The Atlantic

Twitter's Harassment Problem Is Baked Into Its Design

Many women recently boycotted the social network, protesting its failure as a public sphere where all voices are welcome.
Source: Reuters

The first recorded example in Western literature of men telling women to shut up and stay in the house, writes classicist Mary Beard in her 2014 essay, “The Public Voice of Women,” is in the Odyssey. Not-yet-grown Telemachus tells his mother, Penelope, to “go back up into your quarters, and take up your own work, the loom and the distaff ... speech will be the business of men, all men, and of me most of all.”

As Beard noted in her essay, centuries on, the voices of women are still considered illegitimate in the public sphere, including (children, kitchen, church). On Friday, many Twitter users boycotted the platform, in response to of the actress Rose McGowan’s account for speaking out about sexual harassment by the film executive Harvey Weinstein. The driving force for the boycott was women outraged that hate speech, including misogynist and racial harassment and threats, routinely go unchecked, and yet McGowan’s account was suspended.

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