Jay Smooth: Sexist bullying must be confronted
According to New York hip-hop DJ Jay Smooth, when dudes take it upon themselves to bully a woman for her feminist viewpoints, it is incumbent upon other dudes to fight back.
Take the cautionary tale of Feminist Frequency blogger Anita Sarkeesian, who recently raised nearly $160,000 for a series of videos that study female characters in video games.
She did not set out to raise that much money — asking for just $6,000 at the beginning — but a group of male gamers decided to target her for some particularly fierce harassment, elevating her fundraiser’s profile immensely.
After publishing a video explaining her project, the trolls came in waves, wishing that she gets cancer, threatening to rape her and hurling sexist insults by the dozen. That’s when the media stepped in, with Wired, Gamespot, Slate, Salon, Jezebel, Kotaku and The Escapist all piling on to tell her tale of fear and loathing on the Internet.
The lesson, according to Smooth, is that “the private army of sexist dudes has only succeeded in proving her right and making her stronger.”
“When you see something like that going on, you — and by you, I mean we [men] — have an obligation to speak out against it more often,” he said. “It’s really not cool to just shrug our shoulders and say, ‘That’s just 4chan being 4chan.’”
“This kind of abuse and harassment matters, and when it happens on our corner of the Internet, we need to treat it like it matters,” he concluded. “We need to speak up and let them know that we’re not impressed by how edgy and fearless they are; that it’s pathetic they really still think that sandwitch joke is funny; that you bully and harass a woman for speaking her mind, all you do is show us that you’re afraid of that woman’s voice, and you don’t think you can beat her intellectually without using a cheat code.
“…We need to speak up. We need to treat this like it matters. We need to add some extra humanity into our scene to counteract their detachment from their humanity.”
This video was published online on Friday, June 15, 2012.