Bacha Posh

In my world, there are three kinds of trolls. There are the mythical creatures living in the deep woods that you tell your children about as a bedtime story. Then there are the patent trolls, who make their living by intimidating patent holders to pay a lot of money. And then there are the Internet trolls, who go after individuals, often women, in social media.

Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life, where Lindy West told how she actually got in contact with one of the trolls harassing her. He explained to her that he was so full of self-loathing since he lost both his job and his girlfriend, that he couldn't stand they way that she carried her head high and where outspoken despite being overweight (and a woman). The anonymity of the web gave him an outlet of the rage he felt, although he was now very sorry for what he had done.

In 2012, the report "Sex and World Peace" was published. It presents research demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war. This means that in societies where women are treated badly, men are also more likely to be hurt or killed. The authors claims that the future clash of civilizations will be between those who consider women as humans and those who don't.
From Malta May 2014
The report was highlighted recently by the SvD reporter Jenny Nordberg. In one of her articles she remarked that violence against women are often considered to be a "women's issue", when it in fact seems to be at least a big indicator of something that really concerns the whole human race. "Those who hate women, are also the biggest threats to the world peace." She has also written a book on this theme: "The Underground Girls of Kabul". There she describes how families dress girls as boys to give them better opportunities in life, such as being able to go to school and move around freely.

Even if they are not as bad as Afghanistan, there are also other contexts where you are sometimes better off pretending you're a man. One example is the computer game community, where a lot of Swedish women have come forward lately, describing the kind of abuse they get from "fellow" players. The industry and research community have reacted against this abuse, although I think stronger actions are needed against the sexism that can all too often be found in games.

I remember when I read the book Backlash when travelling to Australia in 1993 that I thought about the predictions in the book. There will be repercussions. For every step you take forward as a woman towards the same rights and the same opportunities as men, there will be people trying to hold you back. Or hit you back. And in addition, they will tell you it's your own fault. That none of this would have happened, if you had just stayed in your place.

Sometimes both men and women criticize all-female networks like Women in Wireless and Geek Girl MeetUp. However, having a background myself in the ICT area, I can fully understand this need to be among fellow females. To go to a place where you don't need to bacha posh.

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