Misogyny Gone Viral: A Review of Karla Mantilla’s Gendertrolling

26 Jan

From Feminist Current

The point of gendertrolling is to remind women we are subordinate, so trolls typically don’t go after men, even men who align themselves with outspoken women. Mantilla argues that gendertrolling is a continuation of men’s sexual harassment and abuse of women in other areas of life, carried over to online spaces. She provides fascinating historical data as to how women were kept from speaking publicly and from having their written opinions taken seriously throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The sexual harassment of women writers, of women at work, and of women on the street effectively functions to keep women from writing, out of the workplace, and off the streets — whether this is the intent of the harassers or not. Similarly, gendertrolling functions to silence women’s voices online. However, the effects of gendertrolling aren’t limited to the Internet — this is another important distinguishing feature from generic trolling.

Women also describe feeling watched, never knowing whether someone they meet in real life might be an online harasser. Feminist writer, journalist and (at the time) attorney, Jill Filipovic, describes her reaction to discovering she was the target of an online harassment campaign via a law school message board called AutoAdmit:
“Stuck at home and going swiftly down an online rabbit hole, I spent hours reading posts that extended beyond commenting on my rape-ability into users posting dozens of photos of me, commenting on my body, rating my physical attractiveness, and listing my contact information… people [who] claimed to know me in real life, or said they had at least met me, or seen me, or maybe talked to an ex boyfriend of mine. They had details about what I wore to class and what I said. I felt very suddenly like there wasn’t enough oxygen in the room to fill my lungs.”

The entire book review may be read here.


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