10/03/2014 08:50 am ET

Why We Need To Fight Online Trolls, Not Just Ignore Them

Dimitri Otis via Getty Images

“Develop a thicker skin.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot over the years (as recently as a few days ago), and for a long time I took it to heart and hoped I would develop the kind of calluses that these people were talking about. I’m a woman who’s had an internet presence for a little more than a decade now. Which means that for the last 10 years I’ve been told that I’m a stupid cunt and that I should do the world a favor and kill myself fairly often, mostly by anonymous strangers. If you’re shocked, you’re likely not a woman. Or maybe you’re not online much, or you’ve never had a controversial opinion in your life; maybe your “corgis eating ice cream cones” Pinterest board is the extent of your ventures into social media, and if so, god bless. Personally, I’ve come to expect online attacks and threats; I’ve dealt with them for so long that they hardly register. I accept them in the same way that I’ve come to accept that smelling piss and garbage is an inescapable part of living in New York, which I also do.

But as it keeps happening, I start to wonder whether the problem is really mine.

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