Now, let me be clear: I did not write the post. I stated that from the beginning. It turns out, the piece I saw (which, incidentally, I found on tumblr), was only a piece of a much larger article, one that was originally published in the Jezebel, and written by Lindy West. I invite you to read the whole article. In my opinion, it's great.
A group on Fetlife who called themselves the "Anti-Feminist League" found my post...and let's just say, they had a field day. They got on their moral soapboxes. They took over the comments section—to let us women know why men really are superior!
Here's the thing: I have a general policy that I don't delete comments on my posts, not one, no matter how ridiculous or hateful.
A bunch of people asked me why I don't delete comments. My reasoning is simple: I don't want anyone to be silenced. On the contrary, I want people's views to be available for all to see. I want everyone to be able to read how spiteful, disgusting, snide, contemptuous, manipulative, and whiny people really are. I want to expose their true natures to everyone who cares to have a look.
They came. Oh, how they came. They worked themselves into a dither. As the comments degenerated, the statements got more and more wild.
First, there were the claims there's no such thing as patriarchy.
"I've never seen the patriarchy. It died with most of our great-grandparents. What we have is outdated beliefs that were inspired by the patriarchy, which no longer exists." I guess if you can't see something, it must not be there...kinda like how my eight year old thinks about the chocolate milk hiding in the fridge.
Then came the rants of how evil feminism is.
"Feminism is a destroyer of families, children, marriage and women. Feminists only care about themselves and not the 'rights of men'."
"Feminists are angry, man hating lesbians or stupid women that can't think for themselves."
"Feminists think they need to rule the world. Just... stop it."
"Feminism had its place and served our world a great purpose. And now it needs to get back in the kitchen."
Oh, and my favorite:
"Feminists want men to lose everything, not just the children. If not laws wouldn't have been made to make men get raped by alimony and child support."
That's right: men are being raped by alimony and child support. How dare women expect men to pay for their children! It's exactly like getting raped!
There were a few comments about how society doesn't need feminism anyway, because it's not really necessary.
"Women these days are practically untouchable legally and socially, so one needs to advocate for men if one wants to fight for actual equality right now." You hear that? Women are untouchable! It's the men being raped and oppressed by society! What with all the child support bullshit and stuff!
"You're making women look like victims, not helping make things equal for everyone." Because pointing out how women are victims of sexism makes them look like victims...oh wait, that's the point. They are victims of sexism and genderism. Oh, I forgot, no they're not, they're untouchable.
But even if women are the victims, it's their own fault., and no one else's. They should take personal responsibility for what happens to them.
"There was a post regarding a date rape drug in the previous comments. First of all, I hope your friend is fine. But the extremely rational side of me is asking this question. What on earth happened to personal responsibility, and going out with your friends to reduce the odds of bad things occurring?"
Women should own the fact that they are responsible for their own assaults and rapes. If they can't watch their own damn drinks, they deserve what they get, right? Also, they probably dress provocatively, too.
"For the first fact. Women ARE naturally better caregivers. This isn't from some sort of 'patriarchy' bullshit you claim, but by millions of years of evolution in our animal kingdom."
That whole equality in the workplace thing? Women shouldn't be in the workplace, they should be home watching the children.
"Men and women are inherently fundamentally different physically mentally and in social interaction. To deny this is to deny science and self evident truth." Self evident truth we can all watch in porn, I guess. Women expect to be treated like crap; it's in our natures.
The fact is, sexism is simply the way this country works. It's always been that way, and it's working, so why stop now?
"My rights are established by natural law, are self evident, and were best codified and defended by a bunch of men in the 18th century. Men have been defending our own rights for thousands of years. So all feminists can feel relieved that I don't need some self described "woman" to do what comes natural to me. Feminists just want to remove the yoke of one burden and add much more in the form of their big brother quasi communist agenda where all men are forced to act like females and where society enslaves them to the collective "good". Feminists are here to enslave men if not in chains but in bondage of societal rules and structures that almost no true man wants."
That's right, feminism is not just about rape, it's about slavery now, too. Kinda like what all those men in the 18th century believed in for their own rising wealth and power...oh wait, that right stopped being defended in 1865.
