Posted inEditor's Pick

Women vs. the Internet Trolls: A Reading List

Emily Perper | Longreads | November 16, 2014 | words

Five stories illustrating the experiences of women who have been harassed online.

Posted inNonfiction, Reading List

Women vs. the Internet Trolls: A Reading List

I am the exception, not the rule; I am lucky. The writing I produce garners little to no (negative) attention. When it does, people usually correct my grammar or spelling. This is okay with me, because it’s constructive. To my knowledge, no one has called me ugly, or stupid, or any number of cruel epithets or slurs. This is privilege; I am lucky. But I am scared to put my name to controversial opinions, or to voice my own opinion at all. My tweets are innocuous quips or retweets of people far more articulate than I am. I hide behind other people’s words.

I scan Roxane Gay’s Twitter feed about once a day; she is one of my favorite writers. I don’t want to miss a thing. I know she must be exhausted from engaging with trolls, but she’s logical and courteous. She says, “God bless you” or “Live in the light,” and she sounds sincere, if not a little weary.

Ginsberg wrote, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by public trials on Twitter; by nasty misogynists who critiqued their appearances rather than their creations; by hurricanes of anonymous cruelty. And I can’t even offer an umbrella.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you probably aren’t a woman on the internet. Fortunately, I’ve collected several pieces that illustrate this experience far better than I ever could.

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