Happy Book Birthday to Haters!

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Book Birthdays celebrate one year of a book’s life in tweets, reviews, and more. This month we’re saying Happy First Book Birthday to Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online (Potomac Books, 2016) by Bailey Poland. Poland is a writer, feminist, and activist, as well as the creator of the literary journal Leaves and Flowers; she is a regular contributor to numerous print and online journals, including Line Zero. She is the editor of Involution: Stories, Poems, and Essays from the First Two Years of “Line Zero.”

About the book: 

Cybersexism is rampant and can exact an astonishingly high cost. In some cases, the final result is suicide.

Bullying, stalking, and trolling are just the beginning. Extreme examples such as GamerGate get publicized, but otherwise the online abuse of women is largely underreported. Haters combines a history of online sexism with suggestions for solutions.

Using current events and the latest available research into cybersexism, Bailey Poland questions the motivations behind cybersexist activities and explores methods to reduce footprints of Internet misogyny, drawing parallels between online and offline abuse. By exploring the cases of Alyssa Funke, Rehtaeh Parsons, Audrie Pott, Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, and others, and her personal experiences with sexism, Poland develops a compelling method of combating sexism online.

Reviews:

“Those interested in topics of social justice in online communities will find Poland’s work immensely motivating.”—Marian Mays, Library Journal

“It’s a problem that this reviewer was only vaguely aware of. I’m probably not alone, and I hope Hatred will raise awareness and speed a solution.”—Norman West, Portland Book Review

“Those willing to break out a dictionary and spend some time absorbing the invaluable information and perspective Poland provides will find plenty to think about and discuss.”—Stacey Hayman, Booklist Online

“Poland’s text should encourage us to think more critically about the ways in which the internet is full of complex and intricate forms of interaction.”—Cody A. Jackson, Computers and Composition

On the blog:

Author articles and interviews: 

On Twitter: 

A word from the author:

Haters has been out in the world for a year. In that year, I’ve talked with public, academic, and tech-focused audiences on topics from cyberbullying to better approaches to studying online abuse to how technology design enables harassment and what we might do about it. Although the Internet changes in the blink of an eye, the principles in Haters have remained relevant: online harassment is still rooted in and connected to offline beliefs and behaviors. Hate mobs continue to be a problem (they are, arguably, even more overt about their goals and strategies now than when I initially wrote about things like Gamergate). Online harassment and abuse continue to take extreme forms, and to be aimed at those who exist at intersections and at the margins—we continue to have a tendency to only see online violence when its targets are thin white women, and ignore or enable that violence as it affects everyone else.

Despite the continued problems, I have seen increased awareness of an issue that I often heard “wasn’t a real issue” when I began my own work on the subject. More and more of us are aware that online harassment has a significant impact, and are pushing for real, substantive solutions. Things still feel dire, but I still find reasons to hope for a better Internet.