182 Comments
Apr 1·edited Apr 1Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

I'm so sorry this is happening. What's particularly disturbing about this kind of thing is that I bet a lot of the psychos who post this stuff walk around passing as ordinary, well-adjusted, perhaps even kind people in real life. And yet they have all this ugliness and hatred and fear right beneath the surface, and the second they're anonymous...bam.

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author

I think about that all the time! I think people just don't realize there are actual humans on the other side of their hate.

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Apr 1Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

Absolutely. Once, ages ago, I wrote back to someone who wrote a sort of pissy comment on my blog and he was like "Oh my gosh, I didn't expect you to actually respond—and to be so nice about it!" I wanted to be like: Dude. Did you not realize that I am a PERSON writing these words??? Sigh. Fortunately, I think a good 80% of people do get it.

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author

You're totally right. Most people are lovely! It's just that the awful stuff tends to really stick with you.

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Hey, did you hear about that artist/writer/all-around awesome person Aubrey Hirsch? Yeah, she's fucking great! So talented, so pretty. I wish I could write and draw as well as she does. It's a shame that she gets so much vitriol on the Internet. None of that is okay. I wonder what would happen if we posted a positive comment for each terrible comments I know our brains are trained to recognize and remember things, and I know it won't do anything for safety, but maybe it will remind people (the victims, mostly) that what's happening is abnormal, untrue, and a load of crap.

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author

Is it dusty in here??? Thank you!! <3

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So much dust. I'll try to bring dust as often as I can. You deserve it! 💕

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Just wishing there was an enraged button instead of just the like option. Thanks for telling these stories--and reminding us that not everyone has to deal with the shit we do.

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author

Thank you! I really appreciate that.

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Apr 2Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

Such a good point about how we as (fill in the blank on your identity, but for now I’ll say women), in conditioning ourselves by trying to thicken our skin, have developed this minimizing, nervous pseudo-laughter about these threats. It’s like even in the face of real risks, we do what we’ve always done: shrink ourselves. Meanwhile, if a female friend showed you the same threats directed at them, you’d be scared and outraged. I am grateful for your friends and your boyfriend for continuing to help you see the reality of the situation. Sometimes when I do something ballsy online and I get misogyny spewed at me, my husband has to remind me to disengage. My tongue only gets sharper the more I’m poked, but that trait could get me hurt or killed in this climate.

And thank you for not bothering to engage them around your not being Jewish. You are so right; it’s not the point. It also feels like it would symbolically put you one step closer to these fucks (even a baby step), and that feels like it doesn’t align with your values and is too much of a victory to hand them.

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author

Excellent point! Thank you!

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Amy - yep! Minimize ourselves and minimize the threat. Ugh. It disgusts me.

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Apr 1Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

This is awful. I'm so sorry you have to live under this constant threat, this constant hate and vitriol. I don't know what to say other than it's not ok. It's not funny, not fine, not normal, not something to be dismissed as 'just people saying stuff online'. And to say thank you for sharing this, for reminding us all that this is not ok, that none of us have to take this shit silently.

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author

Thank you.

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Apr 1Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

Just wanted to say that I'm sorry this happens to you -- and so many others on the internet. It's not OK, and no one deserves this. I can't make it stop, but you said every kind word and reminder of reality helps, so I figured I better say something. I see you and hear you, and I'm on your side.

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author

Thank you!! It really does help!

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I don't know your comics and this is the first time I read your Substack and that doesn't matter: what you describe here is terrifying and horrible and I can't get over the fact that it keeps happening. I'm very sorry you have to deal with it. That's all. I would hug you if I could. Stay safe.

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author

Thank you. And welcome!

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I'm so sorry you are living in this cloud of fear and hate. I know what it's like, and I had far less open and direct threats than you've had. One of the times I was in the local news for leading a protest outside of Hobby Lobby just after that Supreme Court case was decided, there were really ugly comments on the website, like why I, an unfuckable ugly fat slut shouldn't have any reason to worry about losing birth control access. I was both "unfuckable" and a "slut." As a Planned Parenthood board member running for state legislature, my opponent said I worked for an organization of murderers, in the same district where a PP clinic had been firebombed just a couple of years earlier. I moved to a new address with my kids, in part because our previous one had been too publicly available and easy to find. For the first time in my life, I was scared enough for our safety I had a security system installed. It didn't make me sleep better. I was terrified of someone coming to hurt me and hurting my kids instead. I could no longer go out and enjoy myself without feeling a need to flee every time I saw a man in a long, dark coat enter the room. I had a hateful online stalker for a few years and once I had to tell a venue where I was set to speak that if they couldn't keep him out I wouldn't be attending, because he'd made sure to let me know he planned to be there. Once people lost their minds in 2020 and we had Christian Nationalist / MAGA militias armed and patrolling the streets and harassing people trying to go about their day and the online threats were a near constant reminder of the danger, I packed it all up and took the kids to a new state on the opposite coast. The threats didn't stop, and when Nancy Pelosi's husband was attacked by a hammer welding monster trying to harm her but settling for him, that was it. We left the country and I'm never coming back. The Tech Bros have unleashed a terrible horror into the world, and now they are unleashing and even worse one.

