On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name

In a coincidence that’s meaningful to no one but me, I decided to start writing under my real name (and fantasizing about developing a broader readership) right around the same day I first heard about Kathy Sierra. Since then, I’ve been following the endless discussions about cyberbullying, anonymity, blog civility, to what degree this is the natural consequence of the internet’s fundamental character, and to what degree it’s the natural consequence of a misogynistic culture (online or off).

Everyone seems to agree it’s the natural consequence of something, anyway, and was therefore totally predictable. Being viciously, persistently attacked for the crime of Writing While Female is something practically everyone with an opinion on the matter regards as par for the course–regardless of whether they believe that fact is outrageous and deplorable or merely, you know, the way the cookie crumbles. (And regardless of whether they believe Sierra’s real mistake was Writing While Female or Writing While Having a Legal Name or Writing While Writing ‘Cause Hey, Welcome to the Internet, Sport!)

And this agreement that bitch should have seen it coming the real problem (whatever that may be) is old as the internet leads many, many people to the same handful of conclusions. It fascinates me to see how, sometimes in the same breath, people offer the following advice to bloggers, as if every bit of it is perfectly obvious, consonant with all the rest of it, and guaranteed to end the problem:

  • Anyone with half a brain will take precautions, including but not limited to: writing under a pseudonym, making that pseudonym male or gender-neutral if you’re one of them lady bloggers, disabling anonymous comments, masking one’s personal information, being circumspect about publishing identifying details, and not writing anything that might inflame the crazies. (Like, you know, a tech blog.)
  • If you fail to take all of those precautions and thus attract yourself a crazy, the proper course of action is as follows: quit being a whiny titty-baby, because no one ever carries out online threats, and it’s probably some 14-year-old in his parents’ basement anyway.
  • If you’re pretty sure it’s not some 14-year-old in his parents’ basement and your safety is legitimately threatened, contact the authorities. Then quit blogging if you can’t take the heat.
  • Either that or keep blogging, because if you don’t, the terrorists have won.
  • Special bonus advice for women: be afraid, be very afraid. The threat is especially real for you.
  • Special bonus advice for women, part 2: if you’d just quit living in fear, the threat would go away, because it’s all in your head. Liberate yourself!

Taking all of that in in dribs and drabs, separated by lots of intelligent debates and lots of pointless horseshit, I had the same reaction a lot of women have when trying to process information about online harassment and safety. It goes like this:

Half of brain: Oh my god, I’m not doing enough to protect myself. I’m such an IDIOT! Why am I using my real name? Why am I writing about issues that I know people fucking freak out about? What kind of a narcissistic twit am I anyway to think my little voice will add anything useful to the blogosphere? Why do I feel the need to do this at all? What have I already published that people could use against me? What if there are already crazies out there Googling me? They could find out where I live in ten seconds. Should I be walking the dogs alone at night? What do I need to go back and delete? The whole thing? Should I start using a pseudonym? Why did I even name my blog after myself instead of at least coming up with a clever title for this one–like, could I trumpet “KATE HARDING” just a little louder? Could I be more fucking arrogant? What is wrong with me? WHY AM I SO STUPID?

Other half of brain: Wait, WTF? All I’m doing is publishing writing under my own name–i.e., the thing I’ve wanted to do most in the world since I was six. (Okay, the thing I’ve wanted to do most in the world since I was six was actually to publish writing under my own name and get paid for it, but that’s a trivial distinction.) I take responsibility for every word I’ve written, and I’m even proud of a lot of them. Why should some imagined psycho stop me from doing what I love and taking credit for it?

First half of brain: Because that imagined psycho might turn out to be real and come after me.

Other half: Well, you know what? FUCK HIM.

First half: Way to ask for it, dumbass.

Other half: Isn’t this all moot until I have more than four readers?

First Half: That psycho could be number five. You have no way of knowing.

The conversation continues in an endless loop, but I trust you get the gist. My favorite part of Chris Clarke’s awesome post on how not to be an asshole was where he acknowledged not only that women have heard all this shit a thousand times before, but we’ve heard it from ourselves. THANK YOU. Jesus.

