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SEXIST BEATDOWN: You Are All Just A Bunch Of Stupid Cunts Who Should Shoot Yourselves In The WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY COMMENT GOT DELETED Edition

So, that Annaham post! So good, right? So important. And, let me tell you, I did not have to delete almost any comments at all for that post. Because the people who comment here? So great! And I love them!

But let me tell you why that story was important to me. For, you see, a while ago, I was reporting a story (it did not run! Probably because my take on it was not as good as Annaham’s, really) about a lady what got harassed via the Internet. And, over the course of reporting this story, I thought: Hey! Perhaps I should write about how this affects other ladies, who are more or less radically different than the lady in question! So I put up a little message as my GChat status, asking ladies if they’d ever been harassed re: their looks online.

And, can I tell you? Responses, responses, RESPONSES! So many responses! And then there were other incidents I knew about, because I have Google Reader! Because here are some things that can happen to you if you have a fairly high-trafficked blog, on the Internet, and also are a lady:

  • You can be called fat.
  • You can have someone opine that the reason you write about rape is that you want someone to rape you, because you are so fat.
  • You can be called a slut and/or fake feminist for looking okay in a sweater, and standing at an angle in which the viewer cannot help but notice that you like many women are in possession of real human lady breasts, and sharing a room once with President Bill Clinton.
  • You can have an online voting poll in which dudes decide whether they would prefer to bang you or your co-blogger.
  • You can be called a fake feminist and a hypocrite because clearly you are hot, and wear makeup, and therefore cannot possibly believe that you deserve rights.
  • You can be the subject of an online game, in the Tucker Max fan forums, in which the goal is to Photoshop your face into the most unflattering possible scenario.
  • You can be told that the only reason anyone pays attention to you is that you are hot.
  • You can be the same person, and be told that you are old, disgusting, ugly, and not worthy of attention.
  • You can have the only existing photo of you online stolen and posted on a BDSM website in a fake personal ad about how you want a man to come along and rough you up to fulfill your “rape fantasies.”
  • You can have your own hate blog!
  • You can have the only existing photo of you online stolen, and posted on a hate blog, along with the only existing photo of the lady you do Sexist Beatdown with. One of you will be deemed too ugly to rape; one of you will be deemed rapeable. Which is which? (SPOILER: I was the ugly one. I got off easy.)

And this doesn’t even begin to address your comment section. But you know who is in the mood to address your comment section, today? It is Amanda Hess of The Sexist and I! In a very special, New-Niceness-free edition of the Sexist Beatdown!

man-woman-computer-2ILLUSTRATION: “You see, Frank, I really do have to suck ALL the dicks. So I’ll need to reschedule that meeting.”

SADY: Hello! And, in related news, I hate you! Because we are on the Internet. Where ladies are hated abundantly!

AMANDA: With much vigor and from many angles! I really, really identified with Annaham’s post, mostly about how shit on the Internet does affect me, but I’m not allowed to talk about it because “it’s the Internet.” But there. I said it, it does.

SADY: INDEED IT DOES! I once spoke to someone who was like, “all you ever talk about is who hates you on the Internet today. And why are you letting it get under your skin?” And I was like, “Because they hate me! I don’t care where they are! Being on the Internet makes it WORSE, because I can SEE them hating me, FROM MY BEDROOM!” “I have a phone with e-mail on it! I can see people hating me WHEREVER I AM IN THE WORLD!”

AMANDA: Yeah, or from my office? For my career is located on the Internet.

SADY: PRECISELY. And, I mean, I really identified with Annaham’s piece too. It said stuff I had been struggling to say, for like the LONGEST time, but in an actually sensical way that could potentially persuade people. Rather than me being like, “AND ALSO, in the SUBWAY, people are mean!”

AMANDA: For me, it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t figure out how to say it—though she said it very, very well—but that I didn’t want to, because I don’t want to tip my hand toward awful, anonymous commenters, or show any weakness, or risk being eviscerated for acting like a victim. It’s not that I feel that I’ve been victimized. I just want to be able to talk about this shit, basically, and there’s no space for that. So she’s very brave, is what I’m saying.

