Genderflipping, Rhetoric & Sexism

Posted: June 4, 2014 in Political Wrangling
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the past two days, I’ve ended up in two different arguments with two different men – both of them strangers – in two different forums, about two (ostensibly) different issues; and yet their methods of argument, even their language, have proven eerily similar. The first argument happened on Facebook, when a friend posted a joke about MRAs (“How many Men’s Rights Activists does it take to change a lightbulb? Not all of them!”) and one of her friends chimed in to assert that, as feminists, we were hypocrites for finding it funny, because if the joke were being told about women, we’d be outraged. The second argument happened on Twitter, when, in response to my tweeting Mallory Ortberg’s recent deconstruction of a sexist book review, an unknown man asked both of us, plus another woman, whether we’d have been just as outraged if the targeted reviewer had been female (the implication being that we were, once again, hypocrites).

Both disputes began with a single man challenging two or more feminist women to defend their beliefs on the basis of a hypothetical genderflip from male to female which, in both cases, completely missed the point of the conversation. In the first argument, changing the subject’s gender would obviously have an impact on how the joke was received, because the joke is explicitly contextualised by our awareness of gender inequality, the punchline a verbatim reference to the cry of “Not ALL men!” with which MRAs so frequently – and aggressively – attempt to derail feminist discourse about sexism and misogyny. To suggest, therefore, that such a joke is offensive on the grounds that a genderflipped version would be even moreso is to fundamentally misunderstand that this is the actual point of the joke: namely, that even though women are still being  disenfranchised by an entrenched culture of sexism, the first response of too many men is to act as though their hurt feelings at being accused of sexism, however tangentially, is the greater evil.

By contrast, the proposed genderflip  in the second argument was ineffective for the opposite reason: though Ortberg’s piece certainly made mention, not only of the reviewer’s gender, but of the fact that she’d yet to see the book in question reviewed by a woman, the ultimate point was simply that the review itself was written in a sexist manner; that this was not a helpful way for anyone to review women’s writing. Had a female reviewer written the exact same piece, replete with the exact same biases and problematic turns of phrase, Ortberg might certainly have worded her response differently, if only in the sense of attributing the reviewer’s attitude to internalised sexism rather than male privilege, but the source material would still have been sexist, and therefore deserving of the exact same level of outrage. For our interlocutor to have based his opening rhetorical sally on the idea that female feminists will be naturally more inclined to excuse sexism if it comes from other women – and worse, to phrase this 101-level question as though we had never once considered it before – was not only deeply oblivious, but actively insulting.

To be clear: genderflipping can be – and frequently is – a useful rhetorical device in conversations about both sexism generally and the more specific issues facing persons of all genders. But its usefulness is always going to be contextually dependant on the user’s understanding, not only of what sexism is, but how and why it functions. Because sexism is fundamentally a problem of inequality, the subversive impact of a well-executed genderflip rests in its ability to switch the (im)balance of power in unexpected ways, thereby highlighting the fact that it exists to be subverted in the first place. Genderflipping an argument to support or restore the status quo, however – whether by asking us to sympathise with those already deemed sympathetic, or to approve the power of those already powerful, at the expense of those already viewed as unsympathetic or powerless – is not only a wrongheaded misuse of the technique, but a catastrophic failure of comprehension. The same is true of other subversive flips, like racebending (which is why, for instance, Victoria Foyt’s Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls was such an all-out disaster).

The fact that these two men deployed the exact same tactic for the same, poor reason was notable. That their subsequent responses also aligned was downright creepy – and I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. In response to their condescending language, I referred to each man in tern as patronising, half in anger, half in the hope that they might rethink their approaches. Here is how they responded:

On Facebook: Being patronizing is so much fun you are welcome for it… You may be right but your anger clouds your point and makes it seem far to emotional and not logical. Now before you go off your rocker that I just equated your style of rhetoric with classic feminine traits, I will say that I have done this very thing to men on facebook and gotten the same overly emotional reaction… I always am deliberately patronizing because it would be a waste of the day to do it by accident.    

On TwitterMy pathetic faux-humour patronizes men and women in equal measure. Men find me every bit as exhausting.

