[NSFW, trigger warnings galore. Harassers, be sure to read this at home.]
Today I was worrying: what if people decide to harass me on the Internet and do kind of a terrible job of it? I mean, I know of cases where harassers did an embarrassingly bad job of doxxing and as a consequence sent pizzas to the wrong house. A waste of a good phone call if you ask me.
All the harassment I’ve received so far has been pretty weak stuff, so let me give you some tips for stepping up your harassment game:
Sending packages/food/etc. to my apartment: Probably my address is so easy to find that people will assume it isn’t my address and accidentally use one of my old addresses. Just to confirm, it is the address listed prominently on the Ada Initiative web site. If you send things elsewhere, they will not annoy me.
Protip: Things not to send me:
- Gluten-free pizza: While a gluten-free Paxti’s or zPizza might be tempting because of the ridiculously high price, I am gluten-free and might accept delivery (especially if it’s a Hawaiian, nom nom). Stick with Domino’s or preferably some place that does a thick, gluten-filled crust. Do they still make that cheese-filled crust thing? I haven’t watched TV in a while.
- Silicone or glass sex toys: A box full of dildos, always hilarious, right? But be sure they are some kind of low-grade jelly rubber or that creepy synthetic skin or at least an unattractive color or else I might give them a try. Quick tip: nothing from Good Vibrations, every time I going shopping at their store on Valencia Street they have 100% awesome sex toys. Also you’d be supporting a feminist business.
- Fake bombs: C’mon, I know you’re no Unabomber. That stuff takes work, plus there is so much screening for explosive residue these days. I’m just not going to buy it.
- Stale dog poop: I know it’s much more trouble, but really you need to get the fresh stuff or it’s hardly disgusting at all.
- Edited to add: I almost forgot, live crickets would be awesome!!! but they improved the packaging and now it’s harder for them to escape. Try another live animal from Amazon with poor packaging reviews?
Court documents: Unfortunately, I’ve only got a speeding ticket, a sad report about a mentally ill woman grabbing my ass, and an honestly pretty great police report about the time someone tried to steal my phone and I grabbed him and held on until three people from the jiu-jitsu gym across the street tackled him. You should save yourself some courthouse record fees and skip straight to making something up about me being arrested for prostitution (because you’re all pro-sex worker until it comes time to harass a woman, amiright?).
Embarrassing family skeletons in the closet: Before you get all excited about my father, keep in mind that I want people to know about him [TW: sexual abuse]. Anyway, the Scientologists put in tens of thousands of dollars investigating Keith Henson and you’d probably be better off just emailing them and asking them for their docs. Also, everyone already knows my mother is Carolyn Meinel (yes, the one who trolled the entire hacker community for years before trolling was even a thing). I went to DEFCON 3 with her, for heaven’s sake. You need to find something that isn’t already on my web page about my parents.
Threatening my job: Unfortunately, I am my own boss. Try emailing one of the Ada Initiative sponsors? Although they might take that as a sign that the Ada Initiative is doing important work and make another donation. Hmmmm. Maybe create a Yelp page for my file systems consulting business and leave bad reviews? Endorse me for CSS on LinkedIn?
Rape and death threats: Run spell check! There’s nothing more jarring than reading an otherwise creative and well-written death threat and then seeing “decapetate.” Also, chain-saws are so last year. Remember, Gmail won’t display images by default. P.S. I happen to know one of the members of Nirvana and your bright idea has already been done.
Photoshopping/sexy photos: I’m old enough to appreciate my head photoshopped onto a porn star because, hey, let’s face it, I can’t even pretend my body will ever look that good now. For a long time I had a photo named “val_butt.jpg” on my web site that was of me dressed as Barbarella at a Halloween party (the white outfit with black straps – lemme tell you, those boots were a bitch to make) but I can’t figure out exactly which snapshot it is in in the Internet archive. There’s another one of me in there somewhere as Barbarella at a sci-fi con with my then boyfriend dressed as Angel; we were in pretty good shape! Ah, youth. Unfortunately all my naked photos were taken before digital cameras were really a thing so you’d have to track down one of my ex-boyfriends and ask them to scan them for you. Beware, you might improve my sex life by posting them.
Obscene phone calls: I didn’t want to ruin all your fun so I will let you dig up my phone number myself ([SPOILER ALERT] check the press releases on the Ada Initiative web site). But get the good parts in early because I like to read poetry (Keats by preference) to obscene callers. Or use TTY? I think that’s still cool.
Insults: Shouting at street harassers has given me a fair amount of experience with personal insults, so I can tell you right off what won’t work:
- Lesbian/dyke/etc.: HELLO, it is 2014!! Is this even supposed to be an insult? I guess so, if random dudes on the street in SAN FRANCISCO still shout it at me. I like Gloria Steinem’s response to being asked if she was lesbian: “Not yet.”
- Too manly/not womanly enough: I have a lot of sympathy for people who are insecure about their gender, but it’s not something I’ve ever struggled with. Frankly, I’m trying to destroy gender roles and I even have a really great web page inspired by a gender-swapped photo a friend made for me.
- Slutty/frigid: I get it, I’m a woman, whatever amount of sex I’m having is not the right amount and that is the source of all of my man-hating anger. (Remember: you should be sex-positive right up until you start harassing a woman!) Unfortunately, I am pretty happy with my sex life or lack thereof at any given time so…
- PMS-ing: If you don’t believe this meta-analysis of the research showing that women’s menstrual cycles don’t actually affect their decisions, I regret to inform you I have problems forming endogenous sex hormones and take the same amount of hormones every day. Who needs periods anyway?
- Possession of vagina: Okay, guilty. But I kind of like mine and don’t view it as a major drawback.
Anyway, that’s probably a good start on what not to waste your time on! Remember, be creative or your buddies won’t be impressed!