Tag Archives: accountability through documentation

Fighting the trolls: Lindy West engages

I like Lindy West’s pop culture analysis.  She writes for a few online spots like Jezebel.  Feministing noted that she had been harassed by a troll who opened a twitter account in the name of her deceased father.  This is the feministing quote:

Lindy, who you might know from her writing at Jezebel and GQ, was trolled by someone who set up a Twitter account in the name of her dead father. She wrote about how awful that made her feel, and to her surprise, he wrote to her again – but this time, to apologize.

Then, she called him and interviewed him about what had gone through his mind when he decided to do what he did. And recorded it all. “It felt like if I could just get the specifics,” she says, “gather them up and hold them in my hands — then maybe I could start to understand all the people who were still trolling me.”

They talked for two hours, and by the end, she’d forgiven him for the terrible things he’d done – the meanest thing anyone has ever done to her. She understood what his life looked like at the time that he was trolling (he’s since stopped, he says) and she felt sorry for him. Still, she says, it’s disturbing to know that there was nothing wrong with him per se. “It’s frightening that he’s so normal,” she says. He’s not your idea of a monster, and unlike a fairy tale troll, he certainly doesn’t live alone under a bridge. He has women coworkers, and a girlfriend, and women friends. “They have no idea that he used to go online and traumatize women for fun.”

via “It’s frightening that he’s so normal.”.

In a Jezebel essay, West notes her reasoning to humanize and engage with trolls:

I feed trolls. Not always, not every troll, but when I feel like it—when I think it will make me feel better—I talk back. I talk back because the expectation is that when you tell a woman to shut up, she should shut up. I reject that. I talk back because it’s fun, sometimes, to rip an abusive dummy to shreds with my friends. I talk back because my mental health is my priority—not some troll’s personal satisfaction. I talk back because it emboldens other women to talk back online and in real life, and I talk back because women have told me that my responses give them a script for dealing with monsters in their own lives. And, most importantly, I talk back because internet trolls are not, in fact, monsters. They are human beings—and I don’t believe that their attempts to dehumanize me can be counteracted by dehumanizing them. The only thing that fights dehumanization is increased humanization—of me, of them, of marginalized groups in general, of the internet as a whole.

via Don’t Ignore the Trolls. Feed Them Until They Explode..

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Filed under communication, critique, feminism, gender, hacking, health, kindness, representation, resistance, rhetoric, sexism, technology

Solidarity against rape culture at Vanderbilt

The editor of the Vanderbilt student newspaper wrote a nice opinion piece about the visibility of rape culture on a fraternity message board.  After summarizing the toxic discussion, Andre Rouillard shares his conclusion and noted that he had saved the message board discussion and posted it for posterity:

If all of this isn’t rape culture made manifest, then I don’t know what is. I’m not going to waste my limited word count railing against the enabling power of anonymous message boards and social media, the insularity and cliquey-ness of Greek life, or other favorite targets of those who write on this subject but who don’t pay witness to it. This single, 44-post thread is a glimpse into a rape culture that is alive and well here at Vanderbilt. It’s alive in dorm rooms, Greek houses, classrooms and public spaces. It is a culture that commits rape and then comes together to shut down its victim.

“Consider yourself lucky if no one finds this thread,” warns one user. Well, now no one can: The thread was deleted from the website yesterday after 8 p.m. However, you’ll be able to find the entire thread saved here, with the name redacted.

It is plain now that there are groups of individuals at this prestigious, beautiful, diverse institution darkening its classrooms and hallways and making it a less safe and accepting place for the women in attendance. After all of the steps forward that Vanderbilt has taken in my four years here, this thread represents one hundred steps backward. I am deeply ashamed to share classrooms, professors and the name on my soon-to-be-printed diploma with the students represented in this cesspool of destructive gossip and self-serving intimidation. I’d like to think we at Vanderbilt, the lucky few, are better than this — but now, I’m not so sure.

via ROUILLARD: The girl that ratted – InsideVandy: Opinion.

In a badass moment of solidarity, another student has written a shared letter declaring that she is the ‘girl who ratted.’  Sharing risk and making the threats of retaliation visible are both smart responses to the incident.  Julia Ordog explained her strategic thinking:

“I wanted to just do something to make my thoughts on it heard in a concrete way,” she added. Ordog also wanted to demonstrate her support for the alleged victim.

“I came up with this idea of ‘I am the Girl That Ratted’ because in my head, I was thinking about how it really could have been anyone, and how even though I haven’t been a victim myself, it’s something that I feel very passionately about,” she said. “I wanted it to be an ally statement, but also more powerful than that.”

She only circulated the letter to about 60 people initially, who she says were students she had talked to about the online postings, students who she knew were passionate about the issues involved, and close friends. The message spread throughout campus during the course of the day, with Ordog being contacted by several students requesting permission to forward her email along to others.

via ‘I am the girl that ratted’: Collegiate ACB thread sparks viral solidarity movement – News – Inside Vandy.

Small numbers, smart organizing and strategic thinking change culture.

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Filed under feminism, representation, resistance, rhetoric, sexual assault