Published in Catalogue, 2016
The Internet is a wonderful place that I love dearly, deeply and honestly. Generally regarded rules of language, humour, attractiveness and acceptability are not enforced here; it is a wild west but it is also perhaps the most democratic state we could possibly conceive of.
While large-scale Internet communities such as Reddit and 4Chan provide exposure on the basis of popularity alone, they also represent universes in which it is possible to say just about anything, be just about anyone, and become intimate with facets of humanity (the bad and the beautiful) that one rarely encounters in day-to-day existence.
And yet, this same set of reasons that I love the Internet also happen to be the reasons why I feel as though I do not entirely belong here. As John Oliver once brilliantly stated in a piece on Last Week Tonight that addressed online harassment, “Congratulations on your white penis – because if you have one of those you probably have a very different experience of the Internet.”
The fact that the Internet is a fertile swamp of misogyny, rape threats and #Meninist reactionary hatred towards female victims is hardly a secret and it seems as though tides of online abuse are coming thicker and faster than ever before. Perhaps this is due in part to the introduction of feminism into mainstream culture – after all, every action has an equal and opposite reaction supposedly and I assume that in this context that means that for every minute step we take towards social and political equality amongst the genders, a man will send a death threat because somebody didn’t want to have sex with them.