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“Why Isn”t She In The Kitchen?” Of Misogyny And The Urgent Need To “Emasculate” The Internet

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By Soumya Raj:

The information superhighway is the biggest station for freedom of expression. With every click we find aghast; benighted and disgusting notions of what a woman should be. The twentieth century invention, the World Wide Web, flourishes with ideologies of people who should very well be way back in the medieval ages. If we follow the internet to the T, we, the womankind, may as well be delicate, demure china dolls fit only in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. If someone were to ask me, I would say that these men are too preoccupied projecting their chauvinistic selves on the internet to notice that we, women of today need no knight in shining armours to rescue us. Forcing it down our throats through the spoon of the web will not maim our independence in anyway. Feeling threatened, they are gradually resorting to the online dais.

misogynist

The internet is an ugly and unorganized mish-mash of various brains, some of them, sadly useless and rotten senseless. Often I have been shut down by a group of misogynists and misanthropes online who thought what an oddity my “radical” comments were (on a few blogs and social forums), by verbally abusing me and also by finding it their prerogative to explain, very unkindly, what disgrace and vulgarity I was portraying as a female for standing up to my side of the species. If the leash for forming rulebooks were handed to such people, it would be possible that women would be domesticated like cows, for meat, calves and skin. Online we find many videos and pictures that build up on the clichés that womanhood is. Jokes or “trolls” on rapes, motherhood, women as objects of lust are so common, it is impossible to imagine a place where they aren’t present. Such maltreatment from this certain misogynistic bracket is so strong that it keeps many women from appearing online and contributing into this pool of information with viewpoints. The pictures, jokes, trolls are made with the intention to bully, wound and psychology intimidate the ones who dare to form a rebuttal. How many of us have been online and able to escape the so called charisma of these troll pictures, which typecast women as “overly-attached girlfriend”, “Derpina/Derpette” (building up on the idea that women are intellectually stunted and should might as well be taught a lesson by her man for this), “Scumbag girlfriend” or those that say women are fit only in the kitchen, for sex, or to be enslaved to a man’s desires of how his life should be? Or the very disturbing and apathetic jokes which toss around the word “rape” as if it’s a daily ritual, not traumatizing in the least, a man’s right and a woman’s only path to vindicate her feminism?

The immediacy and availability of internet is such that it can be accessed by anyone, anonymously or with a name. Almost anyone can garnish and serve their views on personal blogs, pages, websites or profiles and the credibility of the content cannot be questioned. The internet is so enormous that one such picture gets lost among a clatter of many like-minded assessments, and may not be found later, due to eventual deletion or expiration of the link. It is a free platter, and anyone can relish their hunger or present it to others, without the fear of physical harm or damage, and it is because of this that the cyber laws are so loose, ambiguous and baseless.

The Web is an unrestricted field. Anyone may wish and do however they please, as long as the fundamental right of freedom of expression is by their side. Maybe the world was always this misogynistic and virulent and it is only now explicit the internet. Men find it their duty to teach women where they belong, and act as very responsible “custodians” of their chaste state. The internet was supposed to be a liberal platform for articulation and impartiality and not a pathetic excuse to objectify, heckle and hackney women. With internet and the people online having their way, it may soon become a popular assumption that a woman’s right to self-expression is less important than her blind compliance of the stereotypes that men present to them. It is a wretched situation where any woman walking ahead of her time is silenced at every given opportunity when she expresses herself. There is a heavy onus of machismo and virility bordering onto fanaticism in men (and some women too) which is weighing down women, and potential feminists too, from voicing their ideas and beliefs. The genderless internet is slowly turning into a masculinised giant, and it is time to nullify this newfound façade, as soon as possible.

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  1. Raj

    Another “Oh-woe-is-me-I’m-a-helpless-victim article” which tries to portray women as helpless little creatures who are expected to get offended at the drop of the hat. And not to mention the usual “patriarchy” excuse to blame men for everything. Plus the implicit assumption that being male or being female is an ideology, as opposed to a chance of genetics. There is something called freedom of expression, which many so-called politeness advocates don’t seem to understand.

