Preprint Open Access
This article discusses the targeting of women and minorities on the internet, specifically focusing on matters which have arisen within the Digital Humanities community in the Global North. I explore the connection between Milo Yiannopoulos’s key role in GamerGate, the online harassment of female journalists, and the targeted attacks against female academics working in the Digital Humanities. The link between these phenomena is organic, with Yiannopoulos playing a critical role in both attempts to terrorize female-identifying individuals into silence and compliance. The article also elucidates the reasons why an online mob mentality can overrule social boundaries and shows how hatred is directed mostly at individuals who stand at the intersection of several marginalized groups. I explore how the rise of the far right, currently referred to as the alt-right, is directly linked to the type of harassment female academics experience and conclude that despite the internet’s potential as an egalitarian space, the virtual plane is so profoundly tainted by the hetero-patriarchal reality as to allow figures which should have been marginal to take center stage and orchestrate coordinated assaults against what have become easy targets. I conclude that the threats of seemingly fringe individuals cannot be taken lightly in a world in which so many individuals can be manipulated through the smoke and mirrors of the internet.