The Death of Pat Buchanan’s America »« Obama is Giving Away 8 States to Mexico!

The Life of a Woman on Youtube

My friend Gretchen linked to this Jezebel article and noted that this is one of the reasons she hasn’t started a Youtube vlog. If this doesn’t ring true for you, you’re either completely oblivious or downright delusional about the way women are treated online (and offline too).

No matter what women do on YouTube, they can’t really win. Beauty vloggers have bigger audiences, more lucrative endorsement deals, and are somewhat insulated from the sort of ire flung at comedians and commentators and other How-To’ers. But because their main focus is on hair and makeup, they’re sometimes viewed as somehow intellectually inferior to their non-beauty vlog counterparts (according to The Daily Dot, beauty vloggers were excluded from a Women of YouTube panel at this weekend’s VidCon, an event where YouTube’s most watched and subscribed talk about the highs and lows of vlogging).

But no matter the focus of their content, female vloggers who spoke out at VidCon expressed frustration with the nature of abuse that focuses on their physical appearance rather than on the actual content of their videos. If they’re physically attractive, they’re bombarded with creepy requests to do things like slowly put on silk stockings and post the video (ostensibly so some weirdo can fap to it). If they’re not conventionally attractive, male commenters jump on every opportunity to let the woman in question know that she makes their particular boner unhappy and she should go away forever. If she’s of average attractiveness, commenters use the commenting space to have debates about her fuckability.

Yep. And if she takes a pro-feminism position, just sit back and watch the dehumanization and death threats roll in. I’ve been online a long time, from just before the days of graphical browsers. I saw it on more than 20 years ago. I’ve said from the start that I wouldn’t be a woman on the internet for all the money in the world. It’s bad enough in “meatspace,” but when you give men a little anonymity (yes, yes, I know — #notallmen) the behavior gets even worse.

There is no winning. The same woman is dismissed as being too good looking and therefore nothing but an object of desire and simultaneously as being too ugly to fuck, sometimes by the same guy (the first when they’re hitting on them, the second when they get turned down). And the moment they object to this behavior and call it out, they’re humorless feminist bitches who need to be shut up. It’s all quite repulsive.

Comments

  1. D. C. Sessions says

    when you give men a little anonymity (yes, yes, I know — #notallmen) the behavior gets even worse.

    Basic math. It doesn’t matter how rare something is if you have a large enough search space. And of course creepy misogyny isn’t at all rare. Actually, I’m more surprised that the problem isn’t worse.

    I’ve been amazed for more than 15 years at how rare really malicious attacks are, given that the technology exists to do them easily (anyone remember the “I Love You” worm? That could have had damn near any payload imaginable — but it was basically harmless) and the knowhow is very, very widespread. Likewise terrorist attacks.

    So, sad as I am that this happens I’m not at all surprised. What amazes me is the flip side: how truly rare it is to see more than a tiny trace of personal attacks on men.

  2. Alverant says

    I agree with John. There’s a woman who does reports on tropes in video games (I forgot her name) and she has comments disabled because of the toxic responses she’s been getting. I think it’s worse for women who have channels about nerd culture because not only are they rated on their appearance, they have their geek cred questioned just because of their gender.

    People need to learn how to stay on topic. Does a presenter’s appearance have anything to do with the content? No, then don’t comment about their appearance. It’s that simple. Better yet, don’t say anything negative or sexual about a person’s appearance.

  3. says

    D. C. Sessions “What amazes me is the flip side: how truly rare it is to see more than a tiny trace of personal attacks on men.”
    A Tiny Trace of Personal Attacks was on of my band’s theme albums, during our prog-rock period in the 1970’s.

  4. eric says

    I’m also with John.

    There is no winning.