Apparently—and I did not know this, I thank the commentators for educating me—many if not most of the ills of society can be blamed on feminism. Like, the national suicide rate!
"The suicide differential has almost doubled since the 70s, from 1.9 to 3.5. If that isn't evidence that our society is becoming more and more anti-male, I don't know what is."
That annoying correlation does not equal causation rule? That's a fallacy. We'll ignore that.
And anyway, if it's not suicide, it's something else killing men; feminism can be blamed for all of it. "Young men are still being pathologized. Men are still dying; on the job, in war, and by their own hand, same as ever."
Feminism can even be blamed—and HOW COULD I NOT KNOW THIS BEFORE?—for breast cancer! Yup, that's right!
"Breast cancer is now a 'business' making billions each year. If you think they are going to cure it even if they could you are crazy, to many people living off it already. I think this was started by GASP ...a woman!"
That's right: feminism is the cause of cancer.
I didn't respond the comments very much on the thread. I didn't see the point. Like I said, the commentators were doing a very good job making themselves out to look like moronic wackadoodles.
But then...they tried to silence me. They had Fetlife take down my post. I had not gotten express, explicit permission from the original author to quote her post, you see. Technically, that is against Fetlife rules. Is it usually enforced? No. But that doesn't mean they don't reserve the right to enforce it when they deem necessary, and now, the anti-feminists had found a way to remove my post completely. It wasn't enough I was giving them a way to argue against them; they wanted me gone.
Sorry, not so easy to do.
I got on twitter, tracked down the original author, Lindy West, and asked her permission to keep up the post. She gave me her approval.
(I also emailed the people over at Jezebel, and they gave me permission, too. But in the end, all I needed was Ms. West's okay.)
I contacted Fetlife, sent them a screenshot of Ms.West's tweet, and the post was back up.
It got more feedback and comments for another couple days. Then it died down, as posts on Fetlife typically do.
I got some hate mail. I had some personal snide comments thrown my way. Nothing terrible; nothing I considered a direct threat. (Yeah, I've gotten those in the past, too, and entire posts and tweet rants vilifying me, as well. ) That stuff doesn't bother me, and for two reasons:
One, none of the asinine comments were made by people who actually know me. They were all made by strangers, people who exist in Netherland, who spew forth their hate-filled tirades behind the safety of their computer screens. It shocks me sometimes how these people think I actually give a fuck what they think. They don't know me; so why should I care?
The second reason is, in my opinion, more relevant, and more sad.
Nothing said in comment to any post on Fetlife is going to change a damn thing about anything. Whether it's a logical, reasonable, civil comment or not, whether it makes sense or not, whether everyone agrees with it or not, it's still just a fucking comment on a Fetlife post.
It's not going to change the fact that women get paid 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes.
It's not going to chaange the fact that after graduating college, on average, men make $7,600 more than women.
It's not going to change the fact that female workers made up just 6.2 percent of the top earning positions of 2010.
It's not going to change the fact that 60% of minimum wage workers are women, and almost 2/3rds of part-time workers are women.
It's not going to change the fact that 83% of sexual harassment charges come from women.
It's not going to change the fact that only 15% of the entire U.S. Congress is made up of women.
It's not going to change the fact that about 1 in 3 women in the military say they were raped.
It's not going to change the fact that 75% of women who are raped or assaulted in our military do not report it.
It's not going to change the fact that courts are continuing to rule against women's rights in the workforce.
It's not going to change the fact that women face gender bias in medical treatment and medical research.
It's not going to change the fact that people see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe.
It's not going to change my life. No matter what any of these commenters said? I'm still going to be afraid walking around alone at night. I'm still going to ignore men who give me cat calls on the street. I'm still going to walk a little faster, and be a little more weary, around men who give me creepy stares. I'm still going to hang onto my drinks with the assumption if I look away for one minute, there's a chance it's spiked with drugs.
I'm still going to trust people I've learned to trust, and be suspicious of those I have not.
But if this experience has taught me anything, it's this: there are a lot of wackadoodles on Fetlife. They will attack you. They will try to silence you. They will bring in their friends to help them.
They are still all wackadoodles.
Even wackadoodles can be entertaining, I guess, even if they remain irrelevant to how the rest of us live our lives.