Unsung Feminist Defenders

30 / 03 / 2016

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Jessamy Gleeson is a PhD student originally from Wodonga, but she’s now been in Melbourne for almost 10 years. She both works in and researches social media, feminism, online activism, and gender studies. Outside of her research, Jessamy also assists in organising and wrangling other feminist campaigns and events, including SlutWalk Melbourne, Cherchez la Femme, and Girls on Film Festival. In her spare time, Jessamy’s a keen mixed netball and krav maga enthusiast, with an odd fascination for dachshunds.

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One of the first rules of the Internet – particularly if you’re a feminist – is “don’t read the comments”. Not only is the comment section a fast track to a feminist rage-induced spiral, but the comments can also be incredibly explicit, abusive, and at times, utterly bizarre. But what do you do when it’s a part of your job to read the comments – and not only read each of the comments, but assess whether they are a genuine threat to your well-being and safety?

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We don’t need to look to far to see that the Internet often isn’t a friendly place for women. Just examine the experiences of feminists such as Anita Sarkeesian, Clementine Ford, or Celeste Liddle and you’ll understand what I mean. But there’s a hidden side to the harassment women receive online that isn’t always talked about. The constant monitoring and moderation that feminists undertake in order to maintain a safe space can be draining, and carries with it little rewards.

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The work that feminists do online is often twofold: firstly, they highlight a variety of issues that they find important, and talk or write about it. Secondly, these same women then wade through mountains of vicious comments, and choose whether they want to respond to each of these comments in turn (even if it’s just with the Dawson crying face). Unless she’s lucky enough to have someone else on hand to help moderate her page or article, chances are the feminist who has stuck her neck out to speak about an issue will also be the one directly copping the majority of the inevitable backlash online.

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This is true both for well-known feminist commentators, and for online feminist lobby groups and campaigns. Recognised groups like Destroy the Joint often have a small army of volunteer moderators and administrators helping out behind the scenes – deleting the rape threats and misogynist comments from their Facebook page before we even have a chance to glimpse it.

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http://clarionmusic.com/?kyzja=tiger-opzioni-binarie&a2a=3a tiger opzioni binarie What does this mean for feminism online? Simply, the consequences of all this abuse can leave women feel unwilling or unable to speak up: something that weakens feminism overall. The consequences of pushing back troll attack after troll attack has been likened to pushing the ocean back with a broom – tiring, exhaustive work that begins all over again the second you think you’re done.

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come fare trading binario on line su tablet The often unacknowledged fact that runs parallel to this is that many times, the moderators that do this important work are unpaid. Furthermore, in the case of feminist commentators such as Ford or Liddle, the price of writing one article is heavily outweighed by the hours then spent blocking and reporting hundreds of comments online. Each of these people – both the commentators and the moderators – perform a staggering amount of unpaid labour to both report and block trolls, and assist in furthering the feminist cause. They do this in conditions that at the very least be described as “challenging”. These conditions vary from the occasional intimidating comment, to receiving an explicit image of women being subjected to assault, right up to categorical threats of rape or death.

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binära optioner gratis So what do we do about these depressing facts? Unfortunately, there’s no neat and clean solution. However, we can support social media companies that choose to tighten their methods of reporting abuse and harassment. For example, Twitter is slowly coming around to acknowledging trolling as an issue, but other platforms still have some way to go. Secondly, we, as a community, need to recognise that the people performing these extra duties (of receiving, reporting, and moderating online forms of harassment and abuse) are doing us all a service, and we need to support them. We get involved, and we speak up and out against trolling whenever we can – online and offline.  If we, as a feminist community, are genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of these women, then we look after them. The burnout and stress associated with these roles is a real thing, the experience and passion that these people have is too valuable for us, as a movement, to lose.

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