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'Witch' tweets reflect society's fear of older women

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  • 'Witch' tweets reflect society's fear of older women

    So wrote Mary Beard in the Guardian back in February this year.

    Beard, who is professor of classics at the University of Cambridge and the presenter of BBC Two’s Inside Culture, drew a parallel between witch trials of the past and the kind of online abuse she receives now.

    Writing in this week’s Radio Times, she said: “Throughout many periods of history in the west there has been a real worry about what you do with women who are past their childbearing years. As I can confirm, women with long grey hair can make people anxious.

    “In the ancient Greek and the ancient Roman world they worried that old women were sexual predators. We’ve inherited many of their anxieties and these still fuel the insults some men throw at women today. I know that well, as I have frequently been called a witch on Twitter.”

    [...]

    We all know what used to happen to witches and for centuries the charge of witchcraft was used to disempower and punish what seemed to be the threat of women in society. There was a fear of female agency, a fear of women communing with a supernatural world where – perish the thought! – the patriarchy was not fully in place and, perhaps most profoundly, a fear of older women.”

    She suggested that older women should use their power to unnerve patriarchal societies. “Instead of the accusation of witchcraft being used to put women down, perhaps women can use the power of witchcraft for themselves. I may not talk to the dead, but that is something I really could believe.”

    Beard has long spoken out against the vitriolic abuse she frequently receives when she appears on BBC One’s Question Time. When it first happened in 2013, she said it showed classic signs of playground bullying. Writing on her blog, A Don’s Life, she said: “It would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate.


    https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...ar-older-women

    It is certainly odd that men [and it generally is men] use this term as a pejorative towards [generally] older women considering that it is a somewhat archaic term of abuse.

    Or does it hint at something deeper in the male psyche? The use of the term "witch" with all the connotations of magic and the dark arts perhaps harks back to a very deep fear of women and their ability to bleed without dying, and of course, their "magic" ability to conceive and produce children. We cannot assume that in very early societies men immediately made the connection between having sex and their partner [something done fairly frequently] and then the woman suddenly conceiving.

    All credit to Prof. Beard for confronting her abusers online, prompting at least one to apologise and take her to lunch!
    Last edited by Cow Poke; 08-09-2021, 08:54 AM. Reason: fixed title with OP's permission
    "It ain't necessarily so
    The things that you're liable
    To read in the Bible
    It ain't necessarily so
    ."

    Sportin' Life
    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

  • #2
    Bullying and abuse is wrong. However, she doesn't appear to have considered the possibility that she was wrong about her comments on Question Time. Just as being abusive is not an argument against a position, neither is the fact of being abused proof that one is right.
    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
      Bullying and abuse is wrong. However, she doesn't appear to have considered the possibility that she was wrong about her comments on Question Time.
      In what respect do you consider she may have been wrong? And since when has expressing an opinion been the excuse for such vile anonymous behaviour?

      Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
      Just as being abusive is not an argument against a position, neither is the fact of being abused proof that one is right.
      Prof. Beard has never stated she is "right". She merely offered her views about a situation on a public television forum and then received a torrent of verbal abuse..

      "It ain't necessarily so
      The things that you're liable
      To read in the Bible
      It ain't necessarily so
      ."

      Sportin' Life
      Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

      Comment


      • #4
        Can I please fix the thread title for you?
        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

        Comment


        • #5
          I reject the premise of "society's fear of older women." I suspect the cranky old dingbat is just torqued off because people online reacted negatively to her cranky dingbattery.
          Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

          Beige Federalist.

          "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

          Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

          Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

          Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

          Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

          Justice for Matthew Perna!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post
            I reject the premise of "society's fear of older women." I suspect the cranky old dingbat is just torqued off because people online reacted negatively to her cranky dingbattery.
            Yeah, I think "the fear of older women" is just about as nutty as Starlight's "mow them down with machine guns" mentality. We do draw some strange posters.
            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

            Comment


            • #7
              Most of the time that I've heard a woman called a witch it was usually a substitute for a word that rhymed with it.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                Can I please fix the thread title for you?
                You may insert the omitted inverted comma in front of Witch' in the title, if you so wish.

                It should read, 'Witch' tweets reflect society's fear of older women, as it was a quote.
                "It ain't necessarily so
                The things that you're liable
                To read in the Bible
                It ain't necessarily so
                ."

