Same Shit, Different Band
September 30, 2013 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry: 'I will not accept online misogyny' "Being part of a band born on the internet means a daily sift through a barrage of sexually explicit abuse. Why are female musicians expected to put up with this?"

Before it was Grimes coming out about misogynistic fans, now it's CHVRCHES, but it's all part of a bigger problem.
posted by SansPoint (102 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related: Julia Gillard last night - She said the sexist abuse she endured in office filled her with "murderous rage".
posted by unliteral at 4:09 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's depressing how many different women in the music industry have written/could write this kind of article. I'm glad women are speaking out, but the stories fill me with rage and I'm not even a musician.
posted by immlass at 4:13 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


To me, the most horrifying thing about this is that the men who make these comments are not just internet trolls. They are real people who interact with women on a daily basis. I get that people say things online that they would never say to someone in person, but really, what kind of person do you have to be to do that?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


Since we began the Facebook page, I have seen every message – good and bad – that has come into our inbox.

Worth noting that messaging the Facebook page is currently disabled.
posted by Jairus at 4:16 PM on September 30, 2013


It's depressing how many different women in the music industry have written/could write this kind of article.

I'm starting to think that any woman with a public profile could write this article.

Who are these fuckwits that threaten to rape any woman they can see on a screen?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:16 PM on September 30, 2013 [22 favorites]


Having zero tolerance for the internet still makes the internet the internet, unfortunately, complete with misogyny and obligatory spelling errors. And *then* you get accused of censorship, by the folks who just want teh lolz, regardless of their douchebaggery.

Act like a slaw, getting treated like a slaw. Mayo, shredded carrots & raisins!
posted by markkraft at 4:21 PM on September 30, 2013


This is good, in as much as I can't think of any better remedy than calling these troglodytes on their shit and slowly, painfully stigmatizing them into a little corner. Good on her.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 4:22 PM on September 30, 2013


As horribly depressing as this is, I can't theorize a workable solution to it. How does this become something more than (yet again) about how horribly disappointed everyone is over the reality of other people's depravity? Unless there's away into educating depraved people into caring, or taking away all their internet privileges, I'm not sure how this is a solvable problem, even in theory.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:22 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


markkraft Raisins in coleslaw? You MONSTER.
posted by SansPoint at 4:23 PM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Who are these fuckwits that threaten to rape any woman they can see on a screen?

I would love to see someone do some deep analysis on this. I have a – possibly dangerously naive – notion that they are an EXTREMELY loud and nasty minority, particularly skilled at polluting our discourse at scale. This being different (though obviously connected to) your ordinary sexism that surrounds us in other ways. But I could be wrong. I'd love to know.

(We do know they are almost exclusively men, of course.)
posted by feckless at 4:23 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, no to raisins. Raisins are for bran.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 4:24 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


They are real people who interact with women on a daily basis. I get that people say things online that they would never say to someone in person, but really, what kind of person do you have to be to do that?

I look forward to a social shift where caring whether the people you count as your friends (or employees) act like this or not is important. I do not allow people who act like that into my inner circle, or any more into my outer circle than I must. Having someone you know turn to you in real life and go, "really, you thought that was okay?" is a lot more impactful than some invisible people shaking fingers at you, if that.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:25 PM on September 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


feckless: "I would love to see someone do some deep analysis on this. I have a – possibly dangerously naive – notion that they are an EXTREMELY loud and nasty minority, particularly skilled at polluting our discourse at scale. This being different (though obviously connected to) your ordinary sexism that surrounds us in other ways. But I could be wrong. I'd love to know."

I thought about it. Then I thought about my mental health. Then I decided to research something completely different.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Charge 5$ to set up an account and comment. Gets rid of a lot of the cess.
posted by Renoroc at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2013 [23 favorites]


notion that they are an EXTREMELY loud and nasty minority

See, I assume they are pretty much exactly like the kind of people who, in person, will say things like, "Of course, John's not smart enough to finish that degree JUST KIDDING JOHN." Except with almost no retribution. Just because it's fun to be vile.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:31 PM on September 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


[Please, if you'd like to be able to have these conversations not be insta-deletes on MetaFilter, have a conversation about the topic of the thread don't just show up here with a pre-formed fight starting rant.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:31 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


As horribly depressing as this is, I can't theorize a workable solution to it.

I can. It's happening on Facebook. People have to be more or less their real identities there. Have every comment which contains a threat of rape researched and the personal information of the poster sent to the police who then show up at the guy's door and scare the bejeezus out of him for verbal assault and whatever other charges could possibly be part of threatening to rape a woman in public.

They don't have to actually press charges. But having the cops knock on your door and take you downtown for questioning will likely keep that one guy from doing it again. Do that with enough guys, word gets out this isn't something our culture will tolerate.

This should be done by Facebook, too, to keep the culture there from devolving.
posted by hippybear at 4:31 PM on September 30, 2013 [25 favorites]


This article actually kind of breaks my heart a little. I mean, I'm with her 150% in terms of the "this is bullshit and needs to stop". But her phrasing is just... so.... painfully self-aware and careful. So, so... restricted, almost. She is screamingly polite about the whole thing, as though she knows she'll get the damn tone argument if she dares express true anger. The fact that she felt she had to be like, "I don't hate men!"

No one should ever have to hedge their article on how motherfucking RAPE THREATS are inappropriate and harmful. That should not be a controversial thing to say, and she should not be having to tiptoe around people's egos and comfort zones in order to feel safe in expressing her entirely righteous anger about the incredibly inappropriate shit male strangers have said to her. I hope that she really is just a very calm, polite person and that's what's coming through here.... but I'm afraid that she knows instead if she comes out and really says what she's thinking that she will get so much pushback it could negatively impact her career. Hooray, yes, let's make life more difficult for the victim.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:32 PM on September 30, 2013 [62 favorites]


i>"As horribly depressing as this is, I can't theorize a workable solution to it."

