Ugly Violet’s just fine

ugly violet

This week, I face down every SF Chronicle and SF Gate troll that called me a fat ugly skank for having an opinion about sex and scandal last week. Hater, please.

Two am and the comments are already *flying*. In this week’s SF Chronicle column I asked Bombshell Betty in private emails (and she allowed me to quote her) how she deals when women in her retro burlesque striptease classes freak out about not being sexy/skinny/”perfect enough” — along with the BS that all us women face online — and how trolls lose, because we’re just fine and hot and we’re winning. And MSM sites are getting a clue that misogyny makes everyone look like shit.

Feels good to walk by the mirror. Come join me in Ugly Violet: Every girl online is fat, ugly and unsexy. Here’s how to get over it. Snip:

In this space, I have an opinion-driven column where I write frankly and openly about sex. There’s a lot of pressure on this little column; people expect a billion different things and assume all kinds of craziness (like that it’s actually printed on paper somewhere, or that I’m a sex worker). For last week’s column I did an all-too-brief chat about sex scandals and sex culture with Phil Bronstein, and one comment on the video said, “Sorry, but being an unattractive skank is not enough to make you an expert. Watching Violet is like watching the female version of Bill Gates expound on sex — something you just don’t want to see. Or hear (thank God we don’t have smell-o-vision!)”

Like I, or any woman worth her weight in vagina, should give a toss what “viking116,” “toadytenderloins” or “bigdaddyhouston54” say about what we look like, our sexiness, or its relation to what we’re saying. No, that’s why we have friends (and editors, and in my case, agents and publishers). Everyone knows comments like that are from trolls who make any publication they’re associated with look bad, and they should be bitch-slapped from here to … at least the Tenderloin and back. They’re off-topic and thus easy to discount nonetheless, but would political sex and culture commentary from someone who looks like Pamela Anderson actually be taken seriously? Maybe by the editors at Maxim, but honestly, what girl wants the adoration of psychotic anonymous trolls?

I just write and talk about sex. But every woman on the Internet gets called slutty and ugly and fat (to put it lightly) no matter what; all we have to be is female. In dinner conversation, my friend Lori reminded me of the Oscar Wilde quote, “Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you the truth.” I restated it for the Internet, replying, “Give a man a mask, and he’ll slit your throat.” The application here is, “Give a man (or a woman) an anonymous account, and he’ll eviscerate your self-esteem.”

The problem is, with so many women I talk to, the trolling is effective. The number of times I’ve talked down a crying girlfriend after she’s been trolled in her comments about being fat, ugly, skanky, slutty or stupid is higher than I can count (no matter what she writes about). (…read more!)

* Yes, I know I’m walking into a firestorm, but who else will? Join me. It’s a dovetail on my body hate and porn post. PS: yes in the image above that’s a brass knuckle necklace, and my personally assembled San Francisco charm bracelet including mini Transamerica Pyramid, anchor, tiny Golden Gate bridge, bitty cable car and more… Didn’t have a recent pic with me and my .45 handy :)

Update, 5pm: OMG, 800 comments and climbing!?
Update 3.28, see also: Pro-porn pundit Ms. Naughty has an eloquent post up in reaction to this, furthering the conversation in The “Ugly” Conundrum.

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  • RobG

    Keep fighting the fight that needs fighting.

  • Anyone who says Violet is fat and / or ugly is a demented toad.

    So what if she doesn’t look like a plastic Barbie doll – have you SEEN those women on the plastic surgery shows after a few years?

    Give me a real woman any day, one that has beautiful eyes, a big brain, loves s-e-x, and knows how to weld is a 100000000000x better than the sad specimens those people idealize.

    Speed On, Violet!


  • Your tech boy is one lucky bastard. As a former model, isn’t your form and grace a matter of public record? Don’t let the basement dwelling unenlightend get you down.

    Respect and support,


  • Russ

    VB: anyone calling you “ugly” obviously has neither read what you’ve written, seen what you look like, or… developed a working set of brain cells above the stem.

    I mean, come on. Gorgeous eyes, attractive smile, smart, capable of thoughtful commentary, solid critical thinking skills, damn snappy dresser… can we buy a round of this drink for the ROOM?

    Yeah I know dismissing the tripe isn’t easy. So lemme help.

