A lot is being written right now about online misogyny. Just one day after Catherine Buni and I published The Unsafety Net, Brianna Wu, a vocal advocate for women and diversity in gaming and tech, had to leave her home with her family because of these threats below. Hearing or reading words like “harassment” doesn’t convey what messages like this - in your inbox, tweets, on Facebook, Youtube comments, Anon messages - say and do:
Frequently, people question whether or not women face a distinct kind of harassment and hate, doubt that it’s more than a “nuisance.” Inevitably, someone says, “men are harassed to.” All of this conveniently ignores several things:
1) this is class-based: most of the time men are not being harassed because they are men, but because of something they say or do,
2) abuse like this seeks to reproduce historic discrimination: ie. thousands of years of women’s subjugation and denial of rights, like the fact that women (unable to vote, work for pay, unable to own property, others being considered actual property), effectively belonged to white men in the US less than 150 years ago. Women competing as equals stress a lot of people out.
3) violence online is inseparable from the violence that women live with everyday: rape, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and other generally-speaking, male perpetrated crimes. I know.
4) the “harassment” is actually a violation of women’s civil rights and criminal.
Wu sadly joins a very long list. It takes bravery and exacts real personal and professional tolls for a woman to continue to publicly engage while being assaulted like this. Ask Kathy Sierra, who had to abandon her work and public life for 10 years. She recently wrote: “A particularly robust troll-crafted hot button meme today is that some women are out to destroy video games (shoutout to #gamergaters). Another is that they are taking jobs from men. Men who are, I mean obviously, more deserving. “If women/minorities/any oppressed group are given special treatment,
Please, don’t tolerate bullshit excuses for hate.