The solution, frankly, is to have better designed commenting systems that actually create a bit of a reputation system, and that encourage users with a sense of identity. In addition, users should be able to have robust blocking / deleting features for their pages or for communities they maintain.

YouTube is horrible at this. Facebook, somewhat less so, but still far from good.

Oh, and sadly, it often means that you, as a creator, have to either have -- or grow -- a thick skin at times... or simply make sure that you are insulated from the worst aspects of internet trolls by your people... if you can afford people.
posted by markkraft at 4:33 PM on September 30, 2013


It's happening on Facebook

I think that's where she says she is having the worst problems: she is reading every piece of input that comes to the bands' Facebook face or whatever they call it now
posted by thelonius at 4:48 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


sandettie light vessel automatic: "This is good, in as much as I can't think of any better remedy than calling these troglodytes on their shit and slowly, painfully stigmatizing them into a little corner."

This all played out on Facebook. Unless the hatemongers were smart enough to spew their bile from the protection of a fake account (which Facebook isn't supposed to allow, but good luck getting them to pay attention), the author of the linked article could sic the cops on them (allowing for jurisdictional problems). A lot of this stuff rises to the level of a threat that deserves a response, and having the police pop round to ask some questions would remind those little fuckers that actions have consequences.

Not a universal solution, but it'd be a start.
posted by adamrice at 4:48 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


many of the comments remind me of that kid who went to jail for saying he wanted to go on a school shooting spree. i mean, regarding the seriousness of rape threats.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:51 PM on September 30, 2013


A simple option that might fix most of this (but has its own problems, see below). If your comment system had a couple settings like:

- Allow comments only from accounts more than N days old
- Allow comments only from accounts blocked by fewer than N users

You'd get rid of a huge percentage of this crap. Of course, the worry is that you might get cyberbully gang-ups, where groups of people like schoolkids decide to poison someone by blocking them as a group.

So some further refinement is probably necessary -- like for example registered bands, businesses and organizations could subscribe to exclusive blocklists that only they got to add abusers to -- said blocklist would not be influenceable by random users. Less readily effective but less open to abuse.

Another thing that might limit well-poisoning is the inability to damage someone's reputation if they have not actually attempted to interact with you -- you couldn't just block a random person who had not done anything at all. Still, it does get damn complicated once you start going down this road.

And expecting a monopolist service like Facebook to provide something like this is asking a lot -- they don't need the headaches. So the ability to subscribe to third-party reputation lists would seem to be necessary. And that in turn introduces its own set of issues...
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:51 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder what kind of police response she'd get, if she filed a complaint against the rape threateners in their home jurisdictions? I'm afraid that it's would be a "so, no actual crime has occurred?" kind of one.
posted by thelonius at 4:53 PM on September 30, 2013


I'm trying to find a link to that famous Usenet form message people used to sarcastically post that said something about "You are proposing a technical solution to a social problem". Can't seem to find it, probably remembering substantially wrong in some way. One for askme, I suppose. But before someone says something to that effect I thought I'd preempt it. But yeah, a technical magic bullet is a fantasy. Best one can hope for is something that facilitates some social self-correction without too many negative side effects.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:09 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd call eliminating (or limiting, even) anonymity a social change, although of course there must be some technical implementation of any such scheme.
posted by thelonius at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2013


I'm afraid that it's would be a "so, no actual crime has occurred?" kind of one.

Since when is threatening bodily violation of someone not a crime? Kids under 18 are being taken into custody and kicked out of school for making similar online threats against people at their schools. I've heard several news stories about that just in the past couple of months.

Or is this a case of "students threatening to shoot up a teacher at school is "terrorism", but Rape Culture, therefore threatening to force sex on a woman doesn't count"?
posted by hippybear at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


many of the comments remind me of that kid who went to jail for saying he wanted to go on a school shooting spree. i mean, regarding the seriousness of rape threats.

this would be like if that kid made school shooting threats on the school's facebook page - that's instantly far more credible of a threat because it is directed to the person you're threatening. and even if they won't actually go and rape her, threatening her with rape is designed to try to get her to shut up - it's an attack all on it's own.

besides that thought, i don't really understand what you mean by your comment - do you think rape threats aren't serious and don't change the way women relate to the world?
posted by nadawi at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


many of the comments remind me of that kid who went to jail for saying he wanted to go on a school shooting spree. i mean, regarding the seriousness of rape threats.

Making general vague tough talk with a person you are arguing with is very different from telling a specific person that you are going to rape them. If you see them as similar, that is on you.
posted by jessamyn at 5:13 PM on September 30, 2013 [29 favorites]


A slight derail from the focus on the issues to focus on the band:
For those who don't know, Chvrches is a pretty good synthpop band! Here are four music videos: The Mother We Share, Gun, Recover, and Recover live at a roller rink.
Okay, derail over.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:19 PM on September 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


hippybear - of course communicating threats is a crime, but are the police treating it as such? I suspect they don't think it is a "real" crime, in many cases.
posted by thelonius at 5:23 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


similar, but not exactly the same. in the case of this FPP, i'd chalk both up to people writin' stupid stuff on the internet based on the context.

and even if they won't actually go and rape her, threatening her with rape is designed to try to get her to shut up

is it? can you read every person's mind?

do you think rape threats aren't serious and don't change the way women relate to the world?

no, rape threats are serious and very bad things.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:26 PM on September 30, 2013


You know, yay on finding out cool new music! Boo on the context for finding it.

Seriously, I am so embarrassed for being born an outie. Why do I have to be embarrassed for being born a primate?

