We all live in the internet. We see it, we breathe it, we create our lives in it. But it's changing and growing all the time, in big ways we can perceive, and in small ways we can’t.
For the 2016 Digital Writers' Festival, emerging writer Jessica Knight was part of an innovative and informative live streamed session titled 'The Internet We Imagine.' The panel also included artists Veronica Fil, Eliza Henry Jones and Rebecca Varcoe.
The writers were asked to look towards the future of this space: what does the internet hold in store for us in 2020? in 2037? in 2193? How long will we keep tweeting? How long will we keep watching Netflix? How long will we have a Digital Writers’ Festival? In what shape does the internet survive?
You can watch a video of The Internet We Imagine online or read Jessica's story below...
The internet we imagine by Jessica Knight
The internet that I imagine is a intersectional feminist utopia.
Some People think that would be a bad thing. Some People think that is a way of silencing people.
But the only people that would be silenced in an internet that is a intersectional feminist utopia are people like the person who sends dick picks to their prospective date as a greeting.
The only things that could be silenced are the porn rings started by teenage boys and men, that take sexy photos, given to them in private, by women who are simply showing their own bodily autonomy.
If someone was going to send an unsolicited dick pick from their computer or phone, in my intersectional feminist utopia, that dick pick sender would get a little electric shock from his device straight into his finger tips as soon as he tries to press send.
In my intersectional feminist internet utopia, white feminism would no longer be the default poster child for feminism. When you entered the internet of a intersectional feminist utopia, there would be woman of all colours and non normative body types, you would know just as much about Muslim feminists as you would about disability feminism, the rights of Indiginous Autsralian women, would no longer be overlooked or ignored. They would be better understood and actual improvements carried out. As would Trans inclusive feminism. These would no longer be considered by some as ‘inconvenient’ or ‘to complicated’. I know we can do this.
In the internet I imagine that is an intersectional feminist utopia, I would not get random messages from men claiming to be the voice of reason, annoying and baiting me as I try to concentrate on my writing and educating myself to better help my internet imaginings to become a reality.
Men telling me in no uncertain terms that I have it all wrong and that it is feminism that is the delusion. One such person, who was a friend from years ago, felt the need message me from LA to ask me about how I felt about the film about Men’s Rights Activists no longer being shown at Palace Cinemas. When I commented that I was pleased. He said that I was a bad feminist as ‘the film had been made by a woman’.
He wanted to know how I could be so unsupportive of ‘One of your own.’
This film gave a platform to a man who believed that rape was acceptable. Woman can be damaging to the cause of intersectional feminist utopias being built. This guy did not actually care about any of it he simply wanted to purge all his faux intellectual bullshit at me feet and then rub my face in it and then call me a fascist.
I did tell him ‘Fuck Off.’’ I then went back to my own writing. When I went to check later he had sent essay long ramblings.
In my intersectional feminist utopia, guys like that would not be able to send such rubbish. The internet I imagine would look for certain phrases and words and if the message was seen to have a substantial amount of racist, sexist or rape culture material, the person about to send it all would be redirected to a host of webpages that could educate and illuminate the person. It would be up to them to take the time to read or watch the talks/articles.
I know it may not happen, that people would find ways around it. But, this is the internet I want to imagine for now.
Today my friend recently received a message from a guy on OK Cupid who was a 53% match to her. His actual profile name was 'The Triggering'. Straight up he was making light of a serious and unpleasant emotional and very visceral affect that trauma survivors can experience when faced with something that makes them have flash backs. Here is what this person sent to my friend as a message.
‘’Do you know what it is like to learn that your whole life is a lie?
Your thoughts, actions, interests and perceptions of reality…all a misguided projection of reality stemming of ignorance if not stupidity.
This is how an ex-feminist feels after waking up from a cozy utopian hallucination.
The ex-feminist would probably feel like a fool. Knowing that all along they were causing more harm than good
Unknowingly promoting censorship, segregation, indoctrination and bad science.
Time to take the red pill. Feminism is a cultural cancer in disguise. Designed to enslave our minds.‘’
In the internet I imagine the intersectional feminist utopia internet, minds have been freed from the enslavement that is white capitalist patriarchal oppression.
In the internet that I imagine, The Triggering is someone who does not exist anymore. Not because they have been shot from a cannon into the sun, but, because they read some excerpts of Bell Hook’s, and Andre Lorde’s books and poetry and actually listened to the women around them instead of simply trying to ‘obtain’ them sexually. His own ignorance and stupidity would dawn on him and he will see how much he needs an intersectional feminist utopia in the interwebs and in real life.
The intersectional feminist utopia that I imagine the internet to become, is good for all of us. To make the internet that I imagine when should we start in building it? You might ask.
We already have. We just need to keep going.
This commission was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and the 2016 Digital Writers Festival.
The Write-ability program is a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria made possible by the generous support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Grace Marion Wilson Trust.