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August 03, 2008
I am a writer, a woman, an entrepreneur and a film buff. So, when I saw (and really hated) The Dark Knight, I couldn't resist writing a funny little piece about how the Dark Knight can serve as a cautionary tale for common mistakes that entrepreneurs make. I wrote it up (granted, not my best writing,) and left for a day with friends on a nearby island. I came back to death threats, vulgar insults and comments the likes of which I've never seen anywhere. The post was read more than 10,000 times (why can I not get that kind of traffic on my real site?) I shook as I started reading the comments. Then I stopped shaking, it was just surreal, a sick joke. Surely people like this don't really exist.
Here are a few comments that were left on my blog yesterday. There are nearly 200 of them, so I've just included about half a dozen (of the nearly 2 dozen that other readers asked me to remove.)
Get a life you two dollar whore blogger, The Dark Knight doesn't suck,
you suck! Don't ever post another blog or unless you want to get ganged
Who let this woman out of the kitchen?
you are clearly retarded, i hope someone shoots then rapes you
alyssa darling, why don't you make yourself useful and go have a baby
I think a certain "author" needs to go back to playing house before she breaks mommy's computer.
I'm sure you'd have no trouble finding a top flight job in either the
housekeeping or food service industries. And please, change your pad.
if you were my wife i would beat you
This is why women are TOO STUPID to think critically and intelligently about film; AND business for that matter.
Holy vitriol Batman. What have I done?
I'm fascinated by this. Really. I don't even really know where to start in processing the fury - and threats - that i have wrought. I should be shot and raped for not liking Batman? Since I disagree with them, I need to change my pad? Because I don't like Batman I have proven that women are too stupid for film and business.
What was most interesting to me, however, was how it felt to be judged so virulently because of ONE thing that I did - in this case, dislike Batman. How it felt to actually feel in danger - jeesh, these people want me raped and shot just for speaking my mind, being myself. OMG. While i would never compare this one blog post to the generations-deeper segregationist vitriol that threatens people of different religion, skin color and sexual orientation, it was an eye-opener for me. A privileged white woman who has never experienced such violent hatred.
But the larger issue for me is the violent hatred that is clearly just under the surface. Who are these anonymous posters? Men, I'm fairly sure. Are they working at the desk next to you? Are they dating your sister your best friend, your mother, your daughter - you?
Not one comment questioned the business ideas presented. They all, instead, referred to my menstrual cycle and clearly retarded intellect. Of nearly 200 comments, maybe 3 didn't mention my gender.
What does this say? Really, what do you think it says about our society, our men, our ability to discuss ideas, the hope we have to work together. For chrissake, all I did was say I didn't like a movie!
Unsure of how to process all of this, I did a quick Google search for stories about other bloggers who have received similar responses on their blogs. Here's a shocker, the first one I found was a woman, who pissed off a bunch of male tech bloggers.
Kathy Sierra, a prominent technology blogger, is considering never posting on her blog again because of the severity of threats she’s received online.
Sierra has been the target of anonymous death threats for the past several weeks, according to the last post on her blog, Creating Passionate Users. The blog is for people "passionate about the brain and metacognition, most especially — how the brain works and how to exploit it for better learning and memory.”
In her latest post, dated Monday, Sierra included graphic written and photographic threats she has endured, as well as her feelings about the threats. “For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog,” she writes. “But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs … blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers.”
So I started wondering if maybe we women just aren't supposed to be talking about boy stuff, you know, stuff like business, technology and Batman?
What do you think? Is there a freaky vein that I've tapped in to? A larger lesson to be learned? A way to get out of this kind of dialog and into something more constructive?