Danger Online?

Tara raises a very interesting issue with The insidious danger of danger, confronting the perception/fear of being in danger, being at risk, how it might or might not be more of a problem for women and how those fears translate online. I’m wondering if she’s not being a bit naive in her offline attitude but really, I’m a guy so what do I know about it? I do think her online stand though is admirable and I’m glad she’s starting a discussion on this subject. I’d like to hear my women reader’s opinion on this, here, on your own blogs or in Tara’s comments.

  1. Oh boy. Part of me feels like running away from this subject for so many reasons! Granted, a lot of these reasons are “wrong”, but they are also very complex and very personal, which is an aspect of that issue that Tara seems to brush aside a little too quickly.

    “She is fragile and we have to protect her.”

    Sometimes being perceived as fragile can hurt a woman more than being bullied. Yet I do believe that the best reaction to bullying is direct confrontation without aggression, that is, a confrontation that exposes how it felt to be bullied. Just to remind the bully that there is an actual person in front of him/her. But if you do that, you expose yourself even more, which puts you in an even more fragile position. Damned if you do…

    This being said, the issue of exposing one’s personal life online is fascinating and could/will be the subject of a feature documentary. Stay tuned. ;-)

  2. Oh boy is right. Always a slippery slope this one.

    I must admit that regarding on-line safety, I haven’t thought too much about it from the perspective of being a woman vs. being a man. (Granted, my on-line life is minimal compared to the rest of you!)

    In general, I’m pretty guarded about my personal details that could be used for identity theft. And that is an equal opportunity threat (or at least I think it is…)

    I’m somewhat guarded about my personal information that can be used for marketing purposes. Sometimes I find it’s too big brother, sometimes I don’t care. And I’ll admit that it depends who wants to know.

    Where I think it is important for women to speak up (or not be fragile) is in their opinions and thoughts. Of course, if this leads to on-line threats (or bullying) then it becomes something else, and I think it really is a personal choice on how to react to it.

    The feeling of personal safety is very important and needs to be managed on a person by person basis. My personal philosophy is to be as open to others as possible (and to stand up for my own rights) without crossing my own personal line of feeling too exposed or un-safe. Depends on the issue too. Gotta pick your battles.

  3. Suzanne is right. It’s very much about picking your battles.

    I read a very interesting (and long) blog post about “the barries women face in tech communities”: http://tinyurl.com/2as7v4

    “The poor communication and behavior of even one boorish, ego-driven, elitist, socially inept geek is just simply intolerable for most women. Women generally tend to assume that everyone will be conscious of and annoyed by this behavior. Men tend to assume that everyone will ignore it. This causes problems in offices as well as in online communities, where women will complain about such behavior, and men will issue responses such as “toughen-up”, or “what’s the big deal?”, because this is how they cope with the problem.”

    Found via Darren Barefoot.

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