Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post site is among the most prominent of blogs founded by women, said anonymity online has allowed "a lot of those dark prejudices towards women to surface."Like I tell my girls, the Internet is just like a very large city. You have many great and wonderful things out there, but you also have some of the worst things man can think up. Evil lurks there - and you aren't going out there without me being with you. As an adult though, especially women, you are open to the predators regardless of what age you are. Finally, Michelle cuts to the chase.
Joan Walsh, editor in chief of the online magazine Salon, said that since the letters section of her site was automated a year and a half ago, "it's been hard to ignore that the criticisms of women writers are much more brutal and vicious than those about men."
Kathy Sierra, who won a large following by blogging about designing software that makes people happy, became a target of anonymous online attacks that included photos of her with a noose around her neck and a muzzle over her mouth....
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 sad thing is, I've had thousands of messages from women saying, 'You were a role model for me,' " Sierra said in an interview, describing communications she received after suspending her blog. Sierra was the first woman to deliver a keynote speech at a conference on the Linux operating system. Her blog was No. 23 in the Technorati.com Top 100 list of blogs, measured by the number of blogs that linked to her site.
Her Web site, Creating Passionate Users, was about "the most fluffy and nice things," she said. Sierra occasionally got the random "comment troll," she said, but a little over a month ago, the posts became more threatening. Someone typed a comment on her blog about slitting her throat and ejaculating. The noose photo appeared next, on a site that sprang up to harass her. On the site, someone contributed this comment: "the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size."
On yet another Web site came the muzzle photo, which struck her as if she were being smothered. "I dream of Kathy Sierra," read the caption.
"That's when I got pushed over the edge," she said.
In what she intended to be her final blog post last month, she wrote:
"I have cancelled all speaking engagements.
"I am afraid to leave my yard.
"I will never feel the same. I will never be the same."
Some female bloggers say their colleagues just need thicker skin. Columnist Michelle Malkin, who blogs about politics and culture, said she sympathizes with Sierra but has chided the bloggers expressing outrage now. "First, where have y'all been? For several years, the unhinged Internet underworld has been documented here," she wrote, reposting a comment on her site that called for the "torture, rape, murder" of her family.Ladies, what have you seen? Not just hard-nosed types either - even super-women like PalmTreePundit? Most of the blogs on Technorati come from the Feminist Victim, angry women school. I am interested in the sane, non-medicated, normal women out there that think and instead of emote.
Report the serious threats to law enforcement, she urged. And above all: "Keep blogging. Don't cut and run."