    To begin with, let’s take the issue of abuses, comments etc. Somehow the focus of the article is only on the misogynist comments. But men also routinely get abused (often in a sexual or violent manner) and heckled online. But somehow that’s OK.This article implies that it is only a problem when women get abused. The hypocritical picture of a women’s free speech rights activist shouting ” Is that how you talk to a lady?” comes to my mind.

    And coming the popular memes like Derpina, the author has conveniently forgotten that Derp is a more popular character that is “building up on the idea that MEN are intellectually stunted morons” Most such memes are male (and arguable derogatory in someway or the other) but the author relishes in selectively looking at female memes and promoting unwarranted victimization of women in general.

    Coming to rape jokes, why not treat any joke which deals with violence and death in the same manner? Should they all be banned? Should we censure them all? If viewed through such lens even the joke about the stupid pilot turning off the helicopter rotor in mid-air because “it was too windy so I switched off the big fan” is macabre and disturbing since such an act would certainly lead to a horrific and fatal crash. The Helicopter’s Pilot Association might as well protest “Oh no! It is a joke that implies helicopter pilots are stupid. Worse, it makes fun of helicopter crashes and insults the victims. Ban such jokes!”

    And of course the big bad world argument “world was always this misogynistic and virulent” . Newsflash : Yes it has and it is misandric too. There are bad individuals out there who hurt others. That has always been the case. And I would argue that men have suffered more while trying to build and defend the society, be it from wild animals or from invaders or criminals or work-place fatalities. I believe these responsibilities should be shared by all individuals consensually, irrespective of their sex. If a man wants to be a stay-at-home househusband who wishes to raise the kids, he should allowed to, in the same way a woman who wants to be an anti-terrorist commando.

    The trend of portraying everything bad and ugly as masculine and everything sweet and beautiful as feminine is inherently sexist and must stop. The world, whether the physical reality or the cyberspace, has its share of bad individuals. That does NOT make the physical world a “Man’s world” nor does it make the Internet a “masculinised giant”

    Your article is as one-sided as an article titled ” Why murdering women is bad”. Obviously the title begs the question ” Umm, so is murdering men not as bad?” . If you really wanted to bring out the issue of uncivility on the Internet, you could have done that in gender-balanced manner.

  2. Raj

    Also forgot, but now I’ve just realized that I am offended at the title “And The Urgent Need To ‘Emasculate’ The Internet” is promoting sexual violence!! You are talking about cutting off men’s reproductive organs! Gasp! How cruel you are! It is the male equivalent of writing anti-female statements like “And The Urgent Need To ‘VAGINALLY MUTILATE” The Internet” or “And The Urgent Need To ‘THROW ACID ON” The Internet” . You are promoting violence against men!!

  3. Soumya Raj

    Well, it is definitely sad to see that you haven’t got the essence of the article. It was not about “this is how you talk to a lady”, if you felt something of this sort, please point out the phrases in the passage. I was very cautious to not portray “feminism as greater than gender equality”. Men are heckled online too, but have they been told to back off after every comment? Mr Raj, whoever you are, once I was asked to wear panties and roam around on the streets because I supported a girl who liked wearing shorts. What response do you have to that? You seem to have taken a personal offence. This was an article written as a opposition strictly to that bracket of people who misuse internet to bully women. And rape is not something to be joked about. Can you bring yourself to joke about the 16th December case? or about the five year old girl who was raped and left to a grotesque situation in her own building? You are free to joke about death, since the causes of deaths are many. And it is a natural process, what is born has to die. But does every female born have to get raped? Are you comparing the naturalness of death to the voluntary crime that is rape?

    And by pointing out, the world was has always been this misogynistic, misandric, virulent place..yes it has been. But this is the twenty first century. This needs to change. Are you implying this incessant bullying and glorification of the stereotypical female joke should go on? What are men heckled about? Please point instances. Almost only those men are heckled who come out of their closets openly. That is no reason to heckle them is it? Comparatively women bullied online are greater than men. This is world over a disturbing phenomenon.

    1. Raj

      The “talk to a lady” point comes from the overall theme of the article which is very one-sided. The Internet and the real world are nasty places which affect both men and women. You have quite correctly identified uncivil behavior on the net but talked about mainly the female victims.