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE DAMN YOUR EYES! A LITTLE CIVILITY IS NOT THAT HARD. Please stop making others, who at least try, ashamed to be part of your species.
posted by Samizdata at 5:30 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


and even if they won't actually go and rape her, threatening her with rape is designed to try to get her to shut up

is it? can you read every person's mind?


I honestly cannot imagine that such a threat is professed in the spirit of rapport. Can you offer an genuine example of a way such a threat is meant to encourage conversation? If not, then we're left with "rape threats discourage the threatened woman from participating" which, you know, isn't mind reading but an application of basic emotional intelligence and empathy.
posted by griphus at 5:36 PM on September 30, 2013 [46 favorites]


the effect of rape threats and the thought process of the person who designed the threat are two different things, it's an application of basic understanding of the world.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2013


Going To Maine: "A slight derail from the focus on the issues to focus on the band:
For those who don't know, Chvrches is a pretty good synthpop band! Here are four music videos: The Mother We Share, Gun, Recover, and Recover live at a roller rink.
Okay, derail over.
"

Wow. Gun is AWESOME. Had me chair dancing.
posted by Samizdata at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Quick question, cupcake: What do you think the thought process is behind messaging the official Facebook page of a band and saying, in response to their posting asking fans not to send messages talking about how they really want to fuck the lead singer, "This isn't rape culture. You'll know rape culture when I'm raping you, bitch", or "I have your address and I will come round to your house and give u anal and you will love it you twat lol"?

For that matter, what's the thought process behind messaging the official Facebook page of a band and talking about how much you want to fuck the lead singer?
posted by palomar at 5:51 PM on September 30, 2013


the effect of rape threats and the thought process of the person who designed the threat are two different things, it's an application of basic understanding of the world

is it your contention that someone who makes a rape threat couldn't possibly have any idea what effect that would have and factor that into his thought process?

or are you mistaking his thought process for yours when you make comments?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:52 PM on September 30, 2013


when i've received rape threats online it's pretty much a)men who wanted to rape me and/or b)men who wanted me to shut up/men who use it to "win" an argument (which is pretty much trying to get me to shut up).
posted by nadawi at 5:53 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


the effect of rape threats and the thought process of the person who designed the threat are two different things, it's an application of basic understanding of the world.

Oh please. There are only so many motivations for terrorizing women on the internet via rape threats. None of them are positive or even morally neutral. Saying that we need some deeper knowledge of the commenters' intentions is giving them a ridiculous amount of undeserved benefit of the doubt for some hypothetical misguidedness.
posted by daisystomper at 5:54 PM on September 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


i don't know the thought process going through each person's mind when they make a comment like that, but i'm pretty confident that none of you know either.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:56 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well we know it's not a fine how-do-you-do, so what else could it be?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:58 PM on September 30, 2013


If you don't have any insight into the thought process behind a rape threat, then why are you stepping in to defend rape threats and those who make them? What do you get out of that?
posted by palomar at 5:58 PM on September 30, 2013 [42 favorites]


rape threats also affect more than just the woman they're directed at - i worry when i say something publicly as a woman, especially when discussing feminism or rape culture or sexism, that this will be the time that i get the notice of men who employ these tactics. when rape threats are tolerated they serve to create an atmosphere where women are afraid to speak up. the only solution to that is more people speaking up and not tolerating this in social groups they're involved with both online and off.
posted by nadawi at 5:58 PM on September 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


cupcake1337: "i don't know the thought process going through each person's mind when they make a comment like that, but i'm pretty confident that none of you know either."

Why is this so important to you, that the internal monologue of a man sitting at a keyboard very deliberately finding the page of a singer, then deliberately typing out a sexual fantasy, then sending it, then sending a rape threat when told "I don't want to hear your fantasy", be not considered as wanting to silence, hurt or harm the woman he's talking to? Or rather, talking at?

Why is it that this is where you're arguing, where you are drawing the line, where you are stopping and saying "no, wait, that was unfair".

Unfair is locking down my online presence even though it disadvantages me professionally, so does having a page bogged down with sexual harassment, innuendo (ha!) and rape threats and sexist bullshit - so does the mental toll moderating that.

It may seem unfair that I don't give a flying fuck what trolls and rape threat makers think, or what they want, or what they're trying to achieve, but they've had plenty of chances to make their wishes known without actively threatening to hurt women. They can clean it up and talk like adults - who can have passionate and angry conversations without threatening death and rape on each other - or they can be shut down and shut up and shut out. For the good of everyone, including themselves.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:03 PM on September 30, 2013 [48 favorites]


I absolutely love this band, and Lauren Mayberry's a part of that. When I originally read that she had a background in journalism, I thought it was just a cool quirky thing. It's fantastic to see how well she's using those skills now.

I also like how important it is to them to be seen as equals within the band- I read an article about that too a while back but can't seem to find it now as all googling turns up is this current topic.

Their music is fantastic and they are awesome live. I've been suspecting that they are going to become very popular very fast, even before this happened. I think this is going to propel her into stardom, and she'll be able to use her notoriety and feminist journalism powers for good like she did here. Maybe this is just the beginning. I'm excited for it.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 6:05 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Adding to Going To Maine's derail, here's one of my favorites from the newly released album: We Sink). Ahh so good
posted by GastrocNemesis at 6:07 PM on September 30, 2013


i'm not defend rape threats and those who make them. i pointed out a case where someone said something in the form of "people who do X do it because they are trying to Y" without any substantiation. i don't think the comment was helpful towards understanding the situation. what they're thinking when they make rape threats is an issue of facts and not something arguing about unless you have evidence.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:10 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


well, i don't know what a mad dog is thinking about either - but i'm still gonna shoot him
posted by pyramid termite at 6:12 PM on September 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


i have the evidence of people who have threatened me with rape and the discussions of women who have received rape threats and many rape threats follow a pretty particular pattern of women speaking up and then receiving rape threats. sorry i don't have a double blind study or anything, but unless you make rape threats or know people who do and can offer a counter theory then i don't really care that you object to my comment.
posted by nadawi at 6:14 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


[maybe we could not do the "what about the people making rape threats' feelings?" derail. It's a textbook troll maneuver whether intentioned that way or not. Up to you guys.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Do you agree, cupcake1337, that making rape threats has the clear effect of sending a message to the woman that she should shut up?

