Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Privacy and Responsibility

Posted by honestpoet on March 7, 2007

At another blog (which will remain nameless) some ego-ridden pundit who thinks using his middle initial gives him the moral high ground has decreed that my blog is somehow not valid because I choose to remain anonymous. Just like a religious person (he’s not religious, though he’s just as attached to his own ideas) he can’t accept that someone else’s choice, while different from his, could still be valid.

He reminds me of Tom Cruise dissing Brooke Shields for using antidepressants, looking ridiculous on his high horse (which looks an awful lot like a hobby horse from here — he fancies himself a writer, but I think he’s just a lawyer).

I wasn’t going to write about this, but I began to think I ought to. You see, his lack of understanding my perspective is, I’m afraid, too common. Despite the fact that one of his “authors” recently wrote about her rape, he seems to fail to recognize that things are a bit different for women in this world than they are for men.

I remember in my political science class in college (which I took before the iron curtain came down), my prof was trying to explain to us what “low-grade terror” was like, to help us understand what it was like for people living in the Soviet Union. He made a comparison to what women experience here, with the pervasive violence. We (if we’re smart) are always on the lookout for men hiding, waiting to jump out and grab us. My dad was a cop, and he taught me to check my backseat, to check under the car as I approached, all that sort of thing. He also taught me some tricks his green-beret Vietnam-vet friend had taught him. (I taught them just last night to my daughter, in fact — you know, how to gouge out eyeballs, that sort of thing.)

Men here don’t get what it’s like to live with low-grade terror. So no man is going to make me feel bad for keeping myself and my family safe by blogging anonymously.

I used to blog with my name, but nutty men became attached much more easily, and then I had the additional concern that, with my name, it wouldn’t be too hard to come find me. Not a nice thought, and it became too hard to feel free to speak authentically, to really say what I needed to say, without concern of hurting someone’s feelings.

Yes, I may hurt feelings when I write the way I feel free to do here. But sometimes hurt feelings are necessary for growth. No one ever died by having their faith questioned. But women die at the hands of mentally-ill men every day.

Reading around the blogosphere the other day I came across a young woman’s blog. She had her young, pretty, smiling face right on the front page, and used her name. She was a bit outspoken, like me, not afraid to say it like it is. And here’s the thing. One of her readers was leaving comments about what he wanted to do to her, and it was pretty horrid. (Necrophilia, anyone?) I don’t think she took the threat seriously, but she should have. There have been too many cases now of young women being found by some nutbar who’s formed some sick attachment online, and ending up dead.

It may seem cowardly to write anonymously, and sure, we don’t get the ego strokes of seeing our name up on the screen (I get enough of that, seeing mine in print), but I think more women should take their security more seriously.

And no man has any business decreeing what our choices should be.

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16 Responses to “Privacy and Responsibility”

  1. Monte said

    Ugh. “I know what right is, and you aren’t right unless you do what I say.”
    Thanks for resisting.

  2. skykid said

    Everyone has the right to decide how much information about himself/ herself he would reveal on the net – usually that is not a wise thing to do.

  3. honestpoet said

    Well, I’m becoming quite aware that this guy has about zero wisdom.

    I think he’s bipolar, actually, because before this issue came up he was perfectly cogent. Now he’s not at all, and he’s being harsh with everyone on the thread who doesn’t buy his view down to the last iota.

    I hope he gets help. But I doubt it. He seems too proud to admit he needs it.

    Thanks to both of you for your comments. (Monte, I can’t help but resist…it’s my nature!)

  4. Monte said

    Sounds like he proved you right.

  5. honestpoet said

    Indeed! A recent post, my husband tells me (I haven’t bothered reading at his blog since, and of course removed him from my blogroll, since he’s not the sensible person I thought he was when I added him to it) is about how awful women are. Clearly a misogynist. There are a lot of them out there, I’m afraid.

  6. honjii said

    I’ve also seen blogs where women (and men) include their real names, pictures, as well as other identifying information. The world is a little crazy these days, and when you post something controversial you never know to what lenghts someone might go to silence you. You are wise to protect your privacy.

  7. honestpoet said

    Exactly. I thought so, too. But this guy’s a bit off his rocker. Very strange.

    Thanks, btw, and welcome to my blog. From the looks of yours, we’re kindred spirits. (Don’t you go crazy on me now, too.)

  8. HonestPoet – I found your blog from your wise comments on MouseHouse. 🙂

    The First Amendment includes the right to speak anonymously. I am semi-anonymous and prefer to remain that way. If someone wants to go through the trouble of tracking me down, fine – but I realise that my incomplete anonymity prevents me from blogging fully about some issues that I would like to address.

    I enjoy your blog and your postings. 🙂 I’ve had some pretty brutal things said to me by misogynistic men (perhaps the same one?) – please understand that it’s more indicative of the attacker’s character than yours.

  9. honestpoet said

    Hi, Theobromophile. Thanks for your kind words.

    Re: that last bit, I couldn’t agree more.

  10. You’re welcome. I know that it’s hard not to take it personally, because it is a personal attack and meant as such. Things tend to be a lot more pleasant (and people stick around) when they are reminded that, amidst the one misogynistic jerk, there are many people who appreciate their company, even if only in the virtual world.

  11. honestpoet said

    Well, i certainly do appreciate it, though I think it’d take more than a few misogynistic jerks to run me off. I’m on a mission!

  12. I’m on a mission!

    LOL! 🙂 Sounds like a plan. 🙂

  13. Karey said

    I have to protest! I will not live my live scared due to my sexual parts. I’m sure it is just the stubborness in me, but I don’t care. I walk down dark streets alone, I drive by myself after dark, I even go get mechanic work on my car by myself(eek! that is the scary one!) I just don’t have time to be scared. I’m 31 and have never had an incident, knock on wood, but it is better to live life without fear. How can we change those we fear?

  14. honestpoet said

    Karey, I didn’t say you shouldn’t be free to do what you need to do. But you’d better be smart about it, is all. I certainly drive after dark and all that jazz…I’m just prepared to deal with whatever I need to deal with, and I’m not going to invite trouble by flaunting myself on the internet, which I’m also free to choose not to do.

  15. Monte said

    Indeed: Aren’t we most effective if we pick which fights we fight? Why wear ourselves out on fools?

  16. honestpoet said

    Yes indeed! Being selective about ones battles is key to success in just about any arena, be it parenting or political activism.

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