Professor Takes on Social Media Trolls

September 25, 2014

Unwritten professional protocol has long suggested that hostile comments from various peanut galleries are summarily ignored, but Cambridge classics professor, Mary Beard, has taken a different approach: engage with internet trolls, expose them, befriend them, learn how you might have offended them, and thus seek to be better yourself.

In this longer post from The New Yorker, professor Beards’ tactics with internet trolls serves as an introduction to the story of her life: how she approaches her journey as a specialist in ancient history, classical languages, and feminism, and what she learned from her own rape as a graduate student in the 1970’s.

The difficulty of knowing how to talk about rape is not limited to those who have experienced it,” she says, and as this link’s author, Rebecca Mead, notes, Beard acknowledges that, “it is easier to document ways that women have been silenced than it is to find a remedy to their silencing. The real issue, [Beard] suggests, is not merely guaranteeing a woman’s right to speak; it is being aware of the prejudices that we bring to the way we hear her. Listening, she implied, is an essential element of speech.

Read Rebecca Mead’s article featuring Mary Beard here.

posted by Corbin Lambeth

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