We’ve all heard the old cliche that opinions are like assholes, right? Everybody has one. Well, here’s a new spin on an old favorite: if you’re a woman daring enough to share an opinion on the internet, you can collect a lot more than a single asshole. They will literally come out of the woodwork to let you know how wrong you are, no matter what you’ve said.
Ladies, we all know, the cost of just being women is high in all facets of our daily lives. But there’s something about being on social media that really brings the boys to the yard, and it has nothing to do with a milkshake.
An article I wrote about the pitfalls of dating in the current political climate was recently shared on Twitter. No problem, right? It’s great exposure! But, wait, I’m a woman with an opinion, which means there are legions of men waiting in the wings to descend with insults, threats, and other charmingly fun comments about how no one wants to date me anyway (I’m seriously heartbroken, gents). Many of the comments made me wonder if they’d bothered to read the article at all, or just decided to shut me down because women are fun to look at but not so great to listen to.
This is every day on the internet, guys. All day long. No matter how innocuous or outlandish the opinion shared, push back is absolutely guaranteed. If it’s not mansplaining, it’s insults. If it’s not insults, it’s condescension. Sometimes it’s a fun mix of all three.
The basic formula for online interaction is this:
Woman: here’s an opinion based on my life and/or professional experience.
1st man: WRONG.
2nd man: here’s why you’re wrong…(goes on to explain, but tl:dr)
3rd man: I think what you actually meant to say was…(usually the opposite of what you said)
4th man: divisive slut/bitch/whore.
5th man: you should calm down.
For those of you non-women out there, I’m sure this seems like textbook over-exaggeration. Sigh. If only. Unfortunately, like I said, the cost of being a woman on social media is high. The same men who might not be able to locate the courage to speak to a woman in real life become valiant warriors in front of the keyboard, upholding their sworn duty to make sure the so-called fairer sex keeps her opinions to her goddamned self on social media sites. These guys are quick with a not all men retort or a below the belt slash at a woman’s appearance–truly a stab in the dark in many cases; for example, my Twitter handle featured a cartoon character as my avatar for over five years. These are the same guys who would probably describe themselves as ‘nice’ and don’t understand why they are still single.
I’ve triggered guys before by stating that men need to do better.
I’ve triggered guys by asserting that we don’t owe you a smile when we’re out and about in public.
I’ve triggered guys by stating that I’m not interested in dating.
I’ve triggered guys by remarking that more women need to run for political office.
I’ve triggered guys by bringing up systemic sexism.
You get the idea. I could go on and on. There is literally a treasure trove of material just sitting in the comments of my Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Guys respond by telling me I sound angry. That I need to calm down. Or that I sound ugly. I have to laugh at that one, even if the idea is sickening–that only women who don’t speak their minds are considered beautiful. I get called bitch, slut, and a myriad of other colorful and inventive names that would make my mother blush, and my mother knows her way around a string of expletives. No shrinking violets in this family.
These knee jerk, aggressively defensive responses to my social media posts used to upset me, and I made the mistake of interacting with the trolls many an aggravating time (mostly because I had really excellent comebacks; I mean, come on!). But I’m finding it funnier and funnier the more often it happens. How fragile these male egos are, that my words could so easily shake them to their core. How powerful I must be to elicit such a response with only my words. By attempting to tear me down, you’ve only revealed how weak your position truly is. It’s sad, really…but also funny. There have been instances where a particularly colorful and poignantly pathetic reply has caused me to laugh until I cried–thanks for the pick me up, random douchebag!
So, keep it coming, fellas. I’m here to drop knowledge and collect assholes, and you’d make a mighty fine addition to my collection.