Are you a woman with an Internet connection? Congratulations! You've definitely been harassed.
If only the Internet had been truthful about its intentions from the very beginning.
On last night's episode of Last Week Tonight (full clip below), John Oliver tackled the waking nightmare of being a woman on the Internet, starting by stating that "the Internet has become integral to modern-day life, but unfortunately it's also become a haven for harassment."
And if you don't think the Internet poses any real danger, Oliver has this to say to you: “Congratulations on your white penis. If you have one of those, you probably have a very different experience on the Internet."
It's the last .7 that's cuts the deepest. (via YouTube)
Threats beget threats.
Oliver talked about how when women speak out about sexism online, they get even more threats. Women are met with hostility, rampant misogyny, and even death threats. It's sort of a lose-lose situation for any woman with an opinion and a social media profile of any kind.
Harassed online? Sorry, the cops can't help you.
Want to send a frightening death threat? Go ahead! You probably won't even be punished for it! Writer Amanda Hess spoke about calling the cops when someone on Twitter threatened to rape and kill her, and the police "didn't understand what Twitter was." Apparently, the mysterious Internet baffles law enforcement, probably because it isn't something they can shoot. The only thing scarier than receiving threats is when they aren't taken seriously.
Revenge porn: it's all your fault!
Oliver addresses the horrifying practice of revenge porn, and how unfairly it's dealt with. One woman recounts that the police told her simply to "get better boyfriends." Even the way the media tells women to deal with revenge porn is totally victim-blaming. In fact, the one way to ensure you own the images of your own naked body is to get them copyrighted, which means mailing them to Washington. I can't even think about that without exploding into rage-tears.
Here is the full clip, and it's worth watching all 16 minutes:
As John Oliver reminds us, the Internet can be used to “buy a book, meet your spouse, or ruin someone's life. Sometimes those last two are the same click."
My advice to women everywhere is this: if you want to remain safe from online harassment, buy a white dildo and strap it on next time you surf the turbulent seas of the World Wide Web!