Today, I was audience to yet another *taking down* of a misogynist on Twitter by a group of (I presume) well meaning women who started #MisogynyAlert with the aim of *intervening* when there is an incident of misogyny or abuse on Twitter.

The day I heard about #MisogynyAlert I was up in the air. Yeay! Some like minded people coming together to tackle sexism on Twitter – which would mean lot more reading material being shared, objections being raised and meaningful debates heard. Of course, not that *debating* with misogynists is going to change the world. I hoped at least, trying to talk sense to them, can help change one in a million. I’d have been happy with that.

Cut to today. This was the second *take down* I am witnessing. The urge to write about it increased exponentially. So, here we are.

So, how does this begin?

In general, both the *take downs* I’ve witnessed have been with some obscure no one on Twitter with less than a hundred followers. I refuse to believe that there isn’t enough misogyny among the popular, urban, English-speaking, non-Islamic ladies and gentlemen of the Twitter world.

Now, if I tagged the below tweet #MisogynyAlert, is the *team* going to pounce on Anusha and *intervene*?

The point here is that, perhaps there is a *choosing* of targets. Just perhaps. Or simply, is there a a gate-keeping of what misogyny entails. Will the team even engage with me to find out why the above tweet is offensive to me? Or just call me a humourless person?

Is this really intervention?

When I first heard of #MisogynyAlert from @Shobha_SV, I thought of it as an activity where women come in support for other women who are being abused on Twitter. Well, some misogynist tweets could be abuse in the general direction of the ladies and they must be subject to intervention too.

However, #MisogynyAlert is far from intervention here. It seems like a mere ganging up of educated, English-speaking, urban, young women against (generally) a lone man saying silly things. In an intervention, there is always a good intention. You do interventions for friends/ people you care about. So, as an intervention, it must be a civil talking session with someone who is misinformed and therefore saying objectionable things. #MisogynyAlert is hardly that.

The twisted Twitter behaviour

#MisogynyAlert is simply another of those Twitter hashtags. Everyone on it wants to say something witty and make themselves seem a smarter person. You’ll notice, most #MisogynyAlert tweets are RTs with mockery of the misogynist comment. A ‘do you want glasses’, ‘Dr. So and so has said it’ sort of sarcasm that does its fair bit in pissing off the person who has made the comment in the first place. It bullies. It begins a fight. And then there are also war cries. In essence, if you make a comment that offends us, we will bully you into oblivion.

The other twisted Twitter thing – trolling

The difference between this point and the one above is the sense of joy/ pride derived from being the bully. An intervention (again) is well-meaning. Where as #MisogynyAlert is just making a spectacle out of something someone has said (which is deemed offensive).

I’m afraid I have to take this one step ahead and wonder if we are indeed looking for misogynists to troll when bored. Pch.

Taking things out of context

When you have made up your mind to pounce on someone for having said something, it’s very difficult to stay within the debate and not go all over the place. The conversation that about women’s clothing inviting rape went into this. Look at the Atif Ali’s (the commentor/ offender here) response. Sums up why ganging up against someone is hardly the way.

And here. Calling a rapist a ‘bastard’ itself is #MisogynyAlert for me. So, who is going to fight my fight here?

Then some ifs and buts

Errr. “man making sexist comments is inviting a thrashing” in this tweet (which is what team #MisogynyAlert is doing), implies skin showing women can be raped, no?

Simple indeed. In some convoluted imaginary world! How is this even an argument?!

The logical conclusion?

Apparently, this means this.

In summary, as a feminist myself, #MisogynyAlert is far from the movement I want to be part of. Irrespective of the big names involved and the great press it seems to be getting, I will perhaps not even watch it anymore if it happens the way it happened today.

Not because #MisogynyAlert is a bad idea. But because it is the brand of feminism that applies on oppressors the same tactics they’ve been applying on women all these years. I’m not sorry to say, that’s not my feminism.


6 thoughts on “#MisogynyAlert

  1. Maybe if someone engaged with Atif Ali and explained in a simple, non-condescending manner what exactly is wrong with what he said/believed, it would have been more fruitful? Maybe, just maybe it would make him think! However, #MisogynyAlert would be very useful in cases where such an engagement escalates and the alleged misogynist becomes even more abusive and lashes out rape threats etc. Question is, who has the time for logical engagement? The same people who engage in #MisogynyAlert trolling would say they don’t owe it to anyone to engage with such people. Also, some people can’t be reasoned with. Okay this is just a rant and we’re going nowhere.

  2. i was watching the above exchange i think yesterday between @imsabbah and atif ali and all i have to say is this…. when you fight with a PIG, you both get dirty but the pig enjoys it…thinking that atif ali has been shut is silly, he is going to do more to get attention..

  3. Very well written. I must say.
    I would also like to add here, that the use of #MisogynistAlert is sadly not just limited to taking down sexism, but I’ve noticed that even if a guy doesn’t endorse a girl’s tweet and says that he doesn’t like what she just said, he is also slapped with the same hashtag.
    I understand that the reason and the intention behind this venture was extremely well thought of, but the way that it’s being used, is unfortunately not living up to the cause. Mostly.

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