I’ve written about parody accounts before – and someone always pops up to say I have no sense of humour. The problem is not my sense of humour, or lack thereof. It’s the fact that I can tell the difference between the Larry the Downing Street Cat twitter account, which targets politicians and policies and isn’t very polite, and the ones created to harass, intimidate, abuse and silence women. Larry the Cat – even at his rudest – does not have the political power to silence the prime minister (as much as we might want him to). These “parody” accounts of women are part of a spectrum of abusive behaviour created with the sole purpose of silencing women. They are, in and of themselves, abusive behaviour.
These “parody” accounts aren’t just by misogynists targeting women – they are being shared by women who self-identify as feminists. These women are sharing tweets by accounts set up directly to harass, shame and silence another women. Feminism doesn’t mean we can’t be critical of other women’s politics or behaviours. But, there is a world of difference between criticism of a political stance and trashing another women. It’s so incredibly depressing that we now have self-defined feminists who believe that trashing is a valid political action.
Critical engagement with each other’s political policies, activism and theories is essential to the success of the feminist movement. But, we won’t get anywhere if women who self-define as feminists replicate the same abusive behaviours as misogynists. We need to stop pretending that these “parody” accounts are anything other than patriarchy in action and start engaging with other as if we are real people. With feelings and everything.
Otherwise, we might as well jack feminism in and leave the misogynists in charge.