In internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.
by Rachel Bali
Trolls can be funny but, there’s a thin line between trolling-funny and trolling-mean. The transition from funny and in-good-humor trolls can escalate to mean and nasty troll is quite quick. Especially, if their “funny” is directed at someone’s sexuality or gender in a negative fashion and come off as sexist in most cases.
The perfect example of a gender stereotype is when we pathologize a woman’s reactions and term them as “ovary-actions” belittling it further by saying “Is this you PMS-ing or do you really mean it?”, “Must be that time of the month”, “PMS-ing Bitch”. Here, a woman’s natural biological process, which is still a taboo subject in our country, is used against her.
What worries me the most is the normalization of such comments among men and women alike. This practice is used to put a woman down and to render her point of view or reaction invalid.
Above Indian journalist Barkha Dutt in response to a troll on twitter.
In more recent news, Barkha Dutt and Kavita Krishnan were trolled to such an extent that it was beyond unbearable to read. In India, when we want to bring a woman down we hunt her sexuality and hold it down to drown in a slew of disgusting comments until it becomes dirty laundry that needs a “good” wash.
It makes me question the mentality of our society. We should be ashamed. We, as a nation, have failed big time. We let such misogynistic vitriol visibly dominate our social media by supporting it through re-tweeting and favouriting. You may argue saying “Arrey, what “Phokat ka Footage this entire thing is”.But, let me remind you, harassment is harassment.
A particular reaction to “The Barkha Dutt Trollgate” from one of India’s many sons caught my eye. His status read “What happened to the good old days when trolls were funny and people were not such sensitive pansy faggot feminazi bastards?”
To which all I want to say is I, too, wonder as to what happened to the good old days when the trolls were funny and people were not posting such misogynistic and poorly worded status’s targeting a woman’s sexuality thereby, reducing her entire person-hood to over-imagined perceptions of her sexual life.
So, I do too, I do wonder just like you as to what gives these people the audacity to get away with such comments that border sexual harassment. I mean how do these words even find a way to travel from their minds and onto their screens? Why don’t they feel that what they’re doing or saying is “wrong”?
How does their conscience even allow them to think and feel like they own the internet and nothing they say will have any ramifications? If its “Freedom of Speech” you’re thinking as an answer to my question i urge you to think again! Would you call it freedom of speech then, when an eve teaser is uttering such statements as an attempt to harass a woman on the streets? I sure hope as hell that you don’t think so.
It’s quite pitiful that even in 2016 a woman’s achievements or failures are blamed or credited to her vagina and not her skills as a professional. Bosses who are women are still considered to be difficult to work with. While in comparison to their male counterparts they might be equally particular in their working style. Yet, we let someone’s gender typecast cloud our lens of perception.
“Is India failing its women by letting such harassment travel from the physical to the virtual streets and corners of the internet?”
We’ve given up in the real world and are “dealing” with it while stuck in our individual jail of “precautions”. How much more do we have to “deal” with, India?