Both the conversation I have with myself and the advice above it, for all their contradictions, have one clear message running through them: it’s my problem to fix. Not the psychos’. Not the culture’s, to whatever extent it fails to discourage and punish the psychos, who are often not even proper psychos but perfectly sane, if very angry, assholes. Mine. Alone.

That blows.

And yes, it certainly blows for men as well as women. The only person I know who’s suffered serious harrassment as a result of expressing opinions on the internet is my very large boyfriend. When it was happening, he felt frightened and powerless, which was the harassers’ secondary goal–the primary one being to make him shut up forever. They didn’t succeed at the primary goal, and this is all well in the past. But when I met him, not quite a year ago, and Googled him, as you do, I instantly found a site devoted entirely to explaining why and how my soon-to-be-boyfriend was a pathetic bitchass vile fuckwad who sat around in his parents’ basement trying to abridge people’s freedom of speech and had the i.q. of a fencepost and smelled like a monkey and deserved to be killed slowly and painfully and didn’t know shit about shit BUT OH HE WOULD LEARN WHEN TEH INTERNETS ROSE UP AGAINST HIM which was totally forthcoming and also he’d never seen a naked woman in his life.

That was still up, after all those years. Which was cool insofar as it made me laugh my ass off (followed promptly by my making damn sure he’d seen at least one naked woman in his life); much less cool insofar as it represented the merest taste of what he’d actually been through. So my boyfriend bristles when people talk about online harassment as a women’s issue. Understandably.

And to that I say, honey, I love you more than anything, and I don’t mean to diminish what you went through one bit, but maybe you should close this window now.

Because online harassment is still a women’s issue.

It’s a women’s issue because those goals up there–making somebody feel afraid of speaking, making somebody feel powerless to stop what’s being done to them, making somebody feel like the only recourse is to shut up and hide out forever–are the goals a whole lot of men still hold dear and work towards for all women.

You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do. But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:

  • every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
  • every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
  • every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
  • every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
  • every time you joke about how you’ll never let your daughter out of the house or anywhere near a man, ’cause ha ha, that’ll solve everything;
  • every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
  • every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
  • every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman

You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.

You’re missing an opportunity to stop the real misogynists, the fucking sickos, the ones who really, truly hate women just for being women. The ones whose ranks you do not belong to and never would. The ones who might hurt women you love in the future, or might have already.

‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates womento the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

As long as we live in a culture where the good guys sometimes sound just like the misogynists, the misogynists are never going to get the message that they are not normal and that most people–strong, successful men included–do not hate women.

When you trivialize what even the women you love are saying to you, when you let sexist remarks slide, when you insist that women view things from your perspective (rational! calm! reasonable!) because you don’t feel like trying to see theirs (emotional! hysterical! nuts!), when you sit around laughing with other men about how crazy chicks are before you go home to the wife and daughters you love more than life and always treat with respect, when you say the fact that online harassment disproportionately affects women somehow doesnt mean we should be considering it through the lens of women’s experiences in particular, you’re not fucking helping. You’re being willfully obtuse. You’re enjoying the luxury of not having to take what we’re telling you seriously–and that’s why we get so goddamned frustrated and angry and hysterical. Because we don’t have the option of not caring about this shit, and you just keep telling us not to.

And because the really bad guys don’t pop out of thin air as fully formed misogynists. They need encouragement and reinforcement in order to completely miss the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them. Subtle sexism gives them that. Keeping your mouth shut about overt sexism gives them that. Not really listening to the women you love, let alone women you don’t even know–thereby being one more guy sending a message to women that we’re only worth listening to on men’s terms–gives them that. Telling yourself and anyone who will listen that that’s just the way it is, and people need to quit whining gives them that. How can they clue into the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them when so many guys are acting just like they do in public, or at least never calling them out?

And that goes double on the internet. It’s all well and good to advocate for ignoring trolls, except for the part where they don’t go away. They replicate like fucking Gremlins, and not a few of them are nakedly hostile toward women just for being women. And whenever a woman says, “Hey, anyone else notice how trolls especially go after women and say some shockingly hateful shit, apparently just because we’re women?” tons of good men come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey, trolls do this to everyone, not just women!” and “Maybe they just don’t like what those particular women were saying!” and “The reason you’re not taken seriously is that you insist on playing the victim!” and “I’m not a dick, so this hurts my feelings!” Not nearly as many say, “Yeah, wow, good point.”