      I have been told that I would be anally raped, have my balls ripped off, killed in unpleasant ways, my mother and sister would be raped, that I am an illegitimate child of a whore, that I am a rapist, I enjoy rape etc. by both men and women(especially feminists) on the net. And I am NOT a woman nor a homosexual man , yet I am being subjected to the same abuse and bullying that they go through. Don’t I find any place in your article? No sympathy for me because I am a heterosexual male and most of the perpetrators are also heterosexual males?

      While I wouldn’t personally make or encourage rape jokes, my personal views and opinions are not relevant when defining broader policy. I despise religion but I would never stop others’ rights to practice their own religion. And I gave the example of the helicopter crash which is an UNNATURAL and INVOLUNTARY form of death. Should those jokes be banned because someone lost a loved one in a helicopter crash?
      Even if death is natural so what? Disabilities often occur naturally, so is it OK to joke about that ? (By your logic, not mine )
      Would you stop making jokes because some or the other party was offended ? That would lead to tyranny

      I just mentioned the amount of heckling I have received above. This usually happened when I debated fanatics on feminist, masculist (the opposite of feminists) and religious forums/blogs/groups on the net.

      And I don’t agree that women are bullied more. Men use filthy language against other men quite often too. But our society somehow accepts that its OK for coarse language to be used against men but not women. That is sexist.

      Of course the world needs to change and we need to stop fighting these stupid gender wars. We have to see each and every human as an individual rather than stereotype based on their sex or nationality or other arbitrary parameter. What I am trying to say is that you can’t correct a wrong with another wrong. Yes women were subjugated and had fewer freedoms in the past. BUT I WASN’T THERE! Stop blaming me and men in general (and ignoring their plight) just because they are male.

  4. Ananya

    Even though I am a 21st century educated, liberated women I’d have to agree with Raj. Enough with the male bashing already! The “feminists” should first understand what they want. You want equality or to be put on a pedestal? Are you saying that men never have to face anything? They do. But I don’t see every second blog put up by a man who curses and rips apart every action of the opposite sex. Can we stop concentrating on the negatives of the poor men? Yes, some of them are a**holes but that is a general statement I can make for the whole human race (and yes, I mean women too). I have seen some disgusting, pathetic men AND WOMEN too. I have seen posts which are demeaning to women. But I have seen ones which are downright cruel towards men too.

    Yes, I find it annoying that people still hint at how a woman’s place is in the kitchen. But come now, can’t we just accept how awesome our culinary skills are? Oh and also, if the women are expected to cook, men are expected to sort out the taxes every year, get the car serviced and numerous other tasks. I have seen none of the men in my close circles give a whoop of joy at the prospect of sorting out the taxes. (And more importantly, no ranting blogs about it.)

    We should get over ourselves!

  5. Baldeep Grewal

    Internet is free for all and nobody is questionable to anyone for what they do as long as it does not violate the other person’s privacy and dignity. Ideologies may collide but it gets ugly when egos clash. There is a difference between ‘I dislike your viewpoint’ and ‘I dislike you’. On line one has to be careful about how and where they tread. Making the argument personally offensive is futile and this is definitely not what the Internet is about as a medium of enlightenment. I agree there are people on line who like to put women down. However, not all men do that and nor are all of these people men. No person is innately good or bad; the flaw is in the ideologies inculcated in them since childhood. Misogynists don’t necessarily have to be male and all males should not have to suffer for the ones that are. This kind of a resentful attitude depicts feminism in a negative light and that is the last thing we women need. While it is important to be aware of what feminism is all about, what holds even more importance is the application of that feminism. One always runs a risk of being a hater, elitist or simply going over the top. We NEED feminism and it won’t help to demonize ourselves or the men. Be the feminist who wants to be equal to men, not tell them how evil they are and how victimized you are. Misogyny is an ideology; not a man.

    1. Soumya Raj

      Excuse me Baldeep, but I suggest you read further into this case before commenting confidently that misogyny is an ideology. not a man. So is patriarchy, then why do you hate men, right? Have you heard of the internet machismo Kavita Krishnan and women like have had to face because they chose to raise their voice for something which was pro-women? If not, please read such cases, and then come back to this piece. We are not talking about how women are helpless, we are talking about the regular suppression of women who want to raise their voice on a supposedly vast and unlimited and egalitarian background, which is not as egalitarian as it claims to be. What about all the innocuous pictures of girls which are morphed into pornographic content, that is not misogyny?

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