What can happen (but does not mean that it will happen)

  • While this is not the case for all women, negative experiences online can be part of the deal. Just knowing that this might happen, and often does happen to women, can help to not feel alone or singled out in case something happens.
  • Know again that you are not alone no matter which kind of experience you might have. Many studies and articles have now documented that just by being a woman who publishes online the probability to be harassed online is higher than for men. Negative instances online mirror the issues of offline power hierarchies, debates and struggles surrounding gender, motherhood, race and sexuality. It is not your fault; it is part of societal structures.
  • Anticipation, but not fear, is a good strategy that several women have used to be prepared. The subpage “Monetizing the hate” on Dooce provides examples of abuse if you want to familiarize yourself with what has happened to some women bloggers.
  • Be aware that using the words “feminism” or “feminist” on your blog/website means that others who might search for such terms can find you. This can be good and bad. This is not to say that you should not or cannot use such terms. Several studies have shown, including this one, that negative incidents can be higher if you are using these terms. Some women have decided to write about feminism or feminist topics but without using the words themselves. But, the more people write openly as feminists about feminist topics or from a feminist perspective, the more difficult it is for people to harass them all. The good news is: at least in the United Kingdom feminism is becoming “cool” and “fun” among teenage and young adult women activists. Several projects in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany are working to re-associate feminism with a positive image. Choose what you’re comfortable with.