Lindy West/jezebel.com

Not a laughing matter

The Feminist Looks Trap

For women who speak out against sexism, online attacks on their appearance often follow in a fast and furious onslaught.

Online intimidation is nothing new. In fact, it could be as old as the internet itself. Its latest iteration: the vicious backlash against Lindy West. Last week, the Jezebel writer participated in a panel on comedy and opined that rape jokes contribute to a culture of misogyny. Her televised appearance lasted only fiive minutes but prompted a torrent of vitriol about her appearance and even comments that West herself "should be raped." In the past, West had been outspoken about male comedians' insensitivity to their female counterparts, citing how comedy is an increasingly hostile environment for females. But most of West's previous arguments came in the form of web articles or dialogues on Twitter—which prompted The Telegraph's Charlotte Lytton to ruminate on the sad fact that women are uniquely open to attacks on their visual appearance. As Lytton points out, the examples are as endless as they are disturbing, and West is just the latest target for online trolls who try to silence women and discredit their opinions by calling them 'fat' or 'ugly'.

Read it at The Telegraph (U.K.)