The world is a scary enough place without women having to fear for their bodily safety when they dare speak their mind online.
And yet, as we all know, the Internet has made it ever easier for sociopaths to make female opinion-havers feel not just unwelcome but unsafe through Internet harassment, the most egregious examples being the GamerGate targeting of Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu. Though physical threats are illegal under federal law, police are ill-equipped to deal with online abuse, especially when it involves officers who aren’t even sure what Twitter is. Perhaps the epitome of that technological and social cluelessness is how the government asks women to deal with revenge porn. To have a naked picture of herself removed from a porn site (where it was published illegally, frequently with her full name, address, place of employment, and other identifying information), a victim must claim copyright of that photo by sending a federal agency more nude snapshots of her body.
HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” exposes these injustices and absurdities in a 16-minute must-see segment on misogyny on the Internet — that “dark carnival of humanity’s most wretched impulses.” Watch the clip below, and read our interview with director Shannon Sun-Higginson about her documentary “GTFO” about sexism in the video-game world, which is featured in the segment.