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author

I hate to hear this, but thank you for sharing it. I hope you've found some peace.

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Wow, so messed up on so many levels. We’ve considered moving to another country as well. So far, Scandinavia (mainly Sweden, Norway, Finland or Iceland). I do speak Swedish and spent a couple of years there. Portugal is another solid option (several Portuguese speaking family members) and who could rule out Australia or New Zealand? But, Canada is probably the most realistic option. We’ll see what happens. So how did you do the move? Most countries have a significant list of requirements before they’ll let you stay on a permanent basis.

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I came here on a D7 visa as a fully remote independent contractor, though now I'm disabled, but as long as I get income from outside of Portugal (foreign disability and retirement pensions count), I can still qualify for that visa. (They have a D8 visa here now for digital nomads, too.) My partner also got the D7 as a disabled army veteran with a pension. Many get it as retirees, or those living off investment income. We had to obtain proof of having one year of housing accommodation and travel insurance and that we aren't criminals. That's pretty much it.

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I've written a few times about emigration and settling into life in Portugal on my own Substack, by the way.

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deletedApr 17
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Thank you! Great stuff. Everything we’ve researched about Portugal has been positive. Healthcare is legitimately good…it’s safe and the educational options are decent.

Checks off many of the most important “boxes”.

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Fuuuuuck. All the best to you. I hope you have a therapist handy, too. 💙

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Aubrey, on behalf of my gender, I'd like to offer you a sincere apology. I work with men in my psychotherapy practice and part of the process for many of them is unlearning the good ole boy misogyny we grew up with. Please count me in as another man who has your back.

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author

That sounds like really important work! Thank you for doing it!

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Thank you for writing this and sharing the screen shots. I am going to have my 16yo son read it. He occasionally comes up with some crap about 'feminists' for which his father gives him the smackdown because steam is coming out my ears.

You are amazing. Keep writing.

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author

There's so much of this online!!! I also really worry about how often teens encounter anti-women messaging.

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JFC. Brilliantly written but you make it clear why so many women decide to keep their brilliance to themselves and thus, inadvertently, keep the lie going that only men have value.

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author

Excellent point!

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Apr 1Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

jesus christ. i'm really sorry you have to deal with this. i love what you told that guy at the gym and this post made me want to be a paid subscriber. you're doing meaningful work. stay safe.

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Thank you so much!!

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This is not normal. This is not okay. There’s nothing funny about this.

Also--this is pervasive. Thank you for writing and sharing your experience. Expecting might be one step short of accepting it, but for those of us who aren't subjected to hate in this form also need to be reminded. Don't forget. This is not normal. This is not okay. There's nothing funny about this. Please keep writing so we don't forget, either.

(I'm so sorry that you are subjected to this.)

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author

Thank you! <3

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Apr 2Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

I'm trans and I'll occasionally create a lengthy post about the fascists and their hateful laws and rhetoric. I know without a doubt that I'm not half as courageous (?) as you.

This breaks my heart. Apparently, it needs to be repeatedly broken. Thank you for being your beautiful (and attractive) courageous self.

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author

Haha! And, I'm so sorry. :/

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Apr 2Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

In different ways, we're both breaking one of their foundational rules. All power is their's to disseminate. Fuck that!

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Apr 1Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

I know this stuff happens but it’s crushing to hear someone talk about it happening to them. Why is there such a lack of empathy, especially online? And I have a massive amount of respect for you to deal with this and not back down. I’m just sorry you have to deal with this kind of sad bullshit.

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author

Such a good question. I have no idea! Thanks for the kind words!

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Apr 4Liked by Aubrey Hirsch

It's so rubbish, that the only way to avoid this kind of vitriol is to avoid becoming a public figure in any way shape or form - and that takes away your agency to enjoy the internet and share your thoughts. There's no winning against these kinds of people, except to keep living as good a life as you can, surrounded by as much love as you can.

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