Valentine’s day is just around the corner and love is in the air. Can you feel it? The air smells sweet, like a hollow, two dollar, white-chocolate heart. I look forward to biting into it with my pointy little teeth.
This time of year, like every time of year, we draw a lot of attention to ourselves at the Skepchick Network for being a fierce and outspoken, lady-run blog. We bring up controversial topics like, vaccine awareness and the need for harassment policies at conventions. We talk about the lack of women in STEM and we organize events like the Science Track at Convergence (a.k.a. SkepchickCon) to encourage more women to get involved in those fields. We have the brazen nerve to discuss things like equality for women and minority groups and the highly controversial topic of simply wanting to be treated like a human both online and away from the keyboard. We say hey, you don’t need a god or even a spirit guide to be a great person and to love this one, precious life you have found yourself in. We think life is worth living and learning about without superstition. We support a science based perspective that helps us make decisions on medicine and social science and economics. We think women are funny and valuable. With hot-button topics like the need for safe abortions (a.k.a. reproductive healthcare for women) and the idea that religion is simply unnecessary, we expect and even welcome vocal criticism from people who disagree with us. It’s one reason why we have a blog with a comment section.
But we have set standards. You have to be able to hold a conversation with us. You have to be able to argue your point rationally. You have to be able stand up to us with intelligence and a quality argument. You have to actually add to the conversations being had instead of derailing or just shouting in SUPERCAPSLOCK teenage angst.
And over the years, what we have noticed is that a few of you simply can not do this. These few resort to harassing us on twitter and other social media, they make fake blogs in an attempt to mock us, they email us death and rape threats or tell us to “kill ourselves” or they produce poorly photoshopped images of us doing things they want us to do. We have become their obsession.
Some of our self-proclaimed “critics” have launched multiple year, ongoing harassment campaigns. These people go so far as to make up complete lies about us and contact our employers and patrons with these lies. We have seen these same people post our home addresses online in an attempt to frighten us and hobble our ability to communicate- or sleep well, or to peacefully exist. And every so often, when the photoshopped photos of us and the rape and death threats don’t get our attention to their liking, this same quality of “critic” takes the route of frustrated-cyber-silencer and we see our blog network start to load slow or in the case of last weekend, it goes offline all together in yet another successful Denial of Service attack.
It happens. We expect it.
The thing is this, we actually have feelings about our relationship with these cyber warriors fighting to maintain the status quo. They have a hard time understanding the issues we bring up and their place in the future seems uncertain. We know they are upset and they disagree with us and they want to be heard. We want them to feel special and acknowledged.
And it’s ok.
So in the spirit of love and understanding in this holiday season we have made a Valentine’s card for our DoS attackers in words that are easy to understand, that will hopefully make our message clear and easy to swallow like that cheap, hollow, white-chocolate heart of yours.
Happy Valentine’s day! Written by Elyse Anders. Layout by me.
This Valentine is also a limited edition print available for pre-order at Skeptical Robot. Proceeds will be used to buy a chalice to drink the blood of our enemies from. Oh and to help us cover server costs so we can indeed stay online.
The official back story:
On February 9, 2014, Skepchick.org was one of three feminist-focused sites hit with a DDoS attack. The network went down for most of the day before getting back online.
When Secular Woman asked Skepchick writers for a comment, Elyse Anders replied:
FUUUUUUUUUCK THOSE GUYS. I got shit to say and you’re a fucking idiot if you think I can be shut up. For real. You are the stupidest mother fucker on earth. Like I’m literally impressed you remember to breathe everyday if you think taking down a few blogs for a couple of days is going to do anything other than prove us right.
“Surly” Amy Davis Roth (lead researcher at the Mad Art Lab) turned her quotation into art. We’ve printed it on 11″ x 17″ posters for you to hang on your wall as inspiration the next time someone tries to keep you down.
One final note. This is a reminder that Skepchick is a network that is run by women but also has a lot of men who are contributors. We are extremely proud of all the content created by everyone here at the Skepchick Network. Last count, we have ~100 contributors producing work on 10 blogs. Even if you somehow manage to silence one of us, more will rise up in our place because social change isn’t one person’s fight. It’s a goal of many, to make a better world.