Monday 5 December 2016

Tweeting the life out of our culture

After the fuss about Niamh Horan's article last week on 
women's rugby, perhaps it's time we awoke to the dangers of trial by Twitter

Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30

Niamh Horan in the front row of the scrum with Fiona Spillane, Lisa Callander, Ali Bird and Aoife Maher
Niamh Horan in the front row of the scrum with Fiona Spillane, Lisa Callander, Ali Bird and Aoife Maher

Turn your back for two minutes nowadays and there's a storm on Twitter. Usually it's about something someone said or wrote, which has caused 'offence'. People are outraged and incensed and demanding all kinds of consequences for the accused. People you know will start to tell you all about it, or send you links to posts and Tweets and what-not. Then, as often as not, the 'controversy' will erupt into the 'mainstream media', which will prosecute the offender with the same enthusiasm as the tweeters and trolls.

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I don't 'do' Twitter, but last Sunday afternoon, people started telling me there was a 'massive controversy' about something Niamh Horan had written about some women's rugby team. I have no interest in rugby, regardless of who is playing, so hadn't read the piece.

The main complaint, I gathered, was the way the female rugby players had been portrayed as the kind of women who wear make-up and fake tan. There was something on the charge sheet about 'sexualising female rugby' and 'stereotyping' women who play it.

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