The Marc Steiner Show

January 15, 2009

The blogosphere can be a very hostile environment for female bloggers, readers and commenters. Marc spoke today with female bloggers and University of Maryland Law School’s Danielle Citron about why so many women are experiencing harassment online-and what can be done to create safe spaces on the net.

Danielle Citron is a professor at the University of Maryland Law School. Her research examines cyber gender harassment and the hostile environment that many women face online. Read her piece Cyber Civil Rights online.

Latoya Peterson is a blogger based out of Silver Spring, Maryland. She is an editor and blogger at Her writing appears in the recently released anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. Read the essay Latoya mentioned on the show, The Not Rape Epidemic, here.

Jill Filipovic blogs at, and has also written for the Huffington Post, Alternet, The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. Her work also appears in Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. I’m a construction union blogger, who is sharply critical of the leaders of my union online, and who in real life is a shop steward in the Carpenters Union, a labor organization with a longtime history of racketeering.

    Oh yeah, I’m an African American man, and an outspoken communist, who supports affirmative action with quotas, and is explicit about that position.

    I back up my words with my name – but there are a LOT of carpenters who are afraid to take the risks I do.

    That’s why we need internet anonymity!

    I’ve had to take the heat in real life for what I say online, and I’ve had to take the heat online as well.

    Early on, I had to GUT UP and learn how to take the heat.

    And these ladies need to do the same.

    The internet is not a place for crybabies!

    And that’s a GOOD THING – people keep it real on the internet, and if you don’t like what they say, SPEAK OUT – criticize them right back, instead of wussing out and hiding in “safe spaces”.

    Don’t be a crybaby!

    The answer to hate speech is more hate speech!

    BTW, let’s see if the moderators on this site have the guts to print this unedited!

  2. Greg, let’s say your daughter was a blogger who wrote about her favorite photographers.

    And suddenly, her blog was flooded with comments like
    “you are hot. I am going to rape you”

    “I am going to hate f&*k this bitch”

    “You sure sound like a nice girl…I hope you will sound as nice when I have you tied up in the back of my truck.”

    What if people started posting her name, address, phone number all over message board on the internet.

    What if someone somehow got ahold of totally innocent pictures of her from her facebook or myspace account and used photoshop to make it look like she was in all kinds of lewd positions?

    What if she started getting phone calls in the middle of the night, with people saying horrible things?

    Is that how you define KEEPING IT REAL?
    Is harassment, threatening to rape someone KEEPING IT REAL?

    Tell me why you think threatening to rape someone on the internet is different than threatening to rape someone anywhere else?
    Tell me how that makes sense.

    Tell me how saying “I have a right to not be threatened with rape and murder” is being a CRY BABY.

    You totally misunderstand what these women are saying and I really doubt you even listened to the show.

  3. Sarah Ann,

    For the record, I don’t have kids, so your example is totally hypothetical.

    But, if I did have a hypothetical kid who was getting hostile posts on her blog, I’d tell her to either put her posts on moderate and delete the offensive ones, or – my preferred response – to respond to the idiotic posters by calling them idiots..

    And if anybody did any overt real life threats, I’d tell her to call the police.

    You do not have a right to control the speech of others – only their overt acts.

    And, in the real world, the vast majority of murder and rape victims suffer those violations at the hands of folks they know very well.

    My hypothetical daughter would be far far far more at risk of rape or murder by a boyfriend or coworker than she ever would by some random knucklehead on the internet (who, in real life, is probably a 15 year old virgin living in his mother’s basement 2,000 miles away).

    Again the answer to speech is more speech, not censorship.

    Oh, and speaking of censorship, I’d like to applaud the moderators for printing my first post – I’m glad you don’t practice censorship!

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