I mean, we don't have to read intent/minds here: does the pervasive online rape threat culture have the *effect* of telling women to shut up? Simple question.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2013


On the technical side, the issue is that every (social) system ever designed is built from a perspective of "how do I get the most eyeballs on this the most quickly so I can cash out" or "I have never interacted with people and my idealist vision of how nice people are will ensure this is never abused" and not "what are some obvious problems which will inevitably arise, how can we try to mitigate those from the get-go?"

Email (and its hideous hell-child, spam) is the most obvious example, but commenting systems are a very close second. We always approach shit like this as humans in the same way--"whoa, this is awesome, let's do it!", and assume we'll be able to apply technical band-aids later to whatever "minor" problems crop up. (See also climate change, etc.)

On the social side, of course rape culture and sexism are the hugest part, but so is our knee-jerk reaction to protecting "free speech" and our supposed right to say any damn thing, without consequence. Everything is "all or nothing" these days, and everything online is without consequence and therefore without accountability. There are viable reasons to allow anonymous speech (protest against the powerful, for example), but leaving threats is not one of them.

I mean, what if leaving a rape threat online made you unemployable (as it should, certainly if you have a pattern of abuse)?* What if calling people "niggers" or other racist shit did that, too? Right now we have this huge disconnect--things that would certainly have real life consequences if said in person (or written in a letter or whatever) have no consequences if said online. And yet, a lot of us spend a lot of time online, indeed, would have no business or income if online didn't exist. If you spend time doing it, it's "real life." If you lost your job because you told someone to get raped, you might think twice about doing it again--or ever.

I got caught and arrested for shoplifting the very first time I tried it--age 14--and I can tell you I was never tempted again, and to this day am careful to not accidentally do it (put things inside other things to carry them around the store and forget they're there, etc.). If leaving a death threat at age 14 got you a serious visit from the authorities, you'd probably decide that wasn't so cool. If doing it twice got you a night in jail, you'd really think twice.**

* Until you got help--demonstrated change, showed remorse, did not continue being a vile human being. Everyone should have a chance to redeem themselves.

** A friend got arrested for repeatedly not paying traffic violations. That single night in jail, for the soft suburbs dude he was and is, was enough to scare him straight. I'm not a lock 'em up kind of guy, but there is a place for learning that actions have consequences.

posted by maxwelton at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


what they're thinking when they make rape threats is an issue of facts and not something arguing about unless you have evidence.

No. This is a ridiculous statement. It's not even an argument, it's just laughable. Come on.
posted by palomar at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Again: We know they're not doing it to be nice. I can't think of any other goals than actual threat and intimidation to silence, and if you can you haven't told us about it. In the meantime, you've got several women telling you exactly what the effect is. Quibbling over semantics--and not even accurately--is pretty gross.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:16 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


i don't think the comment was helpful towards understanding the situation.

What do you not understand about the situation? Many people in this thread have first-hand experience with the sort of issues that Lauren Mayberry is going through and speaking out against. There are people here who are more than willing to help you with whatever aspect of this you are not getting. Ask questions in good faith, and they'll be answered, I promise.
posted by griphus at 6:16 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


cupcake1337: "i'm not defend rape threats and those who make them. i pointed out a case where someone said something in the form of "people who do X do it because they are trying to Y" without any substantiation. i don't think the comment was helpful towards understanding the situation. what they're thinking when they make rape threats is an issue of facts and not something arguing about unless you have evidence."

One can have all sorts of intents, but the effects are separate things. I mean, I really cannot work out how making a rape threat is NOT supposed to harm, hurt, silence or intimidate women. I really can't, even if the intent is not those things (what the fuck do they think is going to happen though?) the actual effect of their actions is pretty clear. And that's what we're talking about - the actual effects of widespread rape threat online that are specifically aimed at women.

But the point remains - in a thread about rape threats you're worried about the possibility of misinterpreting the people making the threat. That seems a curious tack to take, and one that removes the reality of the effects in order to prioritise the experience of the threatening party.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


And this is why we can't have nice things....
posted by Samizdata at 6:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


GastrocNemesis: "(Adding to Going To Maine's derail, here's one of my favorites from the newly released album: We Sink ). Ahh so good"

You get paid by them for marketing, don't you?

Between the earlier tracks and this one, I MUST go music shopping...
posted by Samizdata at 6:19 PM on September 30, 2013



One can have all sorts of intents, but the effects are separate things.


exactly. there was a claim about intent and i was responding to it.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:19 PM on September 30, 2013


exactly. there was a claim about intent and i was responding to it.

