Monday, 21 October 2019

My Name Isn't Jack

*For those who came here from @WhatJackThinks - I'm sorry, my name isn't Jack.  I am a woman.  Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a man on Twitter who had conducted an experiment by creating an account as a woman, talking about the same issues and having the same stance as himself.  You can read about it below:



His experiment was supposed to last for 3 days, however on the third day before he could end it, his alter ego account was banned.  During that time he gained 250+ supporters and gave him a perspective that can only really be experienced, not learned second person.  I highly recommend you read his thread.

Michael's social experiment interested me as someone who had started talking about gender critical issues 6 months ago (for those who are inexperienced with the term, specifically how trans rights are affecting and reducing women's and children's rights which affects society as a whole).  

For me, entering the gender critical world is a little like being Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (go with me on this).

If you are a woman, you are Dorothy when she begins her journey on the yellow brick road.  She does not know how long the road is, how hard the journey will be; who is friend and who is foe and is not even sure about where she is going.  She befriends a few people along the way, but she is constantly attacked by flying monkeys and an evil witch on a broomstick trying to stop her at every turn.  It is not an easy journey.  But it IS rewarding in the end.

If you are a man, you are Dorothy when her house has just landed on the wicked witch.  She did not do anything to accomplish this herself, but she is surrounded by applause and is given a parade.  She literally lands on the scene by accident and is given the keys to the city.

This was my belief prior to this experiment and I wanted to see how true my belief was.  What actually happens when a man joins a highly charged debate.  I wanted to try and do this as fairly as possible.   I knew what my journey has been like over the past 6 months and I had my presumptions, as above, about how men experienced that same journey.

So, I created Jack.  I had a spare account already created last June that was not being used (apart from reading tweets from those who had banned me), so decided to update it and give it to my alter ego, Jack, the plumber from London who was new to the gender critical (GC) debate but whose interested had been sparked by his girlfriend.


I decided beforehand to give the experiment a week and see how it went.  What happened was an absolute whirlwind.

I started by following a few generic accounts.  Match of the Day, Playstation, the Daily Mail etc.  Although I told a couple of people about my experiment, I followed no gender critical (GC) accounts.  I wanted organic traffic and follows because of what I was saying, not because I followed them first.

By the end of the first day, not saying anything profound or anything that had not been said by female members of the GC community many, many times before, Jack was a hit.  Within 24 hours, he had 501 followers.



Although I expected some curiosity about the account as men are fairly thin on the ground in the GC community, I never expected so many followers in one day.  I could not keep up with the notifications.

My follower traffic remained organic.  I followed some recommended accounts suggested to me by others, around 20ish I think, but apart from those, every single follower found me.  I did not expect this, certainly not at this level.

Aside from the follower account growing by the second, I was flooded with helpful suggestions of who to follow, articles to read, links to follow; what not to say, how to navigate not be banned by Twitter.   

Men of the GC community followed and popped into my mentions and DMs to say hi.  The advice from men and women was abundant and something I had never experienced as a woman joining the debate 6 months ago.   Even Graham Linehan popped up in my DMs sharing his latest post.

As a woman, respect and trust had to be earned.  There is a reason why the vast majority of us are anonymous on Twitter.

Tweets that I posted, again, nothing special in terms of what I said, received hundreds of likes and retweets.  Like somehow, my words as a man, had more authority.  Were worth sharing more than women who tweet day in and day out about the same issues.


I confess that tweeting accounts that my main account was banned from gained me some pleasure.  As a man I also somehow felt that I could get away with more.  In the majority, my belief held apart from one block, from Rachel McKinnon.




My tweets got more pointed, more up to the minute with the news and things happening on Twitter; more in line with my own account, although absolutely fueled and emboldened by my alter ego.  

On day 2, after the tweet above about putting children on puberty blockers, the TRAs found me.  Generally the discourse was different than I experienced on my own account.  Although highly charged, the tweets exchanged were more of an argument and a facts debate rather than abuse, threats and dismissing my words out of hand.

I felt safe.  The worst thing someone called me was a "little boy" as opposed to on my own account where I have been called TERF scum, evil, a transphobic whore, a far right slut.  

I started to receive a few tweets from women about my surging popularity and how I was being given more leverage as a man.  That tweets I received, would have received threats had I been a woman.  I could not disagree as I have seen it, first hand and is documented, many times.  Example below has had account names removed, but the full screenshot is on the link above.

Men do not, in the GC community, to my knowledge (please feel free to correct me and I will update), do not receive this kind of abuse.   They are not threatened with being fucked by a baseball bat for saying that men cannot become women.    

I confess that I lost my way a little in those first few days, completely overwhelmed by the attention and number of notifications.  Some people were a little suspicious.  Jack even got his own thread on Mumsnet with some willing to give the benefit of the doubt and others thinking that it was a sock puppet account or an amusing parody.

I awoke on day 3 to find I had been given a 12 hour ban.  I am not proud of the tweet that received the ban as it is nothing I would normally ever say.  As Jack I felt like I could say what I wanted, as it turned out, I couldn't.  That said, although rude, it did not direct hate, did not misgender.  "Go play in traffic, fuckwit" however was not my finest hour.  I'm sorry I said it.



During my 12 hour ban I decided to perform the search that many GC people have done.  The Twitter shadowban test (although Twitter claim that they do not shadowban anyone).  The results shocked me.  My main account as I knew, was shadowbanned.  Jack was also shadowbanned, but also had a suggestion for a search ban.

This may be down to the amount of traffic the account had attracted in that 3 days, but still, checking two of the list was surprising after only a few days on Twitter. 


 So here we are, at the end of my 7 day experiment.  

As Jack, I certainly received much MUCH more leeway, exposure, advice and boosting than I ever did as a woman.  I know that this is the experience of the very vast majority of the women in the GC community.  He received a 12 hour ban that I did not expect (although I have never said something like that on my own account & have been confrontational; I have not received a ban, yet).

One thing I have noticed from this experiment is that on my main account I myself have found myself retweeting men as much as women, which is disproportionate given my man to woman ratio of the people I follow.  That is something I will address going forward on my own Twitter account.

Jack was also deboosted and had a suggested search ban at an alarming rate given the number of days on Twitter, but I do have to wonder about the high volume of traffic versus the rarity of a man joining the community rather than a woman.

I am sad to let Jack go.  I felt so free with that account to say what I wanted, although my experiment did show that men do receive some of the same results as women.  But not, as I suspected, the same abuse and threats as women do.

He also managed to gain 800+ followers in 7 days whereas on my main account, I am on just over 500, over a period of 6 months.



I would be interested to see what would happen in other communities.  So far the results in the gun control and gender critical community have been very similar.

To those who followed me, gave me advice, tips and support, I am sorry if you felt deceived.  I hope that you can understand the point of this experiment and that I did not intend to hurt anyone or take advantage.

Signing out now as Jack, returning back to my home at @RipleysChoice.

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