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(http://sugarhill.kinja.com/)
(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/)

NOMADIKAT (HT…

Censored on Jezebel: The Vicious Harassment of Women
Online (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/nomadikat-fightsback-with-the-power-of-information-1576003296)

3,867 g 10 1
Filed to: WOMEN & CENSORSHIP (HTTP://NOMADIKAT.KINJA.COM/TAG/WOMEN--CENSORSHIP

NomadiKat (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/)
(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/)

S

EXPAND

On the weekend of May 10th, 2014, I posted an article
(http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this­girls­got­steel­balls­like­a­medieval­mace/) to
Jezebel's Powder Room interviewing a Russian woman who was the victim of sexual violence while
traveling through Iran and Pakistan. It was immediately attacked by a widespread hate campaign that
spread across Kinja and Twitter, and included a petition boasted by a sensational article composed by
Kinja user Intheweeds. As a result of this brigade, the article "Steel Balls
(http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this­girls­got­steel­balls­like­a­medieval­mace/)" (as it
will be hereby referred to) was removed from the website and I was banned from authorship to Jezebel's
Powder Room. Before it was removed, "Steel Balls" had been picked up and shared by four human
rights websites for appreciation of the message it carried.

This Girl's got Steel Balls like a Medieval Mace
(http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this-girls-got-steel-balls-like-a-medievalmace/)This Girl's got Steel Balls like a Medieval Mace
(http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this-girls-got-steel-balls-like-a-medievalmace/)This Girl's got Steel Balls like a Medieval Mace
(http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this-girls-got-steel-balls-like-a-medieval-mace/)
Read on nomadikat.wordpress.com (http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this-girls-gotsteel-balls-like-a-medieval-mace/)

(http://nomadikat.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/this­girls­got­steel­balls­like­a­
medieval­mace/)
Typically I try to ignore the nay­sayers, because I believe everyone is entitled to their own voice. It is up to
the readers to evaluate all of the information and form their own opinions on the topic at hand. That is,
when the readers are actually reading. This time the situation got way out of hand, and has caused
serious harm to my career and reputation. Realistically, I believe the incident was a symptom of a much
greater threat posed to the entire online community.

S

EXPAND

The first comment I ever received as a blogger was an anonymous threat to have me raped and beheaded
(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/revenge­of­the­booty­call­a­late­night­discussion­1489556371). Now that
my following has increased and I've been published on Jezebel (http://www.jezebel.com/), I've become
the target of vicious online harassment. Death threats, rape threats, accusations of racism &
homophobia, even threats for money both in public and in private. I did research in an attempt to
decipher the source of so much negative attention, only to discover that I'm not alone. Amanda Hess of
the Pacific Standard, an online magazine that studies the science of society, writes:

(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/revenge­of­the­booty­call­a­late­night­discussion­
1489556371)
Revenge of the Booty Call: A Late Night Discussion. (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/revengeof-the-booty-call-a-late-night-discussion-1489556371)Revenge of the Booty Call: A Late
Night Discussion. (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/revenge-of-the-booty-call-a-late-nightdiscussion-1489556371)Revenge of the Booty Call: A Late Night Discuss...
(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/revenge-of-the-booty-call-a-late-night-discussion-1489556371)
Read more (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/revenge-of-the-booty-call-a-late-night-discussion1489556371)

None of this makes me exceptional. It just makes me a woman with an Internet connection.
Here's just a sampling of the noxious online commentary directed at other women in recent
years. To Alyssa Royse (http://www.blogher.com/rape­and­death­and­batman­oh­my), a sex
and relationships blogger..."you are clearly retarded, I hope someone shoots then rapes you."
To Kathy Sierra, a technology writer..."I hope someone slits your throat and cums down your
gob." To Lindy West, a writer at the women's website Jezebel..."I just want to rape her with a
traffic cone." To Rebecca Watson...for blogging about sexism in the skeptic community: "If I
lived in Boston I'd put a bullet in your brain." To Catherine Mayer, a journalist at Time
magazine..."A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT
EXACTLY 10:47 PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING"...Just
appearing as a woman online, it seems, can be enough to inspire abuse (Hess: 2014).

According to Laura Hudson of Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fighting­online­
harassment/), "harassment on the Internet is ubiquitous, particularly for women" (Hudson: 2014).
Perhaps the most famous example of online abuse directed towards women was the case of Anita
Sarkeesian (http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/internet/2012/07/what­online­harassment­looks).
This woman was bombarded by threats and harassment following the launch of her Kickstarter
campaign to raise money for a documentary about female tropes in video games. Helen Lewis of the New
Statesman writes:

(http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fighting­online­harassment/)
Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start | Game|Life | WIRED
(http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fighting-online-harassment/)Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t
Impossible. Here’s Where We Start | Game|Life | WIRED
(http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fighting-online-harassment/)Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t
Impossible. Here’s W... (http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fighting-online-harassment/)
Read on wired.com (http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fighting-online-harassment/)

A big swath of the internet wasn't prepared to live and let live in Sarkeesian's case, and began
spamming her YouTube video comments with a pot­pourri of misogynist, racist and generally
vile abuse. Each one individually was grim; together they constituted harassment (Lewis:
2012).