SADY: Exactly. Because, the thing is, when you talk about Dicks On The Internet Getting You Down—or, worse, snap at one of them—people think you are just hypersensitive, and a whiner, and petty, and whatever. They think it’s a personal problem. Whereas, me, I’ve talked to a lot of ladies who are on the Internet. I’m really into building Internet Lady Community, because it’s not so easy. And here is the one way I have learned that you can start a passionate conversation with a lady who works on the Internet: MENTION MEAN COMMENTERS. Because we all get it! In super-intense ways! And at high volume! Every single lady on the Internet gets this thing!

AMANDA: Oh yeah. None of us is immune. And it’s not subtle, either. It’s obviously—just obviously—targeted at shutting us up.

SADY: Yes. It is not personal, it affects ladies qua ladies, it hurts and saddens, and I believe in ye olden tymes we would refer to this as a “Really Fucking Obvious Feminist Issue.”

AMANDA: I know you recently quit the Internet for a weekend, and who can blame you? Because the real world is pleasant? But actually, people who aim personal attacks at us know that it makes us turn away and shut up, even for a little bit.

SADY: Exactly! And you can tell, because it tends to get more intense the larger one’s audience is. I feel like I, full disclosure, have been relatively privileged insofar as I do NOT get mean commenters all that often, largely because they can tell I am WAY MEANER than they are. I have developed this Massively Uninhibited Bitch Who Will Cut You Persona. And as much as that might alienate people, I feel like it was a smart decision. Because when posters OTHER than me are at my blog, they DON’T have a rep as someone who will cut off your balls and feed them to you, perhaps in a delicate white wine sauce, and the assholes feel a lot safer.

AMANDA: Well, I know a lot of women who fucking love that persona of yours because we sort of live vicariously through it. But we shouldn’t all have to adopt extremely defensive strategies in order to just … speak.

SADY: Right. You should be able to post a picture of your new hat on the Internet without having to have built up 9,000,000 defensive strategies for when someone calls you ugly. Because they will call you ugly! They just will! Or a slut, if they can’t call you that. “WHY ARE YOU SHOWING OFF YOUR PROVOCATIVE TORSO IN THIS FASHION?”

AMANDA: Because can I tell you? This woman on my blog the other day posted a comment about how the arguments that I make are less valid because of how my voice sounds. Because of how words sound when they leave my mouth. And because it sounds kind of like how a lady sounds.

SADY: Hahaha. So, she is just LITERALLY TELLING YOU not to speak. “When you speak, I can’t help but notice that you are speaking,” is what she says, “and that makes it harder for me to pay attention when you speak.”

AMANDA: Right. Like could you perhaps get a surrogate voice, a more manly and patronizing one? Perhaps then my voice (but not my voice) can truly be heard.

SADY: Right. I mean: I think that, when people talk about blogs, they talk about the democratization of voice, and how it allows everyone to be heard. But what they don’t talk about, so often, is how (a) We also re-iterate the same structures of rewarding or punishing voices that you see in Actual Real Life Not On The Internet, and (b) How the possibility that ladies might be TAKING to the Internet, and thus might have finally found a forum in which you literally CANNOT SHUT THEM UP by refusing to publish them or listen to them at your party or allow them into your fancy organizations or whatever, scares the shit out of dudes, and thus amps up the harassment to a truly scary degree. Like: I get harassed on the street, told to smile, have my tits pointed out to me, whatever. But on the street I don’t TYPICALLY get told that someone should rape me to death. Thanks to the Internet, I can in fact have just such an experience!

AMANDA: Oh agreed. And I certainly don’t get the degree of vitriol that some other people get, who are not cis, and not white, and not straight. But good golly do I still get a lot of it! There is just so much vitriol to go around!

