A 25 year old man in Newtown, New South Wales, is being taken to COURT for allegedly ‘slut-shaming’ a woman on Facebook. 1 The man allegedly posted a series of distasteful comments regarding a girls Tinder account. 2 This led to an outcry from the girl’s friend group about the ‘promotion’ of sexual violence. After considerable petitioning (they love to petition) police eventually took action. The result? A young man has a court date for Thursday, 29 November 2015.
Now I don’t oppose feminism per se. I’m not a men’s rights activist, and I don’t have a neck beard. However, I’ve read the comments that this young man is said to have posted. The only ‘serious threat’ that I can see is the following:
“I’d rape you if you were better looking”.
While this is certainly distasteful (as are the other things he said) it is very different from “threaten[ing] to rape someone over the internet”. In fact, it is very clear from the tone of all comments that this was CLEARLY not intended as a threat at all, but rather an expression of ridicule and admonishment – ‘slut shaming’ if you will.
Careful readers will notice that the young man is charged with ‘using a carrier service to menace, harass or cause offence’. 3 I really question the utility of the Federal statute in this scenario. This woman chose to make herself a public figure. She was subjected to a torrent of ridicule from other people as a result. I concede that she was offended, but do we want merely ‘offending others’ to be a punishable offence?
As unpalatable as shaming might be to some, where do we draw the line? These women proudly wear modern feminist buzzwords. Literally! As part of their ‘activism’ they had a jolly day of arts-and-crafts which resulted in this gem:
I have to say it again; I agree that the comments made towards this young girl were distasteful. However, if there isn’t a credible threat then a person should be able to express negative and distasteful opinions on anything. This belief is what allowed our foremothers to overcome the REAL oppression that they faced (and still face in many parts of the world). The right to free speech is not here to protect the expression of pleasantries. But rather, it exists so that we can say the most challenging, and oft-times crude things.
Is this new wave of radical feminism destroying the integrity of a movement that once stood for social change? Are these people distracting us from real issues with their pedantry? How involved do we all need to be when it comes to your self image?
3 Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) s 474.