Note to Internet Feminists: The Internet Isn’t Always Nice

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Fri, Sep 11 - 8:00 am EDT | 3 years ago by
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The Morse Code - Feminist Outrage

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this kind of comment brought up by feminists who spend their time online. Daily there’s some third-waver going on about how she’s the victim of the worst kinds of behavior from the denizens of the world wild web.

The internet, they lament, is not a nice place. In fact, I like to think of the commentary found on it to be the descendant of bathroom graffiti. It’s everywhere, it’s often unreadable, and it probably says something racist.

Thing is, they’re not wrong. The net isn’t populated with Care Bears and polite Victorian era knitting circles. It’s populated by humanity, and for a pack animal, humanity doesn’t get along with one another too well. We fight, we argue, and we squabble about everything from politics to pen caps. Tag on the fact that when you introduce anonymity, people turn into something akin to cannibal Nazi werewolves.

Actually, Penny Arcade gave a pretty accurate representation of these effects in their “Greater Internet Dickwad Theory.”

Dickwad Theory

Feminists would have you believe that they’re receiving harassment very regularly. To their credit, some of them are, but that directly corresponds with their higher profiles rather than the fact that they’re women.

According to Pew Research, women are more likely to have online stalkers or receive sexual harassment. For sure, this is awful, and I advise any woman out there receiving threats to report them to the police. The threats may not be anything to really worry about, as they often aren’t, but regardless, you can’t be too careful.

Thing is, men are harassed more than women are. While we don’t receive sexual harassment as much, we’re often physically threatened. So to claim that you’re being harassed strictly for being a woman is complete nonsense. Everyone gets harassed. It’s part of spending time in a place with free speech. You’re more likely to get a polite message requesting you go kill yourself simply for talking about your favorite breed of dog for being male than female.

But the crux of the complaints about online harassment comes primarily from the feminist circles. They make the claim – as Jessica Valenti has – that women are more likely to be harassed due to being feminists. Let’s logic this out.

If there’s one thing we know about feminism, it’s that it can only thrive in a world that’s paying attention to it. The most successful feminists are the ones who can garner the most attention, because they can turn that attention into GoFundMe or Patreon donations.

As we all also know, however, simply talking about your ideals will not get you a lot of money. If it did, I’d own a house where I’d stock it with the expensive toilet paper.

One thing that does get you money, though, is outrage. Entire news sites subsist on it, radio show hosts need it for interesting content, and feminists are no different. Feminists need outrage in order to have money flowing to them.

And what generates outrage better than a poor woman beset by evil men?

As Anita Sarkeesian demonstrated not long ago, being the victim of harassment is key to how much money she makes. Without that harassment, fewer people would pay attention to her plight, and that means less in donations.

Here we see one of the most successful feminists demonstrate why she’s so successful. She makes the claim that she’s received threats – a claim she makes often – and paints a picture of a damsel in distress who bravely pushes forward for the good of the land.

We’re to ignore the fact that many provisions were made for Anita’s safety, as well as those of the students who were to attend her speech, and the fact that authorities found the threats against her to lack and credibility, as the USU President wrote here.

She knew how safe she was due to the precautions set aside, but that’s not what mattered here. What mattered is that someone on the internet lashed out against Anita, and she wanted to make sure you knew about it.

Aside from Anita’s unsubstantial threats, the high profile nature of successful feminists does draw hate their way. It doesn’t matter that they’re feminists, or women, it matters that they’re famous on the internet. That they’re feminists and women only works to paint the picture of having their point proven about the people they’ve been harassing with articles and tweets themselves.

In fact, feminists have proven to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to internet harassment and online bullying.

Feminists like Brianna Wu and Shanley Kane (the woman who made the tweet at the top of this article) rely on harassment in order to garner attention they can then turn into money. To put it bluntly, unkindness is the equivalent of gold. They need it. If they aren’t getting anything mean in their inbox, then they’ll paint simple criticism or argument as harassment.

But the truth is, if you’re a feminist and you’re being harassed, my simple advice is this:

Grow a backbone. You’re going to run into mean people, and when you throw in being safe behind a keyboard miles away with the advantage of anonymity, you’re going to find that rudeness is pretty much a standard. And so what? No amount of calling you the “c-word” is going to stop your heart from beating, and criticism won’t set your home on fire. It’s likely that 99% of the threats you receive are not remotely credible, as the police will likely tell you in the end once you’ve reported it like a responsible adult, instead of parading it around like a jackass.

The internet is a fun, interesting and idea-filled place, but it also comes standard with grade A douchebags. Deal with it. Everyone else does.

Photo by Volkan Analan / Getty Images

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Brandon Morse has been writing about politics and culture across many websites for the last six years, with a heavy emphasis on anti-authoritarianism. Aside from writing articles, he is also known for voice acting and authoring scripts. He is an avid gamer, dog person, and has a bad habit of making vague references to things no one has heard about or seen. Follow him at @TheBrandonMorse on Twitter.

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