Of all social cancers plaguing America, and there are many, misogyny is seldom addressed regardless it is becoming a widely accepted form of expression to abridge women’s rights; including their freedom of speech. There are an alarming number of men who cannot tolerate women using their freedom of speech to express their opinions, and they are resorting to cowardly threats of violence to silence them with impunity. Although all American women are victims of misogyny, those involved in journalism are increasingly the targets of violent sexual threats by anonymous cowards in hopes of frightening them to stop expressing their opinions.
For the past two years in the U.K., female print journalists have been the victims of threats that have raised awareness of the problem, but like America, freedom of speech shields the cowards and prevents them from being held accountable for their vile acts. While the Internet provides a forum for women to express their opinion to a wider audience, it also gives misogynists an avenue to use threats of rape with immunity from non-existent laws. In England, journalists and female members of Parliament received threats on social media outlet Twitter that they would be tracked down and raped including “Shall we meet near your house? You better watch your back. I’m gonna rape you at 8pm and put the video all over the internet.” One MP grew weary of the threats and spoke out publicly; “It is vile, absolutely vile. It’s about power. It is somebody trying to make you frightened. It is about sex as a weapon, and it’s not just me. Women who speak out in public life, especially if they champion equality, get serious abuse.”
Female bloggers, writers, and columnists are frequent targets of violent threats and it is just one reason many writers use pseudonyms like “ProgWarrior,” “JohnDoe,” and “rmuse” to hide not only their identity, but their gender to minimize the rape and death threats anonymous cowards use in hopes of silencing them. Issuing threats of rape are a favorite among the misogynists and a noted psychoanalyst said “The threat of sexual violence is violence itself, it’s a complete violation and it’s meant to shut the people up. It’s hateful and it raises the question, what do these men find so threatening?” What the men find threatening are articulate women who they cannot debate civilly and so they immediately resort to sexual violence threats to shut women up.
It is not unusual for the cowards to get access to women’s contact email address and send explicit threats such as “I am going to tie you up and rape you, choke you and watch you die while I f*ck you and maybe then you’d think twice before writing shit.” Then there a very standard threats on Facebook and Twitter such as “you need to get f*cked,” “go take Midol you b*tch” “You’re so raped!” “F*cking whore!” “I know where you live,” “Ugly libtard c*nt,” “gang rape —> (insert name here)” for the sole purpose of silencing opinions they cannot argue against. Those are typical right-wing fear monger threats, and although they are brutally disturbing, it is threats from the left that are difficult to comprehend.
Ever since President Obama failed to be the uber-progressive the professional left expected would grant their every whim and wish, a cult of emoprogs, firebaggers, and the new “emotarians” (emoprog-libertarians) have lashed out at female liberal writers who fail to condemn and criticize the President for all manner of imagined slights. It is normal to be labeled “murderer, war monger, torturer, wh*re, and c*nt” for failing to join the anti-Obama bandwagon, and particularly for expecting civil debate on issues.
Anyone who writes to express an opinion or support issues like women’s rights, voting rights, equality, or gun safety measures opens themselves up for disagreement and criticism, and it is a fact of life that comes with the territory. However, when female writers express their opinions misogynists take it as their license to use threats of sexual violence that is beyond criticism; it is to abridge their freedom of speech. The frustrating aspect is social media have done absolutely nothing to curtail the very real threats they claim are the cowards’ freedom of speech, and despite appeals to filter and ban users who use violent threats, there is nothing being done. Local law enforcement officials are little help and a common suggestion is to stop writing or “don’t be so petty” because “all they did is threaten to rape you.” It is a typical misogynist’s response that reveals the anti-woman sentiment permeates American society.
There are sociologists who claim the level of misogyny plaguing American women today is different than it was in the past because of the Internet and anonymity and that is likely true, but it is no excuse and there has been no attempts to find a solution. In part, the rise of conservatism and particularly the “political Christian right, which is explicitly anti-feminist,” with their “misogynist’s handbook” (the bible) empowers and institutionalizes misogyny. In that sense, misogyny has increased as conservative Christian Republicans have attacked women’s reproductive rights that was settled by the Supreme Court forty years ago. However, even that does not completely explain the violent sexual threats against women for expressing their opinion on issues that have no connection to reproductive health.
Likely, misogynists are threatened by women who are better educated, better politically informed, and financially independent and they fear their dominance in American society is waning. Not all men are misogynists, but those who are not have done little to speak out against the anti-woman movement and it is especially true of most male writers who seldom support women’s issues. Women, especially those who express their opinion using the written word, do not want special treatment or “knights in shining armor” to come to their rescue. What they expect, is to exercise their freedom of speech without fearing threats of sexual violence that every man enjoys and an end to misogyny for all women. Apparently that is too much to ask.