SADY: That is the thing! And I feel like, you know: We can talk about the New Niceness, and whether it is a thing (it is probably not a thing) or “Internet harassment” in general, but looking at it: I’ve written so much that is mean about ladies in the pop culture! But I have NEVER gotten it as hard as Annaham has. And I have to think that it is because she has not one, but TWO marks against her in the Things I Can Dismiss A Person For column. She’s a feminist lady, and she’s a lady with a disability. And making fun of “feminists” is a time-honored Internet Pastime, but “disabled feminists?” Boy howdy, is that ever an excellent punchline for Amanda Palmer and her delightful comedy routines!

AMANDA: Oh God, I know. International televised harassment for … what? Not particularly enjoying the way a particular musician she likes is appropriating disability?

SADY: Right. And then, the Internet Douches, well-accustomed to not listening to ladies, ESPECIALLY not listening to feminist ladies, and ESPECIALLY not listening to people who talk about disabled folks getting the short end of the stick, are like: YES. TARGET ACQUIRED.

AMANDA: One of your commenters (you have some really great commenters, along with the bad ones) made a really good point about the difference between criticism and harassment, and how Amanda Palmer and her legion of defenders have failed to recognize the difference. And I feel like that’s a common trait of all trolls—just flat out refusing to engage in any kind of subtlety or empathy.

SADY: Exactly. I mean, I did not read the Male Studies Scholar Conference that happened on Sexist Beatdown two weeks ago IN ITS ENTIRETY, but I do vividly remember the gentleman who requested that, next time we spoke, the other one suck his personal dick, that he might be able to tolerate our lady jabber. That is not, “I think the political underpinnings of your work are flawed.” That is not, “Okay, good post, but here’s the line I have an issue with.”

AMANDA: Oh, well I live for this man to tolerate me!

SADY: I forget. Is it your turn to fellate this gentleman? Or mine?

AMANDA: It is what feminism has been striving for all these years. Tell Gloria Steinem that it was just as easy as a blow job.

SADY: I mean, it’s so easy to dismiss everyone who criticizes you as a hater or a bad person. So easy! But I’ve been CRITICIZED, from a lot of different angles, by a lot of people. And it might irritate me. But none of it is people just flat out saying, “fuck or walk, bitches.” And that’s what the Internet is, for women, a WHOLE STINKING LOT OF THE TIME. Like, maybe if they are Gawker commenters they might wrap it up in some clever allusion to a Baumbach movie, or whatever. But you can still feel it seething, a lot of the time.

AMANDA: Yes. And this is one of the reasons why I love, love, love Feministe’s Next Top Troll series.

SADY: Is it not the best?

AMANDA: Because the comments? They never change. It doesn’t matter what woman is talking or what she’s talking about or what the tone of her argument is. The vitriol is across the board just exactly the same as what I get. And it’s fucking hilarious, and I take comfort in it.

SADY: Exactly. In summary, for Troll SEO Purposes: Male studies. Male studies, male studies, male studies. Women tell the truth sometimes about rape. Circumcision! DIVORCE. There. That ought to get them started! Oh, and also: I dislike prog rock, and dudes who make prog rock, sometimes. WHAT DO YOU GOT, INTERNET? WHAT. DO. YOU. GOT.

AMANDA: I can’t wait to hear the troll perspective on this. Oh please! Yes. Explain the various ways that voluntarily reading and commenting on my blog oppresses you! Go on! Or perhaps you’d like to argue as to why you are doing me a service, and why I ought to be praising you for your volunteer work in the comments section? I am interested in considering all of these possibilities.

SADY: “One time I was on the Internet, and someone disagreed with me! I politely explained why she was a stupid little girl, and then, she YELLED at me. My oppression, it is intense at times. And yet, I soldier on!” — A Commenter.

AMANDA: In conclusion, BONERS.

SADY: It is a regular BONER PARTY, out there on the Internet. And it makes my lady boners wither away in despair. Though not really! Because also, I keep blogging. At this point, mainly just to piss them off. Do you hear that, Feminist-Blog-Hating Internet? YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR FEMINIST BLOGGING!

AMANDA: The world will never shrink this feminist boner!