    Tripe —(well-placed foot)—> trashcan

    Yay. Go smile in mirror now. :)

  • I don’t know how you do this for a living Violet. I can’t read 1/4 of the comments you get on the Chron site without wanting to bludgeon those fucktards to death.

  • Lilithe

    Oooo…just read Ms. Naughty’s blog….guess I “lowered myself”. I promise it was unintended! (except for the tee hee part)

  • Lilithe

    I am not one for comments, and now I’ve done two in the last 15 min. – even had to sign up w/ SF Gate 1st! I tend to be too unfocused and busy for such things, but you inspired me!! Keep up the good work…didn’t give the link, just copied my post to the vid here….


    Love to see the “discussion” sex brings up…

    angryyoungman…ever consider our world emphasis on war could do with a dose of free love? They say “women’s” issues aren’t as important either. Hmmm. See the connection?

    To a handful (teehee!) of others, I recommend going back to your Maxim magazines. (Wagnerian, timkai, and *wckjb*? – snm!))

    diggerincolma – sorry you have had such painful experiences, but not everybody has drawn the same conclusions as you in life…in fact, MANY have richly rewarding poly relationships, and even (gasp!) one night stands. BTW…more meanness. Can see why your sex life has been so painful when your beauty focus is so F—ed up.

    AryeMiklBender – just plain bitchy…retract the claws, girlfriend!

    PS I happen to find Violet intelligent, unique and quite stunning!! Love her blog, love to see more and more women doing this work. Funny how there are so few sex advice columns written by MEN (Susie Bright, Nina Hartly, Violet Blue….I could go on)…maybe you boys need to get a clue and listen up….might learn something.

  • el

    you’re post gave me courage to tell my dad
    to accept my now bigger size as opposed to when i had lost weight
    thank you so much

    you’re blog rocks my socks

  • T.B. Ingo

    Ms. Violet,

    When dealing with trolls you must remember they live under the bridges on which the high road travels. And while its tempting to piss on them from above, you only muddy your path and slip down to them. It’s best to keep walking with your chin held high on the pillars of confidence and conviction.

    Please remind your friends of this, and let them know its this confidence in their unique beauty that makes them sexy.

    Love the blog and podcasts. You’re helping the world. Never forget that.


  • Chrystal

    Yes to all of that… But are you a Lancastrian?? What’s with the red rose?? Grr!
    Your Yorkshire Admirer
    Ps- have been making the bf read your column for the past 6 months or so, and we have both benefited greatly. :) The most recent was especially good. <3

  • “Most girls just aren’t prepared for the level of sexual hate they encounter online”

    Ain’t that the bitter truth? Also, even if they *are* prepared for the level of sexual hate that they face online, it’s often different to understand how to deal with it logically than when the hateraid is being dumped all over your head.

    Even the strongest individuals are affected if insults and epitaphs are hurled at them enough.

    I wonder sometimes if these individuals – you know, the ones who have nothing better to do than sit in their basements taking shots at people who obviously have much more fulfilling lives than they do – ever consider the impact that words have on individuals. Feh… of course they don’t because trolling in of it’s self is a new age psychosis. (IMHO.)

    Don’t feed the trolls, yes… but, also don’t take crap from them either.

    Great article, Violet.

  • There are always those who decide to come down “as God would, had he but known all the facts.”

    I don’t think God made a commandment against adultery, instead of fornication, because he didn’t know how to spell “fornicate”. Adultery is a matter of dishonesty, of not honoring a commitment. Fornication? That’s just friendly friction – and gee, God made it enjoyable? Whatever was he thinking?

    I think Bombshell Betty has a fantastic body. Bones are for dogs; men like a little meat. And I’m one of those men who enjoy supersize women, the ones that can’t buy in a Lane Bryant store, but have to shop the Lane Bryant catalog. But skinny women are OK, too, as long as they smile. And if they have great laughs, I’m in love.

    What I’m not in favor of are tattoos. It strikes me as trying to improve the Sistine Chapel by slapping a fresh coat of eggshell Lucite on the ceiling. Do women think they are making themselves more attractive with their tattoos? I wonder if this isn’t another sign of low self-esteem, the same as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

    But I’m getting to be an old man. I suppose I’m just not “with it”.

