IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!

Who would have thought that Thumper’s quote would become so influential and indirectly imbedded in the fabric of society today! It is common knowledge that if you don’t have anything nice to say just don’t say anything at all, so why is this not the case online?

Hidden behind the armour of anonymity, Trolls find an exhilarating pleasure in purposefully antagonizing fellow users, in online forums such as YouTube, Facebook, Formspring and 4chan. They conduct callous acts of textual violence primarily directed at vulnerable prosumers such as women. The question that constantly plagues my mind is, is there anything being done to control the Troll? I know what you’re thinking, we all have the right to free speech, however this is an abuse of free speech.

The impact online misogyny has on women has been highlighted by Vanessa Thorpes article ‘Women bloggers call for a stop to hateful trolling by misogynist men. Our ability to ‘spot the troll’ has become easier these days, for example when one peruses anti-feministic remarks on articles irrelevant to its content such as finance reviews, we can conclude that it is Troll related. Almost as if they are putting up their hand and saying “look at me, look at me”.

It poses the question, why on earth do these offenders find misogyny a necessary form of violence? I’m afraid that this question may never be answered! I think its a necessity that needs to be recognized as women are real people and are not symbolic objects, ‘the beauties’, as history has often represented us.

But where are the men in all of this, surely they are not only the initiator but also the victim? Helen Lewis writes an article offering light on the hidden male agenda. She finds that to offer only a feministic view of the subject would defeat the subject of her previous article ‘you should have your tongue ripped out: the reality of sexist abuse online’. So there you have it, men cop it just as much as women, however the tone of the abuse is not centered on sexual violence, but rather an emotive attack.

Finally, to answer my question, whether we are controlling the infamous Trolls, the most obvious action would be to gate-keep the content by blocking or forbidding comments, however this goes against our participatory culture. Why not take punishment to its highest level, following in the footsteps of an Arizona law, which will see the Trolls not hidden behind their computer screens but behind bars!

On another note I would like to ask a quick question, guys what’s with all the kitchen metaphors? Next time some asks me to “fetch them a sandwich”, please realize this is the most pathetic comeback and go make it yourself!

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About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
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