In other words, both men accepted that, yes, they were indeed being deliberately patronising, but that I had no grounds for finding their approach sexist, because they were just as rude to men – as though, once again, completely ignoring both the context and the content of the conversation was sufficient to make the accusation go away. Nor is this curious tactic of attempting to deny sexism by claiming misanthropy, or some version of it – as though an admission of being rude to everyone completely rules out the possibility of being rude to certain types of person in specific, culturally coded ways – a two-man anomaly. To quote from Lindy West’s How to Make a Rape Joke:

This fetishization of not censoring yourself, of being an “equal-opportunity offender,” is bizarre and bad for comedy. When did “not censoring yourself” become a good thing? We censor ourselves all the time, because we are not entitled, sociopathic fucks… And being an “equal opportunity offender”—as in, “It’s okay, because Daniel Tosh makes fun of ALL people: women, men, AIDS victims, dead babies, gay guys, blah blah blah”—falls apart when you remember (as so many of us are forced to all the time) that all people are not in equal positions of power. “Oh, don’t worry—I punch everyone in the face! People, baby ducks, a lion, this Easter Island statue, the ocean…” Okay, well that baby duck is dead now. And you’re a duck-murderer. It’s really easy to believe that “nothing is sacred” when the sanctity of your body and your freedom are never legitimately threatened.

Both encounters were frustrating and draining; both left me feeling like I’d wasted time, effort and emotional energy engaging with someone who viewed my exhaustion and distress as a personal victory.  It is disputes like this, in fact – not so much for their content, but for their frequency and duration – which so often prompt people to say, Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t engage. Just ignore them, and they’ll go away. But as I’ve said elsewhere, and as much as even such minor encounters increasingly threaten to burn me out, this isn’t advice I’m willing to take. Like playground bullies, trolls don’t go away when ignored: quite the opposite. They take silence to mean they’ve won, or as assent, or as a challenge to try harder: either way, it invariably emboldens them. I’m not for an instant suggesting that people should engage above and beyond their coping level, or that we should all die on every half-assed rhetorical hill that drops into our blog comments with a virtual smirk and the suggestion that lol maybe ur overreacting??? – I just don’t believe that silence is the answer. This sort of behaviour isn’t anomalous; it’s part of a pattern, and one which needs to be identified before it can ever hope to be changed.

Comments
  1. […] nothing unusual about it (we swapped prisoners with Nazis and the USSR). •Foz Meadows says that no, “would you say the same thing if the sexes were reversed?” is not an automatic triumph […]

  2. ” …and as much as even such minor encounters increasingly threaten to burn me out… I just don’t believe that silence is the answer.”

    Yes but hopefully you’re not expending significant, precious energy on people who don’t even know the difference between “too” and “to.” Your logic and level of writing are likely over their heads, if your replies are even read at all by the trolls. Can they actually “get” it? But for those of us who do, thank you. Excellent post.

  3. mistfrost says:

    I don’t know about continuing to fight the fight against these types of people and internet trolls. It always appears to me as a catch-22. You don’t want to remain silent for the reasons you stated, but in a lot of cases, you can determine that speaking up and even delivering a well-rounded, logical argument is not going to do anything either – least of all in a comment thread, which is quickly becoming a known quagmire of negativity on the internet.

    Also, it seems hard to argue online and in comment threads in a way that would actually make a difference because the vast majority of people, including the two men you interacted with, are firmly entrenched in their world-views. They are aware of the opposing viewpoints, have long since rationalized their firm disagreement, and are not open to changing that world-view or opinion, least of all because a stranger on the internet disagrees with them and offers up rhetoric they have likely heard (and dismissed) before.

    Given that, I will continue to express my opinions and viewpoints, to support those causes and arguments that I fully agree with (including yours above), and to give my attention and consideration to opposing viewpoints as well, but I try not to overly stress myself trying to change other people’s minds, least of all through the internet, because I have so often found it to be such a very futile effort. Maybe one of these days we’ll drift into a wide-spread culture of open-mindedness and measured discourse, but I highly doubt that will ever fully happen in an electronic forum.

  4. bluestgirl says:

    When I start to despair, a friend of mine likes to remind me that, while clear, well-thought-out arguments may never make a dent in the trolls, for every commenter there are 50 lurkers, many of whom are not so determined in their opinions. People who speak out are usually the ones who are entrenched in their opinions, and may not be reachable, but you might be changing minds that you don’t know about.

