Yesterday, I mentioned a future post about some unfortunate interactions I had on Twitter over the weekend. Well, it’s time for that post! It’s all about my tale of the trolls, and one huge question has nagged at me for three days now: What has our culture become??
I don’t usually get upset, but I’m genuinely frustrated, angry and hurt. I sat glued to my phone this weekend as I blocked people left and right on Twitter. Why? All because I spoke up when I saw a Trump supporter attack a woman. Honestly, this has shaken me. Is this the world we live in now? Is our world a place where this sort of thing is commonplace? How can someone make fun of the appearance of a person with a disability?
THIS IS NOT OK! THIS WILL NEVER BE OK!
Anna March, co-founder and editor of ROAR feminist magazine, wrote a powerful piece for Salon on these types of sexist attacks on women after her own harrowing experience, and as you can imagine, her words rang oh-so-true to me…
Harassment and threats in response to my writing are common for me, as they are for many women who dare to write about feminism and politics and culture while female. It is of course worse for women of color, transgender women, disabled women, queer women and Muslim women. The attacks are gendered and meant to diminish the worth of the women who write. Meant to scare us, meant to intimidate us, meant to silence us.
It’s easy to say “oh, those are just words.” Well, these are the kinds of words I’ve seen fill my Twitter timeline since last night. This is the kind of hate that’s in the world. I’m a person. I matter. And I’m not going anywhere.
And neither is Anna March, thank goodness…
This battle online for women’s voices to be heard is important to win, both online and offline. It is even more important to win online now, as the artificial lines between cyber life and life away from our devices and keyboards continue to blur. It’s about our ability to exist. And we need a plan with actionable steps to ensure our ability to govern while female, write while female, to speak while female, even to breathe while female.
My mom gave me this inspirational photo after everything happened. I have it prominently displayed in my room, right next to my lip balms, and I sort of like the dichotomy of those two things. No one should ever mistake my softness for weakness. Ever. Because like that quote says, I AM A WILDLY UNTAMED WOMAN!!! Take that trolls!!!
How do you deal with online hate/harassment, friends? What advice do you have for these situations? It’s time like these I’m so glad I have this blog community — you all ALWAYS cheer me up!! Thank you for being you!!! Always… xoxo
[Olivia Benson GIF via Giphy]
Lela Austin-Green says
LOVED this, Melissa!!!!! As I told you earlier, keep on being wonderful you, you have so much to give, and you do it with such genuine caring for others and their issues. Take care of you! 😉
I am so sorry that happened to you! It makes me sick! What has happened to our culture, our world, people in general!? And how can this person run for public office?! How can anyone let him get that far! I hope you’ll consider sending this post/messages to his wife/his local news/something…not that you want to stir up more, but some people may be completely unaware of his disgusting behavior.
I am so sorry this happened to you. Sorry it happens to anyone. You asked how people avoid all this. For me personally I do not participate in any kind of social media. I realize this is not an option for you. Keep on doing what you do.
You go ahead and PURVEY that Matriarchy, Melissa!! Purvey away!! Fook the trolls and their cowardly rhetoric.
I am so sick of this. I know things like this happened before Trump but I feel like so many trolls crawled out of the woodwork once he was elected. It’s as if people think they have a right to say every cruel thing they want now. And it’s not okay.
I saw one of your friends on FB comment that maybe it’s just part of your job – how because you put yourself out there maybe you open yourself up to these losers. And I understand what that friend was saying. And that friend said it still doesn’t make it okay.
But honestly? Those kind of comments make people less likely to stand up against this kind of stuff. It’s like saying, “I’m putting myself out there, guess that means I have to deal with the jerks of the world.”
You know how frustrated I am so you. I want to slap these people! And I can’t comprehend how online entities like Twitter allow those comments to continue to happen. Like I said, it’s bad enough that they let Trump keep his Twitter account.
We just have to keep fighting the good fight. And stand together.
shelly sitzer says
I let personal hatred slip right off my shoulder like water falling into a stream.. The secret is to love who you are and what you stand for and never be swayed. On the subject of women’s issues, it was all said in a song many years ago. Just go to utube whenever you feel even a little shakey and play Helen Ready’s Song, “I am Woman, hear me roar!. I am going to check it out now to make sure it is there. It was from the movie, Pete’s Dragon.
Dearest Melissa, I stumbled upon your article written in the good housekeeping magazine while I was getting my oil changed. I opened it for the recipe but unexpectedly was so touched by your words about your father. What a wonderful example of a real man. Unfortunately, they are not all cut from the same cloth. In my experience, allow yourself the time to truely feel the dissapointment in humanity. However, remember that as humans we all have the opportunity to grow and expand. Block the haters and protect yourself, but as a strong brilliant woman do it in grace. Continue to send your message and stand up for all and wish the haters an opportunity to expand and grow. You seem like an amazing woman and I wish you much joy and happiness in your life. Keep up the great work.
I just started reading your blog, and have been completely drawn in by your (seriously) excellent writing, your refreshing perspective on life, and your willingness to put yourself out there. I am so glad you’re not letting the trolls win. Let your light shine…I’ll keep following as long as you keep writing.