Monday, November 1, 2010

Internet(ing) While Female

(Given that this all personal anecdote that reasoned discussion, I'm closing the comments today. Plus it's the star of NaNoWriMo, and I simply don't have time to police my blog.)

This comic, reblogged at Jezebel, pretty much sums many women's experience online.

I've been fortunate. I haven't dealt with much overt sexism in my more than a decade online. My blog isn't popular on a huge scale, and I tend to stick to places where the comment policy is draconian, at best. For five years of my life, however, I was a member of "cult" artist's fanboard, and the attitude there was as long as you didn't personally attack your fellow boarder, anything goes. There was very little name-calling, but the covert, harder to prove nastiness, dominated. I've had a man whom I at one time considered a friend question my parenting ability, though I do not have kids, I've had my sex life questioned many times, I've been propositioned, been called "abnormal" for refusing to answer questions about my personal life, and "stupid" for not getting a joke that I was never in on in the first place. There actually was a lot of good there, but the constant badgering when I wasn't feeling invisible got old after a while, so I quit. I doubt I'm missed. Frankly, I don't care.

I think it becomes easy to forget this shit isn't right when it's the norm.

I'd like to highlight a comment (and the thread it spawned ), not to single anyone out, but because I think it's a good example of the kind of covert sexism that goes unnoticed :

You know how you control the impulse? Be aware of it, and know there is something inherently wrong with needing to see what a female blogger looks like, particularly if she's taken steps to hide her identity.