Crafty Woman Fights Internet Trolls By Using Their Words Against Them

ByMaureen Shaw

One woman has found a creative, and hilarious, way to respond to Internet trolls: handmade embroidery. 

Marie Brian, better known online as the Cotton Floozy, is fed up with the haters trying to rain on her craft parade. An advocate for LGBT rights and feminism, her crafts embody a liberal, and often subversive, viewpoint, making her a target for hateful criticism online.

Instead of engaging with these bellyachers, however, Brian decided to "adorable-ize" the hate by embroidering direct quotes from trolls that she and her feminist friends receive and posting them to Instagram.

"It's an enjoyable and crafty way to face the faceless," Brian told Mic. "By taking an art form like embroidery that is considered womanly and ineffectual, and making it strong and direct and Womanly, it shifts the power balance." 

Brian said she started her #adorablehate series following a particularly upsetting incident, in which a former friend trashed her online, saying "Marie Brian is the only person in Utah that I hate with the passion of a thousand homeless wasps in a torrential rainstorm. She is an awful person, just awful. If you see her, go ahead and spit on her face for me." 

Her response took the form of this colorful visual:

But it's not always easy, given how offensive the average online comment has become. "When I was going over different quotes that I could possibly stitch, it was alarming how often I had to say, 'Let's choose something less rapey,'" she told Mic

Unfortunately, online vitriol laced with threats is familiar territory for women: Just ask Anita Sarkeesian, Jessica Valenti, Amanda Hess, Emma Watson or feminist news outlet Jezebel to name a few recent targets of this hate. Unquestionably, the Internet has become an unsafe place for women. And while serious threats demand serious action, Brian's light-hearted, artistic response to her critics is refreshing.

The good news. More "adorable-ized hate" crafts are in the works. 

"I have gotten such a good response from folks. It really seems to help people laugh and overcome the hurtful words of other people," she said. "Maybe it will send the online world a warning: Be careful about the horrid things you say or write or you may find yourself stitched!"