The Cost of Being a Woman on the Internet
It’s not just the harassment — it’s the time it takes to clean it all up
My thumb is tired for the first time since I learned how to type. Every day for the past several weeks, I’ve had to spend way too much time deleting hateful comments — whether they were hateful to me or to another marginalized demographic — and blocking the people who left them.
It’s perhaps a process that’s one step too long. I could simply block. But I know that those people want to spread their hate. I know they want their words emblazoned across the internet forever. I know they are working black magic and they know exactly how to do it: by seeding public forums with those cruel words.
And this witch (who is both dark and light) isn’t down with that. I’m not letting those hexes and evil spells live in my space. I do not want others who are part of more marginalized demographics than I am to stumble upon those words and be hurt more in ways they’ve already been systemically hurt.
Enough is enough.
So I block. And delete.
But considering the latest influx of hate (comments and email) I’ve been getting lately, across several platforms due to my recent words about the trans community, gun violence, and even what it’s like to be a Gen Xer in a boomer-millenial world, I’m exhausted, folks. Absolutely spent.
And I’m wondering why all this hate is costing me so much extra labor.
I was thinking the other day about how many times I’ve gone on a date and when I began to walk away after a quick thank you, but without offering a kiss, I’ve often been physically detained. I’ve had men grab my arm and pull me back, step in front of me, or even take me by both shoulders with a pseudo-gentle admonishment about why I was “trying to escape” or “get away so quickly” when I hadn’t offered a “proper” end to the date.
I’m not sure I can think of a time when I put my hands on someone’s body to force them to do something they didn’t want to do except for a few tussels with my siblings when we were kids, or moments of panic with my nieces and nephews when I grabbed them to protect them from fast-moving objects or the potential self-harm of their own…