(In case my beloved ignored my directive to get lost earlier: Thank you for being one of the latter, especially in light of your own experience with harassment.)

I read a lot of feminist blogs. I read what fat acceptance blogs there are out there. I read the comments–the moderated comments–and from those, I know bloody well the only reason I haven’t yet heard I’m a worthless cunt who deserves to be raped is that nobody knows I exist yet.

If the internet ever figures out that I exist, you can be damn sure I’ll hear that and worse. And if it escalates into something truly frightening, one of the first things people will say is that it could have been avoided if I hadn’t been so stupid as to blog under my own name, to make it so easy for people to hurt me.

This theoretical trauma could also have been avoided, of course, if I’d never blogged at all. If I hadn’t fallen in love with writing when I was six. If I’d developed a talent for something else. If I’d been born male. If I’d not been born at all–shit, if I’d only had the foresight not to be born at all, I wouldn’t have been raped when I was 17, either. Seriously poor planning on my part–everyone knows the more invisible a woman is, the safer she is. You can’t get more invisible than not existing!

My generation of women was taught to believe we could grow up to be anything we wanted to be. All I can ever remember wanting to be is a writer named Kate Harding. Not a firefighter or a cop or a soldier or an astronaut or a dogcatcher or anything anyone worried might be remotely dangerous. Just a writer named Kate Harding.

So that’s what I am, and will continue to be, because I love it and I don’t know how to be anything else. But it is fucking dangerous, as it turns out. Dangerous because I use my real name and especially dangerous because it’s a female name.

But hey, that’s my problem to deal with. I should probably quit whining now.

86 thoughts on “On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name

  1. You are one powerful woman. Keep talking, keep writing, keep talking. Your conviction and articulation awe me.
    I stand behind you and all you stand for.

  2. That’s got to be one of the best articles/posts/whatever I think I’ve ever read. I wish I could say something else about it, but I’m just about speechless right now.

    Damned good job.

  3. Pingback: A Damned Good Post « Just another Blog…

  4. Faaaaaaaaaaantastic post. You can really write up a storm. And speaking of your storms, what happened to that post you wrote once on confronting some guys you overheard in a restaurant putting down women? I wanted to link to it please.

  5. Pingback: 10 posts I love « blue milk

  6. Very wonderful writing, many great points. (I was led here, by the way, by bluemilk, who excerpted this post on her site.)

    The thing about scaring women who write on the Internet with the threat of threats always lurking in the background is exactly the way rape functions to keep women at home, off the streets, afraid to go out in the dark, afraid to walk alone in the woods…violence and the threat of violence against women has seriously limited our lives and our choices. You don’t have to be raped for it to profoundly affect your life. It has certainly affected mine.

    I’ve already been called the usual names for some of my words, way back in the dead tree era. I’ve even gotten a little bit of it in cyberspace, but not yet in the blogosphere. Fear has limited way too much of my life already, and I’ll be damned if I will let fear of being called a bitch or a ‘ho stop me from blogging.

    You keep going girl. Your writing is wonderful!

  7. Thanks, justinnisly. And hey, I just realized you got here because Tigtog linked me in an answer to your question. So the Feminism 101 concept is working! Yay!

    At least, it’s working for guys who were already sensitive to feminist issues and are consciously trying not to be jerks. :)

  8. I turned my blog private because I would be harrassed, put down, judged, and disconnected on my OWN blog. My partner at the time would use it as a weapon as a voyeurist tactic to slap me around with his words. I felt the same, that words can damage and the comments and bloggers and even lurkers have some power.

    I took my power back and turn it private. The downside=maybe it is a an upside. I really have to reach out and build a trust before I extend an invite.

    Who knew I would have to go to such lengths on the world wide web to protect myself? Blogspot didn’t tell me. Its a secret we are all learning as we are going.

    Great Post!

    And you are linked.

  9. Pingback: The Geek Side Feminism Friday, belated. «

  10. Thank you for this excellent post. It highlights a conundrum which I’ve been struggling with for a while for a while (having been a victim of some fairly nasty misogynist cyberstalking myself in the past); to write under my own name, speak of experiences that might identify me, and risk going through that again, potentially even worse, or write under a pseudonym and/or moderate what I say in the hope of minimising any problems I might have. It’s reassuring to see other women bloggers choosing the former option.

