Misogyny has to be one of the ugliest things on the web. I like to consider myself to be intelligent and rational and fair minded. I pride myself on having friends that are the same. And yet, this is the internet. A place where all of us, no matter what we look like in the outside world, can pride ourselves on being better than everyone else in every way.
The BBC is reporting on death threats received by a prominent female blogger. Basically, Kathy Sierra was due to attend a conference until a bunch of random asshat trolls started offering up death threats. Link to the story i her own words is here.
Now, here’s the thing and this is what makes it especially abhorrent to me: if I receive an e-death threat or a threat of any kind I will laugh it off. I am a man and that is what we’re supposed to do. Even more than that, I am totally unknown outside of a very small circle of people. Not in a mysterious “only special people know who he is” way, but in a “who he?” way. And in general, I don’t care for your threats, threaten away if that’s what gets you off.
However, for Kathy – a prominent known blogger – the reality has to be different. Her face is known, her location is often known and, worse, the community that she is a part of is the community that is attacking her. You lot are all intelligent enough that I don’t need to spell out why threats of rape, beatings and death can be scary to a woman.
The trolls, the abusive men, are no doubt basement dwelling nobodies who want to feel relevant and are no doubt scared stiff by the fact that there is now a police investigation in place. But that’s just tough on them, isn’t it? If I ran up to a stranger in the street and described, graphically, what I wanted to happen to them I would be beaten and/or locked up. So why should internet trolls be any different?
We need to stop this sort of thing – it is pathetic and it is dangerous.