Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Ponderings on Kathy Sierra and women blogging

March 29th, 2007 · 2 Comments · Blogging, Feminism, Social Media

(I’ve been rambling on about this in my head as I travel about town today…I’m publishing the post even though it’s not quite worked out yet and I might not be in tune with my thoughts in order to engage in the comments it inspires either but that might change too.)

There is discussion ongoing about Kathy Sierra and the threats that were made to her, her reaction to them, and other bloggers reactions to them. The links are too many to list – try technorati and prepare to spend hours reading about it all. (And make sure you are feeling ok about reading some fairly disturbing thoughts along the way.)

I think I had only read Kathy’s blog once before in passing, I regularly read Robert Scoble who has taken a week off blogging in solidarity with Kathy and I sometimes read the blog of Maryam, his wife who has also been threatened in the recent events which are now being investigated by police in the USA. I don’t know who did what, why or how. But the issues of women blogging are raised in all of this. However even if one talks about women who blog and how it can be different to be public online, one can get attacked or questioned. So women are silenced again.

I have not fully worked out what I think on all of this but I am thinking about it because something strikes a chord. Recently I received a comment to a post which told me I was truly a reflection of fallen human nature.

That and a few others made me think for a minute and then chuckle and indeed adopt the phrase above as some sort of trophy.

Some people don’t like anonymous blogging, I understand it and indeed appreciate it’s existence for the richness of the subject matter that anonymous bloggers provide. And when one thinks of the the issues people blog about and the exposure that some receive I think we have to see why some people hide. Anonymous commenting is the same – I welcome it – I filter comments but only for spam.

When I walk down the street or go to an area I am unfamiliar with or at a time of day I would rather not be out, I am concious of my gender. I have had cause in the past to experience acts of violence against me because of my gender. I choose to blog and have my name attached to my blog and to also publicly comment as a blogger in the mainstream media. Does this make me fair game for online personal attacks? I have experienced similar in online communities where my persona both virtual and real has been attacked by both men and women – and yes it is something one has to adjust to and find a way of coping with. But should attacks not also be challenged and the gendering of some of these ‘attacks’ pointed out?

There is a gender issue about what Kathy has described and what she is feeling and indeed in what has been written. Other women have been pondering it also. Via Feminist Law Professors I came across this quote from a post by Dr. Violet Socks – which should instead become my trophy…

Every time I read somebody saying that patriarchy doesn’t exist anymore, feminism’s won, etc., etc., I think, try being a feminist blogger for a while. Or if you already are a feminist blogger, wait a bit until the shit finds you. Or try doing online research on anything connected to feminism and find yourself shoulder-deep in a slime pit of woman-hating so toxic it makes you want to weep with fear and despair.

I have not experienced anything in the way of attacks online which Kathy has described. The fact is I think about it and I fear it and it affects how I blog. And I often get immersed in feminist online research and reading that is a slime pit of women hating that is so toxic that it makes me upset and is written by both men and women. That for me is food for thought.



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