Help me resolve fear about trying to have a creative career.
May 24, 2014 8:08 AM Subscribe
I am interested in working on a publishing/performing career (think the sort of thing you see on The Moth
). However, I am female. I am aware that all women if they get well known anywhere will immediately attract trolls, stalkers, and potential rapists who will constantly send her death threats at bare minimum. Knowing this kind of thing is guaranteed to happen to me if I try to have a creative career makes me terrified to try.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I keep thinking that I am risking my life to do what I want in public. I am already a crazy magnet person IRL just walking down a street without choosing to make this worse.
I currently keep my online presence on the down low. I avoid social media, I don't publicize my websites and they have low readership, which I am fine with. I make it difficult for anyone to find my e-mail because when I first got online I'd have random people writing me to tell me how fugly I am. That solved the online troll problem, and right now I don't get any shit. I do not like knowing that I am making myself open season for this kind of harassment if my name gets known at all. It's not that I need to be loved by all, but I'd prefer that those who hate me aren't actively trying to track me down IRL so that they can stalk, rape, and kill me because I dared to exist.
I don't think I can do this anonymously/with a pen name, given identifying personal details and the desire to do stage performing. Plus anyone can and will be outed these days, so I should not trust that I could pull off keeping a secret or disguising myself as a man. Plus as far as I can tell, if you want a career in creativity these days you are required to be whoring yourself on social media 24-7, making sure people can contact you and chat with you, and posting pictures of your smiling, obviously female head on everything.
I know the obvious solution to this is "if you don't want rape threats for existing, don't do it." Which is what I keep choosing over and over and over again, but somehow I haven't been able to resolve myself a hundred percent to it. And I know I can get killed just for existing while female at any point in time even if I remain a boring lackey doing boring work until I die. But...I don't know how to resolve this conflict within myself to pick a side and stick to it and either cope with the life-risking consequences or make the inner "I want attention and to do far more interesting work than this" voice to shut the fuck up for good. I've read plenty of blogs about how the creative work is worth the public shit they get, but um...those were all written by men.
What I'm looking for here is:
(1a) if you're female and well known on the Internet/IRL, how much shit are you getting for it? How scared are you to go about your daily life?
(1b) Do you consider the choice you made to be well known in your career worth it? Would you do it again, or would you choose to hide?
And for all genders:
(2) If you do creative work under a pseudonym (not an open one, I'm talking secret fake name), how well does that mitigate or cause problems for you? Have you been found out? Is that actually still feasible these days to do without the general public finding you out?
(3) Is there anything I can do to minimize the amount of hate I will be taking in? Can I still make myself inaccessible to be e-mailed by the general public, for example? Disable commenting on websites? Will some publisher force me to allow public contact? (This is assuming I can't pay someone else to read the abusive e-mails for me.)
(4) How do I resolve this fear? How do I pick a side and stick to it when the cons seem so bad?