That is Never the Price We Should Pay
I was just listening to an interview with the always interesting Audrey Watters. Those of you who follow Audrey’s work won’t be surprised by what she had to say, and that isn’t really what I wanted to highlight. Near the end they began talking about blog comments and threats Audrey has received. What I want to talk about is the almost throwaway comment the interviewer made with regards to that.
I’ve embedded the video here. Go ahead and watch from 04:25 until about 5:45.
I’ll quote here what the interviewer said:
“I guess that’s the price you pay for an open – the so-called open – web.”
I went back and listened three times. Then I turned on the captioning and checked again. The interviewer really said that. The price of an open web is threats of violence and actual violence against women.
This is so completely unacceptable on so many levels that I’m not even sure where to start (or finish). Violence against women is never just “the price we pay” for something. It is our obligation as educators, professionals, and just plain old human beings to call out both the behavior and the acceptance of the behavior as offensive and work together to create an environment where our online spaces are safe for everyone.
Just in case you think this isn’t really that big a deal, I point you to the tale of Anita Sarkeesian. Anita runs a site called Feminist Frequency that discusses the placement and status of women in video games, and she has born more than her fair share (if there is such a thing as a fair share) of threats. If you have the stomach to see what escalation of this behavior looks like in gory detail, take a look at the Feminist Frequency Tumblr One Week of Harassment on Twitter. Just beware that, as taken right from the top of the site, the content includes “…misogyny, gendered insults, victim blaming, incitement to suicide, sexual violence, rape and death threats.”
That is never a price we should pay – for anything.