In 12 years writing on the Internet, I’ve had some brutal, vicious things said about me in comments sections (not here, usually), Twitter, and Facebook. People have ridiculed my writing, they have accused me of destroying once beloved websites, and a guy called me the Jay Leno of the Internet once, and I felt like shit for three days.
After a while, though, it became background noise. It’s just jackasses being jackasses, and I became completely immune to it. I can do that, though, because the insults are just that: Insults. They don’t feel personal or invasive.
Then again, I’ve never seen someone make comments about my weight, how attractive or unattractive I am, the size of my dick, or how badly I need to get laid. No one has ever read something I wrote about Mad Men and said, “You’re so ugly I wouldn’t fuck you with a bag over your head.” And no one has ever threatened to brutally rape and kill me because I called Iron Man 2 a shitty movie.
It’s different for dudes writing on the Internet. Vastly different. I’ve always known that, but the video below profoundly reinforces that message. In it, men are asked to read mean tweets written about female sports reporters to the female sports reporters. It’s not like Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets segment, either, because there are a lot of tweets that just don’t lend themselves to amusing self-deprecation. They’re just mean. There’s also something about hearing them coming out men’s mouths — reluctant though they may be — that’s chilling.
For every woman who has ever written on the Internet: I am profoundly sorry for what you have to put up with to do your job. I don’t know how you do it.