COMMENT: Targeted by a misogynistic blog – Soton student speaks out

I recently tweeted about an article called “5 reasons to date a girl with an eating disorder”.  This article went beyond satire and was grossly offensive, which I expressed in […]

Blogging Feminism Misogyny petition Student Twitter Women

I recently tweeted about an article called “5 reasons to date a girl with an eating disorder”.  This article went beyond satire and was grossly offensive, which I expressed in my tweet.

For people with eating disorders, food doesn’t just mean food – it can be a form of self-punishment, or represent control in a chaotic world. It has a serious debilitating effect on their lives and is not something that should be trivialised or joked about.

Tweet

Apparently a lot of other people tweeted about this too (or according to the writer, ‘brought the hotties to the yard’), so he took it upon himself to whittle down the responses to a final cut of ‘sixteen cute girls’ he deems ‘bangable’; he then invited his readers to ‘pick their favourite’.

Well, lucky me… I made the final cut. A picture I took in the mirror to tweet to a clothing website was chosen to feature on his article along with a quote of my tweet, my full name and Twitter username. One of the girls he had chosen possibly appears to be underage, and I worry what this poor teenage girl is going to think of it all. I felt humiliated, objectified and, quite frankly, sickened by this.

I don’t really want more people looking at this website, but if you want to understand the monstrosity that it is, you only need to take a glimpse at the homepage to understand: articles excusing rape, encouraging the beating of children to prevent homosexuality, and providing insensitive reasons to date a girl who’s survived child abuse, to name a few. Not only is such content demeaning to women and gay people, but it is also sexist towards men; they urge men to regain their masculinity, because apparently a ‘real man’ needs to undermine both other men and women to feel secure.

I regret having had my profile set as public as I naïvely trusted the imbeciles on the internet. I now have to refrain from looking at the ridiculously judgemental and misogynistic comments. But then, there was something else to be worried about: this website naturally receives a lot of attention due to its controversial nature, and the eating disorder article went viral. I was absolutely terrified that my information is going to be used or talked about on other websites.

I have learnt the hard way about the importance of privacy on the internet. I thought that I had nothing to hide on my Twitter account, but didn’t consider what someone might do with my information or images. I am currently working on getting my image removed from their website.

I understand that freedom of speech entitles people to express their opinion, and I respect someone’s right to an opinion, but that does not mean I respect their opinion itself. Does speaking out against his opinion mean I should be belittled and put on a leaderboard for their male readers to pass their derogatory judgements on me? I don’t think so.

But now this has gone further than just the fact that he is using my name and photo on this website. I have been encouraged by some to ignore it. Starving him of the attention he craves might seem like a good response but I am fed up of having people like him – who openly aim to cause offense to others – lap up the positive response from his followers, while the people who disagree just ignore. This website churns out disgustingly disrespectful articles about women and homosexuals on a daily basis, and they seem to be revelling in it. The normalising of these views, or the encouragement of making them seem funny, is what I’m afraid of. This may seem like an insignificant corner of the internet that will blow over soon enough, but actions like these are seen everyday and I can’t just let that pass.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of support I’ve received and if it wasn’t for all of my friends and people expressing sympathy and offering advice, I think I would have just continued to be angered by it all. Thanks to everyone, I feel quite empowered!

There are currently petitions on change.org asking for people to sign for the banning of the article, and the removal of the website as a whole, the primary use of which is to show that what the website stands for isn’t accepted in the eyes of many people.

If you really want to know what it actually means to date someone with an eating disorder, read this guy’s story.

If you have been in a similar situation to Chloe’s, let us know in the comments.