  1. Karen wrote:

    It didn’t occur to me before I read this post that not having to be afraid is as much of a privilege on the internet as it is off. I think that women are socialized to fear much more so than men, and the things we are supposed to fear are usually extremely vague. And the imperative to fear is enforced if it is not followed. Like, when I was in college I got lectured sooo many times for walking around our small, brightly lit, strongly patrolled campus at night. My rational brain knew this was the least of my worries, but I still got the idea that I should Be Afraid pounded into my head over and over again.

    Sooo… a woman is supposed to be constantly afraid of the rapist boogeyman in the dark, but she’s supposed to laugh it off when someone maliciously threatens her, personally, because it’s Just The Internet. Even if you cognitively know a stranger from the internet is not likely to find you and follow through on his threats, it’s still a more rational fear than most of the ones we women are SUPPOSED to have…

    Also, I love this blog and stuff. It’s always amazing.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 3:56 am | Permalink
  2. Dora wrote:

    @Sady @Finisterre Much as in real life, no? My coworkers or extended family wouldn’t go “Haha women are hoors” because it’s not socially acceptable in our circles. If they did, other people might turn against them. They WOULD talk over me, or talk like they’re my dad, or subtly doubt my ability to manage my own life, or tell me it’s nothing when I’ve been harassed. And it takes more of an effort to verbalize exactly how they are being sexist, and pointing it out means that I am causing a scene, exactly like with the pseudo-intellectual-humanist types online.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 4:00 am | Permalink
  3. Kowalski wrote:

    This post made me laugh out loud.
    If I may add a teensy correction though: these things don’t only happen to you if you’ve got a high trafficked blog, ours is fairly small, but I’m all too familiar with these points:
    # You can be told that the only reason anyone pays attention to you is that you are hot.
    # You can be the same person, and be told that you are old, disgusting, ugly, and not worthy of attention.
    Which were made by the same person.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink
  4. Vee wrote:

    Yes yes YES. God. The things we are supposed to take because There Are Crazy People On The Internet, fucking hell. It reminds me of working customer service, actually: any time you don’t have to see the person you are speaking to, it’s somehow so much easier to not treat them like a person. And it’s like there’s an extra-special quota of offensiveness that is okay if you’re a ladyperson, and I agree with a lot of people here–the absolute worst is condescension. Nothing will get me more furious than that–the ones that are just obviously repeating some sort of mantra that they’ve repeated so often it no longer requires factual support, they’re easier to ignore. But talk down to me and teach me the error of my ways, no you fucking well do not. And you know what? I don’t notice any kind of difference in my reaction to this kind of treatment when it happens in person vs. when it’s in textual form, in comments or through email.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  5. Gayle Force wrote:

    @Finesterre, Sady – Adding to the discussion about ways commenters get to you . . . Sady, the same kind of comments get to me. I have been getting so many comments that all boil down to: you are stupid and intellectually bankrupt and your writing is terrible and painful and you aren’t so smart as you thought. Which really are no different than the “go get raped and die” comments, because some douche is taking the time, instead of just right clicking away from the apparent language hellhole that is my blog, to try to shut me up, but this time by acting morally and intellectually superior instead of wishing violence. I prefer the “get raped and die” comments, though, because I haven’t had to deal with those my whole life. I get that patronizing, mansplainy shit all the time in the non-internet world (i.e. law school). And then to get it on my blog . . . it just really, really fucking annoys the shit out of me. Enough already, dudes. I am smarter than you. It’ll be ok.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  6. Miss Smog wrote:

    @Lizzie: You are totally right. That’s what I meant about Sady being a saint. Sometimes can’t form the right words for feeling Da Rage. My apologies, sincerely.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 2:28 am | Permalink
  7. thetroubleis wrote:

    Posts like this make me feel so lucky that I’m not a big name blogger.

