One of many reasons I don’t do Twitter: in a follow-up to my post on the abuse of Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon, here is a neat selection of the kind words she received on Twitter. Thanks to Nesrin for the link.
My previous discussion of sportswomen wearing makeup barely scratched the surface of the problem – as the folk on Twitter demonstrate, it takes more than lip gloss to conform to their idea of a woman, and Bartoli received a ridiculous number of tweets saying that she must be a man (because she doesn’t look like Lisicki).
As we have seen in the past couple of weeks, Twitter has become the platform of choice for displays of misogyny, most recently rape and bomb threats to Hadley Freeman, Mary Beard, Laurie Penny and other female writers and journalists, for no apparent reason. Is it the thrill of a public audience? The 140-character limit that is so suited to insults? These are some of the theories put forward by Claire Hardaker in the Guardian. Is it that these thoughts (if they can be called that) would have been expressed anyway, somehow?
Or is it, even worse, just a trend? One of those things that seems isolated and weird at first, but gets picked up by bored people and snowballs, like printed leggings?
OK, maybe not just a trend. The misogyny is clearly there. But the sudden enthusiasm first for rape threats and then bomb threats has the hallmarks of a fad, getting picked up and proliferated like the word ‘awesome’ in its current, irritating UK usage.
The question then is whether to publicise these tweets and talk about them, or deny them the attention.
Should I perhaps have refrained from posting the Marion Bartoli tweets?