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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Raise Your Hand

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and critics of your work have called you a "slut" or a "harpy" or "whore" in public. (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and readers of your work who disagree with your thoughts have publicly attacked your looks. (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and you've been publicly told that your written words permanently disqualify you for the title of "lady." (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you're a grown woman and a male critic has opened his public critique of your work with "Little girl." (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you've actually, literally been told by one or more apparent lovers of outdated cliche to stop writing and get back to your kitchen. (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and you've been excited to see your work featured in a mainstream media article only to watch the comments on said article devolve into a discussion of your supposed physical attractiveness, or supposed lack thereof. (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and you've engaged in an educated intellectual, political, or philosophical debate with another woman blogger, and later found that debate described in public fora online as "mudwrestling" or "a catfight." (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and your abilities as a romantic partner or parent have been attacked by strangers who disagree with opinions of yours that have nothing to do with romantic relationships or parenting. (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you've been told that mothers should be seen and not heard. (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and someone who disagrees with your opinions (or disagrees with your hair color, or your choice in shoes, or your body type, or your disability, or your sexuality or your religion or your ethnicity or your age or the very idea of women writing things on the internet at all) has publicly expressed their desire that you be sexually assaulted in retaliation for daring to open your "pretty" (or "ugly") "little mouth." (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if your critics have said you deserve to be tortured. (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if they've said you should be dead. (I'm raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you're a mother who blogs and someone who disapproves of your words has said it would serve you right if your child were kidnapped. (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and some person who hates what you've done with your words or just hates you, personally, for daring to use words in public at all, has left a comment or sent you an email or a text message or a DM directly threatening to sexually assault you, or physically harm you, or kill you. (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger and you've wondered at times, in the midst of constant gendered insults and threats, whether you might be happier and saner if you just stopped writing. (I'm raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you've kept writing anyway.

(Well, here I am.)

Good. Now all of you that just raised your hands -- take Naomi's example, and raise your voice.

(I just did.)

This sickness has to stop.

12 comments:

Jill said...

Raise your hand if you're a woman blogger who has sought to engage other women bloggers on important topics but when asked questions that logically flow from what they say or do, they unfriend or unfollow or in some other way seek to ostracize you - all along never answering the simple question you asked in the first place?

THANK YOU for this post.

SUEB0B said...

In the past 10 minutes, I have been called "entitled" and a bitch and a terrible parent - which is ironic, considering my lack of children - because I dared to challenge a man who said that the controversy over the JC Penney shirts was stupid. Sigh.

Dawn said...

Oh Sigh. It can be so shocking the first time it happens to you - and that isn't to excuse it - but the Hurt. I remember the first troll that told me that he/she hoped I killed myself before my daughter grew up to be the entitled bitch I clearly was (and that was BEFORE True wife called the man-posse down on me)

Have you all read the Man-splaining post at Tigerbeatdown? Sheer brilliance.

Gotta keep the uppity women Down. Men would prefer other women do it first ( Jill, you clearly know of what I speak) but they will circle the penis party up if need be. To remind us that we are fat, ugly, lesbian, bad parent, bad women....

Jaelithe said...

Yeah, it's been happening to me for years now -- especially after I joined MOMocrats, of course, where we apparently scandalize men (and sadly, other women) on a regular basis with our outspoken, uppity ways. You do sort of get used to it, but you also don't really ever get used to it.

I could have -- I should have -- posted this years ago. Naomi is certainly not the first person in our community to experience this. I'm not sure what it was about her post that flipped my rant switch today, but I'm glad it flipped.

Michelle said...

Raise your hand if you write a blog that gives other women comfort and hope that they are not alone when struggling with a child with challenging behaviours.

Keep strong, and thank you for your blog.

Lisa said...

"Raise your hand if your critics have said you deserve to be tortured."

Yup.

"Raise your hand if they've said you should be dead."

Check.

"Raise your hand if you're a mother who blogs and someone who disapproves of your words has said it would serve you right if your child were kidnapped."

Well, they didn't mention kidnappy. They said drowning instead. That "counts" right?

They also cautioned I should shut up before someone put my body in a dumpster.

This isn't even over a political blog. These were comments on posts I wrote about: taking Ambien in order to sleep, putting my son on ADHD meds, and making my son sit down to pee at the age of 4. Because when he stood, he peed all over. And I got tired of cleaning it up.

I am in awe of the nastiness out there. And some people's inability to get along with others who think differently.

I think you have a beautiful face, soul and brain. You are an amazing mother and wifey. I'm so proud to know you. And so proud you keep writing. The world needs your words.

Jaelithe said...

You know, I wrote about this knowing that many of you have experienced this sort of thing, but it's still making me shudder to read your comments. Your body in a dumpster, Lisa? Seriously? WHAT. THE HELL.

I think part of the problem in addressing the issue of harassment of women online that we, as individual women, tend to see threatening comments as a thing we have to deal with personally -- you know, keep calm and carry on, don't feed the trolls, etc.

When it happens to me it makes me sad. But when I hear of it happening to my friends and colleagues, as I all too often do, it makes me MAD. And I'm thinking that might be what we all need to do -- get mad on behalf of our friends.

Farrell said...

Oh My God. I --- I had no idea.

I guess I should be thankful that my blog isn't popular enough to warrant those type of comments, and frankly, I hope it never will be.

Haters are everywhere and it is the anonymity of the Internet that seems to make them believe they can spread their hate without consequence.

Korinthia Klein said...

What is wrong with people? I really don't understand such casual cruelty.

As disheartening as it can be, though, I'm always left thinking how glad I am that I am not them. They think they are in a position of power by spewing such judgmental and hateful thoughts, but they really just expose themselves as damaged people who are lacking as human beings and I feel sorry for them.

I'm sorry you've had to suffer any of that needless wrath.

No Drama Mama said...

This is horrific. I wasn't aware (it hasn't happened to me). Thank you.

Mad Mel said...

I'm new to blogging, so I haven't recieved criticism over my writing yet (or any comments at all, for that matter), but I do know what it's like to be criticized as a mother and a woman. My son has Asperger Syndrome, and I'm constantly being told by people who know nothing about what it's like to raise a child alone that I'm not doing it right. That's partly the reason I only blog about my personal life; I'm a chicken at heart. But you're not and I admire you so much. Not to mention, you're writing is witty, engaging and smart. I was having a bit of a blank day today, and you've inspired me to press on. Cheers.

Tonya Renee said...

This is my favorite post of all because it needs to be said and shared. I spread this one around as often as I can. I send it out as a link once a month. I have it printed and posted at my desk right in my face so it's the first thing I see. Never Give Up. Never Surrender. Never Back Down.