Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
The Republicans aren’t the only ones out there fighting the “good” fight against the evils of female sexuality. Just recently Adrian Chen of Gawker outed uber-troll “Violentacrez” on Reddit as Michael Brutsch, a Texas grandfather, who as Violentacrez hosted forums on Reddit like “Jailbait,” “Creepshots,” and several others with screamingly misogynist or racist (or both) names. Brutsch cries “freedom of speech” as his defense for posting the pictures of women unwittingly photographed by him and other posters going about their daily lives in public, unaware that creepy jerks are leering at surreptiously taken photos. Photos for which the photographers most definitely do not have permission.
On Facebook, two 19 year old douchebags started a community called called “12 year old Slut memes.” The purpose of which is to find pictures the members deem slutty of obviously underage girls and “shame” them for their wanton whorish-ness. Facebook has been petitioned to take it down for being harassing and hate speech, which it is. But has so far refused because pictures of breast-feeding women are so much more urgently offensive.
Or we could look at the fact that people are upset that hacktivist group Anonymous claims to have found the man who took the picture of a 12 or 13 year old Amanda Todd’s breasts after convincing her to flash him in a video chat, and then proceeded to distribute those photos to her classmates to try to blackmail her into a continuing online relationship with him, driving the 15 year old to alcohol, drug use, and ultimately suicide.
Surly Amy from Skepchick has been the victim of a recent campaign of harassment because of her stance, and that of the other Skepchicks that Atheism shouldn’t be a boys’ club, that it’s wrong to corner women alone to hit on them after they have explicitly said they do not want people to do that, and that conventions should have harassment policies in place so that women know they can report someone who is awful to them. In the course of this harassment, her address and pictures of her home have been posted, people have formed numerous sock puppet twitter accounts merely to harass her. She and Rebecca Watson have both received a number of rape and death threats. Jen McCreight, the Blag Hag, has quit blogging because of the onslaught of abuse she’s received from men “just exercising their right of free speech.” (Note: Because she won’t read their abuse at her blog anymore, they’ve started harassing her dad.)
When Kathy Sierra was outed, stalked, and harassed off the internet, afraid for her life because of death threats and people posting her address, none of you assholes said a god damned thing. But because Michael Brutsch lost his job after years of harassing other people on Reddit, it’s suddenly a crisis of free speech?
Ok, so one thing I’ve noticed, and the bloggers at Bitch Magazine have noticed, too, is that a large percentage of dudely internet users, when called out for harassing, slut-shaming, threatening, and posting pictures of women they have no right to post, will scream “First Amendment Rights! Freedom of Speech!” and “Internet Anonymity!” at the top of their lungs, like 2-year olds denied a pre-nap cookie.
But if photos of a woman are stolen from her Facebook and distributed, photoshopped and mocked or used as masturbation fodder, and she or other women call them on it, instead of championing the free speech of women calling them out for being assholes, they start screeching about censorship and how we should just expect that to happen if we dare to put photos of our female bodies on our own personal Facebooks, because… reasons… or something.
Guys, guys, guys, I’m not the government. I can’t censor you.
Freedom of Speech does not mean Freedom from Consequences, which is the FIRST thing any of you assholes will say if a woman complains about you stealing a photo of her. “Well, you posted it, so just anyone can take it!” Or if, say, I complain about rape and death threats. I’ve been accused of “silencing dissenting opinions” before, but guys, there is a huge difference between, “I think you’re wrong and here are reasons X, Y, and Z” and “LOL DIE YOU FAT WHORE!”
You can’t have it both ways. Either anyone gets to say what they want about anyone, including you. Or you agree that there are limits to behaviors that hurt other people. Would Adrian Chen have outed Brutsch if he hadn’t spent years of his life being a racist, misogynist douchebag on Reddit? No. Now some people will say, “Well, yeah, but people wouldn’t be harassing Amy, Jen, Rebecca or Kathy Sierra if they didn’t say…”
What exactly is offensive about saying, “Hey guys, when you corner a woman alone in an elevator, it can make her uncomfortable, so how about you not do that?” Or “I think Atheism and the skeptical community need to be aware that women don’t feel comfortable and here’s how to fix it?” Or just “I’m a woman who works in the tech industry?” If you can honestly look me in the eye and tell me that the above statements are comparable to posting pictures of women without their knowledge or consent, starting sub reddits called “DeadJailbait,” “Chokeabitch,” or any of the several he started with racial slurs in their titles, I don’t want to know you. Are you honestly telling me that women asking to not be harassed or harmed in public is the same thing as harassing or harming them in public? Because, dude…
Free speech means that yes, you get to say anything you want (with some legal limits regarding libel and slander laws, advocating harm of another person or threatening someone with death or bodily harm, blackmail, all that), but free speech also means that other people get to say what they want, too, whether you like it or not.
Free speech does not mean the freedom to not be called an asshole.
Free speech also does not mean you get off scott-free for saying legally actionable things about or to other people.
Threatening people is not protected under free speech. Just in case you were getting any ideas.