Monday, April 30, 2007

Threats To Female Bloggers - Is It Happening With Comics?

Today's Washington Post has a frightening story about threats to female bloggers. Many female bloggers have been a victim of cyber-attacks by readers. This runs the gamut from explosive disagreement to threats of physical violence and rape. That got us thinking, is this at all prevalent for female comics bloggers? To be sure, we have seen the vitriolic attacks that follow the "go back to your woman's studies course you damn feminists" line when ostensibly male posters/bloggers attack a woman for espousing some sort of feminist viewpoint. Although we bemoan those types of attacks, they don't appear to have resulted in actual threats of violence.

That leaves us with 2 questions that we'd really like to see answers to in the comments section.
1) How prevalent are these attacks on women in the blogs you read/post to?

2) Have any of our female readers felt personally threatened by these exchanges?

Please leave a comment on this. We are really interested in your response and want to get a discussion going about this. As is par for the course, feel free to take the topic and run with it. We could complain about the latest issue of Wonder Woman, but that's been done to death of late.

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Blogger Dawn said...

I've never been threatened. The closest might have been some insults on a computer geek board by some newbie but by that time I was a regular and the rest of the guys gave hima good spanking and showed him the door.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

While I've never had a threat made on my blog, I HAVE had people link or copy/paste my stuff onto other sites and attack me. I've had people tell me that I'm just "acting out" because I'm a woman trying to compete in a man's world. I've had people recommend that my husband brush up on Shakespear's Taming of the Shrew. I've had people threaten to come to my store and act out (never did happen). I even had one guy suggest that I have lobsters living in my crotch.

Like I said, they weren't brave enough to post to my blog, so I wasn't really afraid of them doing anything more than internet chest pounding, which is all it turned out to be.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm only a reader of, but not long after it started up, one of their blog columns had to shut off comments because they got swamped with insults. Then the message boards got spammed by people who posted disgusting pictures (like "bathtub girl") and threads with nasty titles. "[name of moderator] YOU WILL BE RAPED" was one I remember. Rumor had it they'd come from 4chan.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

That article doesn't surprise me at all, sadly.

I read a number of "regular" (i.e. non-comics) feminist blogs, and there is a HUGE amount of hostility towards women who speak up about oppression. There are a lot of very angry guys who will say the most appalling things imaginable in order to intimidate and (they hope) silence women.

Most of these feminist bloggers aggressively moderate out the worst of the garbage, but occasionally they'll share with their readers and it can get pretty disturbing. Hostility towards women bloggers is frequently gender-based and/or tinged with sexualized violence, of course. Women who unapologetically speak out against rape/prostitution/pornography (Biting Beaver for example) come in for the worst of it; they have to be very careful to maintain their anonymity.

After seeing what feminist bloggers are subjected to for voicing even mild opinions, I was very nervous about bringing feminism into my comic blog posts (especially since I've got my name posted on the site). It's early days, but so far my fears have failed to materialize, thankfully.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Karen Healey said...

I've had rape threats, hate-fucking threats and threats of non-sexual violence. Curiously, many of them came in emails/comments criticising me for writing about comics because "they're only comics!"

3:38 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Speaking of the WaPo article, Hoydon About Town has a post on the passive-voice victim-blaming approach inherent in that and many other media reports on male violence against women. Unlike reports of murder or robbery, "when it comes to reports of men abusing and oppressing women, the passive voice prevails....The perpetrators of violence are rendered invisible." Instead of "the man raped the woman" we get "the woman was raped" or even "the raped woman" and we end up with victim blaming headlines like "Should Women Be More Responsible?"

It's an eye-opening read. The author points out that "Kathy Sierra was re-abused, over and over, for not “being responsible”. For not filtering her email, for not “taking it like a man”, for daring to be a woman in a man’s world, for using her real name, and above all, for “letting herself” be a victim. Yes, she did it to herself, apparently. The abuser was summarily disappeared, and who fell into his empty subject position? The abused woman, of course."

3:07 PM  
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