The results are interesting, though I must warn you that no statistical significance is implied here, and I'm not going to give you a single mean or standard deviation; just some questions and guesses about what might be going on in this region of the cyberspace. Most of my data comes from reading the comments sections over a period of two days on just a few blogs, and what I say here may have no relevance in any wider sense. Or then again, it may.
What I found was a frequent use of the terms "whore" and "bitch". The term "slut" also appears, though not in any of the quotes I include here. These are all words that describe women who behave against the norms of the society either sexually (whore and slut) or in terms of aggressiveness (bitch), but the way they are used by blog commenters is different:
Who taught these bitches in the White House how to invade and conquer
Of course, these pampered millionare GOP whores threaten to move their teams if the voters don't approve a tax hike to pay for new luxury stadiums
One more time to blogwhore my comparison on Vietnam and Iraq
It's different, because the whores and bitches in these quotes are men, or at least not necessarily women, and the acts of whoring and bitching are defined differently: not as sex-related, but as unprincipled prostitution of ones ideas rather than of ones body and as pure nastiness, respectively. Reading them this way gets more complicated when the topic in the comments also happens to be a woman:
Not only did I get one hour less worth of sleep because of daylight savings or whatever it is last night, I was woken up to the inane blatherings of that worthless whore Cokie Roberts. She said something like ""If Richard Clarke hadn't destroyed Bush's credibility, Bush is actually doing quite well!"
Now she is a Media Whore Emerita and her comments don't have to have any tether to reality,
I can't stand the sanctimonious bitch. She reminds me of the Church Lady from SNL
I find my reading here shifting from the traditional definitions of bitch and whore to the ones that I think the blogoland has adopted. The overall effect is to make me feel that the woman is double-condemned here.
Not all blog comments-sections use whore and bitch in these ways. They can also be used to convey racism, as in this example:
I'll be a good crack 'ho in yo bitchinass blog, honky
What's interesting about this is the way terms denigrating women are used twice as often as terms denigrating race in this short statement, yet the final impact, on me at least, is purely racist. So somehow all these examples take traditionally derogatory female terms and make them into something else.
And now to the really fascinating question: what does this all mean? Is the mainstreaming (if this is mainstreaming) of nasty female epiteths a sign of decreased sexism? If men can be sluts, whores and bitches, too, aren't we all now more equal? Or is the real trend something completely different: the mainstreaming of misogyny under the disguise of this new wider interpretation of the terms?
I truly don't know. What do you think?
A postcript (April 9). This is a reprint of an exchange I had on the comments-section of Eschaton tonight:
I can smell your cunt.
My comment concerning it:
I can smell your cunt.
This I found quite insulting. As if there's nothing worse in this world to be than a woman. Surely you can think of better ways to beat a troll.
Echidne, grow some fucking cultural literacy, would you? Just google the phrase, add it to your netflix cue, and shut your runny hole.