I usually don’t respond to misogynistic, immature comments or posts on youtube, tumblr, or any other social media site. Females everywhere, whether they consider themselves feminists or not, who engage in social media have most likely experienced veiled or overt misogyny on comment boards or blog sites. It’s nothing new and sometimes the easiest thing to do is ignore it.
But sometimes I’m feeling really confident. Sometimes I get tired of being bombarded with these sexist messages and having them forced down my throat. It’s not exactly fun to watch ESPNW’s 10 greatest moments in women’s sports and have to expect sexist comments about how women cannot play sports. I was feeling a boost of confidence after watching the St. Louis Cardinals sweep the Brewers and looking through gifs on Tumblr, so I decided to respond to a commenter on said video who said men are simply more athletic than women – and that scientific data proves it.
I simply said “I call bullshit” and asked him for the said scientific data that he kept talking about. Maybe it wasn’t the most polite thing to say – but is it a reach for me to say that him calling me a stupid cunt went way too damn far? Or that him continuing to spew his own opinions and call it science and then insult me was a little bit ridiculous? Because that’s what he did – and I it was pretty damn impolite.
This wasn’t the only time I responded to trolls. While scrolling through feminism tag on Tumblr, looking for interesting articles or funny gifs but expecting mostly misogynistic trash, I cam across a guy complaining about feminists who think breastfeeding in public is okay. Needless to say the argument went nowhere and I ended up feeling stupid for wasting my time arguing with an internet dude.
By no means is internet misogyny the defining feminist or civil rights issue of our era. Most of the time these offensive, obnoxious posts and comments are coming from people who would never say these things in person and will probably never act on these thoughts. It’s obviously a much more rewarding use of your time to read feminist articles, block out the nasty comments, and get out and spread messages to real people, and focus on the issues that affect the most disadvantaged among us. But frankly, I’m tired of the fact that practically every website I visit – from Youtube to The Hill blog – is filled with misogynistic crap and having the responsibility of ignoring it while these idiots are free to troll the world wide web and spew their hate. The internet is without a doubt an incredibly important tool for organizing and spreading the word to mass amounts of people – but it’s also a place where people feel they can say the most hateful, sexist, racist, offensive things and get away with it.
So what do we do? Do we ignore the trolls, engage in arguments with these strangers, or avoid the internet entirely? Honestly, I don’t know. It hurts me that these hateful, sexist human beings are able to attack people simply for expressing an opinion, but arguing back usually ends in a blow to your ego.
I’m tired of the blatant misogyny that is abundant on so many social networking sites – but I would much rather spend my time engaging with people who will listen to me and offer new ideas rather than tear me down.