In my case, I found a hate article composed by Kinja user Intheweeds that was highly disturbing. In the
title, the Russian woman and I are branded for "white supremacy". The article goes on to use
sensationalism to twist my words out of context, claiming that because I call one victim of sexual assault
brave, it automatically means I'm calling other ones cowards. Furthermore, it portrays the article as an
attack on women and people of color; however, if you actually bother to read the article, you will realize
there is absolutely no such material. The claims are false and in direct conflict with the evidence as seen
in the article itself.

Intheweed's post infers that NomadiKat ignores homophobia, which is untrue and as evident in my post
about LGBT rights (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/the­war­on­hugs­1492962588). This begs the question,
how does Intheweeds know that I'm not a part of the LGBT community myself? Intheweeds and other
cyber bullies labeled me with painful accusations of homophobia, sexism, and racism.

The War on Hugs - LGBT in Latin America (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/the-war-on-hugs-

(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/the­war­on­hugs­1492962588)
1492962588)The War on Hugs - LGBT in Latin America (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/thewar-on-hugs-1492962588)The War on Hugs - LGBT in Latin America
(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/the-war-on-hugs-1492962588)
Read more (http://nomadikat.kinja.com/the-war-on-hugs-1492962588)
Some of the criticisms made to my article were absolutely valid, and I made appropriate edits as seen in
the current version of "Steel Balls" on Wordpress. This version is as it was when the article was removed
from Jezebel's Powder Room Saturday afternoon. Yet, I get the sense that a vast majority of users who
hopped on the bandwagon hadn't actually taken the time to read the article. They simply played in on
the sensationalism and rage.

S

EXPAND

The majority of comments that were made were NOT constructive criticism, nor did they even discuss the
material contained within "Steel Balls". They were blatant attacks calling the Russian woman and I
"white", "white supremacist", "colonialist", "racist", and other hateful remarks that featured no sources,
no citations, no value whatsoever. Brittany Spornhaur of The Signal writes,

Reverse racism can be defined as a term that describes the outcome of a group of people that
try to protect a minority group so aggressively that it actually leads to hypocrisy (Spornhauer:
2011).

S

EXPAND

There were quotes going around supposedly written by me that I never wrote. Members of this angry
mob did not bother to check the validity of their information. False quotations can impose
misrepresentation. In response to this fallacy, one Facebook user commented, "the comment sections are
where logic and understanding go to die."
Also, I was accused within the "Steel Balls" comment section (which were removed with the article) of
creating burner accounts in order to give myself praise. The accusation of creating multiple online
identities in order to skew an audience's opinion hints at the accuser's own psychological projection. I
believe everyone is entitled to a voice – one voice – and the practice of creating multiple accounts for the
purpose of flaming others is definitely a practice that should be taken into consideration. Hess refers to
these individuals who do this as "silent 'hunters' who lurk behind the tweeting 'hollerers'" (Hess: 2014).
In her article, "Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet
(http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health­and­behavior/women­arent­welcome­internet­72170/)",
she goes on to explain the impact this behavior has on the women who are targeted.

(http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health­and­behavior/women­arent­welcome­
internet­72170/)
The Next Civil Rights Issue: Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet
(http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet72170/)The Next Civil Rights Issue: Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet
(http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet72170/)The Next Civil Rights Issue: Why Women Aren't W...
(http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet72170/)

Read on psmag.com (http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arentwelcome-internet-72170/)

Women who are harassed online are expected to either get over ourselves or feel flattered in
response to the threats made against us. We have the choice to keep quiet or respond
"gleefully." But no matter how hard we attempt to ignore it, this type of gendered harassment—
and the sheer volume of it—has severe implications for women's status on the Internet. Threats
of rape, death, and stalking can overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time, and
cost us money through legal fees, online protection services, and missed wages...As the Internet
becomes increasingly central to the human experience, the ability of women to live and work
freely online will be shaped, and too often limited, by the technology companies that host these
threats...and the popular commentators who dismiss them (Hess:2014).

According to other community monitors who have reviewed my case, the sheer volume of negative
comments appearing at such a rapid rate should have served as a red flag that something was
unbalanced. This cyber bullying scenario resembled what many moderators refer to as a "brigade", and I
wonder what kind of moderation would allow this kind of abusive online behavior to escalate. In an
article entitled "Cyber­Harassment: What the Internet Community can do to Stop the Trolls"
(http://nomadikat.kinja.com/In%20an%20article%20entitled), Jade Walker of The Huffington Post
proclaims:

Internet providers and Website administrators must be more proactive against threatening
and defamatory speech...Hiring moderators, banning users who abuse others, blocking
anonymous users (Walker: 2013).

S

EXPAND

There is a word for written slander and defamation, and that word is libel. This term is
defined by the dictionary as "a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a
written defamation". Libel, by law, is entirely illegal. Walker of
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade­walker/cyberharassment­what­the­_b_3764868.html)The
Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade­walker/cyberharassment­what­the­
_b_3764868.html)advises:

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade­walker/cyberharassment­what­the­
_b_3764868.html)
Cyber-Harassment: What the Online Community Can Do to Stop the Trolls
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade-walker/cyberharassment-what-the_b_3764868.html)Cyber-Harassment: What the Online Community Can Do to Stop the
Trolls (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade-walker/cyberharassment-what-the_b_3764868.html)Cyber-Harassment: What the Online Community Can...
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade-walker/cyberharassment-what-the-_b_3764868.html)
Read on huffingtonpost.com (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jade-walker/cyberharassment-whatthe-_b_3764868.html)


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