Monday, September 10, 2012
Sam Brick again
Englishwoman Samantha Brick reports very adverse results of her being moderately good-looking. She says other women hate her for it. She now reproduces stories (one such below) from other women who say the same.
I am a little perplexed, however. I have known quite a few attractive women in my time in Australia (and even married some of them) but have not heard such reports as Samantha's. In fact one of the most attractive women I have known was literally dripping with friends. She had more friends than she could keep up with. Eyes would light up as soon as she entered a room. And she was a born "lady" (in the behavioural, not the hereditary sense), which could in theory have evoked resentment. She was/is however a very bright lady beneath her porcelain exterior and used her brains to understand other people.
So I have two theories: 1). England and Australia are different. England is a very commpetitive place and Australia is very relaxed. That is broadly true and may apply to relationships between women. 2). It is only flirtatious women (maybe unconsciously flirtatious) and women who have "tickets" on themselves who attract hostile treatment from other women. Only some sort of objective study would be decisive, however
Amusing if it is only in Australia that the "sisterhood" proclaimed by feminists exists. It certainly does not exist in Sam Brick's world
In April this year, the Daily Mail published a piece I had written entitled Why Do Women Hate Me For Being Beautiful? In the article I recounted several incidents when I had been negatively treated or bullied by other women because of how I look. I also described the upside of being attractive: having drinks bought for me, being presented with flowers and once receiving a complimentary bottle of champagne on a flight.
Even as I wrote it, I realised I was challenging one of the biggest taboos of our time: you can think you’re pretty, but you must never admit it publicly. But then I’ve lived in France for the past five years, where it isn’t considered a sin to look in the mirror and like what you see.
On publication, I naively assumed that, at best, I’d provoke a gentle ribbing, at worst that there would be a staunch riposte to my piece from a fellow writer. What I didn’t expect was the global condemnation that was fired at me in a very personal and unpleasant way. People posted messages on Mail Online, Twitter and my personal email saying that they hoped I’d die and would be ‘bricked to death’. That I was ugly, stupid and must have a ‘beer mirror’. Had what I’d written really merited such vitriol?
I was also unprepared for the media requests that came flooding in from around the world. A bidding war erupted between two major US TV shows who wanted me to appear, hundreds of radio stations also wanted an interview, then there were the countless requests from British TV programmes, magazines and newspapers.
Yet I’m fascinated why every single British female columnist chose to ignore what was at the heart of my piece: that women do not like other women who are more attractive than they are. Why do we still deny the existence of this dirty little secret? Our reactions to other more attractive, confident women can veer from malicious remarks to full-on bullying. Why don’t women want to admit that there is an ugly part of our psyche that is constantly comparing ourselves with our friends and colleagues?
But there were positives to writing the feature: the support of my husband and my mum, dad and sisters in the UK, and the feedback I received from other women who have had similar experiences. I received thousands of emails from women of all ages around the world who shared with me their own personal, hugely scarring experiences of being dropped by friends or bullied by other women because of how they look. Yes some of these women are models, but others work in the armed forces, call centres, educational establishments and offices.
You see, even more insidious than the abuse women like me get for daring to come out and say they’re attractive is the endemic and systematic bullying attractive and confident women are subjected to in the workplace. Every woman I have spoken to for this feature has been given a hard time at work by other women. In an age when we no longer tolerate sexism, ageism or racism in society, that this can occur is intolerable.
Today I still feel great about myself. I know I’m far from perfect, yet I think I look fabulous. I hope that one day we’ll all be permitted to think and talk this way about ourselves – whatever size and shape we are – without the bitter and ugly consequences I experienced recently. To look in the mirror and be happy with what you see is a brilliant feeling.
Rachel Wagstaff, 35, works in financial services, is single and lives in Birmingham.
I felt so sorry for Samantha when I read about her experiences because they echoed mine in the workplace. I know I’m lucky that I’m 5ft 4in and a dress size 4-6, but other women are always accusing me of being anorexic or tell me I need to ‘fatten up’. I like to make an effort with my appearance: I go to the gym, have regular Botox injections and have had breast augmentation. People tell me that because I’m attractive and bubbly, I must be full of confidence and have great self-esteem, but that isn’t the case at all. I have the same insecurities as everyone else.
Ten years ago, my whole world was turned upside down by one of my superiors at work. She was 15 years older than me and picked on me for the slightest thing. On two occasions her aggression was so extreme that it left me in tears. Then there were the silly things such as being banned from wearing stilettos to work. Colleagues began to notice – the receptionist speculated that this woman was jealous of me and even my boss conceded that this might be the case. My work environment deteriorated to such a level that I ended up leaving.
