When the #MenCallMeThings hastag started trending on Twitter and feminist writers galore started detailing their internet abuse at the hands of misogynists, I thanked a higher power that I hadn’t experienced online harassment because, in a nutshell, of my gender. (That’s probably because my blog and extra-blog writings aren’t that well-known [yet].)
But we only have to think back to the vitriol spewed at Mia Freedman when she dared to question our worship of sports “heroes” to realise that members of the “fairer sex” are guilty of it, too. Or how about that recent “leggings are not pants” debacle?
And how about Melinda Tankard Reist? As someone who blogs about conservative feminism, anti-porn and anti-raunch, she’s bound to get her fair share of criticism, which came to a head a few weeks ago after Rachel Hills’ article on her was published in Sunday Life, and subsequently launched a thousand blog posts.
Some of MTR’s ideas are worthy of criticism, in my opinion, but she often gets comments, emails and other forms of communication hurled at her that are anything but constructive. I believe one choice comment in the wake of Hills’ article was that MTR should be raped with a coffee cup. Nice.
A couple of weeks ago I had my first article for The Good Men Project published, followed by a second one last week. While the first article, “Manning Up” was originally written with a feminist—or at least female—audience in mind and I probably should have thought twice before pitching it to the guys at GMP, I proceeded to get torn to shreds in the comments. I stand by the article and I’m sorry if it offended, but I’ve been around these parts long enough to know that when you’re writing about contentious issues such as gender relations, you’re bound incite people who don’t like what you have to say.
Because these articles were published on a site that is not my own, I was lucky enough not to see the more personal comments that were not approved by the moderators. But I can imagine… If it’s not an attack on my womanhood (whether that be my integrity as a human being because of my feminist leanings, my appearance, or my sex life), it’s an exercise in “mansplaining”, but rest assured, when you’re writing about gender (or race, equality, sex, disability etc.) on the interwebs, it’s a common perception that you’re fair game for the trolls.
Have you experienced gender-related trolling?