“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
~Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Only a world crafted by feminists could be so surreal.
And so we awake in a strange room full many doors of different sizes. A bottle labelled “drink me” and a platter of small feminist patty cakes promises to help us on our journey but it is only through ingesting these sketchy offerings that we may discover where each door leads: Truly a world of nonsense.
Let us begin as an anonymous traveller.
Anonymity can be a noble state; the right to which is considered highly valuable in a free country. Nobility itself is the question at stake as, trapped in the room, we take a drink and shrink to the size of an ethernet cable in order to step through door number one.
As the gateway slides shut behind, the ground gives out and we are falling. The vastness of the internet twists and turns with endless possibilities yet with every click of the (Dor)mouse we land at a mad tea party in which some woman is afraid of getting raped. At this party, it is always six o’clock, someone is always getting scared of turning on their computer and, when the cups are empty, everyone just moves to the next chair and it’s six o’clock all over again.
The Mad Hatter gleefully pours more tea.
A riddle is posed: “Why are women targeted for more harassment on the internet?”
“They aren’t,” we reply.
“That’s just your white male privilege,” says the March Hare.
Some argue that racial and gender harassment are part and parcel of participation in online discourse. As one white man commented on my prior post: “Welcome to the jungle . . . . If you want to have a voice . . . just do what we have been doing for over a decade and laugh it off.” (In context, “we” meant “white men.”) Of course, it’s easy to talk about “laughing it off” when, because of your status as a white man, you’re virtually never the target of identity-based harassment that deploys historically subordinate or marginalized status as a silencing tool.
When we try to explain that online harassment is based on convenience and laziness, not on race or gender, everyone stands up and switches chairs again. Trying to keep up a dialogue, we attempt to point out that calling all dissenters “white men” perpetrates the very act the author purports to be fighting but the clock faithfully strikes six again and the table is too circular and shifty to recognize hypocrisy.
A wisp of smoke drifts through the air and, hoping it is a puff of logic, we follow the scent. A caterpillar lounges atop a mushroom, drawing on his hookah pipe, and tells us “Internet anonymity is passé.” Confused, we wonder if passé has another meaning in this strange world.
“Really? I thought the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous were the vigilante public hero ‘rape culture’ destroyers the feminists have been dreaming of.” We wait, brows knitted, for an explanation.
“Yes, but they turned on us. And now the internet is bad again.” The caterpillar exhales a long, heavy plume and the smoke grows thick enough to make our eyes water.
“…Everybody knows anonymity leads to bad behaviour!”
The caterpillar’s laughter echoes after us as we stumble backwards into darkness and find ourselves back in the room with many doors. The carpet is now emblazoned with text outlining the sins of anonymity and the writing is clear:
Anonymity allows people to separate their actions from their real lives.
Not facing people directly gives courage to perform uncharacteristic acts
Lack of real time interaction makes it feel ‘safer’ to act uncharacteristically
Absent face-to-face communication, people believe they know what others are thinking as if reading minds.
People feel they can leave behind the anonymous self and thus lack responsibility.
MINIMIZATION OF STATUS AND AUTHORITY
Authority figures are less relevant when people feel removed from them and protected by anonymity.
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES AND PREDISPOSITIONS
Some personalities are more susceptible to acting out when offered anonymity.
SHIFTS AMONG INTRAPSYCHIC CONSTELLATIONS
Anonymous people may feel like their “true self” when given freedom to act without consequence.
Still absorbing the information, we near the legs of the table in the middle of the room where the carpet assures us these things are well known.
Mulling over our new found knowledge and feeling quite small, we find a bright pink ladder and climb until we reach the table top to partake of some high intensity feminist patty cakes. The transformation is quite astounding. As an anonymous and chastised person we find ourselves growing incredibly large at an astounding rate. With our new, enhanced size we open door number two and find our anonymous self in a court room. A very different scene ensues.
“OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” The Queen gorges herself on some tarts while glaring with menace at the accused before her. The trial has just begun and the whole room seems to cower before the bench.
“Shall I not get a defence?” The man dares to entertain a moment of hopefulness.
There is a brief conference and the Queen begrudgingly asks him to present his evidence.
There is some confusion as the man can’t say who he is accused of harming. As the anonymous figure in the room, we discover that we are, in fact, the victim.
