Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life











{May 13, 2007}   Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers

An article published by the Washington Post titled “Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers” and written by Ellen Nakashima has made me worry about what’s happening in the blogosphere.

Here go some extracts:

A 2006 University of Maryland study on chat rooms found that female participants received 25 times as many sexually explicit and malicious messages as males. A 2005 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the proportion of Internet users who took part in chats and discussion groups plunged from 28 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2005, entirely because of the exodus of women. The study attributed the trend to “sensitivity to worrisome behavior in chat rooms.”

Sierra, whose recent case has attracted international attention, has suspended blogging. Other women have censored themselves, turned to private forums or closed comments on blogs. Many use gender-neutral pseudonyms. Some just gut it out. But the effect of repeated harassment, bloggers and experts interviewed said, is to make women reluctant to participate online — undercutting the promise of the Internet as an egalitarian forum.

The same way that, throught history, women have been thrown out of the public life and shut in domestic life due to the violence associated to patriarchy, and that being still exacly what happens in many countries all across the world, it seems that some people are trying to make that also a reality in cyberspace, making us go away from the public spaces and hiding in some safe refuges, kind of locking us up in domestic life again. Thankfully the harassers are no more than a bunch of mentally disturbed ones, and most of the people I know, male and female, are strongly against this, but as long as we are responsive to these threats and hide ourselves out of the public life to be safe, we’re gonna have a problem.




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