Being on the Internet as a feminist lady-identified person can be a real minefield. It’s cool to have a space to express your opinions and talk with like-minded people, but often these conversations end up in a lot of abuse.
If you have a lot of followers or write for a site with a lot of exposure, the abuse is multiplied. If you’re black or gay or transgender, you can expect to be called every slur in the book. Even if you’re the nicest Miss Rogers on the Web, you’ll be the target of at least a little abusive trolling.
I’ve been writing about feminism for a while now, and I feel like I’ve had the entire book of insults thrown at me. Most of the time, these insults come from men. Many times they don’t. Either way, there are a lot of really terrible things that faceless people on Twitter or in the comments feel compelled to tell feminist writers every day.
There are much worse things that women I know have heard, but these 8 things you shouldn’t say to women online are all things that have been Tweeted, emailed, or otherwise sent to me. Hows about we stop, guys?
1. You’re ugly.
No, I’m not. I’m fabulous, actually. You’re a random guy on the Internet and no one cares about your opinion. This is especially true if you’re too chicken to share your own photo online. Take your deep-seated body image issues elsewhere. It should also probably be noted that every woman on the internet, including supermodels, has had someone tell them that they’re ugly. We have a thick skin, and toolbags like you don’t faze us.
2. You’re fat.
Yes, yes I am. I commend you on realizing that, considering that I tell everyone that I am fat. I have written about it. I’m cool with it, and your attempt at being mean doesn’t hurt my feelings. I am surprised, though, that your detective skills haven’t landed you a job with the FBI, Sherlock.
3. “Fuck u, dumb bitch.”
There’s nothing I love more than someone with the grammar skills of a grade schooler stopping by to tell me that I’m a dumb bitch. Go play with kids your own age, and leave the real discussion to the adults.
4. “I hope you get raped.”
This is an actual thing that men say to women online, believe it or not, and it’s awful. 1 in 3 women globally will be raped in their lifetime, and many are already survivors of sexual assault. These kinds of tweets are extremely triggering, and reveal just how much of a despicable asshole you are. There have been cases where police have had to intervene after serious rape threats, so it’s not just something that feminists make up for blog material.
5. “I wouldn’t fuck you with someone else’s dick.”
This is actually kind of a compliment. I’m glad to know that I’m repulsive to douchebags who troll and say mean shit to women on Twitter. That’s a good thing, but someone should still probably explain to you that not every woman that you come in contact with wants to fuck you. In fact, probably no woman you come in contact with wants you anywhere near their genitals.
6. “You’re probably really a man dressed up like a woman.”
I don’t even really understand how this is supposed to insult me. If I were a “man dressed up like a woman,” I wouldn’t have these damn periods every month. Besides, you’re being a transphobic asshole and that’s not a good look on anyone. If you don’t know what transphobia means, go find a dictionary and come back to the Internet when you’ve learned more.
7. “You must be a man-hating lesbian.”
Again, I don’t see the point of this insult and you’re being a homophobe. You’re more than welcome to call me a lesbian if you want, but it doesn’t hurt my feelings. Lesbians are awesome! I’m sure my boyfriend would be super-surprised to learn that I am a lesbian, but no one will be surprised to learn that you are a boil on the ass of humanity.
8. “Go kill yourself.”
No snark needed here. Telling someone to commit suicide is just hateful, and I don’t think many of you would tell anyone to go kill themselves to their face. You look like such a coward taking out all your angst on people that you’ve never met, and I hope you finally get some help from a professional.
There’s no harm in a little online snark, but this shit crosses the line in a real way. If you’d like to actually engage with women in discussions instead of hurling insults, I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige you. If you can’t quit acting like a pissed off toddler, though, everyone will ignore you while laughing at the sad little troll.