Yesterday two of the top trending hashtags on Twitter were #IvankaTrump and #JKRowling. These two women have a few things in common (i.e. they are both wealthy, white, presumably heterosexual and apparently interested in fashion). I believe the similarities basically end there. Ideologically, they seem poles apart. Also, they work in different areas. One is in politics while the other is a writer. And yet, they were targeted for similar, shocking abuse and harassment by tens of thousands of people. There were commonalities in their detractors’ tweets, namely sex based insults and mentions/threats of violence. People actually tweeted that they wanted to harm these women and they wanted them dead. In Ivanka Trump’s case it appeared to be an aversion to her as a person, as well as something she said publicly. In J.K. Rowling’s case the abuse related to offence taken at her views (on women, transgender women, etc.).
Ivanka Trump is not my favourite person. I find her family deeply offensive and dangerous for the health of the planet and all its inhabitants. J.K. Rowling, as a fellow feminist, as well as a woman who has worked for years to improve things for girls, has my full support. But the issue here is not whether I (or anyone else) like or dislike these women personally. At least it shouldn’t be. It is the treatment reserved for women who displease others when they speak publicly. I am a proponent of civility. I am wholeheartedly against threatening women just because I dislike them or their views. I leave that sort of behaviour to misogynists.
Yesterday on Twitter misogyny reared its ugly head and prevailed. It was a feast day for misogynists, and a battle won in the war on women. As per usual the aim was to silence women, an age-old misogynist aim. Tens of thousands of people participated, abusing these two women publicly and clearly feeling perfectly comfortable doing so. When this sort of thing happens it is not just the women targeted who feel threatened. It shows all women that the price we may pay for speaking up is a torrential outpouring of hate and abuse. Women who took part in these hate fests did themselves a disservice; they contributed to the silencing of all women’s voices and the war on women.
© 2020 Alline Cormier
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