Ugly Women Can’t Write Poetry

Or so said Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in 1829. This casual misogyny has not disappeared, just moved from actual editors writing such ideas to commentators and readers spewing vitriol at women writers who speak their mind.  E.J. Graff responds to an an Independent article by Laurie Penny on the ways that women writers on the Internet–especially political writers–are targets for threats of rape and violence. Some of these threats included tracking down home addresses and the writer’s family. Key point from Penny:

An opinion, it seems, is the short skirt of the internet. Having one and flaunting it is somehow asking an amorphous mass of almost-entirely male keyboard-bashers to tell you how they’d like to rape, kill and urinate on you. This week, after a particularly ugly slew of threats, I decided to make just a few of those messages public on Twitter, and the response I received was overwhelming. Many could not believe the hate I received, and many more began to share their own stories of harassment, intimidation and abuse.

I’ve been fortunate in that my blog’s readers are mostly comprised of people I know or friends of people I know. I’m not sure how I would handle such abuse.


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