TRIGGER WARNING: Violent language
Do you think discrimination and unfairness only happen in real life? They happen online as well. According to the purpose of the chapter entitled, “Gender and Sexuality on Social Media,” we need to examine how women have been maligned, threatened, or harassed in online spaces. As a person who uses social media just for fun or connects with friends and families, I’ve had no idea about discriminative attitudes toward particular people on social media, which is only regarded as an active method to be connected with the world. Specifically, women who are treated as second-class citizens and minors of the society, have often been targeted.
The author, and also the blogger named Kathy Sierra shared her story through her article titled, “Trouble at the Koolaid Point.” Here is her story. There was one angry guy, who really hated her work. He expressed his opinion aggressively, and she admitted they might have different valuing points and that’s why he hated her work. She describes, “Later I learned that the first threat had nothing to do with what I actually made or said in my books, blog posts, articles, and conference presentations. The real problem — as my first harasser described — was that others were beginning to pay attention to me. He wrote as if mere exposure to my work was harming his world” (Sierra). In other words, he didn’t criticize her works, but her. In the hater’s perspective, her work didn’t deserve the attention from others. She can’t be the great author or blogger because she is a woman. Women can’t be, or shouldn’t be great writers. He can’t bear that.
Screenshots of some of the harassments
What drives this troll culture? And what happens next to all writers? In the cases similar to Sierra’s one, the objective of trolls is simple: Drag out woman’s works on online places. If they can’t stop works of writers, they at least ruin the quality of authors’ lives by harassing their mental health. I carefully assume that overall social under-representations of women take part as the fundamental background of this evil tendency. To avoid this unnecessary harms in one’s heart, Sierra emphasized intentional practices and efforts of female writers to ignore those haters’ unreasonable comments, which are not helpful for improving their works at all.
To have the adequate resolution for this problem, members of the society have to put efforts together. Educating the right, balanced, and fair cognition toward different genders is the most necessary one. Moreover, reducing tendencies of the media, which represents women as people who can’t get high-education enough to write great articles and as less important, valuable figures than men would be the great starting point.
* Discussion Questions:
1. Honestly, do you have any experiences that you have considered the works of female theorists as less reliable and valid than that of males? If you have any, please share your experience.
2. Do you think that hatred behaviors toward female writers online are related to social influences/factors?
3. Is there any practical resolution ideas for the discriminative tendency toward female writers on social media?
Thoughts and comments welcome below!
Relevant Reading: Sierra, Kathy. “Trouble at the Koolaid Point.”