Being a female in the age of the internet.
Some of you may have breathed a sigh of relief when you realized that you had entered a relatively feline-free zone. "Finally," you said. "She's going to talk about something that doesn't meow." Others may have been concerned. (I've heard from the concerned contingent, not from the relieved, but I have no trouble with the idea that both sides exist. Honestly, I don't demand that anyone be interested in everything I have to say, and that includes my cats, machete collection, horror movies, the X-Men, and candy corn.) Even more of you may well have been confused, given how focal cats have traditionally been around here. But I haven't been blogging about my cats.
John Scalzi has just made a lengthy post about the shit female bloggers get that he doesn't get. Go and read it. I'll be honest: after more than a decade on the internet, I find his experiences to be pretty spot-on. I make a controversial comment, I get death threats, comments about my weight, accusations of bitchiness, comments about my weight, offers to "fuck the stupid" out of me, comments about my weight, insults, comments about my weight, and, best of all, people swearing up, down, and sideways that I deserve whatever I get. It's been a few years since I've had a really bad troll problem, but when I had one, it was...
It was bad. It was "Kate monitored my journal and deleted comments before I could see them" bad, with a side order of feeling sick every time I considered getting online. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, and I was scared all the time. It's invasive, and it's scary. Cracks about my weight aside, I'm not that big, and if someone wanted to fuck me up, they could. Easily. (Is this a motivator for my large and oft-discussed machete collection? Possible! Anybody comes to my house with the intent of doing me a mischief in the woods, they will not be thrilled by the results.)
And I haven't been blogging about my cats recently.
I'll be honest: I understand people being dicks for the sake of being dicks. We're all a little mean when we've had a bad day. My mother used to snap at me, even though she loved me. Sometimes I pick fights with my friends, or snarl at my co-workers. Human nature sometimes trends toward asshole, and no matter how hard we work to control it, it's going to happen. What I don't understand is why being a dick towards a woman on the internet so often turns into a) threats of violence, b) sexual insults, c) threats of sexual violence, or d) comments about perceived attractiveness/weight. Or violence toward the things that woman loves.
I haven't been blogging about my cats recently, because someone has been sending me email, from dummy accounts, threatening to kill my cats. In graphic detail. They know what my cats look like, thanks to the amount of blogging I have done in the past, and they've been able to get really, really specific in what they're going to do. Why? Because I got my cats from a breeder, and not from a shelter, and that means I need to suffer in order to understand the suffering of the cats waiting for adoption. "Bitch," "cunt," and "whore" feature heavily in these emails, which is always a nice seasoning for my rage and terror stew. It's all very gender-specific.
And they're threatening to kill my cats.
So no, I'm not going to talk about them right now; not until this email stops, not until the trolls find something else to chew on. And yes, I realize that making this post may reawaken some of my old trolls (and oh, Great Pumpkin, I hate it so much that I even have to take that into consideration), so I'm going to be watching comments carefully. Anything insulting will be deleted. Anything malicious will result in an immediate banning. I mean that. I am not going to let that shit stand.
We need to stop acting this way toward one another. We need to remember that there are humans on the other side of all those keyboards. We need to be decent human beings, because otherwise, everything is going to fall apart.
And none of this changes the fact that if the fucker who's been telling me what he's going to do to my babies comes anywhere near them, I will probably be going to prison for assault.
Some days I hate being a girl.