In a playground the other day, I saw a big 12-year-old boy screaming at an 8-year-old girl because she fell trying to cross a horizontal ladder. As she picked herself up, pride undimmed, ready to have another go at it, the boy and two of his friends surrounded her with taunts and insults, saying the worst thing they could think of –”you’re a girl, you’re just a girl”.
The dad of one of the boys was sitting on the park bench nearby, reading his iPhone. I asked him to intervene, as the girl was in tears. “Boys will be boys,” he said, and he buried his face back into the glass screen in his hand.
When I intervened myself, pulling the frightened girl into my arms as I knelt beside her, wiping away her tears, the biggest boy continued, “You are just a sissy just like her.”
What are we doing that we are raising boys like this – the same kind that humiliated the woman bus monitor in New York a short time ago – boys so proud of their “male bravery” they posted it on YouTube for all to see?
Surely this was not the first time the boys I saw ever did this. Surely the YouTube bullies had done this before — it takes a bit of practice to get so polished at cruelty, at making a stranger cry.
But, obviously, no one intervened in their previous episodes to dissuade these boys from their violence against girls…against women.
But, it doesn’t stop there. These kind of boys grow up. Become some semblance of men. And they still want to make women cry, make them weep openly, shamelessly make them afraid to be a woman in a world that rightfully should be dominated by men…this variant sub-human species of man.
There is an anger brewing in the hearts of these men, former boys who need to project their ugly manhood online for all to see.
They can’t expose their genitals online without legal problems, so they expose their verbal cajones, with wickedness and vehemence.
Look no further than the case of Anita Sarkeesian. Google her. You need to know. Read about her here.
And weep for her. And the countless others who daily face similar hatefulness.
Certainly not all boys become men like this. Not even most. But there is a world of male-dom that trolls the Internet, looking for naked women, while baring all their ugliness to frighten women back into their holes, back into the dark ages, back into the subservience their fantasy world demands.
Women are not people, they are walking vaginas, waiting for a man to insert his violence. In this parallel universe, populated by this sub-species of men, each hiding behind glass screens in darkened rooms, they screech their perverted sense of male omnipotence. Their goal is to rid the world of women blogs that speak about issues common to half the human race. They will never see the irony that the reason so many women connect online is precisely because of men like them, and the slightly paler vestiges of them that still rule in this male-world.
There is nothing we can do about these online trolls, I guess. They use their Internet skills to hide their identity while using every device their programming skills can muster to shut down the blogs of women they catch in their crosshairs — the women who dare say, “I am woman, hear my roar.”
But there are others out there that could make a difference, perhaps. The women who share their lives with these men could “out” them (assuming any of these misogynists have real women in their lives). But they do have co-workers, online buddies, and companies that host their websites and handle their email — all of them know of the violence these men project onto women online. Each has a responsibility to act to change their behaviors. They won’t of course. They fear retaliation. We all do.
I reached out to the shirt collar of that boy on the playground, grabbed him tightly. “You apologize,” I demanded, “Do it now.” The other boys ran away. I drug him over to his father, sitting angrily, phone still in hand. “Take him out of here, now!” I demanded. “I have a picture of him on my phone, and I now have a picture of you. And I am going to follow you to your car and get a picture of your license plate. And if I ever hear about or see anything of this kind again coming from him, I will see you in juvenile court.” The dad yelled words that sounded like his son. I didn’t care. I just wanted them gone.
Following him to his car, the other moms by the playground just watched. One, walked with me as the bully and his approving dad went to their car. As they left, and I took the picture, she said to me in halting English. “It happens all the time to us. I wanted to make sure you were safe, in case the dad turned on you too.”
What can we do, the ones with vaginas, what can we do, the ones with blogs, to put an end to these trolls, these miscreants? What can we do?