    Still, you all rule and I’m glad your voices out out there.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 6:41 am | Permalink
  8. Kiri wrote:

    But it’s when you recognize the “you are a stupid little girl” comment and the “u suck die in a rapefire” comment as essentially the same comment — that is, as two varieties of a SEXIST comment, because I know that I’m pretty smart, and that seems self-aggrandizing to type, and I know there are people smarter than I, but I also know that people frequently frame “objections” to my arguments when those “objections” are openly acknowledged and dealt with in the actual post, or try to one-up me or prove they’re smarter than me in a clearly defensive manner that is also based on clearly not having read (or: carefully read) anything I’ve written, and it is just basically about the fact that, since I am a lady and getting heard, some random Internet dude needs to prove that he is a genius and deserves more and better attention — that you are free.

    Wow, Sady. It’s like a dam of confusion in my head has burst. Or some equally ridiculous metaphor that I can’t think of because I suck at artsy-fartsy pretension. But seriously — so many things that have happened to me on the Internet make sense now. Thank you!

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  9. Lisa wrote:

    Wait…I really enjoy your posts but…why do you hate prog rock??!? Not even Coheed and Cambria? C’mooon!!

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  10. gatecrewgirl wrote:

    @Sady: I think this needs to go on your t-shirts (which I am eagerly awaiting)

    front: BONERS

    just a thought.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  11. Lily wrote:

    I love this blog, I check it multiple times a day, I think I’ve read almost all the archives (still workin’ on that). Sady is a brilliant writer and she shines a light on our culture that is desperately, desperately needed. I know that as a direct result of her writings my mind has opened a little bit more and I have grown more as a person, just from reading a site, which hey: how often does that happen? in the olden days, that would be the basis for a religion.
    However, in the last month, I have worried that newcomers to this site, checking it for the first time, will find a lot of references to in-fighting and click away. Maybe they would agree with the points being made on the commenters/meta blogs but they won’t know the back-story to agree with. And thats a shame. I think that’s what Julia was trying to express, albeit dryly. While the metablogs and comment wars are interesting to regulars, if I saw this site for the first time a week ago, it would be very hard to engage. I know that this is a personal endeavour, so the blog reflects the passions & concerns of its creator- and that’s Sady’s right. I just hope the newbies check out the archive before they click on back to a gossip site and absorb more images of cultural disenfranchisement and misogyny.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  12. Oriniwen wrote:

    @ Lily

    My opinion (and YMMV, completely lol it’s just my opinion) is that the Epic Takedown of Freddie and his Boner Party was so weel written in and of itself, that you wouldn’t need to have read a single other thing by Sady to appreciate it. Know douchefaces in your life? Of course you do! So even if you don’t know the backstory of Freddie, I think it’s possible to appreciate the glory of the takedown.

    Likewise the post about Sady and her boyfriend being harassed in the subway. The larger meaning of the post may not be clear to irregular (get some bran!) readers, but the beauty of the writing (hopefully!) is in and of itself a reason to stick around and see what is what.

    At least,it would be for me but I am hopelessly addicted to prose as beautiful as Sady’s so …

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  13. Leese wrote:

    From Oriniwen: “So even if you don’t know the backstory of Freddie, I think it’s possible to appreciate the glory of the takedown.”

    Exactly. I’m something of a sporadic blog reader (all blogs, not just Tiger Beatdown), but I rediscovered my love of TB (not the disease) when I saw the BONERS posts. I thought it was fucking hilarious, and went back and read all the previous posts to get the back story. Since then I’ve been checking TB daily. Gotta love me some beatdownin’.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
  14. PrettyAmiable wrote:

    Love this. Thank you.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
  15. Kowalski wrote:

    “Posts like this make me feel so lucky that I’m not a big name blogger.”

    NOOOOOOOOO! If you’re a big name blogger you get plenty of support, the bigger the more sycophantic your followers, but a small blogger like me?
    I’ve been sexually harassed for SEVEN months now.
    Nobody gives a fuck.

    Needless to say I am slightly peeved by the blogstar antics of Big Feminist Bloggers who clutch their pearls and exclaim how “You all’s just don’t know how tough it is!”

