Raise Your Hand

via iStock Photo/Rene Mansi

Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and critics of your work have called you a “slut” or a “harpy” or “whore” in public. (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and readers of your work who disagree with your thoughts have publicly attacked your looks. (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and you’ve been publicly told that your written words permanently disqualify you for the title of “lady.” (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’re a grown woman and a male critic has opened his public critique of your work with “Little girl.” (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’ve actually, literally been told by one or more apparent lovers of outdated cliche to stop writing and get back to your kitchen. (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and you’ve been excited to see your work featured in a mainstream media article only to watch the comments on said article devolve into a discussion of your supposed physical attractiveness, or supposed lack thereof. (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and you’ve engaged in an educated intellectual, political, or philosophical debate with another woman blogger, and later found that debate described in public fora online as “mud-wrestling” or “a catfight.” (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and your abilities as a romantic partner or parent have been attacked by strangers who disagree with opinions of yours that have nothing to do with romantic relationships or parenting. (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’ve been told that mothers should be seen and not heard. (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and someone who disagrees with your opinions (or disagrees with your hair color, or your choice in shoes, or your body type, or your disability, or your sexuality or your religion or your ethnicity or your age or the very idea of women writing things on the internet at all) has publicly expressed their desire that you be sexually assaulted in retaliation for daring to open your “pretty” (or “ugly”) “little mouth.” (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if your critics have said you deserve to be tortured. (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if they’ve said you should be dead. (I’m raising my hand.) Raise your hand if you’re a mother who blogs and someone who disapproves of your words has said it would serve you right if your child were kidnapped. (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and some person who hates what you’ve done with your words or just hates you, personally, for daring to use words in public at all, has left a comment or sent you an email or a text message or a DM directly threatening to sexually assault you, or physically harm you, or kill you. (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you’re a woman blogger and you’ve wondered at times, in the midst of constant gendered insults and threats, whether you might be happier and saner if you just stopped writing. (I’m raising my hand.)

Raise your hand if you’ve kept writing anyway.

(Well, here I am.)

Good. Now all of you that just raised your hands — take Naomi’s example, and raise your voice.

(I just did.)

Cross-posted with permission by Jaelithe Judy from her blog, The State of Discontent. You can also find Jaelithe, a writer and editor in Missouri, at MOMocrats and Care 2.

  • I certainly have been called stupid. I certainly have been told that I have no idea what I am talking about and that I should just keep things to myself. I have not yet been told many of those other things, although many of my friends have. I guess I am not writing enough. I should get on that.

    It rattles me to the core that, instead of arguing the points, people instead choose to argue character or make attacks. Harmful, scary, terrible attacks. And yet all that goes to show is that they don’t have a point of their own that is worth putting forward. I have several conservative friends. We have been in several heated debates. Yet these have not made our friendship suffer. If anything, it has helped it blossom because we can understand each other better. Debate can be done respectfully. These attacks are anything but.

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