There’s something rather ironical about the latest topic. Blogging about blogging, specifically what female writers have hideously encountered in the political blogosphere. There is enough material written over the last few days to demonstrate the reality of the situation, as well as the virtual-reality. However, little has been said to counteract the random blogs that seem to be “rolling-eyes” at women speaking out against violent hate speech.

One blog in particular that I came across was posted by “Anna Racoon,” an alias for Susanne Cameron-Blackie on current affairs ‘mega blog’ Dale & Co. And though most of the points raised seemed a rather futile: “Nobody has ever threatened me with rape – not even with a paper bag over my head,” therefore it isn’t important- it certainly addressed how commentary towards women is perceived.

What appears to be missing from the harassment conversation is the general empathy felt for those being besieged in this situation. Having been at the receiving end of racist and misogynistic abuse whether verbally or ‘unverbally,’ it is no doubt a gut-wrenching sensation from whoever has delivered it. Hence Cameron-Blackie’s incredulity for “lily livered women” being threatened by means of rape and murder with a laissez faire attitude, is as ominous as stating “Why are those ‘black and brown’ people making such a fuss about being called n****** and p****?”

And no doubt, women have been subjected to violent verbal abuse parallel to these kinds of racist remarks, despite fierce moderation of hate speech on political blog sites. Whilst ethnophaulism tends to unearth historical and political stereotypical prejudices referring to ‘social failings since origin’ including slavery and subordination; discrimination towards women is predisposed to allude to suppression of women through sexual assault, violent behaviour and debasement.

Every era in Britain has had a tendency to elect a new discriminatory scapegoat, (this decade has focussed on islamophobia and anti-Semitism). However, throughout history, women have continually been discriminated towards, referred to as ‘sluts’ from as far back as the 15th Century. Tough measures are currently put in place when stating pejorative terms towards race, religion and sexuality, yet the ineffectiveness of the Guardian’s Comment is Free moderation towards sexism is highlighted by just glancing down at some of the comments. Women’s Views on News had reiterated this issue earlier this year, and I can’t say that things have changed since then.

I am positive that those within minority groups of any kind are “subconsciously more concerned with being seen as women [as well as ethnic minority] than as bloggers,” having spent the majority of history being discriminated against and only now are being given the platform to show that Britain is supposedly an ‘egalitarian’ society. A little contradictory to Cameron-Blackie’s post who thinks that the worst insults Black and ethnic minority people have faced within comments are being referred to as just that: “black.”

The other issue I have with the inappropriately named “Cry-rape” post is that the author tells female bloggers that they “don’t know whether your abuser is male or female,” and therefore should not be able to make the judgement call that the comments are misogynistic. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter as the abuse itself is awful and the person making the comment has a different agenda whether male or female. A man had sent several obscene threatening emails to Caroline Fallow, a blogger for Catholic Voices. He had declared: “You’re gonna scream when you get yours. Fucking slag. Butter wouldn’t fucking melt, and you’ll cry rape when you get what you’ve asked for. Bitch.”

No doubt, men’s verbal aggression towards women is usually defined in sexual, psychological and physical oppression whilst women’s hostility towards other women is inclined to be a form of internalised prejudice through bullying, as part of a competitive patriarchal hierarchy to conform to. Thus Cameron-Blackie’s blog in itself is a form of internalised discrimination as the basic issue of empathy seems highly lacking within the tone of her posts.


About suswatibasu

Suswati Basu is a writer, journalist, producer and feminist activist residing in London. She has written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the F-Word blogs, and has worked for various media outlets such as the BBC, Channel 4 and for ITV News/ITN. She currently works as a senior intelligence expert.

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