RKS 2023 Film: “Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age” (Je vous salue salope, Backlash): Revulsion, Disgust and Frustration

When you watch “Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age” unless you are a Proud Boy or a January 6th insurrectionist you might be thoroughly disgusted.

Women and men from the United States, Canada, France and Italy tell their story of on-line harassment of themselves or their loved ones by woman hating rednecks. It is not pretty. In fact it is revolting and disgusting. Some of the abusers are identifiable and some are anonymous cowards hiding in the reeds. Squirm in your seats when you watch. “Bitch”, “slut” and so forth and then its rape, beat and murder playing on the misogynist trumpet on social media.

The documentary was the number 1 box office documentary in 2022 in Quebec and currently ranked #10 in the list of highest grossing documentaries in Quebec history.

Listen to the stories of women hating social media attacks from Laura Boldrini, the former President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Kiah Morris an Afro-American Democratic representative in the Vermont State legislature, Marion Seclin a Parisian based actor, the father of Rehtaeh Parson driven to suicide by vicious and relentless social media-based attacks and Laurence Gratton an elementary school teacher in Montreal.

It is an epidemic and its extent may be vast and, in some cases, deadly. Sickening. But the inability or willingness by law enforcement to investigate and prosecute is even more sickening. Law enforcement is at best only beginning to recognize the savage nature of digital misogyny. As a lawyer I find the attitude of law enforcement puzzling and frustrating. I recall as a law student years ago learning that verbal abuse may constitute an assault. In this documentary verbal abuse is clear and in some instances the abuser is identifiable so why not prosecute?

Perhaps this documentary begs the question of why the law has not caught up with social media abusers in most jurisdictions? Why aren’t social media platforms eliminating misogyny? Could it be that they are user generated platforms and hatred generates traffic? I note in the documentary Donna Zuckerberg the sister of Marc Zuckerberg says, “Social media has elevated misogyny to new levels of violence.”

Read social media posts and query are they jokes or a vicious attacks? The misogynist comments are so blatantly idiotic it would appear they are moron generated and akin to a joke. However this is a comment made by an outsider and not in the mind of the recipient who is threatened with all sorts of vile acts and very sick comments coming from the mouths of out of the closet misogynists.

Digital misogyny is a combination of idiocy and psychopathic behaviour, potentially life threatening. Aside from being disgusting it is disturbing that in the instances where the perpetrators are identified law enforcement appears reluctant to prosecute. Is this just as sickening as misogynist palaver in the social media or is social media these days unsociable and full of devious distorters of reality? As one woman remarked what person emerges these days that is raised on social media?

One point of criticism and that is the documentary can be seen as a broad-based attack on all men. You know we aren’t all evil. What might have rounded out the documentary is an explanation why misogyny flourishes in the first place instead of simply documenting it.

The documentary has been a smash hit in Quebec and will have its English theatrical premiere in Toronto at the Hot Docs Cinema on 13/14/15/17 January. After that it will be showing throughout Canada.

RKS 2023 Film Rating 86/100.

You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voEsn8BysG4

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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