In a stonking piece on "internet trolls" by the magnificent Brendan O'Neill, he writes:
In the troll panic, the ‘power’ was not exercised by trolls against vulnerable women; it was completely the other way round - the power of the police and the law was summoned up by very influential women in the media to crush two rather sad, isolated individuals, to make a national laughing stock of them in a way that no single troll could ever hope to achieve against one of his chosen targets. Influential middle-class white women used their numerous platforms in the mainstream media both to give a favourable account of themselves and to demonise their online haters, demanding the exercise of state power against these quite hapless individuals.I cannot disagree. Speaking as premier league troll, I consider it a civic duty to bait, goad and annoy the hypocritical and the stupid. Gender doesn't come into it. Stupidity must be confronted in all its forms, and possession of a vagina cannot be considered diplomatic immunity.
We do not have a problem with sexist trolls. We have a problem with stupid women saying stupid things being thrust into the public domain. Laurie Penny, Jack Monroe, Polly Toynbee, Louise Mensch, Stella Creasy, Caroline Lucas, Chloe Smith, Luciana Berger, Jo Swinson and so many many more, all receive flack in direct proportion to their degree of stupidity.
These people seem to think the vitriol directed at them is because they are "strong willed, independent women". Nooooo... it's because they display such bovine stupidity that if they were members of your own family you wouldn't let them leave the house without qualified adult supervision.
Moreover, a lot of these people enjoy their public profile specifically because they are women and are thus setting back feminism by more than thirty years. It used to be the case that women would make it into the public domain on the strength of their arguments (see Mrs M. Thatcher). But thanks to Troll hysteria, stupid women are now free to remain stupid and are afforded the full protection of the state in doing so. That is extraordinarily bad news for bright women who want to make it in politics and journalism - and democracy as a whole.
If for a moment they could disengage their heads from their rectal passages, they would discover that stupid, asinine, narcissistic men are also the target of mean spirited vitriol on social media. Just ask Owen Jones, Julian Assange and Russell Brand. One does ones bit.