By denying the only possible intentions?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:21 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


intentional fallacy

"the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art."[1] The author, they argue, cannot be reconstructed from a writing - the text is the only source of meaning, and any details of the author's desires or life are purely extraneous. Such thinking essentially states that the author's intended meaning and purpose for the exposition are fundamentally unnecessary to the reader’s interpretation.
posted by pyramid termite at 6:24 PM on September 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


At times like this I wish our discussions were robust enough to stay on track after someone, say, digs in to defend a pedantic and unimportant hill they ill-advisedly got onto.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:30 PM on September 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


[Folks, make an effort to stick to the topic of the thread. If you want to talk to people about their personal belief system, MeMail is the most appropriate venue.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:40 PM on September 30, 2013


Oh shit, CHVRCHES. The Current has been playing a song of theirs and I love it. I am very sad that they're apparently getting harassed. =/ What the hell, harassing shitheads?
posted by kavasa at 6:40 PM on September 30, 2013


OK, first, I am not trying to undermine the real and very negative effects of rape threats.

BUT

I think there is a not-insignificant population of people making the rape threats who think they're being funny or edgy, and are so completely blind to the shit women go through that they have no concept of how awful and un-funny they're being. They're operating with 4chan humor levels, where they see someone complaining so they think "har har won't this rape talk be funny har har har". They're the same people who think beating up hookers in GTA is the very best part of the game. They are silencing and abusing women, but many of them are not conscious of it because they see the women complaining as whiny and overreacting.

Now, they're capable of this kind of disconnect because they're emotionally void man-children who lack basic empathy, so don't think I'm trying to defend them. But I think in many cases they're not actively thinking of themselves as oppressors, they think they're being totally cool like Tosh.0 or some bullshit.

(I say this because I had a long conversation recently with someone who made a particularly awful rape joke, and it was clear by the end they had no idea why it was offensive, thought women who were offended were overreacting, and thought they should be allowed to make whatever jokes they want because freedom or some shit)
posted by schroedinger at 6:41 PM on September 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


I would hope that most people participating in this discussion are familiar with this story, since it seems to have been a watershed moment in confronting this problem, and Twitter has since taken substantive steps in direct response to the public outcry:

Twitter under fire after bank note campaigner is target of rape threats
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:42 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actual human moderation seems to be pretty much the only workable solution to this, and yeah, the Greater Interwebs mostly don't do that. So. Yeah. It's one of the unfortunate things about online anonymity that rampant toxic harassment is going to happen. And when it does, it's very overwhelming and terrible and puts you in a very vulnerable place. Sigh.

CVRCHES are amazing, too, which just makes me DOUBLE SAD ABOUT ASSHEADS.
posted by byanyothername at 6:44 PM on September 30, 2013


sure maybe they think they're being funny but you combat that by saying "this shit is not ok" again and again and again. when men respond to a woman's complaints of being sexualized with rape threats they lose the cover of they didn't know better.
posted by nadawi at 6:46 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus, what is with men? Seriously, I'm a man, and what the FUCK?? I have literally, to my knowledge, never even DATED a woman who hasn't been raped in some point in their lives. This is horrifying to me, and it only gets worse as I get older.

Like, do these people not have mothers? Or do they not make the leap? Christ. I'm almost like it's where I feel like we need to issue handbooks out to little boys with "These Things Are Not OK to Say or Threaten or Do to Any Woman, Evereverever" with drawings or something. It's further amazing that every one of these people was taught my someone else that it's ok to engage in this. It's staggering.
posted by nevercalm at 6:48 PM on September 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


At times like this I wish our discussions were robust enough to stay on track after someone, say, digs in to defend a pedantic and unimportant hill they ill-advisedly got onto.

Remember Clippy from MS Word? There should be a MeFi mascot who pops up, a la Clippy, who says things like, "Are you sure you want to engage with this pedantic, fighty bullmalarkey? You could take a break and have some pancakes instead."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:49 PM on September 30, 2013 [17 favorites]


If I left a comment (which would be rightly bombed from space on this site):

"so-and-so, get raped"

What possible interpretation of that comment justifies it? I mean, if someone is in such a bro-space or whatever that "get raped" is just a harmless "ha ha" to them, they clearly need a reminder that for at least 51% of the population, that is a serious threat they actively spend time worrying about. Finding something funny doesn't excuse it if it is, in fact, harmful. And words can be harmful.

Intentions don't matter, at all. What you say does. Words have meaning, convey things, and just because someone might find it funny to threaten people ("I didn't mean it, honest! I'm a nice guy!") doesn't change the meaning of the words themselves.

If I think it's funny to call the bus station and tell them there's a bomb in a locker, there is a real-world consequence to my actions. I can still do it if I want, but when they catch me, I'm going to pay. The reason is that the person receiving the call cannot possibly know I'm pranking them, and the consequence of ignoring a threat might be the death or injury of dozens or hundreds of people.

Online, there is currently no consequences to hate speech--and worse, many "threat hosting" services are fighting the idea of consequences. But the people receiving these threats can only assume that the person writing them means it. And if it makes them less likely to talk freely, decide whether to participate in an activity or even worry about their safety in "the real world," that's a huge, unacceptable cost and a huge loss for society as a whole.

Yes, it's difficult to police stuff online, but that just makes it more important to find a fix and implement change. Mathowie and company have done a good job here. It doesn't scale, you say? Well, maybe comments don't, and larger services shouldn't have them. It's too expensive, you say? In which case, you're asking the rest of us to socialize your costs in an effort to maximize your profit.

We're primates. Society is the way we fix "societal problems" our animal natures invite. One of the tools society has is enforcing norms and dealing out punishments when our collectively agreed upon norms are violated.*

Knowing they will be arrested for burning a cross may not make a racist change their world view, but if it keeps the cross from being burned, the outcome for the rest of society is the same as if the racist actually did change their views. And if it keeps a couple of bros (who don't think they're racist without maybe thinking that one all the way through) from burning one as a joke--knowing their asses will end up in jail--that works out for society, too.

You'll note society doesn't care about the intentions of the different actors in the cross example. All society cares about is that no crosses are burnt.