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:18 am | Permalink
  16. Sady wrote:

    @Kowalski: I give a fuck! Do you have a means of identifying & blocking the IP addresses & e-mails? Some folks skip from IP address to IP address, primarily spammers, but most garden-variety trolls don’t cover theirs up very cleverly & use the same ones every time. That can get them out of your face, if nothing else does.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:27 am | Permalink
  17. Sady wrote:

    @Kowalski: Oh, and I see you’re on WordPress. So you should be able to go into the “Settings” panel and block them pretty easily. It also helps to have a list of red-flag words that send a comment immediately into moderation. Ours are “bitch,” “cunt,” “rape,” “lame,” “retarded,” and “tranny.” We should really add racist and homophobic slurs to that list, but we haven’t had problems with those previously; we just get transphobic and sexist trolls, for the most part. So those are some basic Tips For Shutting Them Down. In my experience, if you have a heavy-handed moderation system for a long time, and resist the urge to respond for the most part (heh, for the MOST part) the harassment dies down a bit, because they know they’re not getting through and can’t see that it hurts you. I got a lot more viciousness when I was on Blogspot, for whatever reason. Now, it’s all but gone, unless I get linked to by another site with a different readership.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink
  18. Sady and Amanda and Annaham, I dance my forbidden dance in honour of your Feminist BONERS.


    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  19. snobographer wrote:

    My favorites are the ones who blatantly insult you and then, when you tell them to take a leap or otherwise stand up for yourself, say you’re not willing to have a substantive debate.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  20. amber wrote:

    What “Ignore it, it’s just The Internets” really reminds me of is being picked on in school and having adults tell me to just ignore them, they’re only doing it for attention, because they secretly like you, they’re dumb boys, whatever. Your duty as the victim of bullying is not to respond, because if you don’t respond, they’ll magically go away! Right. Fuck that, being “teased” (which is all by itself a belittling sort of word that minimizes the kind of harassment and violence that can come along with that) HURTS. It’s scary. And when I was a young ladyperson, it was considered to be just one of those things that the weird and the smart had to put up with. I was out of high school by the time some nerdboys in Colorado got fed up with it and fought back, and people still didn’t respond appropriately; and now publicity is being given to girls are committing suicide because they’re still being teased and people are all like ZOMG WHAT IS THIS. I guarantee you, though, there’s still some girl getting picked on and being told to ignore it, because that’s all you can do.

    I think even worse than the painful and the scary is the feeling of helplessness that comes along with it, the knowledge that you have essentially done nothing to deserve the negative attention and you can do nothing to make it stop.

    I, for one, would like to salute you for your bravery in continuing despite the raging wall of flames you must walk through, put out, and delete, and also seriously acknowledge that shit people say HURTS A LOT whether it’s in text or out loud, and ignoring the people who say it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  21. Monique wrote:

    “What “Ignore it, it’s just The Internets” really reminds me of is being picked on in school and having adults tell me to just ignore them, they’re only doing it for attention, because they secretly like you, they’re dumb boys, whatever.”

    Exactly! Who decided that “they only pick on you because they like you” was an acceptable way to express emotions? If someone picks on me, makes fun of me, constantly criticizes me, or personally attacks me I do not give a shit how much they “like” me. That is not acceptable behavior. That is not acceptable form of interaction whether it takes place in school, at work, or via the internets.

    Sady, Annaham, I needn’t tell you how amazing you are, but I’ll do it anyway. You ladies seriously have made my week.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:42 am | Permalink
  22. Julia wrote:

    Thank you ladies for pointing out to me how unproductive hate and rage can be on the internet. I suppose my options now are:

    a. stop reading this blog
    b. start my own blog on which i delete all hateful comments towards me and my ladyfriends, but leave up and perhaps promote hate towards those who i do not like.
    c. “choke and die”

    i guess i choose a.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  23. snobographer wrote:

    See you around, Freddie.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  24. Lampdevil wrote:

    @Julia – WTF with a side of huh? I am feeling SUPER EMPOWERED, these past few posts. There’s nothing better than 1) knowing I’m not the only woman to have been told to ignore the stench of the shitty comments people leave on her blog and 2) that a whole assload of us think this is WAY UNACCEPTABLE. We’ve got each other’s backs and stuff. I can understand that you’re kinda butthurt at Sady for no reason that I can comprehend, but yeesh. The point has indeed gone wooshing over your head.