  • socially clumsy

    Best advice I heard was from a stripper: “Tough skin and warm heart.” Love your writing and I think that you’re really hot.

  • OK, hope you don’t mind posting this. Here’s my blog response to the issue

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • Laura

    I’m new to all this internet posting. Keep on doing what you’re doing. As a mom of two young men I would definitely have them listen to what you’re saying. Open mind and open heart. Good combination in my book. You’ll be the last one standing!

    Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Okay – another long time reader yada yada. XD I’m coming out of the woodwork to not add too much terribly good to the discussion outside of “you go, girl.” :D

    Everything you write makes me think “There might be hope for this Internet thing yet…”

  • When handling as hot (!) a topic as sex, you can bet your ass you are going to see the trolls coming along to spew their hate. Probably tenfold for someone with as passionate and as powerful a voice as you have on the topic.

    Keep rocking and don’t let those little people get you down.

  • We need to have a discussion about why “ugly” is such a dreaded insult. Why women react so strongly to that word and why men are so eager to use it. OK that’s it. I’m gonna have to write a blog post on this.
    Thanks again Violet for your column. It needed to be said.

  • xtina

    anytime, anyone calls anyone a ‘name’…they are most likely “Projecting” how they feel about themselves on to you. that’s argument enough against ridiculous name-callers.

  • Patrick

    Honey, I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now (one year, two years…who knows). You were a babe then and you’re a babe now.

    I stopped worrying about nasty comments a while ago. They bothered me at first, but then I started posting excerpts from some of the more creative ones – and found out that everyone thought they were hilarious (including me, after a while). Many of my blogging friends do the same now.

    There’s only one caveat – if you ever get a comment that’s threatening, don’t ignore it. Get someone involved who can trace it, and report it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of crazies out there.

    Take care…you’ll be fine. Don’t let the assholes get you down!

  • omg — I’m overwhelmed by the praise and compliments here!

    thank you, everyone, so very much. thank you! yay!

    my intention with the column was not to garner praise (no complaints!), but to raise the conversation about trolls, female self-image and sexuality used as a weapon, and have the community discuss what we can to about it. as individuals *and* as a culture — and it’s working. of course, in SF Gate comments I’m being accused of all kinds of things, like whining, or letting the trolls “get” to me, which isn’t true, nor the point. (and I expected those comments, btw.) but I think the most interesting bit so far, that’s gone less commented on — in the literally dozens of emails in my inbox about this column right now — there’s one from a guy who moderates a gardening forum. he writes in detail about how responsibility ultimately falls to public websites for being held accountable for troll behavior. analogy: scream “fuck” in a restaurant and see how long you’re allowed to stay.

    yes, I may have fed the trolls a bit with this one, but I think I fed their targets even more — and hopefully *armed* their targets, and all women who walk around with trolls in their heads and cope with trolls IRL, with some of Betty’s wisdom. most girls just aren’t prepared for the level of sexual hate they encounter online, and as the internet goes into its second decade, we need to be prepared for it (and include it our 2.0 “talking to your kids about sex” discussions), just like defensive driving. I ride my motorcycle like people are actively trying to kill me, and it’s saved my skin many times. online, the vehicle just happens to be a vagina, as it were.

  • KJames

    Dear Ms. Blue,

    I’ve been visiting your website for some time now. There I find you celebrating the nearly infinite range of human sexual expression with love and compassion and truth and humor and downright funkaliciousness. Thank you for being your sweet fine self.


  • Hi Violet

    First, I suck at writing my skills are art and design so I will try to get my point across as best I can. You are not anything these Trolls try to say you are. you are fucking beautiful and I could be biased because my girlfriend is close to a redhead version of you, same look. Anyway that is the one thing I really hate about the internet is that some people hidden behind some screen name can be so hateful to others. and you see it everywhere. Just yesterday I found this video of a cute girl that just made videos of herself looking cute and anime-like on youtube. I was amazed and saddened by the completely hatefully comments people left for her video, for no other reason then to just be mean.

    anyway what can you do but ignore them.

    I love your podcast and your website, I am also ordering one of your books to help support you mission open source sex so keep up the great work. I would like to donate some time if you ever need some graphic work


  • CPB

    Hey Violet,

    I just stumbled upon your site and LOVE your article in the SF Gate. You’re 100% right – most women, myself included, fall into the thin+blonde=beautiful. Your article is incredibly empowering and uplifting. Thank you for being honest and shouting the truth.

