Listen to Women

[Content Note: Misogynist terrorism; misogyny; transphobia; privilege; reference to child sex abuse.]

On Sunday night, John Oliver aired one of his long-form segments on the subject of online harassment of women. (The segment is available for viewing on YouTube, if you want to see it, and please note the video autoplays at the link.) Now, I am generally a fan of Oliver's show, even though I don't think he gets everything right, but this segment was a pretty major letdown, for a few reasons.

It was white-centric, it erased trans* women, it included a Photoshopped graphic of an infant girl getting her genitals tattooed which served as the punchline of a joke about owning women's bodies, it focused on legislation to criminalize revenge porn with no exploration of how such laws are only as useful as they are likely to be enforced, it never addressed male harassers' personal accountability, and, unlike most of Oliver's long-form segments, it did not culminate in any sort of call to action. No hashtag, no pledges to refrain from harassment, no admonishment to contact legislators to support the aforementioned legislation, nothing.

Which is a difference in tone that is easy to dispute, when cited as evidence of inequality, but stood out very starkly to me.

Knowing I would immediately get emails and tweets about how TOTES AWESOME it was, I did a little preemptive tweeting on Sunday night immediately following the airing of the episode to register my disappointment with it.

Then, yesterday, I tweeted about it some more, with Andrea Grimes and Parker Molloy, which then led to further discussion of another problematic element of the segment, not unique to this piece nor even John Oliver's show, which is men who use linking to pieces such as this one as the sum total of their Feminist Ally Activism, and how fucked up it is that there are so many progressive men who exclusively get their news about women from men.

And just presume that those men have gotten it right.

Anyway. In case you're not on Twitter, or in case you missed any of the above, here is a Storify of those tweets. Andrea's and Parker's tweets have been included with their permission.

Oliver's segment, misogynist terrorism broadly, and the habit of getting news about women's lives filtered through men are all on-topic for this thread.

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