This will be quick.
There’s a trending hashtag on twitter: #FeministsAreUgly
It’s immediately clear that the tag is meant to troll. I’m not sure how the tag started, and I’m not willing to wade so far into the swirling bowl that I actually touch the poop. But it’s obviously not some kind of ‘conversation starter’ or even a ‘gotcha’ witticism. It’s utterly superficial and thought-suppressing, falling in line with pretty much every other anti-feminism argument. It’s a trend that’s tailor-made for sociopaths or 6th grade trust-fund brats and their fake twitter accounts (because who wants to deal with the backlash, right?)
This isn’t to say that some very real actual people aren’t being hurt or even targeted because they dared to step up instead of letting yet another wave of bile roll over them. There are folks that are reaching out to hurt someone else. They are taking time out of their day, making an effort to make someone feel bad. How fucked up is that? That’s the kind of behavior that gets you voted off the island.
So what’s to be done? I don’t think ignoring them ever works or could ever happen on a platform as large as twitter or other social media. Would exile be a solution? Banish them to their own hollow echo chamber? Or does public shaming seem like a solution? That could be problematic, especially with the possibility of retaliatory doxing on both sides.
Hell, I dunno. I’m a straight, fully-abled American white male. I haven’t really had to deal with this kind of problem, and It’s always surprising/disheartening when I’m made aware of them. Like there’s this whole other world that everyone else lives in and I’m insulated from it all by just being myself.
But I’m a feminist. And because I know that good discussions depend on proper definitions, here’s what ‘feminist’ means for me: Everyone gets the same rights and responsibilities. Not that women are better than or should have more rights than men or the other way around. Just equal. If that’s too much to swallow, grab your club and head back to your cave.
EDIT: So what I’ve learned (or have been told, at least), is that this hashtag was actually set up by feminists to discuss the fact that feminists don’t exist to simply be looked at. (at least, that’s my understanding). I’m sure it’s easy to see where the confusion could happen, especially when set upon by trolls using the hashtag. In my opinion, it’s a good idea but a bad hashtag. So what does that say about me? Why did I immediately jump to the conclusion that it was set up by people out to inflict insults and harm? Am I someone who likes to have an “outrage of the week”? Or might that be a function of the noxious element of the internet constantly attacking people they just don’t like?