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Sexism is alive and well on the Internet

This article was originally on the HotWhopper blog. I've converted and republished it here. You can still comment on the blog if you want to - click here.

The comic is from Gabby's Playhouse. The comic is no longer on that website. You can, however, see some afterthought(s) following a strong reaction to the original.

If you're wanting to know more about the episode, there's another old article I wrote called "The Men's Playground", and my satirical rewrite of the Hot Copper Terms of Use.

One of these days I might get around to putting up some of the sexist remarks climate science deniers have made.



Sexism on the Internet.


This cartoon pretty much illustrates my experience on HotCopper, an Australian share trading discussion board. The 'f**k you' bit was enacted by the HotCopper moderator who quickly banned me for a month* because I alerted the moderators to sexist posts, telling me in no uncertain terms, in a kneejerk reaction typical of sexist slobs, that "it's you who are sexist (because you said a sexist post was sexist)"!

The moderator had the full support of the HotCopper General Manager and reportedly all his fellow moderators - which is not surprising, since the nasty sexist tone of the forum has to come from the top. The General Manager decided that a person like me, being not only female (therefore I must be a feminazi) but having the temerity to express an opinion about sexism while in his "men's playground", is not welcome on his share trading discussion board.

When I subsequently made a complaint (to the Human Rights Commission) he banned me completely and forever (as far as he is able). (Note: Victimisation is an offense under the Sex Discrimination Act in Australia but to my knowledge no-one has ever been prosecuted. At least one civil case alleging victimisation under the Act has been successful.) I'm told by people who work in the Human Rights space that some places on the internet (such as HotCopper) are home to quite a few sexist slobs who stick together for support. I've since discovered sexism is rife among climate science deniers, too.

You've seen it happen...

The cartoon is reprinted with written permission - thanks Gabby. Click here to visit the brilliant Gabby's Playhouse. You can leaf through the pages by clicking the arrows.


Perhaps it's a tad sexist to say of a woman who makes decisions about her own body that she has a "PC abnormal dysfunction", or that she demonstrates "simple, selfish, self interested, aggressive, indoctrinated behaviour" or that she is a "stupid and dangerous person" with a "mental misfire" or that it's good that she died ("good riddance") - unless of course you are a man on HotCopper discussion board.

Sexism is allowed because we say so - it's called free speech

All the HotCopper moderators rally together for support. They see that a couple of men have sent them TOUs complaining about a woman complaining about sexism (and ignore the men who agree with her, dismissing them as bleeding heart liberals). "That PROVES we are right to say she's the one being sexist", they say to themselves.

Based on my experience the unwritten Terms of Use of HotCopper means it's not sexist to demean women, it's undoubtedly thought of as 'free speech'. It IS sexist to suggest that demeaning women is sexist (especially if you are a woman). That sort of outspokenness is not "free speech" and will not be tolerated. Your comments will be deleted immediately and you will be banned from posting any more. To imply a man has said something sexist is apparently COMPLETELY PROHIBITED under the "free speech" provisions of HotCopper, even or especially in a private message to moderators.

Sigh indeed :(

*Posters are typically banned for from one to seven days if they break the rules, offend another poster (a libertarian or conservative male) or offend the forum moderators. A ban of 30 days is extreme and very rare. It is reserved for repeat offenders of extreme behaviour - which was definitely not me.





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