It’s more than offhand comments on Twitter or raging emails. It’s the systematic way that cruel comments come into my website inbox with every single post. When I posted the recipe for soft pretzels, within moments I received the comment: “I hope you choke on your own pretzels and die, you bitch.” Every day, there is some nasty, vituperative comment on a post, something I skim quickly then delete. It could be comments about my husband (“He’s obviously retarded. Look in his eyes. There’s something wrong.”) about our life on Vashon (“Oh that’s right, everything is perfect on your fucking ISLAND.”), about our food (“That looks like dog vomit. Why does anyone pay you to do this?”), and mostly about me (my weight? my writing? my hair? my mere presence in the world? take your pick). New posts and posts from five years ago — it doesn’t seem to matter.
This happens nearly every day. Just from tonight: “i thought your kid cried all night and thats why you ate so much god damn pie. liar.”
That’s easy enough to rectify. Just hit delete. However, this ridiculousness is not relegated to this space. There are Twitter feeds devoted to mocking my voice and what I care about. There are blogs dedicated to excoriating every post I write by writing a companion post — same amount of paragraphs and sentences — in ugly language. There is a forum created just for those who hate kids and the people who write about their kids online. Apparently, my section is one of the biggest. Every time I have a recipe published in a magazine or a piece written about me, there are a score of vicious comments about me. Every time. There are lots of personal attacks hidden as reviews on Amazon.
I’ve come to terms with this, over the years. Most of the time, when I get a comment or see a link, I delete. I don’t look. I don’t read. It’s all so pathetic and sad. And I don’t put myself through it. Why walk into a room knowing you’re going to get punched as soon as you walk in?
—Shauna James Ahern
Shauna James Ahern is the author of Gluten-Free Girl and the blogger behind Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. You can read the full story of how she deals with negativity in the post, “Warm Brown Rice and Grilled Vegetable Salad.”