    Not one vlogger vs. haters, there isn’t. Big audience vs. haters, maybe. I often feel that we, the audience, need to care more. Decent commenters can leave good, on-topic comments when we read articles we like. This has the effect of diluting the crap – “drowing out” the bad speech with good. Ten misogynistic comments out of twenty is probably very upsetting; but I have to think that getting ten misogynistic comments out of 200 or 2,000 is less so. So, when you liked someone’s vlog (or blog), don’t just watch/read and click away, be one of those extra 190 or 1,990 and comment. And I’m not talking about leaving a “hey, uncool behavior dude” post. That, very often, feeds the troll rather than changing their behavior. I’m talking about leaving an on-topic post that shows the vlogger that you’re listening, thinking about their message, and interested in it. If you like vlogs, give back to them with substantive comments. That doesn’t end the misogyny, but at the very least it can turn a vlogger’s comment area from a ‘wall of hate’ – horrible to behold, depressing to read – into a ‘wall of great…with a few nasty bricks in it.’

    And on a lighter note…to Modus: uh….uh…aaahhhhh. Thanks buddy. :)

  5. Athywren says

    The thing I love is when guys act as if women get no worse treatment online than men do, and are simply too precious and sensitive to stand up to what men bat off without a moment’s thought.
    Speaking as someone who is genderqueer and doesn’t make any real effort to maintain a consistent gender identity across most of the internet, I have first hand experience of how someone treats you relative to whether they think you’re a man or a woman. Women easily get more and more disturbing/insulting crap thrown at them, and that’s before you take into account the fact that I’m quite unmistakably male to anyone who encounters me in the meatspace, so I don’t have to deal with that stuff interacting with any of the basic socialisation that women deal with just by existing in the world. Seriously, women on the internet aren’t just too fragile to cope with the same things that men set their jaws against and shrug off, they’re dealing with more.

  6. lakitha tolbert says

    #8 Alverant: That was Anita Sarkeesian. The side effect of all the harassment was that she got even greater funding for her videos by people who supported her and sympathized with her.

    Same thing also happened to Rebecca Watson of Skepchick. She hadto leave the interent for a while.

  7. Alverant says

    #12 lakitha
    Thanks. I’m terrible with names, male and female. The only two I remember are Hank and James of vlog brothers from pure repetition. Whether the greater funding was worth the harassment, I leave up to her. It’s one reason why I would never put my face on YouTube and why if I comment I stick to the content.

    What happened to Rebecca shouldn’t happen to anyone. I listen to the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast and she always as something to contribute.

  8. Donnie says

    “Guys don’t do that” is the worse thing a women on the Internet can say to anyone. All men suck on the internet until proven otherwise.

  9. iknklast says

    And the worst of it? This all starts in real life. When guys aren’t called out on their behavior, it gets worse. I work at a community college, so we have a lot of technical students side by side with academic transfer students. I was once told by an automotive instructor that when he gets women in his program, he sits them down and tells them they’re going to have to put up with a lot of sexism. This is true, but they probably already know that, particularly if they’ve been interested in cars for a long time. Why doesn’t he sit down with the guys and say, “hey, guys, don’t do that”? Because there are no penalties at this time for sexism in automotive work, and in fact, I believe there are probably rewards. It makes you more one of the guys. Being sensitive and not acting like a sexist jerk will make you stick out as “different”. So the guys get the wrong message. It’s OK if they act as they do, women just have to “suck it up”. The women get the message that they don’t really belong. Then the men take that online and look out…

  10. Athywren says

    @Donnie, 14
    Well sure, but if we can’t hit on women who’ve earlier that day spent an hour or so talking about how they don’t want to be sexualised at conferences in a confined and enclosed space when there were plenty of earlier opportunities to do so in an open space and when they’ve explicitly said that they’re going to bed so they can sleep, where, oh where can with hit on women? It’s far too much to work out!

  11. says

    iknklast “I work at a community college, so we have a lot of technical students side by side with academic transfer students. I was once told by an automotive instructor that when he gets women in his program, he sits them down and tells them they’re going to have to put up with a lot of sexism…Because there are no penalties at this time for sexism in automotive work.”
    “Sexism in automotive work” was an episode of Community.

  12. busterggi says

    If god did not want women to be treated as bbq objects he would not have made them out of ribs.

  13. eric says

    The thing I love is when guys act as if women get no worse treatment online than men do, and are simply too precious and sensitive to stand up to what men bat off without a moment’s thought.

