Years ago I wrote a song called "I Want It" about being -- ahem-- infatuated on a dance floor. I would perform in spandex costumes, jump into crowds and gyrate. All the while, I loudly and proudly identified as a feminist. That's why Sinaed O'Connor's open letter to Miley Cyrus sent me into a rage. As women, and as artists, we are constantly fed mixed messages, trying to walk the thin, precarious line of giving people what they want while fitting into our prescribed roles as desirable yet consumable women. Be strong but don't be a bitch. Be sexy but not too sexual. I never anticipated Sinead as capable of slut-shaming. But here we are.
In so many of the instances in which the popular press (and the general public) apply the label "trolling," they're referring to sincere statements from people who believe every word they're saying. These alleged "trolls" have myriad intentions that may include getting a rise out of their target, but also include silencing their target, humiliating their target, inspiring fear or emotional distress in their target, etc etc etc. It's not provocation merely for provocation's sake, and the stakes are much higher. We don't need special Internet words for hate speech, harassment, or death threats. These words already exist.