Warning, there is some serious profanity ahead. It serves a purpose, but if you don't like the repeated use of the word f*ck, please move along.
I've read in a couple of places this morning about the way woman bloggers or presences on the internet seem to attract extreme hatred and threats, especially of a highly sexual nature. It's an extension of the bullying found in school, they are attacking what they think is different, in this case women.
The internet, and computers in general, are seen as male. Girls can't use a computer, and if they do they go and post stupid pictures of their families. They don't do smart stuff on the internet. They don't know how. This is a pretty constant view of women and the world of computers.
I dropped out of college in 1996, and got into computers the same year. I got in at a time when women simply were not thought to be smart enough to use them, much less sell them to corporations like I did. Or repair them, like I did. The studies showing that women are actually better at software then men hadn't come out yet, thus starting to clear a path for women in the field of development.
For years, until 2000 when I finally quit because my doctor informed me that the stress was making me sick, I was the subject of some really astounding "soft sexism". Men would listen to what I had to say and then tell me that was nice and but they wanted to talk to someone who really knew about computers. It would take me 6 months or more to win over a corporation to where they would buy from me (I was commission, so I had to make any sale I could). It sucked, but I did it for years.
When I started really working on the internet I was disappointed to find out that the same mindset had carried over. Men still treated women the same way I had been treated, but on a wider scale. Of course if you tell them the first programers were women they think you are lying.
The anonminity of the internet has opened a new door for these men, now they can say what they really think about these women who are intruding in "their" domain. Thus the threats, usually of sexual violence, against female bloggers and writers of all kinds. If we can't see them, they feel that they can say anything they want about us.
Which makes one wonder, if men feel that they can act this way when they are not "being watched", is this what they are really like? Just machines that want to rape and kill women? Not all, I'm sure, but a lot. These rape fantasies are disturbing, and the fact that they feel the need to verbally act them out on women they are threatened by is even more disturbing.
Men wonder why women are afraid of them? That's why, right there. At some point in her life nearly every woman will be verbally or physically abused in a sexual manner. It's degrading, and a large part of the male population seem to think they can do it. Cat calls? Degrading. Every drunken "hey baby" or grope, yup, degrading. Every comment on a blog about wanting to rape you and slit your throat because you have the nerve to be writing about something considered a male field? You go ahead and guess on that one.
Too many people decide to stay silent on this, and most importantly too many men allow their fellow men get away with this. If a woman is attacked in this manner online most of the time women will start to yell and scream, but we really need other men to stand up and scream too. Sexism isn't going to be fixed by feminists alone, it needs to be fixed by other men who have the balls to stand up to their buddies when their buddies talk about how much they want to fuck a chick till she bleeds. Yeah, it's all harmless fun. Sure it is. How would you like it if we women talked about how we wanted to strap on a 10 inch dildo and fuck your ass until you bled? That cool? Yeah, I didn't think so.
So man up, stand up to your fellow men when they start this kind of behavor. Please? There's really no excuse for it. And then maybe you'll see that us "man haters" don't really hate you, we hate how you act. Treat us like humans, and we won't treat you like you're pond scum.