Oh, man. I get to talk about assholes on the internet. It’s almost my favorite subject. Now Pariser talks a little bit about getting WIRED magazine in the 1990s and how to talked about hackers changing the world and ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS THE MOVIE HACKERS. You may know it from this gif:
or this gif:
Or this one:
(I need to stop because I can do this all day)
This amazing piece of cinematic history may be unknown to some, but that just means that you’re missing out on a wonderful journey into how old movie producers use to think teenagers acted. I do however have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that this isn’t going to be a post about exploring Kate Libby’s (a.k.a. Angelina Jolie) latex sex dream. The good news is that you are in for a treat of a gif set.
I want to talk about trolls online because the article we read in The Guardian spoke to so much home for me. I deal with trolls more than the average person. Not only am I a person with an online presence, but I’m also the admin of several groups on facebook, I manage a chat for at risk teen/you adult writers, but more out there than anything, I’m a woman who streams on Twitch. Now, if you don’t know what Twitch is, hang on to your pants, because I’m gonna tell you. Twitch is an online streaming platform that was once dedicated to gaming. It has since branched out to more creative endeavors, like body painting, costuming, drawing, and more.
Let me introduce to you to a world where because I am a woman and because I play video games on a streaming service predominantly populated by men that means I am more likely to be harassed about my body and how I look. Now for the longest time I didn’t stream with a webcam, mostly because my computer couldn’t handle everything at once, but even then the harassment was bad.
To me trolls, these days, are just people looking to harass someone without consequences. They are there to trigger a reaction and while I am a part of a group that helps newer female streamers learn how to deal with that harassment and we can sait the beast it will always rear it’s ugly head again. Because when a troll doesn’t get the response they wanted they push even harder. I’ve had friends who have been doxxed online countless times, because they won’t respond to a troll in the way the troll wanted. I’ve had a friend who has had someone show up at her house and stalk her at work because she banned someone from her chat. A few others have only had it so bad to the point of being sent anchovies and pineapple pizzas. One even received a new sex toy in the mail every day for two weeks. On top of the doxxing, as a female streamer you are immediately (for most people) added to a category called “titty streamers” with an ideology behind it that a woman can never been good at a game or entertaining to watch, she is only popular because she wears low cut shirts to expose herself and that’s why she makes money. There has been a lot of protest from male users about this, even though it rarely ever happens, if ever. On the other side of that coin a woman can be streaming in a turtleneck and her chat can be full of male users asking her to expose herself and calling her a whore when she refuses.
So, is this an example of ‘deindividuation’ or is it more than that? I think it’s more. I think it started out as that. I also think that it is no longer that. Trolls are actual threats to people now. It’s no longer just one string of numbers attacking another stream of numbers. It is actual things happening to people in real life. Sure receiving a gross pizza doesn’t seem that bad, but you have to remember that means a harasser has that woman’s personal information. No matter how hard you try to keep things personal and off stream, people have a way of finding out about you. It is no longer a system of just yelling insults at each other, but the act of driving hours (in some cases) to destroy someone’s life. No one has been physically hurt yet but the emotional and mental toll that trolling is taking on people (woman) is higher than it ever has been.