    And you help those of us who *do* agree with you but don’t necessarily have the rhetorical tools to express ourselves. So many times, I see people like the ones you’ve engaged, and I KNOW that they’re wrong, but I stumble on the words. It’s a skill, and I am trying to learn it, and it helps to have good examples.

    • fozmeadows says:

      All good points – it’s what I try to keep in mind, too. Just because other people don’t have the time or energy to participate in such a discussion doesn’t mean they aren’t reading or that your words don’t have any impact; and it’s worse, I think, to let the bigots speak unchallenged.

    • Angua says:

      I second this so much. I really appreciate your hard work, Foz, deconstructing all the bullshit out there because it literally makes my life easier. The trollish behavior, the entitlement and yes, the rhetoric can all be found in real life. I’ve found myself responding to several, uh, let’s say less than enlightened remarks, using the verbal tools you’ve given me. Thank you.

  5. Mord Fiddle says:

    As the second of the two ‘trolls’ you refer to, I believe some clarification is called for.

    My final comment was not related to my conduct over all, but solely to the ‘Jesus Christ’ joke that preceded my final comment. In fact, from first to last, you were the condescending party.

    Having read both Adam Plunkett’s original New Yorker review of Patricia Lockwood’s poetry and Mallory Ortberg’s review of Plunkett’s review (via your retweet), I found myself puzzled. While one might disagree with some of Plunkett’s insights with regard to Lockwood’s works, Ortberg’s chose instead to an ad-hominem attack on the reviewer for sexism which, in my opinion, requires a highly biased and selective reading of Plunkett’s original review.

    Gender/race flipping is one of the first tests I apply to words or behaviors (my own and others) in order to test my first reaction in such cases. It is, as you say, a ‘101 level’ methodology, but for all it is self-evident it is often overlooked. Applying the test myself, I found that there were points in which could by construed as being sexists if one were scanning for the behavior. In many cases, however, I found the charges of sexism ill-founded.

    For example, in his review Plunkett’s states “Lockwood is famous—more than thirty thousand people follow her on Twitter—but the source of her fame is almost entirely owing to her tweets and not to her poetry.”

    This was denounced by Ortberg in her review of Plunkett as sexist. However, the same could as easily be said of any number of Twitter-celebs, male and female alike and Plunkett neither states nor implies in any way that this is to do with Lockwood’s gender. Thus, while Ortberg may have disagreed with the critique from an artistic standpoint, her assumption that the comment is founded in gender-bias is not supported.

    I could go on, but my intent isn’t to provide a critique of a critique of a critique. Suffice it to say that, after applying a little ‘101 level’ thought experiment, I was surprised that no one else seemed to see the logical flaws is in Ortberg’s ‘take-down’. So I asked, without irony, the question foremost in my mind. Which was:

    ” Hmmm. Would Ortberg be as outraged if the same review were written by a woman? Would you?”

    Now, you apparently took this for a rhetorical attack rather than as an honest question, and responded:

    “Kindly go and Google the term ‘internalised sexism’.”

    Which was a bit rude from where I was sitting. First of all, it assumed that I’m unfamiliar with the concept of internalized sexism. Secondly, it assumed I accepted the alleged sexism of Plunkett’s review as a given. Third, it evaded the question altogether, and in a dismissive manner. However, understanding we might have gotten off on the wrong foot, I circled back to the question:

    “Mmmm. Doesn’t answer the question.”

    You responded by saying:

    “You seemed to be implying we’d give a woman a pass on the grounds that women can’t be sexist.”

    Which I was not doing. I’m quite aware that women are perfectly capable of being sexist. I was asking whether you’d applied the gender-flip yourself in this case – not as a tactic or a rhetorical trap – but because I wasn’t seeing in Plunkett’s review the unreconstructed sexist you apparently were.

    You followed up with your answer to my original question:

    “The point of having you google the term is to say, yes, I for one would still be just as irritated.”

    Good. Cool. This was all I wanted to know. I attempted to point out that I was interested in what you actually had to say rather than searching Google for concepts relevant, but not central to the question.

    “The answer would have sufficed. The g-ref is relevant, but I prefer not to infer your response based on it.”

    At this point I was about to say thanks and wander off. Then you went to the troll side on me:

    “Really? Because I’d prefer not to be asked ignorance 101 questions as though they were revelatory.”

    OK. I’d been nice. Polite. I’d been asking civil, honest questions. I’d been letting the patronizing edge of your responses pass as a byproduct of Twitter’s forced brevity. But now you were openly being a dick. And I called you on it.

