Hackers tried to bring down feminist site Femsplain on International Women’s Day, only made it more famous

Misogynist hackers tried to bring down feminist website Femsplain yesterday, in ‘honour’ of International Women’s Day.

The site, which was launched in October 2014 by Amber Gordon as a personal project, has grown into an international site focused on sharing a diverse range of feminist experiences. It’s doubling its readership every month and has even had love from Lena Dunham. But it turns out some sexists don’t like men not being the centre of attention at all times, and so launched a DDoS attack on the site which put it out of action for a few hours.

This didn’t have quite the effect that they might have hoped, however. Instead of quashing Femsplain’s message, it only amplified it. After they tweeted about what was happening, other users tweeted their disgust and encouraged people to donate to the site or their Kickstarter campaign, which just this week hit $30,608 (of a $25,000 goal) to fund site hosting and pay regular contributors. Popular science blogger Phil Plait, who has a huge Twitter following (@Bad Astromer), tweeted: ‘I hadn’t heard about @femsplain until it was DDoS attacked today. Now 370,000 more know about it, too. Well played, misogynists!’

International Women’s Day has been held on March 8 every year since 1914, when the focus was on women’s right to vote. This year, the theme was #makeithappen, encouraging people to celebrate women’s achievements and talk IRL and online about what still needs to be done.

Femsplain published a post from site staff called ‘No, we’re not there yet’ explaining that they were taking part in the Clinton Foundation’s ‘Not There’ campaign. The foundation’s research found that only 24 percent of the subjects of print, radio, and television news worldwide are women. To show how much people are missing out in a world where women are sidelined, for one day billboards, bus shelters, magazines book covers, and social media avatars replaced women with the campaign’s URL, not-there.org.

As their post says, ‘Given Femsplain’s mission of ‘Changing the way women are discussed,’ the solidarity symbol is only fitting to help kickstart this discussion today. Our goal is to elevate women’s voices in a world where men’s voices normally dominate.’ If a pathetic group of anti-feminists thinks a DDoS is going to stop that, they’ve got another think coming.

Diane Shipley