Life As a Woman Online

I don’t go out very often because I deal with severe social anxiety and depression as a result of my time on the Training Floor and repeated injuries – it often seems as though my entire life is dedicated simply to physio, walking the dog, writing, or sleeping – but when I do go out, I like to hit the shops here and talk to the people.  The sheer shock value of saying that I am a social media ambassador for slavery victims and survivors usually breaks any ice that there could conceivably be actually, and its always rewarding to have people ask me about what various organizations I work in tandem with do precisely to combat trafficking and how they can help.

Last week while out for a short walk, I tried very hard not to look at my watch or phone to count the seconds and definitely not to castigate myself for “not being at the switch.”  Sometimes the burden of knowing the black market and the economics behind the enslavement of human beings gets to be a bit much, you see.

I met a nurse out for a cigarette break and we chatted for about ten minutes.  She was bright and inquisitive and very empathic about trafficking, and told me about how she was actually brought out onto an extension of the North American trail in California last year and didn’t realize it.

I think perhaps the most shocking realization behind my work actually for most people is the discovery that within North America many financially strapped women are reduced to becoming camera girls or cam operators.  I am still very much out on the whole camera operator phenomenon; among other things I don’t know the culture well enough yet to really make a logical and compassionate conclusion about it.  Some camera operators for example make money through “legitimate” means such as singing or as make up bloggers, etc, and frankly at this point it is a little tricky to differentiate between an extremely economically disenfranchised artist who uses her cam room to both have an audience while she paints or dances or whatever and exchanges sexual favour for money because she doesn’t want to end up in a homeless shelter from someone who is performing sexual acts for pleasure and financial gain, and certainly very hard to be able to determine either of those scenarios from someone who is actually being physically or financially forced into camera operations/prostitution/trafficking.

It isn’t that great a stretch of the imagination that if men are willing to pay to watch you knit or sew or cook or sing or, in the case of one very clever girl, eat french fries from the collarbones up, but not willing to provide women with a basic equal amount of general respect in the public space and particularly in regards to behaviour like doxxing, that we are simply going to be seeing more and more girls and women in North America being reduced to becoming camera room operators out of sheer desperation because of other people’s motives and agendas.

While that may sound alarmist to those who do not inhabit my mushroomy part of the Dark Web, its actually a very sincere analysis of a rather disheartening situation online which is very prevalent for many strong willed intelligent women. This is not a feminist rant but an objective observation as a woman who is frequently told that she is beautiful and intimidatingly intelligent; while I appreciate the compliments I am not sure that they could ever make up for the kind of emotional and occasionally physically endangering behaviour from disturbed people.

Doxxing is the practice of revealing the physical address of a target, and is sometimes used by particularly noxious trolls.  Doxxing is very much an act of violation and should be considered within the cyberspace/RL matrix to be an act of war, as it physically endangers the victim and puts their families at risk as well simply to assuage someone elses’ grudge.

There are also apparently “tribute pages,” which is the disgusting habit by trolls of uploading the photos of both past and present intimate partner’s photos as well as those pirated from the web at large for the sole purpose of being the target of sexual objectification for masturbation.  There’s really not a whole lot that an individual can do once they discover they’ve been targeted for this kind of horror either, just sort of have a good cry and a cup of strong tea and go for a run.

Periodically I receive both positive and negative fan mail; I imagine that the invisible faeries that dance in the aether actually do me the massive favour of culling the most horrible commentary that I receive – to be honest, “Fan Mail” of any kind actually makes me very uncomfortable….  But in the public space I am essentially being spat in the face every day upon simply booting up my computer by complete strangers who read my writing but can’t seem to get it through their heads that they are kind of the problem when they talk about “THOTS” – basically hot toddlers – and refer to people as “hood rats” and queens and bitches and hoes.

Please, a little decorum would be appreciated.

Aside from the fact that I am simply a human being advocating for disenfranchised people, there is also the fact that — and this really should not even matter as regards how much respect people accord me in public — that I have an education roughly equivalent to a graduate of the Sarbonne and and am a social media ambassador and abolitionist.  The fact that I even have to address this behaviour in this blog post is sort of exactly the problem with the threads of our social structure.

Frequently I encounter the refrain “She’s someone’s mother; she’s someone’s daughter; she’s someone’s sister, have some respect.”

No.  She is someone.

She matters.

She deserves to be heard and seen and given the same degree of respect as anyone else you might interact with that day.

 

 

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