For months, activist Caroline Criado-Perez has been campaigning to get more women on the United Kingdom’s money, and on Wednesday, the Bank of England announced that Jane Austen, author of lots of books that have been unfairly mischaracterized as chick lit, would replace Charles Darwin on the 10-pound note.
Now, one would think the only offensive thing about this development is that, as author Lev Grossman points out, the detestable Miss Bingley from Pride and Prejudice is quoted on the bill. But apparently not, because since the announcement Ms. Criado-Perez has been dealing with a slew of abuse and rape threats on Twitter.
To repeat, a woman has been bombarded with rape threats because Jane Austen is going to be on the United Kingdom’s money. Jane. Austen.
Ms. Criado-Perez wrote about the abuse in the Independent:
“Everyone jump on the rape train > @CCriadoPerez is conductor”; “Ain’t no brakes where we’re going”; “Wouldn’t mind tying this bitch to my stove. Hey sweetheart, give me a shout when you’re ready to be put in your place”; “So looking forward to titty fucking you later tonight”, wrote a variety of Twitter users.
You hate-mongering Internet ignoramuses, Jane Austen actually is an important figure in the history of the English novel and deserves her spot on the tenner. Read a book once in a while.
Besides highlighting the fact that there are a lot of dudes on the Internet who need some therapy already, the Financial Times reports that the contretemps has also inspired Twitter to change how it handles the reporting of abuse, which was previously a pretty Byzantine process. The company is rolling out a “report for abuse” button, similar to what’s available now on Twitter for iPhone, across all platforms.
That’s after a petition started in the controversy’s wake, complaining that Twitter ”currently requires users to search for details on how to report someone for abuse; A feature that should be available on each user’s page,” garnered more than 60,000 signatures.According to the Independent, a 21-year-old man has also been arrested in connection with the harassment.
In the immortal words of Lizzie Bennet, “Kiss my ass, you misogynistic dickbags.”