    The double irony is the men most likely to say stuff like ‘suck it up’ typically have very thin skins. The thick-skinned guys are the ones who, almost tautologically, don’t take offense when someone reminds them they have it relatively easy.

  14. says

    eric “The double irony is the men most likely to say stuff like ‘suck it up’ typically have very thin skins.”
    We do not! How could you say such a thing?! (/me runs in to bedroom, slams door, flops face down on bed)

  15. jenny6833a says

    I’m not recommending anything to anyone, but …

    I’ve always just ignored the crap and soldiered on. By the time I got beyond my earliest experiences with such stuff, I’d learned to not recognize it. It just wasn’t happening. And because it wasn’t happening, there was nothing to be inwardly or outwardly upset about. I could concentrate on the job at hand, whatever it happened to be.

    I think it helped to have been in an all girls school through ninth grade, then in a technical high school where we females were 12 out of about 300, then an engineering school where we were five in a class of over 200. Well, we were more than five initially, but the counselors called us in and made it clear that females don’t do engineering. Five us us hung in there, and all five graduated.

    We’ve kept in touch, more or less. Two got married immediately and never used their engineering education. One worked for about 20 years, but without great success. The remaining two of us prospered mightily in terms of both advancement and bucks. Why? We succeeded because we were good at what we did., and IMO because we focussed on the job. We didn’t spend time and energy handing out shit to others, and we didn’t see, hear, or feel the shit that came our way.

    Like I said, I’m not recommending anything to anyone, but …

  16. pocketnerd says

    Thus Spake ZaraEd Brayton:

    And if she takes a pro-feminism position, just sit back and watch the dehumanization and death threats roll in.

    Sarkeesian’s Law: Online discussions of sexism or misogyny quickly result in disproportionate displays of sexism and misogyny.

    I’m also kinda pleased we managed to get past 20 comments without somebody whining that rationalism and humanism should only be about patting ourselves on the back for figuring out there is no God, and that any investment in feminism just waters down the “message”.

  17. says

    pocketnerd “Sarkeesian’s Law: Online discussions of sexism or misogyny quickly result in disproportionate displays of sexism and misogyny.”
    To be fair, there would be more sexism and misandry from chicks, but broads type so slow, on account of their tits getting in the way.

     
    Crimson Clupeidae “I fap to Modus’s posts.”
    Who doesn’t?

  18. ildi says

    Two got married immediately and never used their engineering education. One worked for about 20 years, but without great success. The remaining two of us prospered mightily in terms of both advancement and bucks. Why? We succeeded because we were good at what we did., and IMO because we focussed on the job. We didn’t spend time and energy handing out shit to others, and we didn’t see, hear, or feel the shit that came our way.

    You and Dr. Harriet Hall, of “I feel safe and welcome at TAM” t-shirt fame from last year.

    Like I said, I’m not recommending anything to anyone, but …

    bullshit

  19. dugglebogey says

    I find this behavior to be disgustingly unfair.

    My solution is to start sexually harassing Ed as quickly as possible.

  20. dugglebogey says

    He deserves it for putting that sexy picture of himself on the top of the blog. Rowr!

  21. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I for one, don’t believe jennynumberwhatever up there is really a girl. That post sounds way more like a guy typed it than some soft female, as the ferengi say.

    dugglebogey, I’m in.

    Ed: howyoudoin’? *wink wink*

  22. says

    This is a minor problem but it is bugging me…

    (according to The Daily Dot, beauty vloggers were excluded from a Women of YouTube panel at this weekend’s VidCon, an event where YouTube’s most watched and subscribed talk about the highs and lows of vlogging).

    There were two separate panels at VidCon about dealing with sexist hate on YouTube. One was specifically for Beauty Bloggers and one was hosted by Laci Green. I didn’t go to VidCon but it took me less than 2 minutes to find this information. The Daily Dot needs to work on their journalism skills.

  23. uncephalized says

    @Alverant “Thanks. I’m terrible with names, male and female. The only two I remember are Hank and James of vlog brothers from pure repetition.”

    Hehe. I think you mean Hank and *John* Green. ;-) You are not kidding about being bad with names!

Leave a Reply