Monday, 31 October 2016

The @fifthwavefeminism nonsense - get over it.

The account @fifthwavefeminism was deliberately targeting feminists. It had more than 16,000 followers. Those followers were aware that their job was to look at the screenshot of a feminist comment, find that feminist and target her with whatever you felt like from derision to abuse and every shade in between.

In itself derision is ok. When 16,000 people (mainly men) see that as their "duty" having sworn allegiance to an account by following it like particularly bigoted sheep, it is absolutely not ok and it is targeted trolling. I have been accused of shutting down the account because I couldn't take "constructive criticism". Hmmm. Ok. Is this sort of thing "constructive criticism" these days?

More importantly when there is a dog pile of that type, and the account's operator knows full well that will be the result when he "chooses" his feminist for "satire".... the account of the feminist becomes virtually useless. I had 563 notifications when I turned on. It is still happening. I am currently raising money for Rape Crisis and the complainant in the Ched Evans debacle. This was important to me and a lot of people.

This anti-feminist account can play innocent about its intentions all it likes ... but it stopped me from doing something worthwhile for over 24 hours. That is a direct attack. That same day that account did the same to 2 other feminists and to Lily Allen and it had been targeting women in this way for weeks. It was not a harmless account. It was a font of misogyny. It has been replaced by another whining account.

I will however address the "satire". The account wasn't happy with my tweet below. This actually wasn't that important to me either. I was busy focusing on poor application of a section of law in rape cases. But don't let that get in the way of a good misogynist.

Here was the picture of the condom machine placed in a woman's toilet and the slogan on that machine which makes no reference to the women who will be using it.

Let's be clear. I approve of the use of condoms. I talk to my daughter about their importance. I have, in the past done the whole condom on a banana thing. I have zero problems with condoms. They are a good and positive thing.

I commented on the placement of a machine with a slogan clearly aimed at men, within a women's toilet which used language which didn't refer to them at all other than as a "thing" to enter. 

I know how to deconstruct the language of advertising. I understand semiotics. I have studied Saussure. I know how to apply feminist theory on advertising too.

So here goes... one last attempt to stop the stupid onslaught of attacks about a topic that frankly I'd forgotten about about ten minutes after posting as it really isn't the key issue of the day for me. There are a lot of offensively marketed products for women. A LOT. It was just one that caught my eye and I had  a little tweet about it.

The key thing is that it was placed in a woman's toilet. That should mean the advertising would be sensibly aimed at women. "Don't let him in" might be appropriate. This means a woman is protecting her own body and referring to your own body as an entrance is ok. This is discussing the intimacy of your own vagina. A woman talking of her vagina as a thing that is part of her is fine.  Her having agency in gatekeeping access to her own body is fine. That isn't what this does.

When the language used is clearly addressed to a man the connotations are very different. The words "don't go in" very clearly remove the woman as a human being from the sexual act and make her a "thing" to be entered. The woman is nowhere in that message. Yet it is in a space that only females would (should) access. I don't think a human with a penis is a woman.  That isn't phobia. It is biology.

The language removes a woman from  her part in the sexual act. It makes her vagina an object. It makes that object a danger to men but does not discuss how their penis may be a danger to her. It is placed in a woman's space. These were my objections.

For a woman to be targeted by this product effectively it would need to talk about the diseases she could catch from a penis that she allows into her body. I was right in suggesting that putting a product that can be used by women too, in a woman's loo, but talking of her vagina as an object that is a problem to go in. That is not good. I still don't think that is good. It is the last I will say about something I'm not THAT arsed about.


Actually - it really doesn't matter what I say. This wasn't a case of "A feminist said something I don't agree with..." It was a case of "a feminist said ....something"

The account has now been replaced by an which continues to "target me" / whine like a door that needs oiling. It accuses me of removing free speech. Yeah. That old chestnut. I have no idea how many women reported that account. I hope they always report accounts that attempt to silence women. Incidentally the account also tried to endanger a young student and was happily gloating about it as she emailed it.

Also, the stuff I said wasn't even new. This research from "Women as Subject and Audience In World War II Venereal Disease Posters"  - Whitton 2010 reveals the following...