I went through hell because of her and it really knocked my confidence. No one talks about the fact that one woman’s jealousy can ruin another innocent woman’s life. This might sound ridiculous, but sometimes I think that women who are overweight are the lucky ones, simply because other women don’t treat them as a threat.
Apartheid: The modern British response to social disorder
Instead of dealing with delinquents, they just move decent people away from them
Desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures.
And one woman, fed up with being plagued by yobs making life a misery on her Worcester estate, has decided to stage a protest highlighting her plight which nobody can ignore.
Artist Barbara Steele knocked up a giant banner listing complaints about antisocial behaviour in her area that she said has made her feel 'suicidal' - and hung it from the balcony of her flat.
The frightened 52-year-old says claims to have become a prisoner in her own home after being assaulted on her landing and forced to regularly endure loud music and parties throughout the night.
She says she regularly has her life threatened by thugs on the estate, who have made her life 'a living hell.'
Miss Steele resorted to hanging the 5ft by 5ft sign as a final cry for help because Worcester Community Housing and Worcester City Council have left her waiting for new housing for 16 months.
The banner explains how much she loves her flat and the area but says the antisocial behaviour she has been subjected to has left her feeling suicidal.
It reads: 'My peaceful protest. I love Sheepscombe Drive and I love my flat. But I am fed up of being blamed for the conduct of my neighbours. WCC (Worcester City Council) and WCH (Worcester Community Housing) make me suicidal. I have no justice. I have no rights.'
Single Barbara said: 'It’s been horrible - myself and others are scared to leave our homes. It’s made my life a living hell.
'I have been assaulted on my landing and constantly subjected to loud music and parties.
'People have threatened to kill me and there are disturbances going on throughout the night with people drinking on the streets and breaking bottles.
'The banner was the only way to get my message across because the council and the housing association have just ignored my cries for so long.'
Miss Steele described herself as a 'peaceful person' who just wants to have a 'nice quiet life.'
'I’ve written to and phoned the council but they have just fobbed me off,' she said. 'I’m now a prisoner in my own home.'
Iain Harkess, head of operations at WCH, said they had been working closely with Miss Steele and other agencies to make sure they could get the best possible outcome for her.
He said: 'We are aware of her situation and will continue to work with Miss Steele to help her find a suitable home that she would be happy to move to.'
A Worcester City Council spokeswoman added: 'We are very much sympathetic to her situation.'
In defence of the freedom to troll
Just because an Oz celeb received a few nasty comments on Twitter, that is no reason to regulate free speech online.
Back in May, the fashion world created headlines over a Twitterstorm between Charlotte Dawson, an expat New Zealand TV presenter and judge on Australia’s Next Top Model, and fashion bloggers Bryan Grey-Yambao, (pseudonym: Bryanboy) and Patty Huntington.
During a Twitter conversation about whether fashion bloggers should be given tickets to fashion shows, Dawson tweeted ‘somebody please kill Bryanboy… Please, please, please.’ Fashion blogger Patty Huntington then alerted Bryanboy to the ‘death threat’, to which he responded: ‘I’m really scared’ followed by ‘on the phone to the police’ and then ‘so scared of this unhinged lunatic’.
The next day on the Sunrise breakfast TV show, Dawson made light of the Twitterstorm, explaining that bloggers need to be able to take as well as give abuse. ‘Bloggers write horrible things all the time’, she said, ‘but when someone they have attacked answers back, they get all jazz hands about it and say everyone is being horrible to them’. Dawson said that while she was regularly insulted online, she never took it too seriously.
That is good advice. So how come this week Dawson was admitted to the Emergency Psychiatric Care Unit at St Vincent’s Hospitals in Sydney amid calls from Australian politicians, police and media experts to legislate against ‘cyber-bullying’?
Dawson’s hospitalisation followed a Twitterstorm where hundreds of so-called trolls attacked her for naming and shaming someone called Tanya Heti as a cyber-bully. The Twitter war started after Bernadette Casey, one of Dawson’s Twitter followers, defended a tweet by Dawson which referenced suicide. When Casey tweeted that she had lost her partner to suicide, Heti responded with: ‘if I was your fiancé I’d hang myself too #gohangyourself.’ In response Dawson set out to expose Heti using the University of Monash business card Heti had posted online. Following Dawson reporting her to the university, Heti was subsequently suspended from her mentoring job. Dawson then appeared on the TV shows A Current Affair and The Project to defend her exposure of cyber-bullying, declaring it ‘an important lesson in consequences when people decide to mock or encourage suicide’.
