#MenCallMeThings reveals what’s inside everyone’s Anti-Feminist Mailbag

As I mentioned this past weekend, recently there’s been some renewed discussion about online misogyny. On both sides of the pond, women bloggers have been speaking out about the sexist abuse they endure–often silently and stoically–for, as Jill says, “the crime of Blogging While Female.”

While commenters can be dicks all over the internet, it’s undeniably true that the hateful vitriol that fills women’s–and especially feminists’–inboxes and comments queues is often of a distinctly misogynist variety. And it’s so constant that it’s impossible to keep writing online if you don’t figure out to deal with it–how to brush it off or ignore it or ridicule it or cope in some other way. How to do anything besides the one thing that the online misogynists want you to do: shut up.

But it shouldn’t be that way. It really shouldn’t. That bears repeating since sexist trolling, harassment, and threats have become so normalized that putting up with such abuse is seen as, in Sady Doyle’s words, “a pre-condition for being a lady who talks about things, or for challenging sexism in any way.” As Jill wrote, “the fact that in order to succeed as a female blogger you need to develop skin like steel is…not ok.”

It’s not ok. And part of fighting it is revealing that it happens. Yesterday, Sady launched the #mencallmethings Twitter hashtag to do just that:

LET US JUST TELL YOU what we put up with, what we’ve been strong enough to endure, and even knowingly court; the given consequences we face for being anti-sexist and/or ladies on the Internet, which we’ve all put up with, without crumbling.

Trigger warning on the whole hashtag, I’d say.

Sharing these stories is important–not only to foster a sense of solidarity and support but also to reveal just how threatened misogynists are by women (and others) who challenge sexism online. That’s why we’ve traditionally showcased some of our favorite misogynist comments in the Anti-Feminist Mailbag. As s.e. smith wrote in a recent post on this topic, “This is a reality, and it doesn’t go away if we don’t talk about it.”

Well, here’s the reality–now let’s talk about it.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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