Book Review by Rachel Dortin
Wayne State University

Critical Discussion of Haters and Future Research

As previously indicated, Poland’s work uniquely reflected on cybersexism’s powerful impact on the female psyche. Haters should serve as a starting point for further conversation that would not only raise awareness of cybersexism’s harmful effects, but also lead to more salient solutions regarding its prevention. Written as a call to action, the book was rooted in personal experience rather than academic research; moving forward, her manifesto should spark academic inquiry regarding cybersexism. The raw and honest examples of online harassment Poland experienced and the content provided by other women may be jarring to some readers, but perhaps this reaction was necessary. By interweaving these examples with related scholarship, future research could help the reader to situate themselves as members of the academy within the social realms Poland presented. Minimal research has explored the nuances of cybersexism; in this regard, then, Poland’s work invited further research and discourse on a pressing social issue. Her work initiated a conversation within both popular and academic digital spaces regarding our responsibility to address and prevent cybersexual assailants.

Poland’s monograph bravely addressed cybersexism completely and intensely. However, she opened with a claim that her inquiry would also explore “the racism, homophobia, and transphobia that often accompany online harassment of women” (p. 16). By no fault of her work, this discussion seemingly lacked throughout the text, which could be attributed to the virulent and convicted ways in which Poland addressed cybersexism. The brief mention of other forms of digital harassment seemed to detract from her initial argument. These asides certainly warranted and allowed for further research and publication, on behalf of both Poland and her audience. Hatred online, as Poland effectively argued, was rampant and largely unmediated. More attention should be paid to the cyberabuse experienced by the aforementioned disenfranchised groups. By including mention of other groups which Poland could not (and should not) feasibly tackle in one book, she provided another starting point for discourse—and, most importantly, action.

Conclusion: Called to action