    “Heh. You’ve just proved that a Y chromosome is not a prerequisite to being a dick.”

    To which you replied:

    “Jesus Christ, did I ever say it was?”

    Which is the lead in for my favorite punch line. I use it on the internet. I use it in text conversations. I use in in conversation. From a humor stand-point, it is like a slow-pitch softball hanging over the middle of the plate. It doesn’t matter who provides the opening or under what circumstances, it must be answered. And so I did:

    “Call me Mord. Jesus Christ is so formal. :)”

    God, I love that joke. See, I even used the smiley emoticon.

    Not surprisingly, you didn’t find it as funny as I did (eye-rolling is the usual reaction). Surprisingly, however, you apparently assumed I save that particular joke for women.

    “Pathetic. Derailing, patronising faux-humour like this is why being female online is exhausting.”

    In fairness, you’re not the first person who’s failed to appreciate my puckish sense of whimsy. Further, so you’re aware, this is nothing in the above that urges one to ‘rethink their approach’. It’s merely name-calling. However, I felt obliged to make sure you knew that being on the end of the ‘Jesus Christ’ joke is an equal-opportunity event.

    “My pathetic faux-humor patronizes men and women in equal measure. Men find me every bit as exhausting.”

    Again, that was solely in reference to the Jesus Christ joke. All the other patronizing faux humor in our exchange was supplied by you.

    So, shame on you for that. And shame on you for your dishonesty in misrepresenting our exchange for your own benefit. A decent human being would apologize, which I’ll let stand as the measure of who you are.

    • fozmeadows says:

      For example, in his review Plunkett’s states “Lockwood is famous—more than thirty thousand people follow her on Twitter—but the source of her fame is almost entirely owing to her tweets and not to her poetry.”

      This was denounced by Ortberg in her review of Plunkett as sexist. However, the same could as easily be said of any number of Twitter-celebs, male and female alike and Plunkett neither states nor implies in any way that this is to do with Lockwood’s gender. Thus, while Ortberg may have disagreed with the critique from an artistic standpoint, her assumption that the comment is founded in gender-bias is not supported.

      And this, right here, is where you’re missing the point of Ortberg’s criticism: that sexism is so encoded in our society, and so often subconscious, that a speaker doesn’t have to explicitly link a comment to gender in order for it to be relevant to gender. By way of a common example, dismissing someone’s argument, and particularly a woman’s argument, as illogical, emotional and/or hysterical, despite the fact that none of these words makes any overt reference to gender, is nonetheless contextualised by the longstanding tradition of demeaning women in particular for exactly these qualities. Similarly, famous women, for reasons of sexism, tend to be held to very different media standards than men. Fame for women is often still seen as vulgar; women who self-promote online are routinely criticised for behaviour which in men is seen as positive; women who, like Lockwood – and like Ortberg, in fact – swear, or use sexual language, or adopt online “personas” in terms of their written voice are similarly frequently criticised, in ways that men are not, for being disingenuous, pretentious, fake; for committing the cardinal sin of trying too hard. This attitude, for women on the internet, is a daily, lived reality; something for which we are criticised more or less constantly. So when, in reviewing Lockwood’s work, the reviewer opted to mention her internet fame in uneasy, even critical terms, while simultaneously expressing evident displeasure at her failure to sympathise with the male subjects of her poems, it was not unreasonable, but natural, for Ortberg to link these things, and make them part of her criticism of him.

      This, for anyone who’s spent even a short amount of time seeing how women are treated and remarked about online, is 101-level obvious. But rather than even consider the possibility that multiple feminist women, all of them active in social media, had found something legitimately objectionable in this review that you might have missed, and to wonder what it was, your first response was to assume that the fault was in our interpretation.

      Suffice it to say that, after applying a little ’101 level’ thought experiment, I was surprised that no one else seemed to see the logical flaws is in Ortberg’s ‘take-down’. So I asked, without irony, the question foremost in my mind. Which was:

      ” Hmmm. Would Ortberg be as outraged if the same review were written by a woman? Would you?”

