Brute Reason

A collection of thoughts about psychology, social justice, and anything else I give a shit about.

Topics: feminism / psychology / lgbtq / sex / politics / abortion / health / mental illness / language / depression / sexism / sexual assault / fashion / racism / education / social justice

my actual writing, if you're curious

By the time I had a few thousand followers on Twitter, people began to refer to me as a “public figure.” While mine was a paltry fame compared to literally thousands of cishet white men in the industry, that type of visibility for women is far rarer due to sexism, misogyny, online harassment, the way intellectual labor by women is devalued, and the costs of exposure to women in the field.

I soon realized that calling me a “public figure” had nothing to do with describing my impact on the industry or recognizing my achievements within it. Rather, the term “public figure” is solely ascribed to me as part of justifying abuse, harassment, humiliation, boundary violations and invasion of my privacy by anyone — from journalists to anonymous trolls to professional peers. When I protest journalists using bullying and dishonest tactics to exploit my life and relationships for page views, I’m a “public figure” and thus not allowed any privacy or boundaries, or to defend myself in any way. When my experiences and words are twisted, taken out of context and used against me as attacks; when months of my tweets are dug through to find a scrap of something to attack me with: “well you live your life in public!”

Ironically, people who actively stalk me, industry professionals and members of the media engage in the exact same rhetorical tactics of appealing to my “public figure”-ness to justify their acts. The constant gendered harassment, stalking and boundary violation I receive is considered by many to be the natural exhaust of my visibility. There’s the assumption that the visibility itself is beneficial enough to me to merit the tradeoff of daily abuse, that I “should have known” it would be like that this, or that I have brought it upon myself by being a “drama queen,” “attention whore,” or by writing things that are widely read in the industry (which for white cishet men is termed “having ambition” and “being successful”).

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