Read Violet Blue's When A Man Hates A Woman
Imagine being a girl and working really hard to earn the reputation of a respected voice in the world of tech journalism and blogging -- a world populated by disproportionately more men than women -- and to find yourself the target object of a hate-filled Web site. The tone and content of the hate site centers around sexually threatening you, suggesting ways you could be killed and have your corpse defiled, stating that you are a 'slut' and that your gender is also in question. Your straight male colleagues don't have this problem.
I've had some horrible things said to me online as a webwhore, but honestly NOTHING as calculated and fanatical as the venom of these people tormenting female tech bloggers. Of course, when I *do* get trolled it's almost always in response to something I've done or said that challenges gender roles or people's religious or political beliefs. Fucking Tucker with a strap-on, for example, set off my only vehement stalker/critic who carried on for years with his fantasy of how my dad must have "tickled my taco" and turned me into a depraved ass-raping lunatic. I also get a considerable amount of freaking-out and hostile chatter from the peanut gallery during my group shows when I have the AUDACITY to, you know, SPEAK rather than moan like a sick whale while spreading my holes. Hearing a camgirl talk about current events really pisses off a lot of guys. I can totally understand if it frustrates a person looking for pure porn and they don't want to stay and listen to the chatter, but the level of anger these guys spew because a woman DARED to stray out of fuckhole-mode reaches beyond mere frustration and into the realm of a virtual lynching where they are trying to punish me for stepping out of line.
Reading this article makes me realize how much safer I am in certain respects as a webWHORE than as a woman trying to make it in a "legit" male-dominated industry. It's scary. SCARY! I have to admit that I actually think the Kathy chick got a little carried away over that panty-face photochop, though. It's hard to say since I didn't see it in context, but on its own I have a hard time imagining I'd be afraid to leave my yard because of it or anything said with a similar tone. On porn "webmaster" boards we hear the same kind of violent misogynistic crap-spewing and it never really occurred to me to not attend a webmaster conference because of the things those people say and obviously THINK about women. It's not that I don't think those people are potentially dangerous, it's that I THINK MOST MEN ARE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS. Everywhere. Anywhere. I don't need to read their anonymous internet posts and comments to suddenly be clued into that truth -- I've known it my whole life. Women have every reason to be afraid whenever they are alone in a strange place or in the company of strange men or even men they think they know really well. Do you really need to have someone post a picture of you with a photoshopped noose around your neck for you to feel threatened? Fuck, I feel threatened just walking to and from the grocery store alone.
I'm not trying to downplay the severity of the very personal threats to these women, I'm just saying that all. women. are. in danger. all. of the time. The fact that any of us are surprised when these threats come to light sort of boggles my mind. Still, the format of these threats to these bloggers along with what triggered them is very telling and worthy of attention.Hmmm. I keep coming back to this entry to edit it and have to do it again after following more of the links and reading more of the context and, well, HMMMMMMmmmmm. I have a hard time relating to some of the dramatic responses to some of the heckling. When it comes to putting people's families in jeopardy by destroying their privacy or sending harrassing and explicitly threatening emails I think that is criminal. But having the police say that a photoshopped picture of a woman with panties over her face is an overt physical threat is going WAY too far.
Labels: blogging, feminism, gender issues, sociopolitical commentary, true crime