Are online trolls are impacting the semantics of sexism? Scarlett Curtis’ Instagram experience makes for an interesting conversation…
We know how much language matters, because it defines just about everything we say and do.
That’s why we took a deep dive into the semantics of sexism once before. Think about the times you greet your female friends with “hey guys” or refer to a female colleague as your “right-hand man”. Although these terms can slip out without so much as a second thought, there’s more meaning behind them than it first seems. Our language is littered with expressions that refer to men as the powerful collective.
As discussions around feminism and sexism continue to become more prevalent, it’s perhaps important to keep track on the language we are using to have these conversations.
Take the words “sandwich” and “kitchen”.
These two nouns might have taken on a new meaning.
Writer and feminist activist Scarlett Curtis explained just how bad online trolling against young feminists has become, highlighting the issue she had with these seemingly harmless words.
“I have a lot of feminist Instagram accounts on my phone (and obviously I have one for my cat),” she said, speaking to an audience at the Feminists Don’t Wear Pink Tour on Monday (20 May). “And on one of the accounts, we were picked on by trolls. They post like, ‘I’ll go and troll this person today’ and you just get thousands and thousands of comments.
“We had to ban two words from our comments, which were kitchen and sandwich,” she continued. “Because all the comments were ‘get back in the kitchen’ or ‘make me a sandwich’. Oh, and ‘who’s the man in charge’ is another – they seem to be the catch phrases.”
Explaining how she deals with such trolling, Curtis added: “It’s terrifying, it’s awful and it happens to a lot of people. I think give trolls no time because it’s not worth it. They make it seem like they want a conversation about feminism but they don’t – it’s just a form of bullying. It’s something we have to reject entirely until they see it’s just not OK. “
She then shared the powerful action she took against other male teenage trolls, which had a hilarious twist. “We also the other day had some people trolling us, leaving really horrible, sexist, racist comments,” she said. “We found their school through their Facebook and wrote a letter to their school. It was really good.”
We only have one word for that: brilliant.