Yesterday, I linked to Amanda Hess’s article about the disturbing and horrible comments and threats that she’s gotten from men in response to her articles. Hess ascribes a certain amount of the hate to the fact she writes about feminism and sex. But the nastiness also extends to women who write more generally about politics and economics.
For the record, I haven’t gotten the level of garbage that Hess has received. I’ve gotten a share of angry comments, but nothing to actually scare me. I did get a little creeped out when a commenter told me that she knew where I lived, but it was in the context of a warning to be more careful. When I spoke out against certain aspects of higher ed, some idiots in a political science chatroom made some personal (and false) comments. However, I have largely flown under the radar in the blogosphere; my topics are too egghead-y or too parent-y to gain too much attention. Other women writers have a bigger stage and, as a result, are a target for world-class creeps.
In the Atlantic, Connor Friedersdorf talks about the crap that Megan McArdle got when she wrote for that magazine. Yes. Megan has had her share of scary trolls in her comment section, who like Hess’s creeps, refer to her looks and are strangely sexual. Megan has also received flack from more established areas of the blogosphere that were… let’s just say disproportionate. Her adversaries would not have spoken to a man in the same condescending, rude manner. Misogyny comes in many different forms.
We need a female perspective on the Internet. We need to have conversations about feminism and sexuality, as well as a woman’s perspective on economics, politics, society, and foreign policy. We need conservative, liberal, and libertarian female voices. We need more than the token chick on the sidebar of Internet websites and newspapers. Unless there is a change in how we respond to female commentary, women writers are going to silo themselves up in a protective bubble of other women. Who needs that crap, when the payoff is so small?