  • Ciao Violet,

    I would like to say that I think you are awesome, sexy, intelligent and beautiful -forget what these idiots say. Their opinions should have no bearing on your happiness, but sometimes they do hurt yours and other’s feelings; I know it is easier said than done, but forget them. You and all women like you sexy for one reason and one reason only – because you are women. Each of you are beautiful and unique in your own little ways.

    Luv ya,

  • Christopher

    nd rly smrt, 2, wit an apreesh-yay-shun for da LOLcats.


  • Christopher

    Not that MY opinion counts for anything more or less than that of boorish trolls, but in my opinion you’re among the top 5 hot-as-hell net-celeb women, along with the likes of Xeni. In large part it’s because your sexy goes beyond your looks, to one x-rated mind that isn’t afraid to use her voice.

    Smokin! ;)

  • Ida Craddock

    dear violet,

    Thank you very much for this post, for your website, for everything you do to represent honesty, integrity, and true beauty. You are targeted because you are intelligent (always a threat to the mentally challenged) and are willing to be a public voice for our sexuality, our humanity.

    I’ve met you a couple of times in person (at SRL events — I accosted you out in front of the San Jose show) and you are as lovely in person as you are online; thank you for not wearing a mask and for fighting the good fight.

    Don’t let the bastards get us down!

  • Sadly, there are far too many idiots in this world that have fallen prey too and been dumbed down by the incessant bombardment, mostly from marketers, that there is only one version of attractive. Of course it’s not entirely due to marketing and media. Some people are just plain unfeeling and dumb.

    To view a person’s worth solely on their looks is harmful on so many levels.

    Violet, you are beautiful and the idiots who can’t see that are, well, just idiots.

  • La Pelirojita

    Violet, in my eyes you are one of the most beautiful women alive today. I stumbled across your site my freshman year of college after years growing up in a household and neighborhood that dismissed sex as something not to be talked about. I didn’t even have a sex education class in high school. Months reading your blog has encouraged me to embrace sex for the wonderful, funny, exciting activity that it is and to challenge the sexual double standard. The information on your website has kept me safe and happy throughout. You are a national treasure; don’t ever change!

  • anon

    ohohoh found the original and forgot how funny it is. When did a guy last “take you by the hoo”. ;)

    Just think of what trolls would be like in an 80s video. Makes everything tolerable. Or at least laughable.

  • anon
  • twizted

    I just don’t know whether to laugh or get angry. I know these trolls are out there—I’ve seen their comments, which indicate they’ve never actually had sex with a real flesh-and-blood human female. I know I don’t have to tell you, but I will anyway: you’re beautiful, you’re hot as hell, and I bet you smell great.

    I’ve struggled with body-image issues for years. When I was stick-thin (just metabolism, not an eating disorder, thank you), those trollboys and trollgirls called me ugly for that. Then when I hit 27, my metabolism changed, and I suddenly head to deal with a body that was 50 pounds heavier in the space of a few months. And an ignorant husband (with body-image issues of his own), complaining about how “fat” I’d become. Grrrrr.

    It took the support and compliments of a good friend to help me change the way I see myself in the mirror. I’m not a “traditional” beauty, and I’m not a size 2. But I’m not really fat (5’5″/147lb), and in any case, don’t care anymore. I have no problem seeing myself naked anymore. I know that some people find me very attractive. I tell my ignorant husband that HE has a problem, that he should discuss this with his therapist. And that if he cannot get past the fact that I’m not a size 2, he can take a hike. It scared him.

    I think that women of ANY size/shape can be beautiful and sexy, if they rock what they’ve got. You definitely rock it, Violet!

  • fuck..them…ok ok not literally… but seriously… some days..its like middle school out here on the playground we call the internets …. and dont you worry… if the bullies gang up on you… we’ve got your back….if for no other reason than….we KNOW you have ours….

  • SM


    I found you yesterday after stumbling across the video of you talking to the Google folks and can’t seem to turn you off. I love what I’ve seen so far and I am trying to get my wife to open up to you also. She is horribly locked into the thin/fat (3 kids later) struggle and can’t seem to think I still, and always will, find her sexy. Your words are exactly what she needs but for some reason after 15 years her interest in anything or anyone nekkid has slackened to almost zero. I’ve a lot of work to do. Man, I need help.