After Dawson’s TV appearances, hundreds of tweeters took aim once again. In more than 100 messages, which Dawson re-tweeted on her own page, trolls told the celebrity to ‘neck yourself you filthy slut’ and ‘please put your face in a toaster’. Dawson signed off with the message ‘you win x’, along with a picture of a hand holding pills at 2.07am. At 3am that same morning, Dawson was taken to hospital.
Despite her hospitalisation, Dawson still managed to give an exclusive interview to 60 Minutes just hours later. In the interview, Dawson said she had been pushed to the very brink ‘by these creeps’: ‘I’ve never had death threats of this ferocity’, she said, ‘it just triggered that feeling of helplessness when the trolls got to me’. Dawson was released two days later and is now staying with friends.
During this whole episode, Dawson has received overwhelming support for her ‘troll-busting’ action. News Limited, Australia’s largest media conglomerate, even has asked members of the public to help identify the trolls who threatened and harassed Dawson.
Over the last few days, there have been many calls for changes to current laws - or for new tougher laws - that would better protect people from cyber-bullying and harassment. Chair of the Australian Federal Coalition’s online safety working group ‘Paul Fletcher’ said: ‘The online hate campaign against Dawson was shocking and the sad experience of Charlotte Dawson is another indicator of the importance of a close look at the laws in this area.’ The Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has urged Twitter to be accountable and take its international complaints seriously. The Australian crisis support service Lifeline has also questioned the diligence of social media in monitoring cyber-bullying.
Taking things up a notch, the New South Wales police minister Mike Gallacher called for the trolls to be ‘dragged out of their mother’s basement and put before a court. These are sick minds we’re dealing with.’ He went on: ‘Even a cursory examination of the comments made to Ms Dawson overnight reveals they are clearly offensive to a reasonable person, which is the test for any prosecution under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act’ (that is, the use of a ‘carriage service’ to menace, harass or offend, which can result in a maximum three-year jail term).
So why has the response to the Dawson furore shifted from a jokey ‘take it on the chin’ to calls for arrests and jail sentences for cyber-bullies? A cynic might point out that this Twitterstorm comes at a time when the anti-bullying foundation Community Brave, for which Dawson is an ambassador, is stepping up its online campaign #SayNoToBullying.
However, it is more likely that Dawson has been caught up in the dominant political culture of our times, which encourages adults and children alike to see themselves as helpless and in need of state protection. The problem with the intellectual framework of cyber-bullying is that it views internet users as vulnerable victims rather than as capable individuals who can deal with and can negotiate their way through difficult situations.
There are two issues that are thrown up by the Dawson Twitterstorm. The first is the rise of the celebrity troll-hunter, whereby someone with a modicum of fame will help to spotlight and expose Twitter trolls. But Dawson should have learnt by now that you shouldn’t feed the trolls. By re-tweeting their negative comments she has ended up giving them more publicity.
Dawson seems to have convinced herself that she has survived an actual hurricane rather than a Twitterstorm in which few pathetic trolls have posted some horrible things to her. As has been pointed out elsewhere on spiked, there are plenty of ways of dealing with trolls without inviting the law to intervene: you can develop a thick skin and just ignore the abuse; you can use the block button on Twitter; or you can give as good as you get.
The second and more important issue is around free speech and the increasing calls for state regulation of the internet. Like the World Wide Web, free speech is for everyone – even trolls. Dawson should know this more than anyone. She herself is not opposed to posting ‘offensive’ comments as can be seen by her recent description of New Zealand as ‘small, nasty and vindictive’.
Any attack on freedom of speech online is immeasurably more harmful than puerile abuse from a few internet trolls. The action of a small group of trolls should not be used as an excuse to curb our internet freedoms. Whether you agree with trolls’ remarks or not, you should defend their right to, well, troll.
The New Islamic Vigilantes of Speech
David J. Rusin of the Middle East Forum recently published an article on Islamist Watch about the vandalizing of "anti-Islamic" ads. He reveals just how pervasive the phenomenon is worldwide.
When Cyrus McGoldrick, advocacy director for the New York office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), logged into Facebook on August 12 to hint at his desire to vandalize anti-jihad ads that may soon run on city buses, he did not simply underline CAIR's troubling attitude toward free expression. McGoldrick's words - and the subsequent actions of others - have illuminated an overlooked aspect of the Islamist assault on Western speech: the defacement, if not obliteration, of political and commercial messages.
Of particular interest is the destruction of print or commercial ads of scantily clad women. I find this interesting because of the near psychotic or pathological mindset about women that Islam inculcates in Muslim men.
