By all intents and purposes, the emergence of the internet created a space for women to freely publish their art and share their experiences without banging their heads on the glass ceiling.
The internet offered, not only a platform for women writers and other artists, but anonymity- should it be required.
Initially, although not necessarily by design, the freedom to publish on the world wide web began to tip the scales of the social arrangement. Not only did women bloggers, artists, journalists and scholars have a platform from which to freely share their experiences and opinions; but women outside of the public sphere were able to engage in the discussion, too.
The inclusive nature of publishing and commenting on the internet appeared to render the somewhat nuanced and westernised forms of woman silencing null and void. Womens voices were becoming louder; they could no longer be ignored.
And whilst the anonymity of the internet empowered many women from the around the world, unfortunately, it also invited some deeply embedded misogynistic strategies to silence; insults, intimidation and threats.
These tactics are as old as the hills. Frequently used, not just when women present a strong and credible argument and not just when women ask men uncomfortable questions which may or may not be related to gender arrangements, but just because a woman has dared to speak.
This form of gender based censorship generally follows a well established pattern. The aggressor will attempt to dehumanize; a woman who resembles an animal is too ugly to be taken seriously; she is stupid, demonise, discredit and finally silence. He will also present himself as virtuous in comparison to his female opponent, he will remind her of her place in relation to his.
In the video below, David Starkey, a rather controversial British Historian, is accused by Laurie Penny, a well known British journalist and blogger who writes from a feminist and left leaning perspective, of playing Xenophobia and national prejudices for laughs. The debate focuses on Britishness and what it means to be British. Note his reaction.