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Why Aren’t More Men Calling Out Online Harassment Against Women?

Jon Lovett, host of Lovett or Leave It, did a rant about supporting women on his podcast.

lovett or leave it's jon lovett is my imaginary boyfriend.

Last week on Crooked Media’s podcast Lovett or Leave It, host Jon Lovett took some time for a very pointed rant about the online harassment of women, specifically his female guests.

Like literally ever other female appearing on a podcast, those women are met with an avalanche of online hate about the sound of their voices, vocal fry, and misogyny in general. Lovett discusses the double-edged sword of social media, which while it connects us all, has also allowed a certain subset of fans to harass and abuse writers, actors, and creators because they feel an unearned sense of entitlement over these people.

Lovett said in his rant on toxic fandom,

“What I have definitely noticed, is that there is a very small minority of people who listen to this podcast and then tend to have a problem with a certain kind of person who is on this show, and that certain kind of person is called a woman, and it happens again and again, and I’ll tell you something, it’s very frustrating when some of the funniest and most talented and brilliant women come on this show and then get vicious shit in their mentions, because it doesn’t really reflect well on this show, it certainly doesn’t reflect what I think, and I fucking hate it, because I want this to be a place people feel welcome to come and talk, and I want this to be a place where all voices are welcome …

And by the way, it is 100% directed at women, so for people that are listening, to the very small subset of you who are listening, who have taken it upon yourselves to offer criticism and suggestions to women, particularly about their fucking voices, give it a rest. You are not entitled to tell someone you think they aren’t good at their profession because you can and I am sick of it, and I want you all to know that I feel that way.”

This is, unsurprisingly, par for the course for any woman expressing literally any opinion about anything on the internet. From the sounds of our voices to our political opinions to our fandoms, women face a torrent of abuse, ranging from snide comments to “well actuallys” to outright threats of sexual violence and death. And if you think that’s bad, it’s a thousand times worse for women of color/Muslim women/Jewish women/LGBTQ women, and those who are a part of any marginalized group.

Lovett’s rant is great and necessary, but it has me thinking: where the fuck are the rest of the men and why are they staying silent? It’s not like they’re oblivious to the vitriol and violence that women face online. So why aren’t they speaking up? Where are the mass condemnations of this behavior by people like Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey, from male politicians and entrepreneurs and celebrities with massive social media platforms?

Sexism and misogyny is a systemic problem that affects everyone, yet women, the targets of this animosity, are often the only ones speaking in our defense. In the wake of the Me Too Movement, many well-meaning men are wondering what they can do to help us. And many seem to think that the bar is “don’t harass, rape, or murder us.”

Let’s expect more from men in general and from the men in our lives. Stop standing silently by, and show up for women online and in the real world. Hold other men accountable. We’re waiting for you to step up. So what are you waiting for? Your silence is deafening.

(image: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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