    You’ve also managed to explain – better than just about anyone I’ve read in the wake of the Sierra affair – why this is something men should be concerned about, and not fob off as just “stuff that happens”. I’ll have to try and keep it in mind next time I see these arguments popping up.

  11. That was everything I’ve wanted to say to people but couldn’t make coherent. From now on I’ll just link them to this.

  12. Also found you through Feminism 101, which I found through Feministing.

    And…wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    I want to paint that stuff on walls. From’ You are missing an opportunity…’ to ‘There is something deeply fucking wrong with them.’

  13. BEST DAMN POST EVAR!!!!

    This is IT.

    Best of the web, right here. It will never get any better than this — because Good Goddess Almighty, you said it ALL.

  14. Wow, I didn’t see this post before. This rules.

    You forgot one Girl Blogger Rule, though — Always Be Nicey Nicey Nice. Never even demonstrate the slightest degree of snark. If you aren’t Nicey Nicey Nice, people get to be as Meany Meany Mean to you as they want, even if it means banging on your door at 2 a.m. and threatening to break it down and eat all your housepets. Then you let “the authorities” handle it, because it’s the Nicey Nicey Nice thing to do, and they will always make the housepet-eating psychos vanish immediately without a trace.

    Me, I’m still a wuss who uses a pseudonym, and I probably always will be. I doff my duster to you, my far gutsier sister.

  15. I found this by accident today, and I have to say that I totally agree with everything you said. I started my blog where anyone could comment, even anonymously. The trolls came out in force after I bogged about my WLS, so I went to where anyone who wanted to comment had to sign in. I decided to moderate comments when someone posted my address and phone number in a comment on my blog. Now, I’ve been online for the last 10 years, and I’m damned careful about what personal information I post, so I don’t have a clue how they found my address and phone number (especially since the phone isn’t even in my name, it’s in DH’s name, we’ve only been married 11 months and I’ve never posted our last name anywhere that I can recall). That didn’t scare me, but it did piss me off. Is it going to stop me? Hell no. And if they think they can come to my house and try any shit, I have plenty of means of protection and know very well how to use them all. DH was not a happy camper about it either, and I would hate to see what he would do to anyone who came to our house and harassed me (and he didn’t tell me I should quit blogging either, he supports what I do). If people like that think intimidation is going to work, they haven’t met Helga the Bitch Goddess yet, and I can guarantee they don’t want to. I don’t even like her when she shows up, but she does have a way of making asshats leave me alone.

  16. “Halfwit demagogue,” I’ll have to try that one out soon. Thanks so much for writing this…all of it. Every female blogger should be required to read this, whatever her level of anonymity.

  17. Personally, I think every male using the internet should be required to read it.

    Also every male NOT using the internet.

  18. i blog with my own name. i love to write. so far, i don’t care who knows – because i am comfortably Nobody. but i do think about it. just in case, and who knows what i could write about as i have the world’s more boring blog, someone decides i write something HILarious! one day and then forwards it by email to a dozen friends and that becomes hundreds and some lunatic gets hold of my email address, which i also put out there, and then who knows what happens.

    i think about it. but like you – for now – i can afford for it not to rule my life. were i harassed? maybe i would. i don’t know. i wish i could say i wouldn’t, but i don’t know that. don’t really, really know… because i’ve never had to make that choice.

    you put all these internal arguments so eloquently – yes, ‘that guy? fuck him!’ is eloquent in this case – and i love that you admit you battle it because it’s nice to have company. and i love to read what you write. i know the fah-REEks who email you hateful shit probably outnumber the ‘i enjoy your writing so much’ emails by 12 to 1, because nice, normal people are like that; they read, and go on with life instead of spewing hateful horseshit to total strangers, and i just have to say, now, please don’t stop writing. ever.

    thanks. i love your blog. by BMi, i’m ‘obese’. no one would believe it. keep it up, seriously.

