- On Thursday night ABC Comedy’s flagship program Tonightly aired a segment featuring its two female cast members complaining about online abuse.
This, of course, a show which is only too eager to dish out abuse to people they don’t like. They called an Australian Conservatives candidate and the founder of Melbourne John Batman a c**t. They also claimed everyone who was critical of ABC ME’s privilege song (which resulted in the Facebook page being deleted) was an alt-right loser troll in their sequel the internet song. They then commemorated Easter by interviewing Satan who told the audience how they loved celebrating Jesus’ crucifixion.
In the segment, Greta Lee Jackson and Bridie Connell stated they were complaining about online abuse because in their mind what they receive is worse than their male counterparts. Greta and Bridie called being labelled unfuckable, fat and ugly sexualised and misogynistic abuse. They also alleged they had been subjected to threats of sexual violence but failed to mention any examples (in fact most of the abuse mentioned is of men saying they don’t want to have sex with them).
Greg Larson believed people calling him a fat shit and a soy boy was mild abuse because it didn’t attack his clothes or refer to his genitals. But being called a soy boy is attacking Greg’s genitals because the implication of being a soy boy is that you have a low sperm count, so this argument becomes invalid.
The segment then returns to Greta and Bridie conceding they will never take insults of out the internet but wanted sexism out of insults with the slogan ‘Make Abuse Equal’. Then Leigh Sales makes a cameo outlining what is acceptable abusive, such as being called unAustralian (so she is fine with people thinking she does not like Australia?). Other forms of acceptable abuse Greta states are saying to Tom Ballard is not funny and shit.
This segment was aired to show solidarity with female journalists who the previous days decided to retweet some of the online abuse they recieve. It began with 7.30’s Leigh Sales who ironically enough was attacked for going too soft in an interview with a Liberal politician and that it represented her giving him a blowjob.
Another morning, another bit of casual misogyny & abuse – basically a daily occurrence for high-profile women on social media. pic.twitter.com/iJfHbC78N6
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) April 10, 2018
Then News Corp’s Annika Smethurst (who many would consider a nobody anyway) retweeted an abusive message’
You don’t even have to be as high-profile as Leigh…. pic.twitter.com/pv6bwxtmk0
— Annika Smethurst (@annikasmethurst) April 10, 2018
Then the rest of the female journalistic sisterhood jumped in.
This is NOT okay. If you would not say something to someone’s face, don’t think the anonymity of social media makes it any any way acceptable to put such vile things in writing. Think before you tweet. https://t.co/zLxwVw005O
— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) April 11, 2018
These female journalists of course then claim this is part of a misgonostic online culture of cyberbullying, creating an unsafe workplace for women. However from our own experience of running the Unshackled anybody who publishes something on the internet is going to get abuse, often personal and even sexual. These women are not unique in their experience.
To use Sales as an example she is the host of national current affairs show viewed by hundreds of thousands of Australians, being in public eye attracts criticism and abuse. Do you think if Twitter was around when Ray Martin was hosting A Current Affair he wouldn’t be copping his fair share of abuse?
People sometimes forget that abusive comments and tweets are just words by someone sitting at their computer. People ask would you say it to their face? The answer is no, and that is why we shouldn’t feel offended, insulted or threatened by it.
This ‘share your abuse’ session by these female journalists and presenters at Tonightly is just another excuse to pedal out the feminist victim narrative. The irony of this exercise is rather than demonstrate that women are confident and empowered enough to overcome such abuse they claim that women are so fragile that this abuse will destroy their careers. Plus complaining about abuse is a sure way to make sure plenty more comes your way, which is why there is the slogan ‘don’t feed the trolls’.
But the Tonightly cast said they were happy with receiving online abusive as long as it was gender equal. So keep that in mind.