From the archives: Kate Harding on cyberbullying as a feminist issue

An oldie but a goodie revisited: Kate Harding “On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name”. It’s hard to pick out the best bits, but here, have two.

It fascinates me to see how, sometimes in the same breath, people offer the following advice to bloggers, as if every bit of it is perfectly obvious, consonant with all the rest of it, and guaranteed to end the problem:

* Anyone with half a brain will take precautions, including but not limited to: writing under a pseudonym, making that pseudonym male or gender-neutral if you’re one of them lady bloggers, disabling anonymous comments, masking one’s personal information, being circumspect about publishing identifying details, and not writing anything that might inflame the crazies. (Like, you know, a tech blog.)
* If you fail to take all of those precautions and thus attract yourself a crazy, the proper course of action is as follows: quit being a whiny titty-baby, because no one ever carries out online threats, and it’s probably some 14-year-old in his parents’ basement anyway.
* If you’re pretty sure it’s not some 14-year-old in his parents’ basement and your safety is legitimately threatened, contact the authorities. Then quit blogging if you can’t take the heat.
* Either that or keep blogging, because if you don’t, the terrorists have won.
* Special bonus advice for women: be afraid, be very afraid. The threat is especially real for you.
* Special bonus advice for women, part 2: if you’d just quit living in fear, the threat would go away, because it’s all in your head. Liberate yourself!


Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ’em can’t shoot ’em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and …

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women: to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

Categories: gender & feminism, technology

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2 replies

  1. Many of Kate’s points are relevant to the current dustup regarding game producer Jade Raymond and the way in which she has become fanboy fantasy in an overtly sexually objectified way simply because she happens to be a beautiful woman visible in the gaming industry. There’s no threats involved this time, but there’s plenty of creepy stalkerish obsessing over her physicality every time she has attempted to do her job of talking about the product for which she is largely responsible (and a porno comic “satirising” her [Cue OMG can’t you feminists take a joke in 3-2-1]).
    Story at Feministe and Broken Toys.

  2. This is amazing. Thanks for sharing!


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