Polly Ver­non

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

I GOT PROPER old school Twit­ter trolled at the week­end. Veiled threats of vi­o­lence, de­nounce­ments for be­ing a ‘pe­ice [sic] of shit’, fond rem­i­nisc­ing about a time when peo­ple like me were burned… All your great­est troll hits. What had I done? Spo­ken at an abor­tion rights event, tweeted about it, at­tracted at­ten­tion from in­di­vid­u­als whose world views don’t tally with mine; one of whom – @Calvn­st­physics, whose avatar is a graphic of some mon­ster robot blast­ing the earth with death rays – ratch­eted up ag­gres­sion in a way I hadn’t pre­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced.

Oh, I’ve had Twit­ter grief be­fore, damn­ing and hard; but only from other women de­ter­mined to prove they’re bet­ter at fem­i­nism than me. @Calvn­st­physics brought a whole new level of rage, twisted logic and aw­ful spell­ing to pro­ceed­ings. It started with the ‘ burn­ing’ tweet; I replied, point­ing out they’d burned witches, not jour­nal­ists in short skirts. ‘My job is to fuck ur life up,’ he said. I said: ‘I’m cur­rently hav­ing a flat white in a fancy caff, got a fa­cial booked in an hour… How’s that work­ing out?’ He said: ‘ You might be fa­mous, but I’m anony­mous and that can be use­ful.’ I thought, yay! He thinks I’m fa­mous! He said: ‘u need a man to teech u what u are with his boot.’ I said: ‘ You’re not a man.’

I know you’re not sup­posed to feed the trolls, but it was mes­meris­ing to con­front such raw, un­cen­sored misog­yny. Like I say, I’ve only ever been Twit­ter at­tacked by the more pi­ous as­pects of the sis­ter­hood in the past; rel­a­tively, this was kind of fun… Oh. Un­til it got de­press­ing. ‘Get in your place bitch,’ @Calvn­st­physics tweeted, and I was hit by a sud­den, des­per­ate in­sight into his re­al­ity. Be­cause, of course: I am in my place. My place is 27,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter, which isn’t Kar­dashian-huge but, com­pared to @Calvn­st­physics’ pal­try 29…? It’s a lot. My place is this col­umn; all @Calvn­st­physics has got is mis­spelt tweets filled with opaque threats he and I both know he’ll never act on. My place is to be heard, over and over again, loud and clear, by peo­ple who might not agree – but who at least lis­ten. @Calvn­st­physics’ place is to be ig­nored, in­vis­i­ble, ir­rel­e­vant. How aw­ful to hate and fear women as much as @Calvn­st­physics does, as to­tally and vis­cer­ally, and yet be doomed to in­habit a planet where even lady mup­pets like me make more of a splash with a fleet­ing tweet than any­thing he ever thinks – or says, or feels – ever could.

How lonely. How im­po­tent. How sad.

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