“Attacks on women’s appearances are not isolated incidents; in fact, they are an all-too-common tactic. Recently, the #FeministsAreUgly hashtag reappeared, part of an occasional campaign to put feminists on the defensive. But feminists who flooded the hashtag with pictures of conventionally attractive and usually gender-conforming people with socially acceptable body types, sent the wrong message, effectively saying, “Feminists are not ugly, look at these hot people!” rather than, “Who the fuck cares what a person looks like when they have a just and humane worldview?” But we do care about how people look in a society that puts endless pressure on women to be young, feminine, symmetrical, light-skinned, thin but shapely, shiny-haired, smooth-legged, clear-skinned, full-lipped, possibly sparkly, totally effervescent, and basically impossible.
Having our appearances picked apart endlessly by strange and uninvited men on the Internet is not a mere nuisance. It’s a form of aggression meant to make us devalue ourselves and subsequently retreat from public visibility. This is not the harmless mischief of trolls. It’s a powerful attack that exploits gendered assumptions about how women should look, while simultaneously undercutting their belief in not taking those assumptions seriously.”