Another horrific tale ofÂ Twitter-based abuseÂ came up in BritainÂ this weekÂ after feminist advocate Caroline Criado-Perez campaigned for further female representation on Bank of England-issued currency. What she got for her troubles was just a few death threats and offers of rape via the king pin of social media.
This all started when it was announced Winston Churchill was to replace Elizabeth Fry on the five pound note, signalling an end to women on bank notes (in this argument the Queen appears to have been totally forgotten about, as her face appears on all coins and notes). A petition was signed by 35,000 people, Ms Criado-Perez was invited to talk with the Bank of England, and Jane Austen’s name was chosen.
Now I dislike Jane Austen as much as the next man (or woman), mainly because of being forced to study one of her books at high school (to even this out I dislike Shakespeare too).Â However, my advice to Ms Criado-Perez, instead of “die” or “you’re gonna be raped”, would be ‘pick a moreÂ relevant British woman to replace Charles Darwin’ (I sense a religious conspiracy) as the symbol of a child’s weeklyÂ allowance in the south of England.
Let’s start with Diana, because someone always has to. Conflict with the monarchy might be a problem here, but she’d be on the opposite side to the Queen so they at leastÂ wouldn’t have to look at each other.
Margaret Thatcher. JK Rowling. The Spice Girls. Okay,Â what about Jessica Ennis or Kelly Holmes, two world class athletes who offer a positive representation of modern British women. There is no real reason why allÂ bank notes should be covered with pictures of people from generations ago, and especiallyÂ not a writer who is forced on the youth of Britain year after year. You see idiots of British Twitter handles, you need to be constructive in your argument andÂ positive in your criticism, not idiotic andÂ downright criminal.
Unfortunately this isn’t the first abusive Twitter case to have seeped out of the modern forum into the more traditional public domain. A couple of high profile cases recently ended in much the same way this one will, with arrests and court dates. Racist abuse of a number of black athletes, including vitriol aimed at one soccer player who had a heart attack on the field of play, and the naming of a rape victim by the guilty party’s friends and supportersÂ are two that stick out from the last couple of years. Fines and jail time have been served up in these cases. Hopefully the same will be forthcoming in this latest case. The sad thing is it will unlikely been seen as much of a deterrent going forward, as today’s developments have proven.