Very often, and not always from men, people ask me, hands on hips, for some example of this “sexism” that I think still exists. After all, women can vote now, and wear pants, and there’s always tampon commercials on t.v., what more do we want from this world? And very often, I’m only left with vast, sort of incomprehensible thoughts that people don’t like to ponder like the wage gap, the battle for bodily autonomy, male privilege, rape culture…things too big that usually get me the response “BUT GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE.” And after I’ve given them Steubenville and Maryville and the Marissa Alexander case usually the person I’m talking to either writes me off with an argument of semantics or finds an error in my spelling.
But then every once in a while something so bold and beautiful and simple comes along and it’s so sad and enraging in its beauty that I have to pass it on. Because it’s an example of how sexism is engrained, and how every act of sexism doesn’t result in jailtime or a court case or a big national movement, but just continues to flow in the undercurrent.
Yesterday, NPR’s On The Media had a piece regarding Hunter Moore (a living, breathing example of the slimiest part of sexism) and how one mother wouldn’t give up and ended up bringing his website down (along with help from Anonymous and the FBI). Long story short, this woman’s teenage daughter took some topless pics of herself, sent them to NO ONE, but still her computer was hacked and the pictures sent to Moore, who posted them on his now defunct revenge porn website Is Anyone Up along with her personal information and social media contacts and refused to take them down until the FRIGGIN FBI AND ANONYMOUS raided him.
Turns out the man who hacked her daughter’s computer was guilty of hacking and stealing pics from THOUSANDS of women’s computers. Hunter Moore posted hundreds of naked pics (some photoshopped pictures of naked women with the revenge target’s face superimposed on it) along with personal info in order to “shame them”. And yet, the very first comment received on this story was from an enlightened young man named Carl:
this is the stupidist story ever. mom reallly? you believe your daughter and spent all this time and money on a breast? yes, i’ll cry and say how i didn’t mean to take that picture blah blah blah - and the oscar goes to… its a picture, your daughter took it. next time spend your time and money educating your daughter not to do those things, or put it on your internet account. mail servers aren’t your computers. 123456789 is not a password. and move on. go to any free porn site.com and you’d think that every girl in the world has taken and posted a nude picture of yourself. get over it.
So out of all the players in this story, Carl chooses to vilify: the girl who took a picture of herself and kept it on her computer. NOT the man who hacked thousands of women, NOT the man who posted hundreds of revenge porn pics against the victim’s will (forcing one woman to quit her job, change her name and leave her home town for fear of losing custody of her children), NOT the people who sent this woman DEATH THREATS. NOT the man who sat outside her house in a car watching her for three days.
None of THOSE people are worthy of scorn. What we really need to focus on is telling girls and women to stop taking pictures of their breasts. Because once they do, apparently men are helpless to do anything but use those pictures to illicit shame and ridicule. And I also love the thinly veiled assumption that all women are liars when he says “YOU BELIEVE YOUR DAUGHTER” as if there is nothing in the world more ridiculous.
So class, there’s today’s example of sexism and how it’s engrained in the brains and hearts of people.