JK Rowling is now almost as well known for her brilliantly-phrased Twitter critiques and takedowns as she is for dreaming up the world of Harry Potter. Recently, the US President Donald Trump has been the target of many of her witty put-downs, but with the recent UK General Election, the author has turned her attention to the political tumult (hung parliament, anyone?) unfolding on this side of the Atlantic.
Yesterday, however, through an epic 14 tweet thread, Rowling used her platform to make a vitally important point about political misogyny, and the way in which so-called 'liberal' male critics are often all too quick to reach for sexist and humiliating terms when they disagree with what a woman is saying.
Rowling's response was prompted by a post from an unknown Twitter user, which used derogatory gendered language to criticise the Prime Minister, Theresa May.
‘Just unfollowed a man whom I thought was smart and funny, because he called Theresa May a whore,' the author began.
'If you can’t disagree with a woman without reaching for all those filthy old insults, screw you and your politics,' she wrote. 'I’m sick of “liberal” men whose mask slips every time a woman displeases them, who reach immediately for crude and humiliating words associated with femaleness, act like old-school misogynists and then preen themselves as though they’ve been brave.'
SHe continued: 'When you do this, Mr Liberal Cool Guy, you ally yourself, wittingly or not, with the men who send women violent pornographic images and rape threats, who try by every means possible to intimidate women out of politics and public spaces, both real and digital.'
'Every woman I know who has dared express an opinion publically has endured this kind of abuse at least once, rooted in an apparent determination to humiliate and intimidate her on the basis that she is female. If you want to know how much fouler it gets if you also happen to be black or gay, ask Diana Abbott or Ruth Davidson.' Abbott, in particular, has been the target of horrendous online abuse throughout the General Election campaign.
As Rowling points out, you can be a misogynist whatever end of the political spectrum you ostensibly sit at.
'I don't care whether we're talking about Theresa May or Nicola Sturgeon or Kate Hooey or Yvette Cooper or Hillary Clinton: femaleness is not a design flaw,' she concluded. 'If your immediate response to a woman who displeases you is to call her a synonym for her vulva, or compare her to a prostitute, then drop the pretence and own it: you're not a liberal. You're a few short steps away from some guy hiding behind a cartoon frog.'
There's no denying Rowling's perfectly-made point: by resorting to misogyny, whatever your political views, your criticisms immediately become invalid.