Here’s something that’s objectively unfair: when a female blogger gets linked by Daring Fireball, she receives death threats and gets called a whore. When I get linked by Daring Fireball, the worst I get is that I’m “too wordy.”
I think it should go without saying, but I want to emphasize it while I’ve got whatever diminishing traffic this blog gets from being fireballed: Anyone who says that women and men are treated equally on the internet is an idiot.
They’re simply not. Men have the luxury of being called out for what they write, while women always have to suffer through personal attacks. That’s bullshit, and it’s not fair.
And even on top of that: when a man gets called a “moron” or a “dick,” it just plain doesn’t have the same weight as calling a woman names. Fair or not, we just have to remain conscious of that, and I don’t want that idea to get lost in a sea of words.
I still believe that the only way to fight that is to “rise above” it, although that makes it sound too charitable, since what I’m really saying is that we should be free to harshly criticize anyone’s work when we vehemently disagree. It doesn’t sound so noble when I describe it as: “We should all be free to call each other morons and assholes.”
I acknowledged in the comments that it’d be disingenuous to claim that people weren’t bringing Violet Blue’s online persona into it. But I was completely naive in underestimating how much baggage was being dragged in. That makes me uncomfortable, since the line’s gotten blurred between attacking an online persona based on the ideas expressed (which is fair), and attacking a person trying to do her job (which is of course unfair). I don’t know what it’s like to be internet famous or notorious, and I’m pretty thankful for it.
I mentioned the one time somebody told me to “fuck myself in the neck” on twitter. It’s obviously a laughably stupid comment, and there’s obviously no way anybody could feel threatened by it. Still, it did exactly what it was supposed to do: made me feel bad, and even a year or so later I can still remember it and who wrote it. Multiply that by 1000 or more, give everything a nasty personal spin, and yeah, that’s got to really, really suck.
I wasn’t so naive to be completely unaware that I’d be adding to an internet pile-on. I was aware that I was, and I genuinely regret that part of it. The only explanation I’ll give for that: I sincerely believe that in the 21st century, calling a man a misogynist is as offensive as calling a woman a whore. No it doesn’t have the same weight, but it has pretty much the same intention: completely dismissing a person based on his gender.
And accusing someone of being complicit in misogyny just makes my blood boil, since there’s just no way to respond to it without sounding hollow, the sexism equivalent of “but I have black friends!” It’s intellectually bankrupt, it comes across as “If you really weren’t misogynist, you’d already know what you did wrong,” and it turns genuine discussions of gender inequity to “Women Be Different From Men!” stand-up routines from the 90s, except not funny. So: exactly like stand-up routines from the 90s.
(And finally: this blog gets like 40 hits a day, tops, so the theme doesn’t even support replies to individual comments. I’ll get around to responding eventually. For now, let it be clear that I’m approving everything except the most transparently stupid comments and spam. That doesn’t mean that I agree with a comment, at all).