* Yes, norms are oftentimes tools of the powerful, but as we've seen, we can slowly change them for the better.
posted by maxwelton at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I totally understand the impulse to say "don't they have mothers/sisters?" but to me that sort of construction still relies on women being the other and men having to think of a woman they'd want to protect to keep from threatening to rape someone. the question I wonder about is "don't they understand that women are people?" and they don't and that's the problem.
posted by nadawi at 6:58 PM on September 30, 2013 [29 favorites]


Plus, there's nuance. One of my favorite things to ever say to people when being hyperbolic was "oh go die in a fire." Then I had one of my best friend's fathers die in a fire. My sister committed suicide over 15 years ago, and to this day I flinch when someone says "I wish I could just kill myself."

Fine. You might need that experience to remind you that you shouldn't say things which could be potentially hurtful, and then you start to discover that everything you say could potentially hurt anyone. You either learn to be kind, or you start to argue that people shouldn't be so sensitive.

For my part, I stopped saying "die in a fire" and I've learned that I generally won't say much about the "kill myself" shit until the 5th occurrence and then I'll just casually mention what happened and say that that phrase holds a heavy weight with me.

But to threaten rape and sexual violence is like a whole other world. The only thing I can think of is that "I'll kill you" is acceptable to use in response to things like "I'm going to do x," in a completely joking way. Fine, I guess, death is maybe kind of abstract to a lot of people, or too big to comprehend.

But rape? Some of the things said to that writer who then went off the grid or something I could barely read, and they weren't even directed at me! Like I sit there, stare at the entire message and think "wow. What sort of person could write that, think "perfect!" and hit send??" I'm in NYC, I bump into a thousand people a day, should I assume that 10% of them should be sent away with a kick in the crotch?

I don't think using a FB style login for all this gack is a great answer. One thing I would LOVE to see is for the practice of obscuring the names and faces of these absolute fucking assholes to cease, like tomorrow. It just allows it to continue. Want it to stop? Just start mass posting screengrabs. I think that what the internet affords is the lack of consequence for you saying something totally ridiculous. Most people wouldn't have he balls to walk up to someone in a mall and say this insane shit, because then you could call them out to a group of people and say "this dude is fucking crazy." It won't stop it, but I imagine it might minimize it to a degree. Is there a legal thing? Just put up the same pic she did, without the name and face obscured. Problem solved.

There's been like three misogyny related posts here in hours, and I'm just looking to bury myself in a closet or something.
posted by nevercalm at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I totally understand the impulse to say "don't they have mothers/sisters?" but to me that sort of construction still relies on women being the other and men having to think of a woman they'd want to protect to keep from threatening to rape someone. the question I wonder about is "don't they understand that women are people?" and they don't and that's the problem.

Should've previewed. I understand what you're saying and I agree. I should say I'm up on this stuff but in a world full of very unrefined, coarse people who would think nothing of telling you what an amazing asshole you are and how undeserving you are of life, but when you say "you kiss your mother with that mouth?" will often sort of pause. It's more a device than a way of thinking, for me at least. I understand the larger point, but I think that in my little world you have to sort of choke some people up first, and then explain it to them later. If they'll ever listen.
posted by nevercalm at 7:24 PM on September 30, 2013


I totally understand the impulse to say "don't they have mothers/sisters?" but to me that sort of construction still relies on women being the other and men having to think of a woman they'd want to protect to keep from threatening to rape someone. the question I wonder about is "don't they understand that women are people?" and they don't and that's the problem.

I understand this frustration (I feel it, too), but I also think the "don't they understand that women are people?" is implicit in the "don't they have mothers/sisters?" framing. That is, it's not just they would want to protect their mothers or sisters because they're their mothers and sisters; it's that in the simple fact of having mothers or sisters, wouldn't they be able to conclude that women are people?

Anyway, as to motives of men who threaten rape online: the most recent rape threat I received (well, I got several of them) was via the Hidden LA page on Facebook, where there was an article posted about local museums deaccessioning parts of their collections. Two guys were making fun of the curator quoted in the article for using the words "accessioning" and "deaccessioning" when "buy" and "sell" would suffice. I commented that in the museum world, "accessioning" and "deaccessioning" are terms with more specific meanings, and relate to the legal and registrarial process of bringing works in or out of a collection beyond a specific financial transaction.

Both men sent multiple messages telling me that I was a pretentious fucking whore and a cunt, that I should shut the fuck up, and that if I ever entered their conversation again, they would teach me not to interrupt men by waiting for me after work and taking turns raping me in all orifices until I was in so much pain I would beg for death.

Yes, it's difficult to glean what their intentions could possibly be.
posted by scody at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2013 [56 favorites]


I just wanted to say that I bought the Chvrches album last night and it is incredible.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2013


Nobody is ever going to solve this problem until we solve the ultimate problem. Which is:

Why do men hate women? Yes, it's not all men hating all women, but there's apparently a huge number of men out there that fucking haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate women with all their hearts and souls and desperately want those bitches to be raped and killed....and express these feelings. If we're lucky, they only stick to sharing that on the Internet rather than in real life too.

I just want to know: what did we do to deserve this? Is it because we're weaker and smaller? Birth the babies? Make the dinners? Didn't spread 'em whenever a man wanted to stick his dick in us? Why is there this giant cosmic hate?

Until that goes away (approximately never, I'm guessing), there's no solution to this shit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:33 PM on September 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


Rather than begging for idle speculation, one thing she can do right now is report them.

'I will not accept online misogyny' are strong words, but at some point, she has to walk the walk.
posted by Ardiril at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2013


"She should do more!" "She hasn't done enough!" "How do we know what they really meant?!"

shut UP i am tired of this shit
posted by elizardbits at 7:37 PM on September 30, 2013 [71 favorites]


Jesus, Scody.

