Feminism! And with that one word, I've already set the world speed record for turning a comment section into a septic tank. As a guy writing on the Internet, I'm not the right demographic to tell you about feminism, but I'm absolutely the right demographic to tell you about the assholes reacting against it.
Note: To save space, instead of typing "antifeminist," I'm just going to use "asshole."
#8. The Duh-DoS
Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty
The first and worst asshole technique for arguing against feminism is demanding proof of sexism every single time the subject is raised. It's a popular strategy because it pretends to be in good faith. New claims do require proof. But sexual inequality isn't a new claim. Sexual inequality is almost the entire history of our species. When nearly every social statistic in every country on the planet is evidence of the problem, people fighting it don't have to list them all to justify the discussion.
Bob Peterson/UpperCut Images/Getty
"No, I WON'T stop to Google 'combustion' for you!"
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is when multiple sources overload a target computer with requests to prevent it from getting anything done. The Duh-DoS is the organic equivalent, with multiple people asking duh-worthy questions. If the target answers, they're wasting their energy on someone with no intention of listening. If they don't answer, they're accused of admitting there's no real problem. No matter what they do they're at a disadvantage, which is exactly the problem they were fighting in the first place.
It works on more infernal and shittier levels than a Malebolgian leak. It resets every discussion (imagine a basketball forum demanding that the concept of points be re-explained at the start of every thread). It automatically devalues the woman's experience, because her statement that she experienced sexism is invalidated by implication: She must provide external proof. It also elevates the questioner to the position of authority, the ultimate judge who must be satisfied before he'll deign to consider the problem. As opposed to an asshole rando begging for the block button.
"Well, I'VE never had people demand to see my sweet tits or get out."
The solution? Screw them. Duh-DoSers try to claim the moral high ground by turning you into a human Google. But they don't win when they're ignored. If I stand in the street and start demanding that passersby prove gravity, I'm not a flying wizard when nobody can be bothered.
#7. The Semantic Quo
As well as wasting your time, assholes want those specific lists so they can move on to their second front: wasting more of your time. They'll try to disprove your points with all the obsession and specificity of someone proving Green Lantern could totally beat Superman. But less connection to reality. They'll apply more minute attention to detail than the search for the Higgs boson, and act like their results have more massive effects on reality.
Justin Lewis/Stone/Getty Images
"Quod erat demonstrandum, FEMNISM da REEL SEXMISMS."
These commenters are Kings of Polysyllabilogic (the art of proving a point with really long words they aren't actually using correctly). They write like Vulcans cheating at Scrabble. They try to sound like alien energy beings who've never even heard of these hu-man "testicles" but feel an altruistic compulsion to list impossible errors in anything threatening their scrotal sanctity. As if the desire for equal rights was a Star Trek computer malfunction that could be exploded if you convince it of one mistake.
John Lund/Photographer's Choice/Getty
"He's right! I did mention gender while discussing gender problems!"
Sexism isn't a scientific proof: Someone can't unravel the whole thing by picking at one point. And unless they're a wizard they can't reshuffle syllables until reality changes. Sexism isn't "identifying that a gender exists," it's "unfair treatment of people because of that gender, especially women." It's such a universally understood problem it's in the dictionary. It doesn't matter how much someone obsesses over the exact phrasing of a Twitter rape threat: A thousand more have been posted since. The Semantic Quo is an extended waste of time. Because when someone's arguing semantics from the side of the status quo, wasting time is all they need to do.
#6. Saint or GTFO
This imperfection attack is digging through someone's Internet history to see if they've ever said anything less than perfect. Because the only allowed options are immaculate saint or total asshole, and the antifeminists have the asshole side locked down. They're the Asshole Emperors, defending their rule by defecating over everything and everyone who's made the mistake of facing them. They'll extract something sort of stupid said several years ago, usually by ripping it more dangerously out of context than the core of an atomic warhead, and wave it around as if it was exactly that powerful.
"I found something more toxic and unstable than myself!"
This attack assumes that only saints and particularly blessed Buddhas are deserving of even the most basic human rights or empathy. You'll see this attitude when women are sexually assaulted, when black men are murdered in broad daylight in front of cameras, and in all the other absolute worst things about our species.
It also ignores the human ability to learn from mistakes and improve. In their defense, these guys don't seem to have that. In their offense, fuck those guys. Learning from our mistakes and improving is the entire point of feminism. And the species.
#5. Accusing Victims of Faking It
Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Gett
Anyone denying the existence of sexism can go to any YouTube video with a woman in it, read the comments, and fuck off. Victim-accusation isn't an impartial quest for truth or "hearing both sides." It's piling extra pressure on the victim as standard operating procedure.
While accusations of sexism apparently require a Supreme Court ruling as a cited source, accusations of faking sexism need no support whatsoever. "I'm just looking for proof," smiles the scumbag. "I'm just calling every woman a liar and acting like that's the unbiased course of action, instead of proof of the problem I'm denying, and if there was any justice in existence I would cease to do so."
"But until that glorious day, I remain the King of Just Saying."
These magical conspiratorial women would have to be faking more electronic output than the Matrix. And that's a movie where they killed almost every major female character. Sometimes twice! Demonstrate a specific example of someone clearly receiving threats of sexual violence and they'll say, "Oh yeah, but she deserves it." Which means that all accusations are either false or deserved, or, in other words, there is no such thing as an attack on women that this asshole will not find justified. Which is the worst possible truth someone can have.