Tuesday, 7 September 2010

what about my freedom of speech?

I realised that i didn't post something on this blog (but did on UK Feminista) because i didn't want to deal with the comments that attacked me.

I realised i will no longer talk to journalists from the local media because i don't want to have to deal with the comments that attack me. These included verbal attacks on my family, as well as attacks on my perceived personal appearance, perceived sexuality and even a discussion about my breasts.

The blogosphere is such a wonderful example of free speech in action. We can write our thoughts, opinions, share them with the world, and challenge the mainstream media.

But people abuse this free speech by using the commenting section in blogs to abuse and shout at people. They use the cloak of anonymity to say things they would never dare say to my face. They intimidate, frighten, dominate and derail debate.

It isn't fair. Why should my freedom to write my thoughts be repressed because people don't have the common decency to be polite, fair and sensible? Why should i be made to feel scared of writing? Why does having an opinion and daring to express it mean i deserve to be called names, why does it mean my family deserve to be called names?

My family, for fuck's sake! Who have nothing to do with what i write.

I'm tempted to think it's a gender thing. In fact, more than tempted. Male bloggers and male activists - do you get called names about your looks? I'm not saying you don't because i don't know, I would like to know because I want to see how the insults are different or the same. I know male bloggers/commenters get called homophobic names too.

We live in a country or society where we have freedom of speech. it isn't cheap. it is a luxury, a privilege, in a world where many don't have the simple right to speak out. As a woman, my sisters all over the world are denied a voice. men all over the world are denied a voice. We are lucky.

Think about that luck, think about that privilege, next time you use your freedom of speech to call me fat, or crazed, or insult my family.

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