You may think it’s a cinch getting rid of misogyny. Turns out it’s not. Sady at Tigerbeatdown started out thinking it was (or more like assuming it was without noticing she was assuming it – we all know how that goes), and then she realized it’s not.
In 2009, I genuinely believed people were going to change their minds about being sexist, because they read my blog.
I know, right? If only someone had come up with this plan before! All I had to do was register a WordPress domain, compose some charmingly ironic yet pointed analyses of Ye Aulde Patriarchy, cite some academics so they knew I wasn’t stupid, throw a lot of jokes and references to oral sex in there to prove feminists weren’t “humorless” or “frigid,” and the sexists, they would be delighted. So delighted they decided to stop being sexists! “Hmmmm,” they’d say. “Sady sure doesn’t appreciate it when I do the sexism. Since she’s my new Internet Best Friend, I had better cut that shit out pronto! Then we can all join a bowling league!” BLAM. REVOLUTION ACCOMPLISHED. No more problems, for anyone, ever, because I blogged.
I hate to tell you this, friends. But I think my plan, it had a minor flaw. Which is: Misogynists don’t like women. It doesn’t matter how uniquely charming and witty and acquainted with various fine bourbons you are. Are you a woman? Then they don’t like you. And they especially don’t like you telling them what to do. By, for example, asking them to cut it out with the misogyny.
There may be one exception to that rule. It may be that if you are a woman who likes misogynists then they do like you – for now. But apart from that, no.
What I got, friends, were comments. Comments about myself. And blogs about myself. And message-board discussions, also about myself. And e-mails. What I got was what every woman (feminist or not) and openly anti-sexist person (woman or not) on this our Internet gets: I got targeted. With threats, with insults, with smear campaigns, with attempts to threaten my employment or credibility or just general ability to get through the day with a healthy attitude and a minimal amount of insult.
This is a recurring problem! Not a Special Sady Problem, but an Everyone Problem. And, increasingly, folks are identifying it as such.
Which means we can count on the threats and insults and smear campaigns to expand hugely, but it also means we can do a better job of resisting.