They are, in other words, inadvertently creating a new whisper network. Most of the new whisperers feel as I do, exhilarated by the moment, by the long-overdue possibility of holding corrupt and bullying men such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer to account for their actions. I think there is more regretted consent than anyone is willing to say out loud. In the early Nineties, death threats were phoned into Shakespeare and Company, an Upper West Side bookstore where I was scheduled to give a reading from my book The Morning After.
They strongly share some of its broader goals: making it possible for women to work unbothered and unharassed even outside the bubble of Hollywood and the media, breaking down the structures that have historically protected powerful men. If someone had sent me the Media Men list ten years ago, when I was twenty-five, I would have called a harmlessly enamored guy a stalker and a sloppy drunken encounter sexual assault. One thing people don’t say is that power is an aphrodisiac. That night, in front of a jittery crowd and a sprinkling of police, I read a passage comparing the language in the date-rape pamphlets given out on college campuses to Victorian guides to conduct for young ladies.
This is an ugly truth about our recent past that we are just now beginning to grapple with. What seems truly dangerous to me is the complete disregard the movement shows for a sacred principle of the American criminal justice system: the presumption of innocence. #Why Not Me Too I think #Me Too is a potentially valuable tool that is degraded when women appropriate it to encompass things like “creepy DMs” or “weird lunch ‘dates.’” And I do not think touching a woman’s back justifies a front page in the New York Times and the total annihilation of someone’s career.
But amid this welcome reckoning, it seems that many women still fear varieties of retribution (Twitter rage, damage to their reputations, professional repercussions, and vitriol from friends) for speaking out—this time, from other women. I come from Mexico, whose judicial system relied, until 2016, on the presumption of guilt, which translated into people spending decades, sometimes lifetimes, in jail before even seeing a judge. I said this to someone the other day, and she said, “I am sure you are wrong.” Al Franken asked for an investigation and he should have been allowed to have it; the facts are still ambiguous, the sources were sketchy. I have a long history with this feeling of not being able to speak.
But social media has enabled a more elaborate intolerance of feminist dissenters, as I just personally experienced. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
Twitter, especially, has energized the angry extremes of feminism in the same way it has energized Trump and his supporters: the loudest, angriest, most simplifying voices are elevated and rendered normal or mainstream. During that period in this technological revolution, some serious violations occurred.War Games, the movie, popularized the concept of “hackers.” And since the violations were high profile, this term has remained an important part of network security design. Increased Threats By the late 80s, network usage was expanding rapidly. Computer worms came into fruition during that stage of internet development. The first one was called the “Morris Worm.” It was developed by a Cornell student and was designed to reveal lacking areas in a network intrusion prevention system.Other tweets were more direct: “man if katie roiphe actually publishes that article she can consider her career over.” “Katie Roiphe can suck my dick.” With this level of thought policing, who in their right mind would try to say anything even mildly provocative or original?For years, women confined their complaints about sexual harassment to whisper networks for fear of reprisal from men.” a “ghoul,” a “bitch,” and a “garbage person”—all because of a rumor that I was planning to name the creator of the so-called Shitty Media Men list.The Twitter feminist Jessica Valenti called this prospect “profoundly shitty” and “incredibly dangerous” without having read a single word of my piece.Of course, the prepublication frenzy of Twitter fantasy and fury about this essay, which exploded in early January, is Exhibit A for why nobody wants to speak openly.Before the piece was even finished, let alone published, people were calling me “pro-rape,” “human scum,” a “harridan,” a “monster out of Stephen King’s ‘IT,’?At that time, there became an increased concern for security, though it was minimal in comparison to today’s concerns.That is why understanding the history of network security can help us grasp how important it is today.