How to be a woman on the internet


IRL  • 

How to be a woman on the internet

It’s a jungle out there, gals

Look, not to sound like a PSA on online safety or one of those overpaid columnists who write about how much they hate Instagram-obsessed millennials, but the internet is a truly terrifying place.

Sure, it can be amazing, a hive of quizzes where if you pick a meal BuzzFeed tell you what kind of guy you’ll marry and supportive communities for anyone who’s looking to feel less alone, but it can also be a neverending chasm of abuse and anonymous vitriol.

Or at least, it can be if you’re a woman.

Sure, we are just one of many groups singled out for online hate by trolls, but that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant.

Earlier this week, Amelia Tait wrote about how women are forced to be apologetic and “friendlier” when talking online, and plus sized blogger Stephanie Yeboah tweeted about her experience of “existing as a fat woman online”, where she was called “unhealthy” and “obese” before being asked out by a man who explained that, “in porn she’d be known as a BBW.”

There are countless other examples, but obviously as the parameters of what it’s OK to do, say and be as a female get narrower and narrower, and an army of new idiot men inspired by the President of the United States come of age online, being a woman on the internet can be an ugly experience.

So here – a handy guide on how to survive it! Good luck.

Do not use a Snapchat filter

Snapchat filters are cute and make everyone look better and they’re a cool way to celebrate your own appearance while also being tongue in cheek! Because of these enjoyable aspects, they’re universally hated and somehow make you basic and annoying. OK then.

Never indulge in an Instagram boomerang

Guess what? Yes! Correct! Instagram boomerangs, another fun way to share great moments with your friends, automatically render you basic, attention-seeking and annoying. Like, about as annoying as those selfies where you hold the phone in front of your face and reduce the saturation. Oh, like this guy’s!

So you know, probably best to avoid that.

Do not express any pride in your appearance, work, friendships or relationships

Wow, conceited much? Confidence and self-assurance does not exist for women online, just narcissism.

Don’t be fat

OK, let me explain this one carefully, because it’s a lot to wrap your mind around: You might have thought, in the halcyon days before the strangers of the internet dictated your every thought, feeling and action, that why someone was “fat” was nobody’s business but their own – and that they can like it or dislike it as much as they want.


Your weight, particularly if you’re comfortable or confident with it, is now collectively the responsibility of the internet, for people to comment on and judge endlessly. You have the audacity to have a corporeal form? Prepare to hear some opinions, girl.

Don’t be ugly

See: Don’t be fat.

Don’t talk about fashion

It doesn’t matter that every lil’ boy hypebeast in a 50 mile radius stood in line for 72 hours for the latest Supreme drop, liking shopping as a woman is different. It’s, y’know, basic.

Contrary to what your parents always told you, always accept DMs from strangers

In real life, someone you don’t know screaming sexual things at you from a passing van would be strange and upsetting. But on the internet you should accept all sexual comments from strangers as compliments. Not doing so means you’re a stuck up, uptight, bitch who probably needs to get some anyway.

Do not express any emotions whatsoever

Ugh, attention seeking.

Contrary to what your parents always told you, always follow (strangers) back

See: Accepting DMs from sexually aggressive strangers.

Don’t like dogs

Liking dogs is basic.

Don’t like movies

Girls have bad taste in movies.

Don’t like music

Girls have bad taste in music. Girls like basic, internationally successful pop stars who are automatically seen as awful because they’re enjoyed by teenage girls. Girls like untalented, unimpressive singers like Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Don’t like those? OK, well look, don’t even try to pretend you like the classics. Unless you can name five B-sides from Nirvana, The Pixies, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and every influence they’ve ever had, then don’t bother. Everyone knows you’re just pretending to like them for brownie points from actually musically knowledgable men.

Don’t like sports

C’mon. Girls don’t know anything about sports.

See also: Music and movies.

Never claim any knowledge of any topic whatsoever if you don’t know e v e r y  d e t a i l  of that topic

Oh you like The Beatles? Well, actually hun, you can’t name John Lennon’s grandmother’s favorite color and star sign so um, guess you’re not a real fan sweetie. Sorry ’bout it.

Do not wear too much makeup

If you were too much makeup it will appear that you are trying to trick men and they will want to throw cups of water over your natural cat-eye liner or take you swimming to deconstruct your finessed contour. Misleading temptress!

But also like, don’t not wear makeup, c’mon now

Make an effort, yeah?

Do not dress provocatively

It might be OK for some people to pose naked online – if they’re like, leaked on 4Chan and your MCM can masturbate to them without thinking of them as potentially life and career ruining revenge porn – but it’s not OK for you. Don’t do it.

Don’t be in a relationship

Look, nobody here wants to know about your happy, healthy, loving relationship. What, you think you’re too good for the dick pics in your message requests? Wow.

Don’t be single

OK, so you don’t have a boyfriend, but you still don’t wanna reply to the dick pics in your message requests? You really think you somebody, huh.

Do not try to be funny

Girls can’t be funny, duh. Girls can’t be sarcastic, they can’t be dry, they can’t be self-deprecating and they definitely can’t be sassy. There is but one exception to the rule – girls can laugh about jokes made about girls online. What? You don’t find witty, innovative one-liners about making sandwiches and being in the kitchen funny?

Well then you must not have a sense of humor.

Don’t be a feminist

You might have thought feminist meant a person who advocates for equal rights for men and women, but that definition is wrong, because on the internet feminist means “you are cancer.” Nah, I don’t really understand it either.

Do not post selfies

Any girl who posts selfies burns in hell according to the scriptures of the internet.

NB: These rules are subject to change according to the ever-changing whims and expectations of men on the internet and what they decide makes you a basic, ugly, fat, promiscuous human being. Babe accepts no responsibility for – or interest in – fluctuations in the opinions of these people.