8 Things Some A$$#ole Says in Every Debate About Sexism
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."
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
Accusing Victims of Faking It
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.
The Nicer Detonator
Assholes act as if anger in response to centuries of systematic oppression is equal to centuries of systematic oppression, and the two cancel out. "Maybe if you were nicer about asking," they say, and it's impossible to respond properly, because only comic characters can scream so loudly it ruptures their eardrums and pulps their skulls.
Though exposure to such bullshit may cause women to evolve a Naturschrei organ.
"Maybe if you were nicer about the constant stream of poison you're subjected to, I'd consider not pissing into it." Someone being aggressive in reaction to sexist abuse isn't attacking anyone. Someone being aggressive in reaction to sexist abuse is reacting to sexist abuse. The tactic of getting women as mad as possible and then acting innocent was developed by studying 6-year-old boys. No, sorry, being 6-year-old boys.
It's another way of reframing an urgent discussion of sexual equality as a patriarchal indulgence. "Asking nicely" is for a child who wants more ice cream: an inferior petitioner begging the favor of a stern authority figure for something they don't really need but think would be nice.
"I'll shove this cone through your cornea, you patronizing jerk."
The kicker is that deploying the nicer detonator is the best possible way to trigger an explosion of anger. A result the asshole uses to smugly prove to themselves who the real problem is, infuriatingly unaware of how they've truly done that.
Feminazi vs. Boogeywoman
"Feminazi" is a real timesaver, because someone saying that just freed you from listening to them ever again. It's such a specific strawman that it has its own name. But the term "feminazi" is far too evocative and powerful a phrase for this phantom. I suggest the term "boogeywoman," reducing the concept to the appropriate level of maturity and power.
"I blame it on the boogeywoman!"
Those who fear the boogeywoman claim feminism is a crusade of man-hating assholes, instead of a struggle against a patriarchal system that damages men as well as women. But don't worry, there's a useful quick check to find out if someone's an asshole, and it works on both sides: Ask them how they feel about transgender people. That'll identify who truly cares about equality and who's just being an asshole real quick.
Even if a woman is mean to you, boohoo. You can't dismiss an entire concept because one supporter is an asshole. If "one of them was a jerk" was reason enough to censor entire concepts, men would have become extinct long ago, along with every political and sociological concept ever conceived. I've met dickhead professors of quantum mechanics, but that doesn't mean my computer stops working.
Ignorance by Induction
"How can you be complaining about this when there are starving children in Africa? Starving children I'm doing less than nothing to help, because merely nothing would be ignoring them. But I'm specifically pointing out that I know about them to use them as underfed weapons against things I actually care about."
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to buy a new graphics card!"
I'm not saying you should punch people who use this tactic in the face, steal their wallet, and spend all the money on charity donations and sweet victory whiskey. Technically, they're saying that, since by their own argument nobody is allowed to complain about anything if they're not reincarnated into one of the worst situations on the planet.
Nobody is allowed to complain about anything except the young and starving, and they're not allowed to complain about anything unless they're the youngest and most starving, all the way down to one tragic soul who can't help but notice that nobody's actually bloody doing anything about the situation. (If you want to do something, Kiva is a great way to do that.)
Equalist Equals Asshole
"I'm not a feminist, I'm an equalist." They're not an equalist, they're an asshole. This doesn't bring enlightened impartiality to the problem, it smugly pretends to bring enlightened superiority to the problem while implying that silly women are being distracted from the wider picture by their own selfishness.
"All the way into your frontal lobe."
Equalists claim we must tackle all bad things everywhere but start by derailing the discussion of even one of them. Entering a centuries-long struggle affecting billions of lives, their opener is, "Heh, let me fix this cute little mistake you made." Even if they had a point, and they really don't, their first priority is branding.
Imagine being on fire, running up to a firefighter screaming for help, and they hook their hands in their pockets and say, "Actually, before we start, I think you should say you're violently oxidizing. Not all oxidization is bad. I mean, some of my cells are performing oxidation right now, and I think it would be better if we ..." Your last act would be to SET THAT PERSON ON FIRE.
"CAN'T YOU TAKE A THIRD-DEGREE JOKE?"
Feminism is gendered not because women want to be treated better in the future but because they're being treated worse right now. Insisting on "equalism" means defining yourself by ignoring that fact. As if sexism, street harassment, pay differences, and rape threats affect genders equally. But the only way everyone could be affected equally is if we were conquered by the universe's worst aliens. And should we enter that dark space-future, and you get the job as commander of Babylon 5 with its dozens of alien races, then sure, equalism will be the way to go. But here on Earth we have a gender spectrum with two definite poles, and one of them is clearly treated worse than the other.
It's amazing how many people are prepared to publicly be on the wrong side of progress. We have never looked back on any part of history and said, "Actually, we were totally right to diminish and ignore the complaints of that mistreated demographic group. That wasn't a humiliating monstrosity at all!"
Feminism is the idea that women should have equal rights. Anyone claiming otherwise is explaining what's wrong with themselves instead.