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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 17, 2016

 
Thanks Obama

by digby



















And I mean that ...

On Wednesday afternoon, Obama held a reception at the White House to honor Women's History Month. His remarks on the same day Michelle Obama launched a new Let Girls Learn initiative in Austin at the South by Southwest conference earlier that morning.

President Obama discussed important topics including equal pay, education for women around the world and the online harassment women face far too often on the Internet.

"One thing I’ve been thinking about this past week is the unique challenges women face in the virtual world," Obama told the crowd, made up of historic women like Cecile Richards, Nancy Pelosi and the first female NFL coach Jennifer Welter. "Last Friday, I was at South by Southwest, where the epidemic of online harassment was a topic of discussion. We know that women gamers face harassment and stalking and threats of violence from other players. When they speak out about their experiences, they’re attacked on Twitter and other social media outlets, even threatened in their homes."

The president highlighted how many women are speaking out against this online harassment every day -- and why their activism is so important:
What’s brought these issues to light is that there are a lot of women out there, especially young women, who are speaking out bravely about their experiences, even when they know they’ll be attacked for it -- from feminist bloggers who refuse to be silenced, to women sports reporters who are opening up about the extreme safety precautions they need to take when traveling for work.  Every day, women of all ages and all backgrounds and walks of life are speaking out.  And by telling their stories, by you telling your stories, women are lifting others out of the shadows and raising our collective consciousness about a problem that affects all of us.
He added that the Internet is a public space "where women have every right to exist freely and safely" without fear of harassment or violent responses of any kind.

President Obama has never been a terrible sexist of the kind we see all the time on the internet and in our own lives, but like many men he has been guilty from time to time of being somewhat paternalistic and a little bit clueless about women's issues. This is a primitive, intractable problem that we see every day in small ways and is magnified whenever a woman challenges the normal power structure as Clinton does now. Most people don't even know it's there and when its pointed out it's evidently very painful and unpleasant for them to hear it because they get extremely angry.

I would guess President Obama has probably been impacted by seeing the world a bit through his wife's eyes, a public woman who has had to endure some outrageously disgusting racist and sexist abuse from his political enemies. And he has two daughters who are growing up very fast and he's naturally seeing the world in a different light.Whatever it is, it's a good thing for a president to acknowledge and speak out against and I thank him for it.

Women have a number of disadvantages in this world but being on the internet often makes you feel like you'd rather not be in it at all.

.