                Sportin' Life
                Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                  Yeah, I think "the fear of older women" is just about as nutty as Starlight's "mow them down with machine guns" mentality. We do draw some strange posters.
                  Or, as Prof. Beard was suggested, does this online abuse by men [and it is primarily by men] towards older women reflect something much deeper in the male psyche?
                  "It ain't necessarily so
                  The things that you're liable
                  To read in the Bible
                  It ain't necessarily so
                  ."

                  Sportin' Life
                  Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                    Or, as Prof. Beard was suggested, does this online abuse by men [and it is primarily by men] towards older women reflect something much deeper in the male psyche?
                    Or... if one looks around the internet you'll quickly see that they aren't really being treated any differently than anyone else. There is an awful lot of trolling and hostility expressed there. Older people in general are routinely mocked (nothing new about that though). You can be savaged regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religious belief, political belief ... even for what you find entertaining. Nobody is immune.
                    Last edited by rogue06; 08-09-2021, 06:10 AM.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                      In what respect do you consider she may have been wrong?

                      See below

                      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria
                      And since when has expressing an opinion been the excuse for such vile anonymous behaviour?
                      As I already said:
                      Originally posted by MaxVel
                      Bullying and abuse is wrong.
                      .


                      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria
                      Prof. Beard has never stated she is "right". She merely offered her views about a situation on a public television forum and then received a torrent of verbal abuse..
                      She
                      said that the abuse followed an exchange with an audience member on the panel show on Thursday about the effect of immigration on services in the Lincolnshire town of Boston.
                      Of course she thinks that her views (that caused a reaction) are right. She wasn't speculating on the possibility of Roman roads being made to line up with the winter solstice or some such matter of merely academic interest. She gave an opinion on something that affects the real lives of people and got a reaction - including, obviously, some rather vile abuse.

                      What we don't know is what her views actually were, and what the context was, nor do we know what other responses she got, apart from the ones that she has chosen to highlight. It's quite possible that there were some very polite and reasonable responses that showed that she was completely wrong in the opinions she expressed.


                      IOW we have what looks like a fairly typical piece of feminist self-justification.

                      It goes something like this: (a) Say something plainly stupid and wrong, get trolled as a result (by some idiots) as well as getting thoroughly refuted by polite and sensible people.
                      (b) Flail around trying to answer the polite responses
                      (c) Make it even clearer than it was originally that you don't know what you're talking about
                      (d) Instead of accepting that you were wrong...
                      (e) attempt to gaslight everyone by screeching 'But I'm a woman! How dare you treat women like this!', conveniently ignoring the reasoned and polite responses that showed you were foolishly wrong, and also ignoring the contradiction between the expressed feminism ('Women are equal to men' etc) and your appeals to men to treat her with deference and respect merely because she is a woman.
                      (f) Run whimpering to a leftist rag (here the Guardian) to publicise your edited version of events (omitting all the reasoned responses, and your own stupidity which started it all) focussing on the 'torrent of abuse' that you got 'because you were a woman who dared to express her views in public'

                      ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                        You may insert the omitted inverted comma in front of Witch' in the title, if you so wish.

                        It should read, 'Witch' tweets reflect society's fear of older women, as it was a quote.
                        Thanks.
                        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                          Or, as Prof. Beard was suggested, does this online abuse by men [and it is primarily by men] towards older women reflect something much deeper in the male psyche?
                          Should women be free from criticism for whatever they may say or do simply because they are "older"?
                          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                            Or, as Prof. Beard was suggested, does this online abuse by men [and it is primarily by men] towards older women reflect something much deeper in the male psyche?
                            Or maybe this whole thread reveals your hypocrisy and fragile female psyche in that you love to start fights, then maybe hide behind "I can't believe they're picking on an older woman"?
                            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                              Or maybe this whole thread reveals your hypocrisy and fragile female psyche in that you love to start fights, then maybe hide behind "I can't believe they're picking on an older woman"?
                              I am citing Prof. Beard not myself.
                              "It ain't necessarily so
                              The things that you're liable
                              To read in the Bible
                              It ain't necessarily so
                              ."

                              Sportin' Life
                              Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                              Comment

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