An article by TVM detailing misogyny faced by Egypt’s first female captain, who was falsely blamed for the blocking of the Suez Canal, was met with more misogyny in the comment section.
Pia Micallef, feminist activist and co-founder of an anti-sexual assault organisation called Me Too #ForTheMusic, shared dozens of sexist responses commented below the news report, ironically calling them “gems posted on Easter Sunday”.
“She was probably more focused on Instagram likes than the direction she was steering the boat,” one comment read.
“That’s why it got stuck then! Because she’s a woman”, another said.
Others made sexual jokes about the captain.
“Don’t worry and let them talk! For me, I’m ready to get stuck with you on any boat you desire!”
“They say this because she’s a quiet woman poor thing (Miskina). I don’t believe it’s her fault. Who knows how many ships she’s been driving in and out. HA HA HA”.
Another man commenting said: “Bring her here let me block her canal. If it were me I would also stick it to her,” it read.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Micallef said TVM, as Malta’s public broadcaster, has a duty to educate people and moderate hateful rhetoric.
“TVM needs to send a clear message to Malta that misogyny and any other form of prejudice in this day and age are just not acceptable,” she said.
The activist believes the saga has shown that people still think misogyny is a joke rather than a serious issue.
“I think the whole affair has shown us three distinct things. Firstly, women are fed up with being constantly sexualised. While female sexuality is an integral part of identity for some women- it is not women’s only identity.”
“The post I uploaded already has over 200 shares. That’s over 200 women who can empathise with Captain Marwa, because they’ve probably been there and done that,” Micallef said.
“The second point is that it shows us that a lot of people find misogyny a joke and not a serious issue. The normalisation of misogyny for many men is so ingrained within themselves that they cannot even phantom why their misogynistic comments are bad (think: “uwejja x’int dejqa it was a compliment”),” she added.
Lastly, Micallef stressed that we need to listen to women to empower them.
“If men listened to women, there wouldn’t be so many men in my inbox right now trying to justify why their friends, fathers or brothers aren’t actually misogynists. If we all listened to women and their experiences of misogyny and sexism then this could have turned into a learning experience for a lot of people. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been the case,” she finished.
Another feminist group called Għajjejt u Xbajt, also called out the comments on the TVM article.
“Misogyny is not comedy. Sexism is not a fun quip to entertain. Public comments on social media – whether they are beneath a Maltese news outlet’s article or a post about equality – are read by everyone and are not without consequence.”
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