As part of the Power program, young people learned about cyberbullying and online violence and then educate their peers about these topics. Participants can also create their own project as part of the workshops, and four students, two of whom study in Prague, one in Pilsen and one in Olomouc, have founded the Silence and Honey initiative. Its name refers to the saying that speech is silver, silence is gold, and at the same time refers to the fact that men in sexual comments often address women with a secret, perhaps gold.
“Before I joined the Power Project, I had already said that I was a feminist, and had read something, but superficially, I would say. Thanks to the project, I have become very familiar with certain forms of sexism. The approval has also given us the impetus to actively seek change I have been looking for such an opportunity for a long time, but I could not seize it myself, ”says one of the authors of Julie’s profile.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist
On the other hand, her colleague Anna admits that before becoming acquainted with the consent program, she was not interested in gender issues. “The workshop was led by an acquaintance and wrote to me that it might suit me. It sparked my interest and I wanted to try something new, and at the same time it was an unexplored area, we knew nothing about GBV. life, that I’m a feminist.”
Today, the Quartet focuses on gender-based cyber violence on Instagram profile Mlč, zlato. These are any attacks that are directed at a person in an online environment based on their gender. Therefore, female students post sexist comments, jokes and advertisements, as well as articles against women or statements that belittle the experiences of victims of sexual violence.
At first, the project’s founders thought jokes about women being bad drivers and men struggling with marriages would be found in margin profiles and interests. But they soon discover that they don’t have to go far to find sexism on the Czech internet. “We knew there was going to be an endless amount of material,” says Jolie. “But personally I was surprised we’d find sexist jokes and naked women’s bodies on mainstream radio profiles viewed by tens of thousands of people.” Presumably they will mainly encounter anonymous profiles.
I’ll believe you when you eat steak
They almost certainly go to any article dealing with issues of gender or sexual violence for women’s offensive comments. “She confirmed something that I did not want to believe before. When a man and a woman talk about the same topic, the woman receives a lot of criticism and hints that she does not understand the topic. When accompanied by pictures or videos, comments appear on her appearance or dress,” Jolie shares her experience .
The quartet is so used to online sexism that they were surprised when the offensive comments moderated. “I was recently looking for content for our profile as part of the interview with the first firefighter. I thought there would be a lot, which is of course a roundabout approach to the matter, but I was really looking forward to what I would read there. There were only a few dumb things, like ‘If I ate A kilogram of meat is in front of me, I’ll believe it.” But that doesn’t even stop me, because it’s complete bullshit. Most people were happy and positive,” Jolie describes.
Exiting the feminist bubble
Ml, zlato’s team members note that their profile is mainly followed by women and people from the “feminist bubble”. But they are trying to get out of this circle, too. “I would say that people who don’t agree with us are our main target group. When someone hates us, I’m glad we’ve crossed the line with people who will support us,” she explains. If he encounters an opponent who is open to discussion, he tries to discuss gender-based violence with him on the Internet.
For followers who agree with them, posting can be a way to vent frustration. Today, the majority of contributions to the profile, which are followed by more than 11,000 people, are already sent by fans. “When a woman sends us a comment someone wrote to her, we publish it. Then a lot of people condemn it and write that it’s wrong. We were inspired by a little of that comment by Esther and Josefina’s participatory therapy,” says another Ml official, Dear Veronica.
The authors of the project themselves often face attacks, which is also one of the reasons why they appear anonymous. “We don’t care about insults like ugly feminists who don’t have a man anymore, but we do take a moment to breathe in the really ugly news. When Dick (photo of male genitals – editor’s note) appeared on our profile, I treated her for a long time. It’s a sexual assault and I never expected That people send such pictures to an anonymous Instagram profile. I guess I was naive,” Jolie admits.
He is also in StarDance
The four students agree that since they dealt extensively with sexism, they have become more sensitive to it. “I had to turn off StarDance too, Mark Eben’s jokes didn’t really appeal to me,” Veronica says. He feels the same transformation has occurred for some followers. “Before, they didn’t understand why sexist ads should be a problem, and today they’re sending us screenshots themselves,” he adds.
The founders of ML, zlato believe that education about what speech and feedback is can help change the social debate. Julie reflects: “People may gain self-confidence and identify themselves when they don’t like something.” Anna thinks: “Our contributions can at least put a fault in the heads of people who don’t agree with us and gradually erode into their souls.”
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