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Women fight the trolls

Prominent women online get daily hate from the trolls. But for at least a day on Twitter they fought back.


Lauren Rae Orsini


Posted on Nov 8, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 1:33 am CDT

Sady Doyle decided she was sick of the trolls and haters. So on Monday, the feminist blogger and freelance journalist fought back. She started a Twitter topic, #MenCallMeThings, to share the insults she receives on a daily basis.

“The thing is, name-calling DOES have an impact. It’s a continual message that your voice is not legitimate & using it will only hurt you,” she tweeted.

Clearly, she struck a nerve—not just with feminists, but with men and women alike.

Doyle said she has been called “hypersensitive,” “hysterical,” and a “pathological victim” by her critics. She encouraged fellow feminists to talk openly about their most commonly received insults.

“Threats are scary and all, but we’d have a field day if every woman and anti-sexist person online listed the names they were called,” she tweeted.

The topic went from 0 to 7,000 mentions within a day, according to Topsy and received mentions from notable feminist bloggers Jessica Valenti and Courtney Stanton. It was also publicized by Jill Filipovic, a feminist blogger whom the Daily Dot wrote about last month.

“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to spend a day in the glamorous life of a feminist blogger? Check out #mencallmethings on Twitter,” Filipovic wrote on Feministe.

Women eagerly talked about being called “hambeast,” “unbelievably unattractive,” and “psycho” (among other choice names.)

As the topic grew, it became apparent that it isn’t just women who are receiving insults online. Two subsequent trending topic, #ThreatOfTheDay and #PeopleCallMeThings, acknowledge that the victims are not just women and the bullies are not just men.

“This is not just a women’s movement,” tweeted @AlyssaRosenberg.

All three topics give writers and bloggers a space to share the biting vitriol that makes up their daily email and comments. But out of the three, #MenCallMeThings is by far the most popular, the most violent, and the most upsetting.

“The time for ignoring sexist abusive trolls is over, they need to be named, shamed and ridiculed,” tweeted @samahhadid. 

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*First Published: Nov 8, 2011, 4:57 pm CST