Yesterday I spent a lot of time debating with certain individuals on the definition of harassment. If this sounds incredibly stupid, it mostly was, but I wanted to learn from the other side why it’s so damn difficult to not bother women on social media (or at all).
The back-story here is that a Pittsburgh radio host has made and continues to make problematic comments towards women on twitter. The host in question happens to be affiliated with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, and several individuals on Twitter thought that a professional sports team with a diverse fanbase might not want to partner with a man with such a shitty attitude towards women.
The host then started in on a harassment campaign towards who he considered to be his chief detractors, all of them women, repeatedly belittling them on Twitter and claiming blissful ignorance to the fact that his significantly larger follower account was resulting in the dregs of the internet stepping up the harassment against these women. The situation has escalated with the host repeatedly highlighting these women for abuse from his followers (unintentionally, I’m sure he would say) and continually attempting to contact one of them through twitter despite her express desire to not be contacted by him.
If that last bit sounds an awful lot like harassment, it’s because it is.
(either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary,including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from makingsomeone fearful or anxious. Such activities may be the basis for a lawsuit if due to discrimination based on race or sex, a violation on the statutory limitations on collection agencies, involverevenge by an ex-spouse, or be shown to be a form of blackmail (“I’ll stop bothering you, if you’ll go to bed with me”). The victim may file a petition for a “stay away” (restraining) order, intended toprevent contact by the offensive party.
But not to the dudes of the internet:
(Full disclosure here, there was a related argument where a newspaper writer tried to come to the radio host’s defense, only to refer to women as “females” and then throw a shit fit when people pointed out the problematic nature of that word. I blocked everyone that led off with using that word, which was about a half a dozen people because men are complete fucking idiots with no creativity. So I would have a lot more had I not done that.)
Oh I see, it’s not harassing someone if it’s done in public.
If the perpetrator didn’t get punished, it obviously wasn’t harassment.
It’s not harassment as long as you’re a Good Dude™.
Oh for fuck’s sake, really? What is continuing to do something that someone has told you they don’t like and would like you to stop? Harming? Maybe? THIS IS A FUCKING PRESCHOOL LEVEL OF HUMAN DECENCY!
Yeah, you can totally be not stalking someone and still be doing something creepy and illegal.
There was like ten people that came into my relatively small corner of the internet that could not fundamentally grasp what harassment is. THIS IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM! THIS IS IT RIGHT HERE!
So let me break it down: fellow dudes, you do not have the right to a woman’s attention. You do not have the right to answers to your questions, you do not have the right to invade her life, her personal space, or her online presence, no matter how wronged you feel and how IF SHE WOULD JUST HEAR ME OUT! No one has to listen to your bullshit, and if someone tells you to stop handing them your bullshit, you should stop or be prepared to face legal consequences.