Sometimes it seems like Twitter and Tumblr are the opposing poles of my Internet existence.
I follow a lot of writers, comedians and other cynically oriented types on Twitter, so my feed is often overflowing with mini-rants, angry questions directed at politicians/corporations, and bile. On the other hand, my Tumblr dashboard is mostly made up of my friends, and other people whose interesting, funny or otherwise positive posts were “reblogged” by one of my friends. My Tumblr dash is often overflowing with philosophy quotes, supportive messages, clever humor and animals being weird/awesome.
It’s not always like that, though. Sometimes an ugly thing that needs to be talked about bubbles up and over to spatter across my Tumblr dashboard.
Lately, that ugly thing has been misogyny.
Because I don’t hang out with dickbag troglodytes and am not a woman myself, I honestly had no idea that so many people still felt so free to express their fear or outright hatred of women online. It’s unnerving and infuriating to see, in 2013, screencaps of posts like “Any other girl gamers out there?” answered by, “shut up, cunt.”
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some, er, “men” — especially frightened, basement-dwelling “men” whose only experience with female sexuality (or female anything, in all probability) has come from the more aggressively demeaning end of the net-porn spectrum — are still terrified by the idea of treating women as equals. After all, what’s 20 years of Internet compared to 100,000 years of subjugation?
But I am.
Because I was raised by a woman who had to take care of my sister and me on her own a lot of the time, while my father was away protecting the nation’s interests. Because I was taught to love music, culture, and history by women who have forgotten more about those subjects than I will ever know. Because I was hired at Creative Loafing by a woman who took a chance on me, gave me encouragement and basically handed me the keys to a career. Because everything in my personal experience has shown me that women are at least as good as men at everything, and that they’re usually better at everything that matters.
Apparently, though, there are still some who feel otherwise; it’s a problem that’s still part of our culture at large. (And if you don’t agree, try this simple experiment: Keep track of how often you insult people in a single week, then count how many of those insults use an element of femininity to imply weakness.) So I have to be somewhat pleased when these discussions pop up in social media, because it means people are talking about it, decrying it, exposing it, pulling open the cellar door and dragging the ugliness into the light.
As uncomfortable as it makes me to see a dickbag troglodyte, I’m always overjoyed to watch a group of women (and sometimes, though not often enough, men) subject one to an absolute digital walloping, which is always what happens. Then we can get back to otters playing with sloths for a little while.
Read more of Scott Harrell at lifeasweblowit.com and follow him on Twitter (if you dare) at twitter.com/harrellscott.