I just spent all day watching Anita Sarkeesian's stuff on something of a whim, and then find this, and...

Not to be reductivist, but good lord women online are braver and more resilient than I imagine I'll ever be able to manage.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:40 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


'I will not accept online misogyny' are strong words, but at some point, she has to walk the walk.

Combating Rape: Like Everything Else, You're Doing It Wrong, Lady
posted by scody at 7:41 PM on September 30, 2013 [49 favorites]


Ardiril: "Rather than begging for idle speculation, one thing she can do right now is report them.

'I will not accept online misogyny' are strong words, but at some point, she has to walk the walk.
"

Given that facebook will censor pictures of nude sculptures, and women breastfeeding, yet refuse to remove groups centred around rape jokes, exactly how much do you think hitting the report button will do? Why do you think she hasn't already done it? What more should she do? How much more vulnerable should she be?

THIS IS WALKING THE WALK.

This, right here? This is walking the walk, she is doing it. She is making the effort, she is shutting this shit down, and organisations like facebook throw up their hands because "it's automated" and "we go by the community" and so on. Because news orgs let the comments slide.

Because people actually think they're helping when they say "oh, did you report it?" as if that hasn't been done. As if that doesn't get turned around and used against them. The fallacy is that everyone is just like us - except the rapists think that too, the trolls think that too. When the comment is undeleted, the rape threat stands, the DV joke group remains, that's their proof that, yeah, the world likes them and thinks they're right.

And then you come and tell a woman that she's not doing enough?
posted by geek anachronism at 7:43 PM on September 30, 2013 [56 favorites]


she totally called it on the comments below the article. and those are just the ones that haven't been deleted.
posted by nadawi at 7:51 PM on September 30, 2013


Ugh. This sucks. I just saw them at FYF and they were way better than I'd expected.

"she totally called it on the comments below the article. and those are just the ones that haven't been deleted."

And she was close enough about this thread.
posted by klangklangston at 8:03 PM on September 30, 2013


I should've said in my "I'll kill you" comment about things people say every day jokingly. When some random person in a bar says "I'll kill you" in response to a joke, it's one thing. Bodies are tough to get rid of, murder is statistically not often gotten away with, cops actually listen when it happens.

Rape is a whole other thing. It happens constantly, every day, and when you try to talk about it having happened, you're either taken seriously or have to jump through hoops after a very damaging incident. I can't think of anything else that has the potential for real violence as possible and possible-to-occur-with-no-repurcussions as this level of inexcusable shit. Just as I don't have to encounter serious, regular racism most days, I don't really ever have to think about living with the constant sort of back of the brain threat of rape. But what I have encountered has really left me filled with this tangible dread. I can't imagine walking around like that constantly.
posted by nevercalm at 8:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, what exactly constitutes "walking the walk"? We press the report button, what happens, a few of the comments maybe get deleted? We call the cops to report online rape threats, but will they take us seriously? Will the cops commit any precious resources to go knocking on these assholes' doors? We post about it endlessly, all over the place, but what happens other than more rape threats and tone policing?

Seriously, tell me, what more can we women do, short of reenacting some misandrist lullabies?
posted by yasaman at 8:19 PM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Damn good band, damn good editorial. Don't tell me she's not walking the walk.

She name-checks the Everyday Sexism Project, the Twitter feed of which is essential.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:36 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this stuff on the rise or not?

I think it is, but I am a catastrophizer.

Yet I also think the threats have a note of desperate, blustering, fearful rearguard action to them I don't remember much of 5 or 6 years ago.
posted by jamjam at 8:38 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really think the only thing that will change it is serious legal consequences. People commenting outside the jurisdiction of the victim may be able to avoid punishment, but I imagine that with language barriers, a fair number of the rape-threateners are within the US, and therefore could be visited by the cops for this. It may be that the threats are too unspecific to be prosecuted as a material threat, since it's unspecific, but it's surely harassment.

The problem is that in order to do this, websites and ISPs must be ready to hand over identifying information to any law enforcement agency that asks for them. This is going to create a whole lot of privacy concerns. But it might be worth it.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:06 PM on September 30, 2013


The problem is that in order to do this, websites and ISPs must be ready to hand over identifying information to any law enforcement agency that asks for them. This is going to create a whole lot of privacy concerns. But it might be worth it.

Privacy laws in western democracies generally have exceptions for service providers to disclose the identity of a user, where that user is (or is reasonably suspected to be) using the service to commit a crime.

Making rape threats or murder threats is a crime. In most jurisdictions, using a communications service such as telephone lines, the postal service and even the internet more generally to make those threats is criminal behaviour.

You don't get a reasonable expectation of privacy when you are committing a crime.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: "The problem is that in order to do this, websites and ISPs must be ready to hand over identifying information to any law enforcement agency that asks for them. This is going to create a whole lot of privacy concerns. But it might be worth it."

Given how many comments are through facebook, under real names? I don't know that ISPs need to do much. Start with the low-hanging fruit, no need for ISP and website interference. It's like they're sending letters with their name and address (and workplace, and likes, and preferences for cat pictures) on the back.

We treat these arseholes like they're masterminds, like they're anonymous. They often aren't even using a pseudonym.
posted by geek anachronism at 9:25 PM on September 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


We treat these arseholes like they're masterminds, like they're anonymous. They often aren't even using a pseudonym.

Yes. Facebook should ban these motherfuckers, for a start. But their 'moderation' practices are a nothing more than a figleaf.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:41 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Posting about this is incredibly brave, because talking about this always brings more threats and rape apologists out of the woodwork, but it needs to be done.
posted by NoraReed at 12:00 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Act like a slut, getting treated like a sluy [sic]"

If only "sluy" was not a typo, but rather an obscure word meaning "a woman nonetheless deserving of my respect as a fellow human being, and also please disregard the first half of this sentence."
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:19 AM on October 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Singular Lady of Uncredited Yeah-she's-totally-okay-as-a-person-ness
posted by Going To Maine at 6:35 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rather than begging for idle speculation, one thing she can do right now is report them.