  19. Pingback: From the archives: Kate Harding on cyberbullying as a feminist issue at Hoyden About Town

  20. Pingback: This Promotes Rape : The Curvature

  21. This is the best thing I’ve read all day. You’ve lit a fire with your words. I’ll be linking this until my fingers are nubs.

  22. Pingback: stumble across this, please « mmmm, brains!

  23. I realize this post is like a zillion years old but I just read it, linked through Hoyden about Town. And I want to gay-marry it and have 83,000 of its babies.

    I am going to print this up and give it to like all my bestest guy friends in the world.

  24. Like m.leblanc, I realize this is an old post (I can’t quite remeber random link clicking that led me here), but I just have to say…Well, actually, I have nothing to say. I did this really painful laughing/crying thing and sent it to my husband. We game online, so I completely understand the whole culture of normal guys “joking around” ; it’s all misogynist, racist, homophobic, fatphobic, etc, etc. shit that makes my tummy hurt. And they don’t understand, my hubby and his friends, they just don’t fucking understand WHY these attitudes are not okay. Anything I have to say is immediately discredited because, you know, college is distorting my worldview. All this book learning is enhancing the effect the stranglehold my vagina already has on my sanity. Thank you for articulating what I could not. Can I…can I say I love you? Too creepy, eh? Well, I love this article. And you rock.

  25. Pingback: Rape is Hilarious « Diary of a Fat Teenager

  26. Pingback: The Invisible Abuser — Thoughts on Speaking Out and Knowing « A Secret Chord

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  28. Goddamn, you’re good :-) Wonderfully put together, Kate. I can’t believe I missed this last year! And just think: we’d be missing out on awesome stuff like this if you’d been scared into submissive silence…

    I’m with M.leblanc: fiancee-to-be-in-waiting right here…

  29. Pingback: Do as I say and not as I do « blue milk

  30. Pingback: Femmostroppo Awards for 2007: A Retrospective at Hoyden About Town

  31. Oh, I love this, Kate. Remember it from last year, but so glad to re-read it today, at a point when I’m re-thinking all this stuff. Again. Still. Congrats on the much-deserved Femmostroppo Award!

  32. (Got pointed here by the Hoydens)

    This post is just fantastic! Everything I’ve always wished I could say to guys, but so much more eloquent!

  33. I do not dare to blog with my real name. I do not dare to look as beautiful as I really can look when I leave my house. I have definitely gotten the message that safety equals invisibility. I KNOW all about it being safer not to exist.

    I love improv and started taking it because I wanted to loosen up and be as funny in public as I could be with my friends. I was very worried that it would be a boys club and that the boys would be angry at me for having the audacity to think I could play with them. Turns out that the men in my class completely enjoy and celebrate my humor and call me “brilliant.”

    There are a lot of good men. I LOVE your message to men, really telling them straight up how important it is for THEM to let other men know that the norm in our culture is now treating women respectfully.

  34. Hey, late to the game through the Femmostropo Awards, here.
    This is amazing, and lays out really well something I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to get across to friends, coworkers, brothers…this is good. This is an argument that helps all of us, that’s effective. Thank you.
    Having only perused a few of your pieces, you’re already one of my new favorite writers out there. Blogrolling you, if you don’t mind.

  35. Pingback: Tick-a-box sexual harassment apologism from “Lefty” Tim at Hoyden About Town

  36. Pingback: White Ribbon Day report brings the MRAs and the “What about teh poor MENS” dudes out of the woodwork « Fuck Politeness

  37. Thank you so much for writing this amazing post. I’ve just started out blogging myself and am still struggling with what to write, how much of myself I want to put into my writing, and it’s really getting to me and wrecking my creativity! My first comment ever made me so upset that I didn’t write another post for a week.
    I’m so glad you’ve written this, and I want every guy I know to read it – because my friends are all like this, and they don’t realise it.
    Thanks again. :)

  38. This is SO SO SO well written. I want to memorize the entire thing and use my stern voice to recite it to pretty much everybody in the world. I have delicious-ed this and will come back to read it often. Your style, content, and flow are all miraculous. (I’m kind of jealous). Thank you so much for this post.

  39. You are amazing. Thank you so much for this, you’re not just an asset to the female gender, but to the human race.

  40. THANK YOU for this. Though I am not a woman I’ve been harassed (and seen harassment) for my respective differences, both real and imagined. It’s nice to see someone speak up about it with more courage than I’ve got. Keep fighting the good fight!

