Stuck in the digital network

The other morning I was listening to a political commentator on the radio say that online, during the pre-election period, female journalists receive an increased rain of insults, often of a sexual nature. On social media, the insult unfolds more strongly in heated moments, a pandemic crisis, or a power struggle. The screams of frustrated citizens explode in full waves, mixed with calls to return the patriarchy in order to gratinate the soufflé. Not all “proud boys” live on the other side of the border.

No, not only ladies get poisoned arrows. Also gays, outcasts, visible minorities, politicians, journalists, artists. The fact remains that women with the platform, persons in leadership positions, simple students or prominent professionals remain the main targets of anonymous antics on the Net. Where people express themselves endlessly. Where the words “whore” and “bitch” are combined with serious threats: “I will kill you, rape you, break all your teeth. A sign of troubled times, this misogyny has stuck to the violence of the day.

Sexists want to shut down women, even if they are as brilliant as Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is being stalked by a thug in Alberta this week. Politics is a minefield. Liberal MP in Quebec marwa Rizky was threatened with death online by a lunatic. He ended up in the dock, but the politician asks to strengthen the protection of candidates. Liberal MP Enrico Ciccone saw his office vandalized and robbed. The safety of politicians has become a hot topic. In a bad environment, caustic voices also want to send housewives back. The 21st century sometimes pretends to be the 19th century.

In this sign, the documentary “I Hail You Bitch” by Lea Clermont-Dion and Ghylaine Marois is timely (in theaters September 9). It takes us to the atmosphere of a real dystopia. Due to the fact that we live in the midst of a dystopia in many political, social, health, environmental and sexist ways, we are used to being close to the abyss. Big mistake! In addition, a film is required to awaken the spirit.

The work of the two directors comes to the aid of women in particular. Of course, many will scream (wrongly) about female victimization. But this tirade that talks about the impunity of those who vent their bile on social media requires even broader reflection.

Women from North America and Europe denounce their daily hell while one or more hateful harassers stalk them online or on the street. Laura Boldrini, former President of the Italian Parliament, recalls her cruel way of the cross, accompanied by incredible threats, including from the mayor, and calls for rape. Kia Morris, a former Democratic representative in Vermont, an African American, was forced to change state, fearing she would lose her skin there. Quebec students who have been harassed online by one of their colleagues, who even posted their photos on the dark web, say they are helpless. Not raw, not protected. Analysts are trying to understand the phenomenon.

Hail Bitch asks tantalizing questions: what if young people become desensitized to misogyny as they grow up in the digital age? If we did not accept the full measure of the social price that would have to be paid?

In fact, the ubiquity of porn sites is unlikely to encourage you to cultivate love tenderness. Insulting women on social media also does not command collective respect. And many of them will step back before entering politics. Online sexual harassment is a daily life for many young girls. Some commit suicide. So much news leaves us speechless. Many aggressors remain offshore, hardly less today than yesterday. In general, the field on the planet is so poorly regulated.

Everything is happening so fast that we cannot predict and counter the detrimental effects of the digital revolution. For misogyny, stemming from the memory of the ages, modern remedies have been proposed, the operation of which is still little studied. The film screams this: “Platforms don’t take responsibility. Women are alone in the fight against the crimes of the new era. Due to severe intimidation, what if their rights are violated? »

At the very least, this documentary, launched in the midst of an election campaign, contributes to plum swaying. How to pull the victims out of this web woven with hatred? Asking a question is already moving forward.

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