You seem awfully certain she hasn't. Do you know her personally? Or are you just assuming?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ms. Mayberry is infinitely more erudite and calm than I would be, but she's still getting shit on for speaking up, like her statement is either het up and whiny or the practical equivalent to a request for people to accept Andrea Dworkin as their new lord and savior. We can't win! Just like in Grimes' Tumblr post, Ms. Mayberry makes sure to outright state that she doesn't hate men, that she has wonderful male friends/bandmates, etc. because she knows she'll be accused of being a man-hating harpy just for not wanting to be harassed and threatened. I'll hold my breath in anticipation of the "well, if she insists on showing her face outside of ladies-only music festivals, she's just getting what's coming to her!" brigade.

This probably exists somewhere already, but I'd really like to make a flow chart that is a more in-depth version of this comic by Jim Hines -- Sexual Harassment Conversations in Comic Form -- to show all of us ladies that no matter what, no matter how much or how little we say and no matter how politely or brusquely or intelligently or flippantly we say it, we will always be fucking up and bringing harassment upon ourselves. All paths lead to You're Doing It Wrong.

    Have you been threatened with rape/assault online? No.
Thank you for stating definitively that online harassment does not happen to anyone, anywhere. I will now begin using your existence as proof that people who say they have been threatened are exaggerating and/or lying. If you insist that your personal experience is not meant to be universalized in order to form an effective blanket dismissal of others' contrary experiences, you'll be Doing It Wrong.
    Have you been threatened with rape/assault online? Yes.
Get over it! Everyone has to deal with this behavior; it is not gendered and not a big deal at all. Anyway, I hope you reported it. Otherwise, any harassment experienced by others will be the direct result of your failure to step up and eliminate the source of their woes. You're Doing It Wrong.
    Did you report it? No.
That is because rape threats and harassment are extremely uncommon and not a serious problem. If they were a serious problem, you would have reported it. Your failure to report is also verifiable proof that you are lying. Other victims of harassment only have you to blame for not stopping their harassment, which would have been stopped if only you had reported yours. You're Doing It Wrong.
    Did you report it? Yes.
I hope you made sure that you reported it to the right people! I also hope you've lived the life of a saint, because if we found out that you've ever done anything except remain a pristinely sober virgin since birth, you're in for a wild ride. On the other hand, if you have remained a pristinely sober virgin since birth, jeez, loosen up and live a little! Why are you being so uptight? You're Doing It Wrong.
    To whom was the threat reported? [anyone except the police]
It is not their job to address this. Moderating the internet is too hard, as is self-restraint. Publicly indicating that people should not threaten to rape/assault other people is thought policing social justice warrior Tumblr misandry. Besides, how do you expect us to take you seriously if you are not willing to go to the police? You're Doing It Wrong.
    To whom was the threat reported? The police.
Whoa, whoa! Grow a thicker skin, you are overreacting! This is not a police matter; it is just the way the internet/world is and you should really get used to it instead of succumbing to emotional hysteria. You're Doing It Wrong.
    Did you publicize the name of the person who threatened you? No, I was not comfortable doing so.
How are we supposed to take you seriously if you are not willing to publicly identify these vanishingly few abusive people by name? They deserve to have a chance to respond to your heinous accusations. You're Doing It Wrong.
    Did you publicize the name of the person who threatened you? No, they were anonymous.
Obviously, you just need to do whatever you need to do to find out who they actually are. Use technology or whatever, it's 2013. If you just eliminated all anonymity on the entire internet, it would probably be a little inconvenient, but your problem would be solved. See how easy it is to come up with reasonable solutions? You're Doing It Wrong.
    Did you publicize the name of the person who threatened you? Yes.
You have no proof that they were serious. They were joking, you are lying, or both. I know all of this because I do. Your accusation is therefore nothing more than a sexist witch hunt. You're Doing It Wrong.

As always, I trust that everyone who thinks "just ignore them and they'll go away" is a viable solution is busy thanking their lucky stars for never having been in a position where that blissfully naive idea has been proven -- often obsessively and violently -- demonstrably false.

I have never heard of Chvrches before but I'm going to buy their records just like I bought Grimes' records because I am so goddamn sick of this shit and I fucking love it when people are moved to speak up and sing out in spite of it all.
posted by divined by radio at 8:27 AM on October 1, 2013 [32 favorites]


CHVRCHES are da bomb, think I came across them first on sirius and jennylsq (I think it was her) was like "yeah, you might think this song (mother we share) is all lovely, but listen to the lyrics". I'm glad I wasn't raised in that home.

Why do men hate women? Yes, it's not all men hating all women, but [etc]

Oh for fuck's sake. Men* hate everybody**, if the history of everything everywhere is any guide. The more interesting question is why (or if? I guess I'm assuming this is true) overt online misogyny is dying a slower death than say, online racism, etc.

* Not all men
** Lemme see, we have gender as you mentioned, then... race, religion, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, hair style, clothing, sports team allegiance, weight, etc... Basically everybody who you can imagine a reason to take out your rage upon.
posted by amorphatist at 10:06 PM on October 1, 2013


[Murder fantasties go on some other website, not this one.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:59 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rebecca Watson: Why I Don’t Just Go to the Cops
posted by muddgirl at 1:35 PM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


muddgirl: that's eye-opening. Thanks, I think.
posted by adamrice at 3:41 PM on October 12, 2013


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