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But it can also come from feminists—both in internecine feminist wars, discussed recently by critics such as journalist Michelle Goldberg in The Nation, and in attacks on female dissenters.
(Writer and blogger Susannah Breslin faced a particularly vicious backlash a few years ago after she criticized the then-new trend of “trigger warnings” in feminist media.) And plenty of time, such abuse is directed at men, in male-specific ways that we rarely think of as “gendered”: from questioning someone’s manhood to attacking his “male privilege,” from taunts about penis size to accusations of pedophilia, rape, or pro-rapist sympathies.
The torrent of sometimes violent invective heaped last year at Dr.
(While Hess’s Pacific Standard article drew on that survey to note that “5 percent of women who used the Internet said ‘something happened online’ that led them into ‘physical danger,’” it made no mention of the fact that 3 percent of the men also reported such an experience.)Women and men also had very similar concerns about Internet privacy and security; while more women than men (77 vs.
61 percent) had changed their privacy settings to restrict some people from seeing their activities, women were only marginally more likely to have blocked or unfriended someone in the social media or to have asked someone to remove online information posted about them.
In the political sphere, several conservative male writers and activists have been targeted for rape and death threats, with their phone numbers publicly posted, after producing a documentary critical of the Occupy movement.
Right-wing bloggers involved in the bizarre war with leftist activist Brett Kimberlin that David Weigel recently chronicled in The Daily Beast have faced scary cyber-harassment from some of Kimberlin’s supporters, including graphic fantasies of violent revenge, lurid sexual slurs, and accusations of child pornography.
While the study, conducted by the British think tank Demos, was limited to a fairly small sample of British celebrities, journalists and politicians whose Twitter timelines were tracked over a two-week period, its findings are nonetheless interesting.
On the whole, 2.5 percent of the tweets sent to the men but fewer than 1 percent of those sent to women were classified as abusive.
Lasdun’s stalker, a former creative-writing student whose romantic overtures he had rejected, not only barraged him with abusive messages but emailed his colleagues accusing him of stealing her work, preying on female students, and even setting her up to be raped; she posted similar slanders on websites including and Wikipedia.
But an experience like Lasdun’s gets no political sympathy; indeed, the review in The New Yorker chided him for failing to admit his “crush” on the woman and his role in leading her on.
Reviewing women’s online tribulations in the last month in The Daily Beast, Samantha Allen asks, “Will the Internet ever be safe for women?Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating