It seems as though the first reaction most people have when they disagree with a female blogger is to attack her appearance. Too often have I seen people try to dismiss women with a “You’re ugly!” as though the validity of her opinion is tied to her physical attractiveness. The comments are usually paired with gendered insults like “bitch” or “slut.” It’s problematic when we try to shut women down with these insults, and unfortunately people from all political backgrounds are guilty of this. I’ve written before about how important it is to stop using gendered insults, and to be honest I’m pretty sick of seeing them from people who support my views and think they’re doing me a favor. These words are not inconsequential.
Many times, these comments take an even darker turn. Female bloggers are regularly told to kill themselves and countless others are threatened with violence and rape. These threats go above and beyond personal attacks. While some may argue that these comments aren’t serious, there are several female journalists who have had their home addresses and other personal information published. They are in real danger. Because women have been, as psychotherapist Susie Orbach points out, set up as sexual objects judged and valued for their outward appearance, they’re seen as “fair game” not matter what field they’re in.