  41. A very good essay. Well done. I would only quibble with your inclusion of Michelle Malkin on your list; Malkin didn’t “have anything coming” because she was a woman, but her stalking of the Frost family was of very questionable legality and a gross invasion of their privacy, and her posting of the contact info of four college students was clearly incitement (much like Rush Limbaugh’s potential incitement when he called for riots in Denver in 2008.) She didn’t deserve the publication of her home address in retaliation, but she did deserve to be investigated by a grand jury for both those incidents, and I certainly would have recommended prosecution. Including the name of someone so willing to engage in threatening, potentially criminal activity muddies the point of your otherwise excellent essay.

  42. I was drawn to your point that by being a member of a hate-based conversation leads those who truly do hate to believe that I am somehow agreeing with them. I’ve never been a fan of any hate-speak and growing up in a female dominated household with a female dominated family may have something to do with that. What I do know is this; I’m going to be much more careful with what I allow to be said around me and who I allow myself to be surrounded by. The last thing I want is to perpetuate any type of hatred.

  43. Pingback: International Women’s day: On being the Groke — Hoyden About Town

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  45. This is an old post, but I am just now reading it. Thank you so much.

    I have been writing under my own name for years. I have to admit I have this “code” of things I won’t write about. Because I know I’ll get hated on if I do, and I know I “deserve” it. I have to think about this some more.

    Being married to a smart, loving man who’s not a misogynist, and who calls out sexism etc., I am feeling grateful for having a Good Guy in my life.

    (Thanks also for those who re-posted Mr. Clarke’s article).

  46. This was really great to read. One of my friends recommended your blog to me so I could realize my thin privilege and understand how fatphobia works, and then I started discovering a lot of other posts and.. yeah.

    Anyway, your blog is really, really motivational and this post really made me feel a lot better with regard to the whole internet harassment thing. My parents, friends, everyone pretty much, have always told me I should be more careful on the net (oh, and not have online friends…) and never reveal my real name and never do this and never do that, and while I recognize the validity of those precautions, I do think that this is a social problem which targets women a lot especially — I have to say I feel like the biggest reason these things affect me so much is because I am “just” a girl/woman and I’m not physically strong enough and so the warning that a psycho could stalk me (and rape me..) really does scare me more.

    However, I still don’t use my real name very much online. I used to be more open online with blogging and such but I’m not much of that anymore. (However, I am commenting here, so I’m glad I’m not fully silencing myself..)
    I think this is also something I think about a lot because I also want to someday have the courage to blog about political and social and feminist and personal issues online, yes under my real name too, publicly — and I want to be a published writer someday in other forms too, I want to get paid for that.

    I admire that you’re confronting all of these issues, and how women apparently can’t exist without somehow deserving danger, and creating more awareness about them. Thank you. You’ve really made my day, and I feel more like maybe I’m not fully wrong for having an online presence at all (or, you know, wanting to be able to walk around alone at night, and being angry that I can’t..)

  47. Thank you for this. You are an important voice. I found this site because my friend shared it on her facebook account. I’m going to do the same, in the hope that your words continue to spread.

  48. Very nice…An amazing post really. One I plan on sharing around. Thank you for writing it. And I think you might have more than four readers now. :)

  49. A friend of mine linked this post, and I think it’s wonderful. You, Ms. Harding, are a fantastically empathic writer. I’m a guy who reads other feminist blogs and while they’ve discussed the conflicting messages women deal with from the culture and from themselves, they’ve never actually written about it in such a way that I’ve had a real sense what it might be like.

    Incidentally, I’ve worked hard the last few years to excise the behaviors you list from my brain and I think I’ve managed to clear it out mostly (I’ve probably missed some obscure fine-line stuff, for which I apologize, since what I’ve gotten rid of really seems dickish to me).

    Also, I don’t call Ann Coulter any of those things, though “halfwit demagogue” will probably be the runner up as soon as someone proves to me she is not, in fact, Andy Kaufman.

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  52. followed a link from a friend here and just have to say that you’re a phenominal human being and i’ll be reading more of what you have to say for a long time coming. and i’m gonna tell my friends.