      You’ve said in your response to me that you think about genderflipping a lot; that you are, in fact, literate and informed on the topic of sexism. And yet, despite this, you are apparently unaware of the fact that your very first question to me – to us – was one of the most basic, frustrating, and oft-repeated refrains that feminists, and particularly female feminists, are forced to answer over and over and over again: a question which, by virtue of the smug superiority with which it is customarily deployed, is lent an inherent offensiveness all its own. I can’t speak for the other women you addressed, but for my part, I have never once been asked “but would you feel the same if a woman had said it?” – and I have been asked this question many times – by someone who didn’t either think that the mere act of asking constituted a moral victory on their part, the question wielded as a trump card against my supposed feminist hypocrisy of unthinkingly offering preferential treatment to female sexists, or who otherwise thought so little of my intelligence, if only in the sense that they hadn’t actually thought about my intelligence as a factor, as to genuinely assume that this question was one I had’t already asked myself, and therefore wasn’t something I’d already taken into consideration.

      Which is why, to borrow your phrase, I “took this for a rhetorical attack rather than as an honest question”. I have no doubt that you generally wanted to know the answer; what you seem not to have comprehended, either then or subsequently, is that, regardless of the honesty in your desire to be answered, the very act of asking was itself illustrative of a massive failure of empathy on your part, and therefore insulting. I mean, what else did you expect us to say but yes? “No, I’d give the reviewer a pass, because women can’t sexism, and/or it’s not as bad when they do?” “Oh my gosh, I’d never ever considered the idea that I might treat women differently before, and you’ve revealed me to be a hypocrite?” You can only have been uncertain as to our answer if you were willing to assume, on the basis of nothing more than our support for the article, that we were either potentially stupid, hypocritical or both; and if you can’t see why that’s inherently insulting, then I don’t know how to help you.

      Now, you apparently took this for a rhetorical attack rather than as an honest question, and responded:

      “Kindly go and Google the term ‘internalised sexism’.”

      Which was a bit rude from where I was sitting. First of all, it assumed that I’m unfamiliar with the concept of internalized sexism.

      So you DO understand, then, how insulting it is – and how frustrating – to have a complete stranger think you don’t understand something simple, or assume you’ve failed to consider something, really, really basic? Yeah. This is why I responded, first coolly, and then rudely: because you were rude first, and didn’t have the good grace to even realise it. I say again: “would you have reacted the same if a woman said it?” is a question feminists get asked literally all the fucking time by people who think they’re the very first ones to ask it, because they don’t think we’ve ever asked it of ourselves. This is very frustrating. It is insulting. And particularly on days when – as you can see by the other argument quoted in this article – I’ve already lost hours of my life debating strangers who deploy the exact same rhetorical techniques for the sole purpose of trolling, my patience is understandably limited.

      It was you who initiated the conversation with three strangers. It was you who began that conversation by asking an insulting question, and who then decided to taunt me when I had the temerity to be upset, not only by the insult, but by your cavalier assumption that you were still entitled to a polite answer.

      So, shame on you for that. And shame on you for your dishonesty in misrepresenting our exchange for your own benefit.

      For my own benefit? Listen: there is no benefit. Have a look at the other argument quoted in this post; go read it in full. Explain to me, please, how dealing with that sort of ignorance in any way constitutes a benefit to me, emotionally or intellectually. Explain to me how the clear similarities between your language and his, regardless of your intentions, is something I’ve manufactured. Explain to me how I’ve benefited from expressing my frustration with a pattern of behaviour I encounter all the time, and which – as clearly stated – is literally burning me out. I was exhausted yesterday; I am exhausted now. I’m blogging about this stuff as a goddamn coping mechanism, as a way of not going fucking insane at the myriad ways in which I’m forced to repeat myself – to repeat the basics of sexism – over and over and over again, because of people who assume, as their starting premise, that I’m so fucking ignorant that I’ve never asked myself the most basic questions about my passionately-held beliefs.

      I’m sorry for not being able to muster as much patience and enthusiasm for the inquiries of complete and utter strangers as you seem to feel you’re entitled to, but I’m a person, not an emotionless answer-dispensing machine, and sometimes I get cranky. I am allowed to get cranky. Which begs the question: are you going to apologise for having caused offence in the first place? Or are you going to double-down and insist this clusterfuck is all my fault?

      • Mord Fiddle says:

        There are times when I offend without necessarily intending to. Sometimes it’s because I’m tired. Sometimes it’s because I’m having a thoughtless moment. Sometimes I offend because I anticipate ill will from the other. Sometimes my conscience goes AWOL. Sometimes I’m cranky.