This phenomenon has been especially prevalent in the UK. A Times of London article revealed in 2005 that Muslims Against Advertising (MAAD) had launched a website with instructions on how to vandalize ads and which ones to select. "There is no longer any need to cringe as you walk past a sleazy poster," the group declared. "We'll improve it." Many answered the call, as ads pitching bras, beauty products, and even television programs were trashed. "Photographs of semi-dressed women are the most frequently targeted, with the offending body parts painted over or ripped off," the Times observed.
In a telling example, thugs destroyed images of scantily clad women on an East London billboard promoting the series Desperate Housewives, but fully clothed characters were untouched. Responding to the controversy, leading British Islamist Ahmed Sheikh argued that "freedom of speech should end when you offend others."
Cultural jihad, or the de facto imposition of Sharia law on Western non-Muslims, is insidiously accumulative. In Britain it begins with such things as complaining about images or figures of pigs that Muslims might see in a bank or a shop. They are removed so that Muslims are not offended. Next will come a complaint about halal food not being served in restaurants and schools. Non-Muslims will be served it, as well, with or without their knowledge. Next will be a complaint that one must have some place to pray five times a day, and if an employer does not provide such a space, the street outside will do just as well, and damn the traffic jam caused by hundreds of Muslims mooning non-Muslims as they express their obeisance to a rock thousands of miles away.
Language must also be altered to preempt potential offense. Muslim criminal suspects are called "Asians." Polygamy is taboo among non-Muslims, but Muslim men collecting welfare and enjoying subsidized housing may have several dependent wives and a dozen dependent children. The taxes collected to pay for their special welfare is a form of jizya, or a tax levied on conquered infidels.
Muslims may demonstrate en masse, displaying signs that damn freedom of speech, sneer at British culture, warn of violence if non-Muslims resist, and predict the Islamization of Britain, and not be charged with hate speech. Any other group behaving in such an obnoxious manner would see its members hauled into court.
Criticism of Islam is forbidden and regarded as "defamation," "bigotry," or "racism." Muslim activists are aggressive in this respect, going after not only titillating ads but serious discussions of Islam. Rusin writes:
"Islamists also have adapted to the information age, recognizing that much of the Western speech they despise now exists online. Al-Azhar University scholars, representatives of the highest religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world, even crafted a fatwa in 2008 that sanctions hacking for the purposes of jihad. Therefore, those who criticize Islam or otherwise offend its followers often find that their freedom of expression is no safer on the internet than it is on a Tower Hamlets billboard."
Arab News sympathetically profiled one such hacker, a Saudi native, in 2011. "An Alkhobar woman studying in the United States is taking credit for destroying 23 Danish websites that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad," the piece begins, relaying material originally published by an Arabic-language source. "Nouf Rashid told the Arabic newspaper she was hacking into Danish websites having references to cartoons of the Prophet along with other sites that had questionable content in her view," including pornographic ones.
The focus here, however, is the pseudo-ironic and psychotic symbiosis between a creed/ideology that finds bare female anatomy offensive, yet is lured to it in spite of the proscriptions against it.
There is a link between such vandalizing and the rape and often disfigurement of non-Muslim women in Europe by Muslims, the "sex slave" rings recently exposed in Britain, and the honor-killings of Muslim-born women and girls who break Islamic rules and "go Western." This has everything to do with the Muslim dictum compelling women to cover themselves up as much as possible in burqas, veils or some other form of self-effacing garb, depending on the Islamic sect.
The phenomenon swings wildly, like bipolar dysfunction, between the vigilante censorship described by Rusin and incidents such as the rape of Lara Logan in Cairo, in which her clothes were ripped from her and even part of her hair torn out during the assault. That was not the only such incident endured by Western women in Cairo, but it is the most notorious. Her attackers wished to extinguish Logan, to wipe her out of existence.
This is the behavior of nihilists.
However, these incidents are all connected to the same criminal psychosis (or pathology) that is part and parcel of strict and even "moderate" Islamic upbringing. It is a concerted ideology that wishes to blank out women's existence, to negate it, to obliterate it. On the surface, this "gendercidal" wish seems based on the Islamic perception of men as uncontrollable demons who lose all reason and restraint at the sight of a bare ankle or arm or coiffed or perfumed hair or inviting lips or seductive eyes. Hide these things, and the libidos of Muslim men will not be triggered to launch criminal assaults.
If they are not hidden, a Muslim man cannot be held responsible for his criminal actions. If a woman is attacked, it is her fault, because her "immodesty" is regarded as the invitation of a whore or prostitute. Unveiled or uncovered women are just "meat" to be consumed by sex-starved Muslim maniacs. They can't help it, and so are forgiven. So goes the anti-reasoning.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.