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Wed Feb 4, 2015, 09:02 AM

What happened when I confronted my cruellest troll [View all]

Thought provoking, well written piece

For the past three years or so, at least one stranger has sought me out pretty much every day to call me a fat bitch (or some pithy variation thereof). Iím a writer and a woman and a feminist, and I write about big, fat, bitchy things that make people uncomfortable. And because I choose to do that as a career, Iím told, a constant barrage of abuse is just part of my job. Shrug. Nothing we can do. Iím asking for it, apparently.

Being harassed on the internet is such a normal, common part of my life that Iím always surprised when other people find it surprising. Youíre telling me you donít have hundreds of men popping into your cubicle in the accounting department of your mid-sized, regional dry-goods distributor to inform you that Ė hmm Ė youíre too fat to rape, but perhaps theyíll saw you up with an electric knife? No? Just me? People who donít spend much time on the internet are invariably shocked to discover the barbarism Ė the eager abandonment of the social contract Ė that so many of us face simply for doing our jobs.
Sometimes the hate trickles in slowly, just one or two messages a day. But other times, when Iíve written something particularly controversial (ie feminist) Ė like, say, my critique of men feeling entitled to womenís time and attention, or literally anything about rape Ė the harassment comes in a deluge. It floods my Twitter feed, my Facebook page, my email, so fast that I canít even keep up (not that I want to).


It was in the middle of one of these deluges two summers ago when my dead father contacted me on Twitter.

At the time, Iíd been writing a lot about the problem of misogyny (specifically jokes about rape) in the comedy world. My central point Ė which has been gleefully misconstrued as ďpro-censorshipĒ ever since Ė was that what we say affects the world we live in, that words are both a reflection of and a catalyst for the way our society operates. When you talk about rape, I said, you get to decide where you aim: are you making fun of rapists? Or their victims? Are you making the world better? Or worse? Itís not about censorship, itís not about obligation, itís not about forcibly limiting anyoneís speech Ė itís about choice. Who are you? Choose.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/02/what-happened-confronted-cruellest-troll-lindy-west?CMP=fb_gu

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ismnotwasm Feb 2015 OP
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