Not to devalue the experience of the lady Criado-Perez who wanted Jane Austen on banknotes and got bullied but let’s face it some of the reaction bordered on hysterical. This recent bout of Twitterysteria was sparked by some boys wanting to play big and a woman who may or may not have felt genuinely scared but who clearly found it difficult that everyone did not agree with her. As my early blog adventures revealed, not everyone will like you. Many won’t. Some will tell you to fuck off and die. In truth it would be statistically rare for someone who told you that you were an ugly bitch who couldn’t write, to actually turn up at your house. Twitter has a knack of bringing out the superficial emotion in everyone, the hand-wringers, the dosomethingy crowd. And what better way for a bunch of middle class female journalists to deal with it than by taking to the streets and setting up a real campaign to stop those ‘misognyists’ (any man or woman who disagrees with them by their definition).
But of course they did not take to the streets because well who needs to? They decided – on a Sunny Sunday – to stay home and instead they went….silent. Well we’ll never know if this is true because we didn’t see their direct messaging where I imagine they strongly empathised with each other (as a certain cabal are wont to do) about how they could not tweet about their Sunday columns. “How will my readers know I’ve written it?” They will have done all this sitting on balconies or in leafy gardens, guzzling mid-priced mediocre wine. I very much doubt if they will have concerned themselves with what took them off Twitter in the first place.
This week, they are filling up columns about their great leap forward, their mortal blow against the enemy. They care about as much as anyone can in this era of blink and you’ll miss it outrage. This is what happens when emotion trumps reason. When the mob fuels the mob (albeit a middle class mob but still a mob) to the point where it cannot see things clearly. I suspect Criado Perez had never dealt with real-life bullying. I’ll wager that most people don’t even know what ‘misogny’ is otherwise they’ll realise that those who post vile messages on social media are not that. The emotion of social media masks definitions, reason, perspective and intelligence. It whips up frenzies where they should not exist.
Meanwhile a whole lot of women, not the journalists who can shout the loudest, stayed silent yesterday. They did so because they were told to by a partner, husband or boyfriend who said, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you bitch.” And he meant it.