Friday 24 November 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Misogyny alive and well among the Twitter trolls

While the abuse is nothing new, the method of delivery has changed, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

FOLKSY: Gerry Adams uses Twitter to discuss his housework and his talking teddy bears.
FOLKSY: Gerry Adams uses Twitter to discuss his housework and his talking teddy bears.
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

In olden days -- well, 20 years ago -- when I first began writing about Northern Ireland and became a hate figure for republicans, the abuse mostly came by post. It was an early stage in the peace process and critics of IRA/Sinn Fein were routinely attacked as warmongers. Initially, I was a bit disconcerted by the venom, but I toughened up quickly, recognised it as a perverse compliment and learned to laugh at the absurdities.

My favourite was from someone enraged that I was questioning the sincerity of the 1994 IRA ceasefire: "I can't wait for the boys to get back to work and blow your ugly fucking head off."

The methods change but the misogyny lingers on. Nowadays, the preferred medium is Twitter, where you can send a tweet to your followers and to named individuals instantly. They, in turn, can retweet the message.

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