The Misogyny Tax

[Content Note: Misogyny; fat hatred; harassment.]

I've spoken before about the misogyny tax—the personal cost to being a woman in the public eye (or any sphere); the cost to one's emotional resources to be expected to weather all manner of misogyny just in order to compete with men on a professional (or other) level.

This cost is something that gets casually elided in conversations about online harassment. Yes, it's terrible that women go through these things, and, sure, social media sites have to do better in taking seriously harassment against women.

But the emotional cost. No one must talk about the emotional cost, lest women (especially feminist women!) convey anything but strength, anything but a veneer of imperviousness to the very harm caused by the hatred we're trying to explain is harmful.

Which is only one thing we don't talk about. We don't talk about the time it costs us, either.

In the best case scenario, women are given resources to report harm only after it has happened to us. There is no emphasis on prevention. No investment in stopping abuse before it reaches its target.

This morning, like many mornings, I started my day by retweeting, as pushback against both abuse and the admonishments to be silent about it, an abusive tweet I'd received overnight:

screen cap of a tweet authored by Charles Doggart aka @BossChiliDog, reading: '@shakestweetz Liss is fat, ugly, and stupid. Trifecta! #dieinafire #fuckyoubitch #stupidcunt'

And then, like many mornings, I spent my time filling out an abuse report to send to Twitter. Because I can block dipshits all day long and not have to see their abusive garbage, but that just means they'll go after someone else. So I take the time to make a report.

When there was someone who was creating a new account every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to harass me and other women, for months and in some cases years, I spent a ridiculous amount of time blocking and reporting, only to have Twitter send me generic responses about their investigation. It literally took years—and, finally, Imani Gandy publicly shaming them as loudly as possible—before they actually took meaningful action.

The opportunity to report abuse is necessary, but it's also the most basic first step. Especially when people who are reported can simply set up a new account to continue to same abusive behavior. There has to be some emphasis on prevention.

Not only because by the time I have to file a report, it's too late—the harm of an abusive attack has already been done—but because I am tired of a constant tax on my time. On women's time.

What could have been accomplished in the last year alone with the collective energy women instead spent filling out abuse reports on social media?

If men online don't want that to be precisely the point, they have to get engaged with prevention and accountability.

Spend some of your time, to give me back some of mine.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus