Saturday, April 14, 2007

Misogynists in their Hovels

Kathy Sierra was recently noted in the news being subjected to threats, both sexual and death, on her blog. Similar kinds of problems occur on personal sites, where men can know more about women by reading bios and looking at photos then they might in hours of conversation. Since men reading the bio's have a false sense of 'intimacy', and are not dealing with the women directly, they feel free to write all sorts of obscene and lurid comments; these abuses would much less often occur in face to face encounters. Granted women might write a bit racier than normal, although I imagine most a more cautious than usual, men much more often cross the line. Men in their homes, with a false sense of intimacy, feel free to let loose both their rage and their sexual fantasies.

As for dealing with it, creating awareness of the problem might be one part of the solution. More analysis of what kind of, and in what situations, people (men) write in inappropriate ways, along with increased awareness of the problem, as well as social shaming in the media and in public forums, might be another part of the solution. Granted, it will always occur to some degree, but shaming and analyzing the behavior would be the first steps.

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