I tried to leave this comment on the New Statesman blog about abuse women bloggers receive.
But damn it! Something is wrong with the commenting! And it isn't appearing.
Here's the article: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/helen-lewis-hasteley/2011/11/comments-rape-abuse-women
So, will write it here instead:
I think sadly a lot of the comments on this blog prove the blog's point.
It reminds me of discussions on street harassment. Every woman i know has been harassed on the street, yet when it is discussed we are told it isn't that bad, it isn't a gender thing, men get harassed too...but do men regularly have women scream in their faces sexual threats and hate language?
Similarly on blogs. All the male bloggers i know who do get abusive comments say it is nothing compared to the systematic, endless sexually violent abuse that their women peers get.
It IS a gender thing. It simply is. It isn't 'it happens to men too' and it isn't 'it's not THAT bad'. It is about using sexual threats to silence and intimidate women.
I don't have too bad a time of it on my blog although it does happen. i've had threats and sexually aggressive language used against me, but for me the worst are the 'persistents' - the ones who know they're banned but come back over and over again to write nasty abusive messages, apparently taking glee in the fact that i will have to read at least part of it before i realise who it is and hit delete.
The worst i've experienced though is when i have written for unmoderated sites or been quoted in my local paper. In the latter, the abuse ranged from the usual - fat, hairy etc to men saying what they wanted to see happen to me, to eventually people writing abusive things about my family.
In fact, there are names on this comment thread who i have seen engaging in this sexist and abusive behaviour - writing sexually aggressive insults about women bloggers, writing posts abusing other bloggers and, in my own case, speculating about my sexuality and my sex life in a sneering and mocking (and uninformed!!) way, and suggesting i engage in certain sexual practices to 'prove' something.
It is silencing. After the worst bout of very sexualised aggressive comments on my blog i nearly shut it down.
But i didn't and i won't because i have a right to a voice, and they have no right to use their freedom of speech to threaten me with rape.
Hopefully this won't appear 4 times on the NS site and will try and post it there if it starts working...