A few months ago, Amelia and I were talking about rape threats against women who write online. It seems like it happens to feminist writers Zerlina Maxwell, Amanda Hess and Jessica Valenti every day. Amelia asked if any readers have threatened to rape or otherwise harm me. The honest truth is that it only happened once — on Twitter a few years ago. The man had zero followers and had only tweeted a handful of times, all of which were incendiary remarks or threats against other liberals. I didn’t suspect he posed a serious threat to my safety, so I just blocked him. Do I even have to say I’m grateful that this was the one and only time some stranger threatened me?
That one incident isn’t the complete picture, though. A better question to ask in order to illustrate the at-times unsavory experience of being a feminist writer online would be about the kinds of inquiries I get on social media or in my inbox. Nearly every single day, a man emails asking me personal information about my sexuality, for an invitation to a sex party, or straight-up propositions me for sex. Keep reading »
I woke up one morning last week to my Twitter in an uproar. That’s reasonably common in my world, as many of the people I follow are marginalized and there’s a lot to be angry about. Turns out that the FBI has seized MyRedbook, a California site where masseuses and escorts could advertise for clients for free, and arrested two people, Eric Omuro and Annmarie Lanoce, in connection to “using the mail and the Internet to facilitate prostitution” as well as money laundering under several aliases.
As of right now it’s not entirely clear if those arrests were the main focus of the sting, or if there will be more upcoming. It’s terrifying to many people close to me, who used MyRedbook to advertise their erotic entertainment services because other options like Eros were too expensive or less trafficked by paying customers. We don’t really know what options sex workers who had profiles up on MyRedbook have to protect themselves from investigation. I’m among them, as I used to advertise on MyRedbook as a professional dominatrix. Keep reading »
I liked Lily Allen’s song “URL Badman” to begin with, but I love it now that there’s commenters up on YouTube screaming “misandry” over the new music video. (Of course plenty of women hate on other women online and I have experienced that firsthand myself. But generally, my experience with trolls — you know, like the time a bunch of them emailed me with answers to my post “18 Sincere Questions I Would Like To Ask Internet Trolls” — they have all been dudes.) Anyway, this song is totally on point, Lily!
This story is so full of WTF, I almost don’t know where to begin. Two 12-year-old girls — their names have been published elsewhere, but as they are minors, I am choosing not to — are accused of stabbing another 12-year-old girl 19 times and then leaving her for dead in a Wisconsin woods. CNN said the victim had to literally “crawl to her own rescue” and was found on the side of a road by two passerbys on bikes, who called the police. The little girl immediately told the police who was responsible for the attack, and the two accused girls were taken into custody. According to police, the two had been planning the attack on their friend/classmate for months, with the intention of killing her, in the hopes of impressing someone called “The Slender Man.”
Yeah. WTF. Keep reading »
Two graduate students at the MIT Media Lab have created a research site that quantifies the emotional content of GIFs, and they hope that one day soon it will enable them to translate Shakespeare into GIF-speak. Travis Rich and Kevin Hu launched GIFGIF on March 3, and it’s a whole lot of fun. It’s so much fun, in fact, that it’s attracted an average 15,000 users per day so far, who are each asked upon visiting the homepage to choose which of two GIFs better expresses a certain emotion. Keep reading »