Audience

There’s some usual idiocy in the comments over at the Scene, which they’re trying to handle by making everyone sign in through social media. I don’t think this will curb all abuse, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will cut down on some.

And I was talking about this a little on Twitter, but I wanted to say it here, too, that there’s a gendered dynamic to how women are treated on the internet that is really hard to get at. Sure, there’s been a lot of analysis, but it all just seems to get at portions.

I think the underlying issue is a cultural assumption that women must “earn” attention through availability–usually sexual, but not always. Like, the default is that we don’t pay attention to women. We don’t value their opinions. We don’t find spending time with them just for the sake of spending time with them worthwhile.

So, if women want attention, they have to give us something to make it worth our while to tolerate them.

Since, obviously, I’m not having sex with everyone at Pith, I think the something some of them feel owed is the opportunity to abuse me. Me tolerating the shitty things they say about me is what “earns” me the opportunity to have their attention.

I think this is what’s fundamentally so upsetting to trolls about women’s participation in things. It feels to them unearned because the woman is not paying in some way for the attention doled out to us. So, they will make us pay.

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