When I was a teenage punk rocker, some other feminist women in my circle of friends started getting anonymous harassing phone calls. Among other things, the callers were threatening to come to their homes and rape them. Once I found out that the perpetrators were 2 guys that I knew, we had words. Their whole attitude was, “We think it’s funny, and those girls are bitches anyway.”
They were not deterred by my disappointment in them, and since I had the audacity to speak up, I started to get harassed also. Harassing phone calls at all hours of the night, threats of violence, my parents’ house was vandalized a few times, and this went on for a couple of years. After a break, they even started up again as soon as they heard my father had died, because what’s more fun than kicking a girl when she’s already been downed by intense grief?
The most disappointing part of it all was that “my scene” did nothing about it. The dominant attitude I encountered was, “Well, they didn’t do anything to me, so why would I give a fuck what they do to you?” Women who I’d looked up to and been proud to call my friend kept partying with these guys. People who were the first to run out to protest sexism, racism, imperialism, etc. were perfectly willing to let bullying of women continue in their own scene.
Because of that experience, a big part of me gave up on punk rock, and more importantly, on friendships. Not all friendships – I wasn’t left completely alone to fend for myself – but to say I was disillusioned would be a tremendous understatement.
The reason I’m thinking about this today is because it’s happening online right now to women in the comic book industry. I mean, the harassment is not new, but at the moment, people are banding together to fight back on behalf of the targeted women, and it’s fucking awesome. Not just women, but men are also joining the fight against one particularly egregious prick, and considering my past experience, it makes me so happy to see.
There are many men and women working together on this, and everyone has my thanks. This is how it’s supposed to work! I was not one of the targets, and I don’t spend a huge amount of time on Twitter, and I’m not sure how long it was going on before I became aware. As far as I’ve seen, Ron Marz was the first person to really go after this guy. Mark Millar brought it to the Millarworld forums yesterday, and it’s really taken off from there. Take a look! http://forums.millarworld.tv/index.php?/topic/101484-female-pros-getting-sexual-threats-on-twitter/
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