I got my first rape threat as a blogger when I was on Blogspot, so new that I still had the default theme up and hadn’t even added anything to the sidebar. I can’t even remember the pseudonym I was using then, and I probably had about 10 hits on a good day, seven of which were me compulsively loading the page just to make sure it still existed, and the other two of which were probably my friends. I wrote a post about some local political issue or another, expressing my misgivings, and a reader kindly took time out of his day to email me.It gets much, much worse. See here for more stories.
‘You stupid cunt,’ he said, ‘all you need is a good fucking and then you’d be less uptight.’
I stared at it for a couple of minutes, too shocked to move. There it was on my screen, not going away. Someone really had thought it was appropriate not just to write this email to a complete stranger, a totally unknown person, but to send it. I deleted it, and spent another few minutes staring at the blank hole in my inbox where it had been before shaking it off and moving on.
I said once while I was in South Africa that seeing how men behave there made me ashamed of my gender, not least for the fact that then, as now, one thought that floated uncontrollably across my mind was: thank God I'm not a woman. How entitled is that? (See Louis CK for a good take on this.) While that kind of overt, public harassment is much less common here, I can't avoid the conclusion that a sizable swath (though it wouldn't take many with the internet) of American maledom is also composed of awful pricks not worth the powder it would take to blow them to Hades.
Obviously we have a long ways to go to civilize men, or at least keep the disgusting, vicious cowards stomped down out of sight, and out of women's inboxes. Amanda Marcotte has some ideas how.