Haters gonna hate

I saw this via a Twitter retweet, and I feel like it's one of those things that I'm supposed to be able to relate to (since I am a woman who writes science fiction and all), but I can't, really.

To clarify: I can certainly relate to the joys of being treated like shit by people who want to put me down. That, FYI, is the modus operandi of people who don't like the stories being written about them by journalists. When I was a reporter, I was regularly and consistently accused of being:

1. Too dumb to understand the real story.

2. Too ignorant to understand the real story.

3. On the take by a company's competitors.

4. A puppet of my editors or publisher, who were on the take.

5. An evil person, just generally.

This happened at least once a week. I should note for the record that my stories won awards and all that, so despite being the product of a drooling, corrupt, malevolent idiot, my work held up pretty well.

Were these insults occasionally delivered in a sexist manner? Yes, they were--albeit rarely (the physical threats were rare, too). But once someone has crossed the line so far that they are telling you to your face that you are too stupid to understand anything, suggesting that your gender is to blame is really not much of a stretch. (Just like if someone is so self-absorbed that they hijack a forum with their endless reminiscences of 1969--seriously, you think sexism is to blame? You think that guy knows you're a woman or even realizes you exist? You think he would treat you better if you were a man? No, no, no. Here is an inside look at his thought process: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!!!)

The advantage of being a reporter is that reporters are treated this way all the time. We all get this. It is normal. If it doesn't happen, you start to worry--the saying is that if you're not pissing people off, you're not doing your job. (Likewise if some people don't truly hate your writing, you're probably being too generic and derivative.) There are very few professions where receiving a death threat gets you applause and high-fives from your co-workers. Journalism is one of them.

Why? Because journalists know that haters gonna hate. We don't sit around and say, "Why are people treating me this way?" We know why: Because they're assholes, that's why. The bigger the asshole, the worse they will treat you.

And they are bullies. These are people whose sole pleasure in life--seriously, it's their only form of accomplishment--comes from hurting other people. If they see vulnerability (for example, a long post complaining about how mean people are to women SF writers), they will strike (hence the U SUX BIT^ch!!11! replies--most likely from people who have NEVER, EVER read Ann Aguire's books and have no particular opinions about science fiction or literature in general). That kind of thing is chum in the water to these people, and the more upset you get, the better they feel.

In a nutshell: Don't feed the trolls.