Monday, August 8, 2011

Anatomy of a Garden-Variety Anti-Feminist Troll

Facebook, y'all. The best/worst shit happens there. Not so much on my profile, because I ban anyone even slightly sexist/racist/homophobic in order to maintain a happy fun place for myself. But oh, my friends' friends. Some of them are seriously fucked up.

Last week I teamed up with one of my friends to argue with a fat-phobic anti-feminist. In case you're curious about the context, she had posted a link to this piece o' crap from AskMen with a comment about how it obviously sucked, not expecting much disagreement. And then this guy, who will henceforth be referred to as Douche,* crawled out of the woodwork. To be honest, he has inspired a whole series of posts from me, which you have to look forward to, but first let us examine his troll-ness, because it is fun.

The thing about trolls is that they are all very similar and none of them realize it. Here's a bunch of stuff you will come across again and again in the comments sections of unmoderated feminist blogs, as expressed by Douche:

  • "i didn't even bother to read ur comment at the top": What a good friend!
  • "I think u might be being a bit over-sensitive." Oh hey! Are we playing antifeminist bingo?
  • "Are u guys going to become those crazy feminists who give the rest of the rational group a bad rep??": We are playing anti-feminist bingo!
  • "I'm actually a feminist lol." Lol indeed, dude.
  • "Really you take everything here entirely too seriously." It's always charming when a guy (and a supposedly feminist guy, to boot) offers to dictate what women should get upset about or not.
  • "the way women obsess over their bodies nowadays, and the terrilbe things that happen to men if they imply that their woman has gained weight": Er, what?
  • "the article u posted is meant to be taken as a joke": Okay, I have that square already. I can't win this bingo game if you keep using the same approach.
  • "It also doesn't mean you need to get bothered by every 'wife in the kitchen' joke."
  • "I still think the article is worth a few giggles, not getting ur panties all bunched up lol"
  • "I think both of you are so high up on your high horse that ur head has gotten lost in the clouds."
  • "You're not seeing clearly anymore, ur just playing the victim." Finally, a new square. Unfortunately, I do not bingo. Sadface.

Perhaps you are wondering why on earth we would even bother arguing with this asshole. I shall tell you. First of all, this was not an anonymous commenter on a blog.** This was someone my friend knew personally. And now she and all their mutual friends now know exactly the kind of asshole he is. Which is valuable, if disappointing, information. Second, I think it's important to stand up to assholes, especially in one's personal life. And third, it's important to back up your friends when they're doing said standing up. Anyone who looks at her profile will see two coherent feminist viewpoints and one increasingly enraged and incoherent anti-feminist viewpoint. It sets an example.

Also, I like to post this stuff now and then because often one of my guy friends will respond with, "Wow, someone actually said that?" Yes, people "actually" say fucked-up, over-the-top sexist, racist, and homophobic stuff ALL THE TIME.*** Folk who are relatively privileged think they can just brush it off, but you actually can't just brush off a lifetime of this crap. And the bigots will likely assume your silence is tacit agreement. I don't think we changed Douche's mind about anything, but he has probably realized that this one tiny corner of the internet is, in fact, hostile to anti-feminism. If that happened more frequently, I do think we'd all have to hear less outrageous bigotry.

BONUS: More bingo.

* I specifically like to refer to anti-feminists as douches because it's so appropriate. Douches, after all, are terrible for women's health.

** I am generally in favor of banning trolls rather than feeding them. Which is what we do here.

*** And it's not "just trolling." Douche, after first denying it, then told us that he was trolling at first but really he's serious. And I bet that's the case for a lot of trolls.

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