Cyberbullying watch: Duke edition

Most of you probably know about the Kathy Sierra death-threats episode that has left her fearing for her safety, her blog shut down and her life a mess.

(Above link and rest-of-this-post trigger warning: disturbing content, misogynistic violent threats.)

Some of you might know about last year’s episode of bullying and violent rape threats in a comments thread in the University of New Hampshire school newspaper. A student wrote an inoffensive and brief feminist critique of an advertising flyer; upon which a slew of asshats thought it just the thing to respond with violent outpourings of hate, observations that the woman had not been adequately subject to “deep-dicking”, and that rape with a baseball bat would be just the thing to cure her feminist leanings.

Today a Duke student, Shadee Malaklou, has written a short piece on the her observations of the conflicts between femininity and feminism. (There’s a clumsy ableist barb, but I’m letting that pass for the moment). There is not even anything in the piece that directly addresses men or male behaviour. The article is about the internal conflicts that feminists can experience with regards to “femme” dress and behaviour; a beginning exploration of the conflict Twisty has repeatedly observed between “femininity as-self-policed-subordination” and “femininity as-survival-skill.”

And the comments thread has already started to fly. Let’s hope it doesn’t go beyond the current “idiotic girl”, “Poorly written”, the accusations of psychological disorders, and the speculation that the author is just “confused” and challenged because she’s an Iranian immigrant. Oh, and that she’s unmarriageable (the worst imaginable attribute for a woman!) and “shrill”. I’m amazed it took seven comments to get to “shrill”.

I never used to believe Germaine Greer’s remark that “Women have very little idea how much men hate them.” I always thought she was a little over the top with that one. This week? I’m not so sure.



Categories: gender & feminism

Tags: , ,

2 replies

  1. I didn’t have a chance to read Malaklou’s article until just now. I have to say I have some sympathy with those who accuse it of being badly written: she’s shooting off in all directions about feminism and femininity without finding a focus, elucidating her argument clearly or presenting a well supported conclusion.
    That said, the comments are awfully patronising about her entire worldview, not just her writing style. So far the comments haven’t gone to the violently misogynist extreme of the New Hampshire incident, thankfully.

  2. I agree, it’s not well written. It’s pretty standard college-newspaper fare, and not very different in style or quality from most of the other articles I read on the Chronicle site.
    Thought it was nice to see that she got a little support, the negative responses were entirely out of proportion.
    “…she exposes the soul and the integrity of a whore combined with the flexibility of mind of an Islamist fanatic.”
    I’m just hoping no-one F@rks it.

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