Originally aired 8th May this 1 hour documentary was on BBC 2 and there is still content on the BBC website.
Kirsty Wark explores sexism in an age dominated by the internet, clearly this is a subject that can not be thoroughly explored in just 1 hour. Wark looked at misogyny as showcased on the internet and online world from different angles and with different specialists. This was not really about the battle of the sexes as such, but more the battle that women are facing, 25 years after the birth of the internet. To get an equal footing, both online and off.
One striking point raised was sexism in comedy. A male psychologist asked, when is a joke not a joke. The answer (it’s not funny just to warn you) when it affect societal behaviour. Apparently sexist comedy makes it acceptable and validates those in the room who are sexist and misogynistic. Comedy can play such a strong part in exploring issues, bringing politicians to account and on a basic level it entertains. I am not saying my opinion is that women are not ‘fair game’, but please also make jokes about men equally if that is how you want to play it.
Another contributor to the show was Laurie Penny, a columnist, blogger and author. Her perspective was on how the internet has affected sexism and misogyny and she basically said that the internet hasn’t created a new kind of misogyny, new kind of misogyny has been facilitated by the internet. One where is it OK to directly message or tweet a woman telling her you want to rape her. This is not common behaviour in day to day life where people live face to face with one another. Online however, where you can be faceless even if you are not anonymous, sad individuals can make disgusting comments to and about people they do not know.
When faced with all of this information, it is very disturbing. What makes is more disturbing is that there are common instances of sexism and inappropriate behaviour and very little is being done about it. It is very easy to step back and say that it is terrible but it is very hard to know what the solution is because the internet is now so vast. How can is be more regulated without becoming a threat to freedom of speech. Rod Liddle who refuses to accept liability for his actions as a journalist, is in the camp who think this is where we could head if he is brought to account for things he writes about in articles.
If I can conclude with a link – not much of a conclusion I know. What I have taken from watching this is to be more aware of sexism on a daily basis and be more clear on how I feel about this issue – I reference as my link The Everyday Sexism Project.