    I’ve been Internettin’ for years and years now. I used to firmly believe “Bah, ignore the trolls. What does it matter?” No more. If only the toughest of the tough, the meanest, bitiest, bad-assest people are allowed to contribute to this bigass dumptruck of shared knowledge, then we lose out. If people are chased off from a fun activity or important discussion or a relaxing game or whatever because they can’t “ignore” a campaign of disturbing harrassment, then all of our spaces are going to be poorer for it. Being told to grow a thick skin because “it’s just like that, waddyagonnado?” implies that it’s an inherently unsafe place to be and only hardasses need apply. FUCK THAT.

    @Silvana – And oh God yes, yesssss, people will often minimize any harassment. I’ve spent my life having my complaints and concerns about crap treatment being dismissed. It’s apparently “taking things soooo seriously” when you believe you have the right to ride the school bus without getting groped. Who knew?! These people seem to lack empathy, or at least the ability to give a damn about something that doesn’t directly concern themselves. It’s all about the BONERS.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  25. Alyssa wrote:

    @ Lily

    I am delurking to say that I started reading Tiger Beatdown with the Freddie post (as it was pointed out to me as an epic smackdown) and have been significantly impressed with Sady and the guest bloggers brilliance and humor and that it has inspired me to examine my own privilege and try to discuss the way privilege and marginalization work to those around me. Not to mention that I am going to continue to read back through the archives as well.

    So to Sady, Amanda, Annham, and all contributors to Tiger Beatdown keep doing what you do and know that it is having an impact. Also if you can make over 2 grand based ostensibly on one post through donations, I think you’re doing something right.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  26. Kowalski wrote:

    @Sady, thanks!
    Yeah WP is cool for filtering trolls and I already do that, also with a list of words but unfortunately it’s so much more complicated than that.

    Daisy Deadhead once had a post in which she asked why so many women have deleted their blogs, and a number of women said in the comments that they had to after they’ve been bullied.

    ‘Cos blocking trolls is one thing but what if a family member/colleague/aquaintance dislikes your blog and starts to bully you offline or starts an online campaign to shut you up?
    An online campaign that’s nothing but sexual harassment?
    This happened to me twice in the last 12 months.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  27. Kowalski wrote:

    Ack, and sorry about the unnecessary sarcasm (“blogstar antics”).

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  28. Farore wrote:

    @Miss Smog: I know you already apologized (yay, thank you!) but uhm uhm… as someone who has been nearly choked to death twice (by two different people, no less!) and has no small amount of Issues about that, your original comment kinda.. made me sick D: and panicky and stuff. If we could avoid choking threats around here I would be super-delighted… or at least give trigger warnings before wishing violence on others? Or, er, not do it at all?

    @Julia: hmm, I believe the Internet Trolls have a word for this. Oh yes: BAWWWWWWW.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  29. Farore wrote:

    Also, @Kowalski: then, if that happens, you report that real-life meatbeing to the proper authorities? Sexual harassment be against the law, yo. At least theoretically.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  30. What I find so interesting about Julia’s most recent comment is it sort of perfectly encapsulates exactly the point of the post.

    I mean the irony of it is pretty stunning, overall. She initially made a negative comment on a blog post about threats and how shitty the internet can make you feel being all “stop talking about this, it’s boring,” some people said really shitty things to her (some people rightly mocked her), she got upset (thus proving the point “what happens on the internet is real”), and then she accused the commenters of wanting to teach her “how unproductive hate and rage can be on the internet” and left rather than be subject to any more anger/frustration/hurtful words*. Which is something that a blog author by definition Can’t Do, if ze is being harrassed, without shutting down zir blog.

