the website was as popular as it was is exemplary of the utter lack of feelings we have about ruining a woman's life and reputation, mainly because "She took the picture, she was asking for it".  The fact that we feel that women who take these pictures of themselves deserve to be punished or outed for what they are ("sluts", of course) is disgusting and belies the deep seated misogyny in a society that claims to be free of sexism because women are as common in the workplace as men.  She took a picture, she's a whore, disregard her.  She wanted attention, now she's getting it, she should be happy men are looking at her and thinking "nice tits".

I used to read the /r/seduction subreddit with some frequency, mainly because I thought the stories were so obviously fake that they were hilarious, until I heard some of the men I work with using the terminology used on there.  It astounded me that people I knew in real life could be like those guys on /r/seduction, viewing women as prizes to be won or achievements to be unlocked by the end of a night by following a few specific steps and rules, removing a woman's agency by lying and playing games with her and essentially tricking her into doing what he wants her to do.  My time on /r/seduction and the similar (but exponentially worse) /r/theredpill was both enlightening in that I didn't know there were so many people out there who thought this way and disheartening because I didn't know there were so many people out there who thought this way.

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