A Twitstorm in a teacup: The last bitter stand of hegemonic misogyny in the UK?

Twitter has claws
 It’s been hard to avoid the repeated stories of trolls on twitter threatening to rape and murder several female public figures. It’s almost as if the Twitter sewage pump has burst and now the mess is leaking everywhere with all the misdirected anger of trolls spilling out into your ears nose and mouth. Perhaps they should rename the network ‘Shitter’ given the excrement that has been spewing from it.

Who are the perpetrators? Given Twitter’s anonymity I can only give an educated guess, but if my own internet experience is anything to go by it is probable that teenagers make up the larger proportion, with a smaller group of angry disenfranchised men making up the rest. Whilst the teenagers are just displaying their ignorance of acceptable norms (not excusable but slightly more understandable) it’s the angry masculinists that I find more insidious. Whilst Twitter has rightfully introduced an abuse button, which will do much to remedy the situation, what does this say about men in today’s world? I always find it tragically funny that today some men are still bandying around an idea of a feminist conspiracy or supremacy, probably with the underlying belief that as men they are afforded supremacy as a birthright. That birthright has rightfully been consigned to a different time for the most part but that doesn’t mean the last of the entitled misogynists are going quietly.

Equality is very far from being achieved given the lack of female directors, board members and the issues surrounding female bishops in the church. Not only that, but some of the abuse and sexual assault that everyday women and some of my close friends have been subject to is frightening. There have been a lot of loud incidents of late such as the lady who danced in the place where she was sexually assaulted on the tube (a worryingly common occurrence on public transport world-wide) and the perplexing proliferation of pro-masculine websites that claim men are an oppressed minority is a growing problem.

I find it utterly mad that today in 2013 some bitter frustrated men can still argue that they are the victims despite the fact that women are still consigned in the main to smaller, quieter positions in social standing, on TV and in companies. It cannot be denied that men are still afforded the better social and professional positions as well as pay-packets in today’s society. Some argue it’s due to meritocracy, which in some cases may certainly be true. However, are women always given the same opportunities to begin with or are they cast aside because of their gender or because their workplace is very much a boys club (they still exist sadly)? For that matter are they even encouraged to excel given the disproportionate lack of role models compared to men?

Worse still is the media portrayal of women. Women’s magazines are cesspits of self-doubt and catty gossip; whilst it is common in fiction for women to be side characters and most of the time when they are allowed a greater role it is as the metaphorical prize or as a sex object. The Bechdel test, which asks whether a work of fiction features at least two female protagonists that get to talk to one another about something other than a man, still holds very true even in modern fiction sadly. Is it any wonder that women will often settle for their perceived role in society when they are granted such a subjugated voice in fiction (don’t even get me started on Stephanie Meyer and EL James literature).

Gender equality is by no means equal on either the male of the female side and will probably never be 100 per cent equal. However the un-ironic “women know your limits” attitude that has come across in this Twitstorm is telling and whilst the larger public reaction of both men and women has been one of shock and disgust the undercurrent of misogyny still flows sadly and it’s going to be a while before it reaches the metaphorical sewage works. 

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