Online Harassment

In the realm of politics, I admit I am very uninformed. And getting information is like trying to read the first 200 pages of Game of Thrones. I have to shovel through a lot of jargon, only to find myself questioning whose side I’m supposed to be on.

Luckily, comedians have taken it upon themselves to make all this information accessible, easy to digest, and hilarious. I’ve been on a John Oliver kick lately, getting my weekly fix of outrage and comedy. This week’s episode of Last Week Tonight was on a topic I have heard about through my studies and, well, through being a woman on the internet. And, unfortunately, it hit a bit hard for both me and Alex this week (though thankfully not because of any immediate personal connection).

As I’ve said, I’ve never been a victim of an attack like this, thankfully. The worst I’ve had to deal with is the toxic noob-shaming in League of Legends, and that was without gender even coming into question. But the fact that it’s something I have to live in fear of is… well, terrifying. And as a writer, I have questioned whether I should make an effort to hide my gender in order to avoid being harassed, or to simply increase my chances of being successful. In my early posts of the 9 to 5 Adventurer Project, I withheld my gender completely. There is no bio for myself on that site. There’s a reason my avatar is a drawing of the character Lucian Squalo (well, two reasons: one is to draw attention away from my gender, the other is because he’s just plain awesome). I’d like to say that my writing should just speak for itself, regardless of my gender, race, age, or anything. And I’m not experienced enough to know whether this is the case, but sadly, I don’t think it is.

I’d like to say that I’ve been lucky to not have to encounter the kind of harassment John Oliver talks about, but in the end, do I really have to consider myself lucky? Shouldn’t I just consider myself normal?

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