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.
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 clichÃ©s 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 faÃ§ade, as soon as possible.