    And of course, ignoring the fact that in order to “delete all hateful comments” towards oneself and one’s friends, one still has to READ the comments, thus still getting the brunt of the hurtfulness.

    *which is certainly her choice to make, and if she feels unsafe she should do what she needs to do in order to feel safe

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  31. Alex wrote:

    Wow, thank you so much for this post. It resonated with me on a level that I didn’t even realize until about an hour after reading it.

    Recently, some of my male friends have introduced me to the television show “Manswers” by putting it on the screen in front of me and eagerly watching my reaction (taunt the feminist: hilarous). I don’t know if any of you have watched this particular show (I was previously unaware of it), but it’s horrifying.

    For example, the first clip I ever saw was one in which extremely gratuitous shots of nearly naked women filled the screen while a burly man’s voice said, “We love women… they can make you CRAAZY (*close up of tits and ass*)… but THEN… they open their MOUTHS!” The show proceeded to instruct men to “simply have sex with your girlfriend when she’s ‘bitching’ at you, because it will put her in a better mood.”

    I still do not know how to respond to this show and the fact that my friends found it so hilariously funny. I stopped trying to discuss it seriously after the first round of “Maybe we should just have sex with you so you won’t bitch at us anymore” comments. Even after attempting to have serious conversations with them individually about the fact that it made me uncomfortable because of its absolute dismissal and most basic objectification of women (by the way, I AM ONE OF THOSE), each of them told me that they were just joking around, and that “nobody actually thinks like that,” so there was no reason for me to be personally offended.

    I’ve been struggling to figure out what /my problem/ was for the past couple of weeks, and I think I’ve found it here and found that it’s actually legitimate. It seems to me that the jerks on the internet and the jerks on television are equally and extremely abrasive, and saying “it’s just the internet” or “it’s just television” or “what else do you expect” is not helpful. It is such a relief to know that the sick feeling I got while I watched that show was not unfounded.

    (Sorry for such a long comment and de-railing of the conversation, but I wanted to share that with somebody and would be very curious to hear others’ opinions on it.)

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink
  32. Farore wrote:

    Holy shit, Alex, I’m really sorry! That sounds awful; I know I couldn’t sit through it without breaking down into a panic attack or worse.

    Reading your story, to me the biggest thing that jumps out is: they tell you to chill out because nobody actually thinks that way, but they just did, they used what basically amounts to an underhanded rape threat to silence you. That’s not ironic, it’s revolting and more than a little scary. If I were you, I’d start looking for new friends D:

    And yes, it’s the same thing trolls do. They say ‘it’s just the internet’ or ‘lol u mad’ or whatever, but the whole purpose of trolling someone is to try to disrupt your real life, to actually upset, terrify or anger you, via the internet. It’s a double standard of the worst kind, and, at least with internet trolls, it’s always something they’re very aware that they are doing. Besides – if it really is ‘just the internet’, why spend so much time trying to upset someone because they said something on the internet you don’t like? It shouldn’t upset you, right? Ugh.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  33. Beth Turner wrote:

    The “ignore it it’s just the internet” is good advice ONLY if you’re wandering around on the internet and you see someone call your favorite author a “Talantless hack” for example, or say your favorite episode of Red Dwarf is “feeble minded” and you feel your blood boiling and are already to pull out the drama…that’s a good time to tell yourself “It’s just the internet, relax and let it go” because it stops YOU (read: me) from being an asshat.

    However that’s completely different then someone coming on to your post about how great X author is and having people saying you’re stupid and should die.

    As for “ignore the bullies” I think was said more out of adults not knowing what to do either (not that it was good advice) I had a weird thing happen when I was trying to follow that advice once. I had a guy follow most of the way across a school saying foul things behind the whole way I got part way and turned and said in a weary and not-impressed voice “John? Shut the **** up.” now this wouldn’t work every time but this guy was stunned, thought I was cool after that and actually treated me as a friendly acquaintance the rest of the time I was in school….I still don’t know what happened there.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink

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