the article is in french, here's an auto-translation because i refuse to share the link and give this absolute joke of a wannabe online journalist views:
On Wednesday, 21 March, Marlene Schiappa, State Secretary for Gender Equality, presented a bill to combat " sexual and gender-based" violence in the Council of Ministers. The text provides for the broadening of the definition of online harassment to promote the fight against mass harassment campaigns on the Internet. Among the trolls, this initiative was greeted with suspicion: " I will continue to insult [sic] that I want", boasts a user in a thread devoted to the bill on jeuxvideo.com. Another spear: " The Ministry of Women" next to a smiley covered with vomit.
The trolls never liked being prevented from pursuing their current target. Thomas administers one of the largest forums of the French web, he agreed to testify provided that we do not reveal the name of his employer. He explains: " Today, the guys give their all on Balance your pig, Me too … Because these are the hot topics. There have been times when it was very racist, especially during the debate on immigration under Sarkozy, times when it was transphobia that caused concern, right now it is rather misogyny. "
All of the most recent cyber-harassment cases in recent years have been fueled by women's contempt: Amanda Todd, Gamergate, Leslie Jones, the anti-reousing number … Abusers often came from forums renowned for their culture and history. sexist. 4chan, the site that invented "Tits or GTFO" , is attended by about 70% of men . By force, it seems normal to believe that cyber-stalkers are systematically men sitting in briefs in front of their computer, "sad, alone and misogynist" or "sexually aggressive" . This is obviously not the case.
During a phone interview with M/////B///// , former pornographic actress Nikita Bellucci told us that trolling, finally, has no gender: " When I was attacked on social networks, even if 90% of Stalkers were guys, I saw some very virulent tweets that had been written by women. It was as violent as with a man. " The violence is also reflected in the harassment campaigns carried by" female forum "on topics perceived stereotypically feminine.
Sarah administers an anonymous imageboard for fans of rumors about the "weird digital personalities" of the moment, which she calls "discussion topics" . He is estimated to number 35,000 daily visitors, mostly women. Barely hidden object of this forum: hunt down and mock fashionable youtubeurs-cosplayers. Here, men are not welcome, those who dare to claim themselves as such are "mocked and possibly banished. Contacted by M/////B//// , she asked that the name of her site not be revealed so as not to attract "careless attention, given the nature of [her] community. "
The nature and popularity of the forum have already led to cyber-harassment cases. " Many topics are aware of the existence of our site and admit that they read the posts that concern them, but some users go to great lengths to troll or find content" rare ", Sarah admits shamelessly. At the beginning of its existence, the forum allowed doxing. (…) Some topics also attract particularly obsessive users who try to circumvent the rules to execute their plan and infringe on the subject's private life. " The site must also fight against what the director calls" vendetta posters ", Internet users who try to trigger harassment campaigns on one of their knowledge.
The Pretty Ugly Little Liar forum banner. Picture: PULL
Pretty Ugly Little Liar, another women's forum dedicated to social networks and other influencers, boasts of being "uncensored" and openly allows its 15,000 subscribers to publish the personal information of its targets. In his rules, between two entrances that forbid blood feuds and direct contact with the " snowflakes" , that is to say the starlets that fuel his discussions, it reads: "Everything is allowed. " The director of PULL did not respond to our request for comment in time for publication.
The reputation of Pretty Ugly Little Liar is well established. In 2015, one of the favorite personalities in her community, the controversial Kanadajin , accused her of being a " hate forum" and harassing her and "others" . Three years later, the categories dedicated to Kanadajin and the three starlets she cites in her tweet enthroned at the top of the home page of the site. In a Reddit thread launched at the end of last February, a user says: "PULL is a site full of evil gossips who take their foot laughing at the misfortunes and failures of others. " Someone replies:"These people (…) should not have life outside of high school and television . " The good news is that the Internet imaginary portrays the cyber-stalker as a cruel and lazy loser of all kinds. From there to think that online harassment would be a non-gendered phenomenon, there is only one step.
The gender of the aggressors, like that of the victims, remains decisive and particularly significant. "This is a sexual phenomenon ," says Ernestine Ronai, the rapporteur of the report Ending the impunity of violence against women online: an emergency for victims , attached by telephone. Girls are more attacked on the sexual side and relate to appearance than boys. " Sarah adds elsewhere: " The male trolling is often superficial and focuses on sex, girls rely on weaknesses you thought not to have. As most girls share the same complexes, a well-insulted insult that comes from a woman stings more than a man who says he would not fuck you. "
And yet. In 2014, a British man was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison for attacking feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez on Twitter. She had threatened to kill him, but also to make him suffer worse than rape - the kind of threat that is expected to be found under the keyboard of a man. Thomas, he is just recovering from attacks of a particularly violent stalker. He explains: "It's quite exceptional, we have a person like that every three years or so. She managed to find our information and harassed us on the phone. (…) There have been death threats, calls to families, which is always weird. It lasted six to nine months. "
Unfortunately, if the attackers and their weapons change, their targets much less. A report from the European Women's Lobby published in October 2017 states that women worldwide are 27 times more likely to be harassed online than men; it also indicates that 39% of perpetrators of violence are women. " Most of the topics on our site are women, like our users," says Sarah. Most of the Snowflakes of Pretty Ugly Little Liar are also women; the only man who is entitled to his own subcategory on the forum is the developer of the game Yandere Simulator . "When it comes from a woman, it hurts more, obviously," says Nikita Bellucci. We are still expecting a bit of feminine solidarity. Women have been fighting for so many years for their rights … "
Many observers have already tried to explain why women are so often targeted on the Internet, regardless of the type of attacker : jealousy, envy, fear, and especially sexism more or less internalized . What happens on the Internet is first and foremost a reflection of what people are learning about IRL, not the other way around. The anti-cyber-harassment bill will not rid us of the deep inequities of our time, those that turn women into targets wherever they are; at best, it will remove the digital symptoms under the carpet.
* The first names have been changed.