    Long comment shortened… you rock. F’ the guys who are locked into their cheap and hateful ways. Lots of us are good, loving friends, husbands and fathers who would be happy to, as everyone knows the true test of a real friend, help you move.


  • Violet:

    Gah! For some reason I can’t get into the comment section at the Chron (Java issues). However, I don’t have to actually see the comments in order to be sure that you do not have ordinary trolls.

    These are MRAs. This type of troll is feral, somewhat literate, and lives in abject terror of an independent female. And, yes, they are good at what they do.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about them without wasting a lot of time.

    Great column btw.


  • Elizabeth

    As I learned many years ago when I first started posting to the net myself, there are those that will just love to spew their verbal diarrhea all over the place for the sake of either stirring the pot, reveling in trying to ruin it for everyone else, seek attention or make themselves feel better by trying to make you feel like shit. Trolls are trolls. Whether they lurk under bridges or under the anonymity of the net, they exist. I think I saw one of them caught on camera phone in Argentina shuffling sideways (, probably off to look for some late night Internet cafe in which to destroy someone else’s self-esteem.

    Being a 6ft female, I had my share of men in high school and college who would put me down with belittling remarks, as I threatened what their perception of masculinity – that they should be bigger, stronger and taller than me. If anything, stand your ground, ignore them, and know they only have the power to hurt you if you give them the power to do so.

    And you so rightly noted, men are perceived as a whole package (looks, earning potential, power and personality). Women are judged by looks alone most of the time, and perhaps it is because women for many centuries were chattel, not given the ability to develop their minds, read books, or attend universities. Women becoming lawyers, doctors and even successful business women is a phenomenon that has happened only within the past to generations. It will take more than just a couple generations to overcome such prejudices, as some men are socialized by their pubescent experiences to define what beauty is for the rest of their life, most probably with a Playboy filled with nothing but blonde, big boobed babes and 22″ waists.

    What we need are girls (in the 11-17 range) to read a column like yours but tailored to their age set. Something that most parents would like to talk about with their kids to discuss, but find it too difficult – much like a basic sex education book that goes over the biological standpoint, but yours covers the aspects of “how not to feel pressured when boys ask you to go too far,” “Long distance cam dating,” “I’m a teenager and I feel fat, ugly and unloved,” “Should I put out if it will get a boy to like me,” and “Do boys hate girls that are smarter than them?” (along with some basic good sex advice for those early dating years). A column from someone a girl can respect and has been there instead of some psychologist with a Ph.D who has some good advice but it comes out sounding hollow and tailored to what a parent would like their child to hear instead of the realities of life and how you so well express them.

    Perhaps someone who can give a girl with questions about her sexuality some god advice and give a good and realistic bolster to a young girls self-esteem that they are beautiful even if they have 5 extra pounds or 30.

    From one of the most insightful songs I ever heard, “Everybody is free to wear sunscreen,” remember this one line: Do not read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.

  • Hey there Violet! Reading this reminded me of the Penny Arcade comic that expounded upon the “Internet Dickwad Theory”. Here’s the link…

    ….but the equation goes something like this:

    Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Dickwad

  • tenmilekyle

    I think that part one is addressing the competency jab…which is laughable right?

    After that, everything should read like Charlie Brown’s teacher “waa…waa waa waa waa”

    I mean really, did he say you smell bad? *sheesh*

    double *sheesh*

    Don’t sweat it kitten…you are demonstrably more beautiful and sexy with each new image you post, with each spot-on interview/speech I see in video, with each article you write.

  • Hi there Violet,
    I have been reading your awesome blog for a very long time now. I cannot believe that anybody would say that about you. You’re beautiful! Intelligent, sexy, with very very hot glasses. I would just love to see these beauties that obviously have the power to be able to define beauty.
    Keep it up, we love you in Aus!
    Love Morgan

  • My wife and I are both fans, and continue to support your work both emotionally (PROPS!) and financially (we buy your stuff). You are not ugly – and as far as those that disagree – I fart in their general direction! Keep up the good work, and keep telling it like it is – no matter what people say and no matter who gets upset.

    Take care of yourself.