Happy International Women’s Day!
(To pre-empt any of those kinds of comments, FYI International Men’s Day is November 19th)
Today, perhaps unsurprisingly, I want to talk about “internet feminism”.
Women of the internet know well how easy it is to make a particular group of online men angry. I’ve written a couple of post that have made that particular community (*cough* red pill thread *cough*) rather angry.
First, I was one of the many online voices criticising Scott Aaronson for saying that life was better when women were simply handed to men when they came of age. I actually had a rather productive discussion with him, after he commented on the post. Though we didn’t come to see eye-to-eye, I gained something from it. This didn’t stop his posse of followers (which, to his credit, he disavowed on twitter) from bombarding my comments with everything from poorly punctuated claims that I was an idiot to actual threats. C’est la vie pour la femme en-ligne, as the French would (probably) say.
Then, I was upset when Tim Hunt said women were too emotional for science. This was a relatively low-key event only, very excitingly, Louise Mensch tried to troll me on twitter. Disappointingly for both of us, I think, when I ignored her she lost interest. No fifteen minutes of Louise Menschy fame for me!
But the piece de resistance came in January last year when venerable medievalist Allen Frantzen’s adorably 80s blog became a matter of public awareness. It became a matter of public awareness because it was a misogynistic, hate-filled diatribe against women. I spoke out. My response got posted in some other media outlets. Then I ended up on some Reddit hit-list. Granted, I was only about public enemy number 7, but I was still bombarded with the kind of comments and emails you think are a parody of what red pill dudebros write. My favourite one told me I would be sorry when the men left “the village” to live in the wild. I may well be! Is Jon Hamm one of these men? Don’t go, Jon. I didn’t mean it. Women are silly and like handbags. Please come back to my village.
Anyway, it’s been an educational time being a woman with opinions and a blog. What I find interesting about the whole “internet feminist” bag is how offended many of these particular individuals are about my expressing my opinion on my blog and my twitter. I don’t much care for their opinions, but I don’t go to their blogs and tell them that I’m going to leave the village (?? because why, actually, would I do that?) and I certainly don’t bombard them with threats. I don’t know why women speaking about this online on their own blogs and twitter feeds is seen as so antagonistic and threatening. I don’t agree with what Breitbart of Return of Kings (oh god don’t google it, they’re awful) say, but I don’t feel the need to shout them down.
So here I am not being shouted down. Here’s to many more days of making those who don’t like women talking (on their own damn blogs!) angry. And to every brave, writing woman on the internet. So many of you are so much braver than me.