Apparently, we have been heinously raped and don’t remember. Thankfully we have our anonymous online friends to help us figure out what happened.
I don’t remember the assault – does that mean it isn’t rape?
Just because you don’t remember being assaulted doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen and that it wasn’t rape. Memory loss can result from the ingestion of GHB and other “rape drugs” and from excessive alcohol consumption. That said, without clear memories or physical evidence, it may not be possible to pursue prosecution (talk to your local crisis center or local police for guidance).
Just because we aren’t sure we were raped doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and when a woman isn’t sure, all her anonymous online buddies are there to encourage her to prosecute.
Expert witnesses are called and a robust pair of twins arrive to give evidence. They state their names before the court.
Tweedle-Tweet and Tweedle-Twat
Agreed to have a spat;
Tweedle-Tweet thought all sex rape
And Tweedle-Twat did not.
“It’s only rape without consent.”
Said Twat to Tweet, upset.
“You can’t agree to such a thing,”
Said Tweet in a cold sweat.
And whilst the Tweedles twaddled so
The Queen’s patience there did snap.
“We’ll cut off his head tomorrow then,
right now I need a nap!”
The courtroom breaks into a disturbed silence and we are ushered off to prepare a statement which will be given via closed camera while enshrouded in screens so we don’t have to either connect our actions to reality, tell anyone our name, participate in real time, face the accused, feel responsible for what we say, face the authority of the court, or act in a characteristic way, and thereby allow our “true selves” to attain justice.
Sequestered and distraught, we protest that nothing happened to us and we read a rug about these things but a crowd gathers around, cooing and coaxing and telling us that it’s okay to be afraid and that rape is a terrible thing.
“But I wasn’t raped,” we mumble. The crowd grows aggravated.
“Of course you were. Women get raped every day!” They insist.
“But I wasn’t…”
“You owe it to the team! No rapist should walk free!”
“I don’t even know you people. How did I get here?” We get woozy as the feminist magical cakes start to wear off. The lights flicker as the court patrons turn into a deck of playing cards and seem to start flying erratically about the room.
We stumble our way back, amidst the flurry, to the strange corridor with many doors and they all slam shut as we fall the floor. The rug outlining the dangers of anonymity has disappeared. Feeling quite lost and disconcerted we look at the doors. None of them are numbered any more and we can’t remember how we got here.
A smile appears in the middle of the room, followed shortly by a cat. It lounges and licks its paw luxuriously as we look frantically from door to door.
“Still curious?” the Cheshire’s body flickers but its grin never wavers. “If you’re looking for the door back to reality, it’s over there.”
We follow the sharpened claw to find a bright red door in the distance. It’s hard to believe we hadn’t noticed it before. As we move to turn the handle, a disembodied chorus of voices advises us not to enter. “This door leads to certain social death” it warns. “There is no turning back.”
We turn the doorknob and walk through. We are not afraid.
“Why it’s simply impassible!
Alice: Why, don’t you mean impossible?
Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing’s impossible!”
~Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Unfortunately, unlike Carroll’s story, we can not simply awake from a bad dream but we can do our best to rescue the bits of reality as they are being swept away from under us.
Anonymity is the current issue.
Anonymity is a social right that protects free speech in public places. The marketplace of ideas grants that freedom of expression allows greater diversity of thought which will be whittled down by selection of the best ideas.
Feminists claim that the marketplace of ideas demands we have to listen to them by virtue of them having an idea and claiming to be a minority. That is not the case. The marketplace of ideas permits that some of the people in that marketplace are going to think you’re a cunt. That’s how the marketplace works. Sometimes people just don’t want to buy what you are selling.
What feminists demand is not a marketplace, but a captive audience.
Feminists hate anonymity except for when they love it: for women in courtrooms. Anonymity does not belong in a courtroom. Unlike public spaces, law is not conducive to anonymity for a multitude of reasons best outlined by Helen Reece in her article “Rape trials must be completely open”
Unsurprisingly, feminists have gotten it backwards. Again.
They want to talk about the need to remove anonymity, and I agree. It’s time to have a real discussion on the issue. Let’s talk about those studies that show how anonymity negatively affects social accountability and, when we’re done talking about taking anonymity away from rape accusers, we can discuss the internet.