  53. You are under no circumstances to quit whining.

    I read this blog just now and it was like all these arguments I had had with men flashed before my eyes. This bit in particular: “You’re enjoying the luxury of not having to take what we’re telling you seriously–and that’s why we get so goddamned frustrated and angry and hysterical. Because we don’t have the option of not caring about this shit, and you just keep telling us not to. ”

    I do get funny about “us” and “them” rhetoric and the use of an identified “you” in critiques of this nature, and I still tend to believe The Problem is structural, rather then (or as well as) personal, but goddamn, I feel your pain. I am so heartily sick of feeling like not being gender bullied is MY responsibility. Even if it is, in the Eleanor Roosevelt “no one can make you feel inferior (etc)” sense, I still feel that the person who is doing it perhaps deserves a little more censure than I do for having received it. In this sense, I agree with both your argument, and the compelling/extremely real, true, and vital way in which you have written it, as being necessary.

    I write under my own name too. Not about politics, or that often, but it is done underneath my webcomic about gay actors from the 1960s, which I guess is political enough. I am putting a link.

  54. and I still tend to believe The Problem is structural, rather then (or as well as) personal,

    Robyn, this whole post is how misogyny is systemic and culture-wide.

  55. I just broke up with my boyfriend over this article.

    During the course of our arguement he uttered the most telling words I have ever heard come out of his mouth:

    Hopefully my faith in you will be proven right after you realize how ridiculous this is.

    Feminists, I don’t even need to dissect that statement for you to understand how lucky I am to be rid of this guy.

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  59. De-lurking after a couple of weeks of happy reading, and dittoing all the positive comments above. I actually feel like this post could be a great litmus test for the feminist-friendliness of every man I know – and particularly for my current partner… Scary thought.

  60. One: This is brilliant.

    Two: this link: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=1947410 goes to a not-found page. It is linked at these words: Not nearly as many say, “Yeah, wow, good point.”

    Three: Completely and utterly unrelated, but I noticed you have a hit counter displayed. I’ve never understood their purpose to the reader, hence why they are displayed. Is there a purpose?

    Thanks.

    Also, I’ve been reading you at Salon since you’ve been there, but never knew about this ’til I read Kirk vs. Cristina at Pharyngula blog, where a commenter (TRiG_Ireland) linked to this post. Glad he did.

  61. Feel like I’m resurrecting this comment thread from the dead a little… Just wanted to add that I’m in two minds about blogging under my own name.
    On the one hand, I’ve been brought up (with an IT consultant Dad) not to ever release any personal info on the internet ever, no matter what gender you are, because of the manifold possibilities for fraud, identity theft etc.
    On the other hand, I too would like to be a writer, and have wanted to be one ever since I knew where books came from, just about, and I’d like to get my name out there for that.
    On the third hand, I have it lucky. I’ve never had to worry about the minute my name is mentioned people will know I’m a woman. Because I can blog as “Alex C.” and my gender won’t enter into things until half-way through my argument, when the reader will suddenly go… “oh, so it’s a *girl* Alex”… hopefully by which point I’ve made my argument, and they’ve been giving it the same consideration they would an anonymous post. I like to call it Stealth Feminism :D

    That doesn’t address the issue of comments though, and random idiots. Like you, again, though, I have a readership of about 4, so that’s not an issue for me yet either.

    Good luck though. I’m glad it hasn’t stopped you blogging – this is a fabulous article.

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  63. As someone who made the choice to stop blogging under my real name due to an internet stalker that I knew irl a million years ago, pre-internet, I just want to say THANK YOU. Your internal dialog is a carbon copy of mine, but I succumbed to first half. I have kids, I’m really afraid of this guy, and I am not a writer – I’m a student doctor. He has made direct comments on my apparent internet whore-dom, because I can be easily googled, which is a reflection of another interesting cultural shift. Now I can be a slut for sharing my *thoughts and ideas* indiscriminately.

    What really, really sucks is that there are no laws that can keep him from emailing and harassing me to his heart’s content, as he lives in a state that doesn’t have internet stalking laws. If that isn’t a society sanctioned mess, I don’t know what is.

    In any case, again, THANK YOU. You are going on my blog roll. You rock that much. :)

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