        It happens. It’s about being human.

        But I try to remember that there’s another human being on the other end. She or he may be a stranger, but I am not entitled to abuse her or him.

        If you will tell me where I gave offense, I will happily apologize. I wish no one harm.

        However, asking legitimate, if basic, questions should not offend. Brushing off an angry reply and asking, in a civil manner, for an answer rather than inference should not offend. Explaining I didn’t want to infer your answer, but hear it from you, should not offend. If, after repeated rudeness on your part to sincere question, my finally reprimanding you for that rudeness offends, then I will do my part and apologize.

        The Jesus joke? Well, that needs no apology, but if you insist….🙂

        As you point out, I am a stranger on the road. You owe me nothing. But how we treat strangers is another measure of the self.

        • fozmeadows says:

          This just made me so angry, I physically got out of bed to come and reply on my laptop, because it’s almost impossible to do so on an iPad.

          If you will tell me where I gave offense, I will happily apologize.

          If I tell you where you gave offense? IF? I literally just did that. I call it “the entirety of the comment you JUST RESPONDED TO, BUT APPARENTLY DIDN’T BOTHER TO READ.”

          *headdesk*

          However, asking legitimate, if basic, questions should not offend. Brushing off an angry reply and asking, in a civil manner, for an answer rather than inference should not offend. Explaining I didn’t want to infer your answer, but hear it from you, should not offend. If, after repeated rudeness on your part to sincere question, my finally reprimanding you for that rudeness offends, then I will do my part and apologize.

          Oh, right. I get it now. I explained how your behaviour offended me, and rather than just say, “Oh, sorry – didn’t realise!”, you’ve decided to pretend that I explained nothing, and instead offer a passive-aggressive explanation of why your behaviour was not, in fact, offensive. This is now me being actively, deliberately rude: I do not give a FUCK how sincere your question was, because SINCERITY IS NOT A MAGIC UNICORN THAT PREVENTS YOU FROM BEING OFFENSIVE. I can “sincerely” ask a friend when they’re going to lose weight, on the basis that I “genuinely” want to know: it’s still an offensive question, and I am being a shitty person for asking it, regardless of my motives.

          Under the circumstances, and given how breathtakingly patronising you’ve decided to be in this response, I don’t think I care to give you a third chance to be reasonable. If how we treat strangers is one measure of the self, and how we treat strangers who have repeatedly insulted us is another, then how we treat ourselves is surely a measure of self-respect, and right now, I respect myself too much to spend another minute tense and unhappy at the prospect of having to deal with more of your oblivious bullshit. Consider yourself banned.

          • Tasha Turner says:

            Snugs. I wish I could be surprised on the doubling down but unfortunately I can’t. I’ve had some conversations like this lately and at some point I’ve realized they aren’t going anywhere and my need for self-care is greater so I state I’m ending the conversation. I’ve gotten a few strange responses. My favorite one (?) is “thanks for playing”… Umm I didn’t realize it was a game had I known that I would have quit earlier for my sanity.

            • Lkeke35 says:

              I’ve noticed a lot of these people treat honest discussion as a contest in which there’s a clear winner and loser. They will change the goalposts, and double down as much as they have to to be the winner. They begin the conversation in bad faith in the first place, posing as if they’re deeply concerned and sincerely interested in your answer and you don’t realize what you’re dealing with until after several exhausting exchanges.

              Understanding isn’t their goal, honest exchange of ideas isn’t the goal. Scoring points off who they’re arguing with is the aim and will say whatever they have to to feel good about themselves. And they’ll win no matter what you do. Argue with them, reason with them, give up talking to them, the result is the same regardless.

              Because really, it’s not about your feelings, it’s about how they feel.

              I’m starting to see the pattern in these exchanges now. After the first goalpost change or as soon as tone concern occurs – that’s when I know what I’m dealing with.

  6. delagar says:

    I’m taklng odds, y’all: fifteen to one Mort doubles down.

    Three to one he manages to be even more pretentious when he does.

  7. Indira says:

    Sometimes when the mra trolls get me down, I just start responding to them in meme pictures and reaction gifs. It’s requires a lot less emotional and intellectual energy… and doesn’t give them any new arguments to latch on and respond to. They tend to get bored after a while and just wander off. I don’t recommend this tactic right off the bat, but it’s good to have in reserve.

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