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Yesterday afternoon, men took to Twitter to demean my gender, my degree... and my dad

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The internet, I think, is a wonderful thing – talking to strangers the world over, learning new things, reading exciting stories and looking at pictures of kittens – but it comes with its downfalls.

Those downfalls come in the form of people who think it’s their place to abuse or harass others; Twitter is one of the worst places for this, and not a lot gets done about it, most of the time.

I start my masters soon, a research-based degree in gender studies. I’m excited, and I talk about it a lot - it’s something I’m passionate about. My thesis, I hope, will be about trans* and non-binary gender representation in literature and as such, I’m eager to find books I can discuss in my writing.

I sent out a Tweet, asking if anybody knew any. Most people were helpful and lovely, but as is often the case, some weren’t.

A man asked why it was relevant, used a transphobic slur and then asked where all the trans people are that I feel are under/mis-represented – proving my point, I felt. 




I replied, letting Twitter know it wasn’t even 11am and a man had managed to annoy me already – the plan was then to leave it and not waste my time or my energy.

I was forced to, however, as he had tagged ‘6oodfella’ - who has a bit of a following. Now, I blocked and reported this guy, and so his offending Tweet has since been removed (a win, in my opinion) but it was a screenshot of my Tweet as well as a screen shot of my bio, with “Masters by Research in Gender Studies” underlined in red. So much anger.

Within seconds, I had an influx of notifications… 


 


(I should point out, this was happening amongst the Twitter-storm in which a TV presenter mocked somebody for eating a sandwich AND a croissant for breakfast.)



There was another one (he’s blocked me now) that was particularly odd – something along the lines of ‘How sad for her, how sad her father would be if he had stuck around.’ Must tell my dad, when he gets home from work.

And so on, and so forth. It was interesting to see the Tweets came from men; it was interesting that it was the middle of the day, and that it only took seconds for the harassment to unfold after ‘6oodfella’ posted his original Tweet about me.

I’m studying – and writing about – something that I think needs more attention in the media, in literature, in film and music and magazines. If trans* and non-binary individuals feel under-represented, or mis-represented, then things need to change; if me simply asking for help and recommendations for my studies leads to men from all corners of the globe harassing me then again, things need to change. I’ll leave you with possibly one of the weirdest…

 





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