Sexism in Blog Comments
Sexism in Blogging Comments
Last week, Fast Company put out an article online (http://tinyurl.com/5fq6r4) featuring their list of top 20 women in Web 2.0. Sounds promising, right?
The inspirational list featured such web gurus as Google VP Marissa Mayer and Arianna Huffington. Did you know that Flickr and Slideshare were co-founded by women? So far, so good. (Though one obvious problem is that the list is completely American biased. What Indian women would you add to the list?)
The problem began with the online comments. There were so many sexist and outright disgusting comments that it prompted both Fast company and Digg (who re-posted the article) to block several commenters from their site, and to write entire articles about the fiasco.
Saabira Chaudhuri, who wrote the initial article, (an Indian originally, now based in the US), also wrote a response to these comments. (http://tinyurl.com/6kpl56) She raises many questions about online sexism, especially among blog comments (Feministing, who write about this problem often: http://tinyurl.com/qdjj9z). What is it about the web, and especially blogging comments, that brings out so much sexism? Is it the anonymity of online space? Or something deeper about conceptions of women and technology?
Despite the ugliness that Saabira's article elicited, she stresses that writing such articles are incredibly important. Her response included a passage that is very inspirational for us here at FAT, "Because the world can say what they will, women are doing some amazing work on the Web, and they're doing this despite a wide variety of difficulties -- raising funds, being hired and promoted, gaining technical experience, and being taken seriously -- that men just do not have to grapple with. They deserve to be acknowledged for their work, and for their courage." Yay, Saabira!
What do you see as the reasons behind such online ugliness? What can women do about this issue?