Long-Form Argument Readings (part 1)

Like several of the others who have posted about Jacqueline Wernimont’s article, “A ‘conversation’ about violence against women online” I also found it a very impressionable piece. Certain things caught my attention, the first being the fact that somehow online violence isn’t “real”. If these are the people who participate in online violence, it makes me question whether or not they take these actions into “real” life, and if not, how does typing words rather than saying them make them any less painful. Allie Nicodemo’s article that Wernimont references discusses women who have turned to social media as a way of reaching out through their difficult experiences, like Mikki Kendall, and end up getting harassed for being brave. This just takes us back to mental illnesses and traumas being stigmatized to the point where people do not feel safe talking about their struggles. I’m completely baffled by the fact that people are so ignorant and arrogant to say that this isn’t “real”. This is very, very real. The fact that Nicodemo herself is getting harassed for writing about online violence towards women proves the point.

The title of the article interestingly says it is a “conversation”, and even Wernimont uses quotations emphasizing a little sarcasm here. Reading the tweets, it is so easy to see how one-sided the “conversation” really is. The responders completely disregard anything that Nicodemo or Wernimont have to say, saying things like, “Maybe it’s not that I’m missing your point. Maybe it’s just that your point is fucking stupid” (Rustbeltexpat 2015), and “nobody cares. other woman your age are already raising their first children. go do something productive” (Pepe 2015). Because raising awareness about a very prominent issue such as online violence towards women isn’t productive, right Mr. @GutenMorgenPepe? I have to wonder how these articles would have been received if they were written by a man…

Lastly, I was interested that Nicodemo chose to put “GamerGate” in the title. I understand Wernimont’s point that she personally wouldn’t have selected that particular incident to put in the title and that the “Center for Solutions to Online Violence do engage on issues in gaming, but the scope of this work is different” (Wernimont 2015). But because she chose to put that in the title, she gained that much more exposure and almost proved her point further. I can understand that it may seem irrelevant, particularly because there is mainly a focus on online violence, rather than gaming, but I think she captured an audience successfully because of it. It is intriguing and invokes strong opinions. In that sense, I don’t mind the fact that she utilizes “GamerGate” to hail a particular audience.

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