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“Please Killl Yourselves”: MRAs respond to #mencallmethings

Well, that was … instructive. The Twitter hashtag extravaganza that is #mencallmethings is still going strong. But I think at this point it’s safe to say that it has basically served it’s purpose: to highlight the obnoxious, obscene, often threatening misogynist shit that women who express their opinions about almost anything on the internet get in their inboxes or in comments online on a regular basis. Women with feminist blogs who actually call out this kind of misogyny get this sort of abuse basically every day.

Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, who started up this hashtag campaign, explained in an eloquent and angry blog post why she did it: to point out how absolutely routine this sort of shit is. When she started her blog, she really hadn’t anticipated the sheer volume of vicious shit she’d get:

I got targeted. With threats, with insults, with smear campaigns, with attempts to threaten my employment or credibility or just general ability to get through the day with a healthy attitude and a minimal amount of insult.

The intent of all this abuse is simple: to intimidate. When someone says to a woman online “I hope you get raped with a chainsaw,” the point is to get her to shut up. The person who posts this sort of violent shit, Doyle notes,

hopes that the next time you sit down to write, you’ll remember that yikesy chainsaw-rape thing and think, “you know? Maybe this isn’t such a great idea. Maybe I don’t need to say this. Maybe I’ll piss someone off, and maybe it will be more than I can handle, and you know, maybe my thoughts on this topic just ARE NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH for me to risk the headache/fear/irritation/distress/panic attack I know I will get.”

 And then, when you say that aloud, they call you a whiny little girl who can’t handle the Internet. Because, of COURSE multiple chainsaw-rape comments aren’t a big deal! They’re just words! Sticks and stones! …

To you, my friends, I say: Fuck that noise. All of this matters. A hostile work environment matters. Being afraid of your own in-box matters. Deleting your blog because that’s the only way for you to have a normal, non-hate-filled life matters. “Accepting” that continual, virulent, hateful misogynist abuse is a pre-condition for being a lady who talks about thing, or for challenging sexism in any way, no matter who you are: That matters. And if you think we’re fragile, well. LET US COUNT THE WAYS we have hacked it, under conditions your pampered manly self just cannot imagine. LET US DEMONSTRATE FOR YOU the shit we wade through, every day, in order to talk about whether or not we liked that one “Community” episode or Lady GaGa album.

Naturally, critics of the whole hashtag campaign have done their best to minimize and dismiss this sort of routine harassment in exactly the ways that Doyle predicted they would.

The charming Ferdinand Bardamu of In Mala Fide responded to #mencallmethings with a bunch of obnoxious comments that conveniently proved basically every point Sady Doyle was trying to make with the hashtag in the first place. He started off with this bit of rapier wit:

He followed this up with a clumsy fat joke:

He continued on in this vein for awhile, so proud of his insightful critiques that he made a blog post about it.

Encouraged by Bardamu’s example, blogger PMAFT (Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology) announced a #MenCallMeThings Trolling Contest. The highlight of his own contributions to this contest:

Over on Reddit’s Men’s Rights subreddit, c0mputar offered slightly more coherent, if equally misguided, response.

The reality is that most of the “misogyny” they face is just criticism to their feminist viewpoints. I see this a lot when I confront feminists arguments, present my arguments, and get called a misogynist, amongst other things characterized by misandry. It happens on both sides …

Really now? Here are some actual examples of comments posted on #mencallmethings (taken from a comment from Shaenon in the discussion here).

here’s some to start: ‘I’ll rape your mum, faggot fuck’ “I’ll come to your house and kill you”

#mencallmethings, impersonate me on FB, & make disgusting sexual comments, post my name & # when I helped organize Slutwalk

cunt, whore, ugly, disgusting, cold, feminazi, shut the fuck up bitch, manipulative, crazy, playing the victim, sociopath

Bitch, whore, being sensitive, little girl, dumb, subject of jokes involving physical and sexual assault.

Any variation on fat and/or ugly at this point just makes me yawn.

I’ve had so many emails and messages telling me I deserve a beating, I don’t even keep track any longer.

“13? Judging by the size of your titties, I’d of thought you were 18.”

(censored version) If you keep talking the way you do, you deserved to get raped.

My #mencallmethings moment – receiving an email consisting of 1600 lines plus of the same insult over and over. My crime? Being fat.

I’ve had so many guys tell me how good I must be in bed because I’m fat and therefor will do anyone

I usually get ‘sweetheart’ just before they dismiss my argument as being ‘stupid’. No counter argument.

Will not repeat the violence that’s been directed at me but this one made me laugh “Blubbering self-important herd animal.”

apparently I’m a lesbian… I was unaware until #mencallmethings.

I’M ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS AND I CANT EVEN JERK OFF CORRECTLY NOW & ITS BECAUSE OF WOMEN SO FUCK ALL YOU INFERIOR COWS

“You should have your tongue ripped out.”

I get sent one rape threat a month on average.

I was once told “get back in the kitchen you ugly bitch” for posting on a Linux board (can’t remember which one now)

Have you ever wanted someone to tell you that your genetalia should be stapled shut with bugs inside, start a blog

How about being choked to death during a forced blowjob? Start a feminist blog.

Not worth the effort to murder: the most recent example of what I had to delete off the blog when #mencallmethings

C0mputar, in his Reddit post, went on to offer another argument that seems to be a favorite of those trying to trivialize the abuse catalogued by the contributors to #mencallmethings:

In the end, veterans of the internet know there is no protected demographic. Everyone gets shit on, but if you make a point of belonging with a group, you get shit on even more, and more so the smaller you are. You know who gets shit on more than feminists? MRAs.

Really? Some MRA types on Twitter tried to get a rival hashtag going: #womencallmethings. Needless to say, they didn’t have much to work with.

One Man Boobz non-fan — whom I banned for his repeated comments about anal rape — tried to post a sarcastic little comment here last night dismissing #mencallmethings on similar grounds. Here’s a screenshot from my wordpress account, with his identifying data erased:

Let’s just, for contrast, take a look at the previous comment he tried to post here:

Another day, another “hope you get raped” comment.

Ironically, though I’m pretty thoroughly disliked across the manosphere, I actually get a lot less of this sort of abuse than most reasonably well-known feminist bloggers who happen to be non-dudes. Oh, sure, I get called a “traitor” and a “mangina,” and once in a while someone points out that I’m, you know, fat, but when it comes to the really nasty shit, the abusive commenters and emailers seem to much prefer going after women. This may be because they are misogynistic assholes. That’s just a theory, though.

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Posted on November 8, 2011, in antifeminism, bullying, creepy, douchebaggery, manginas, men who should not ever be with women ever, misogyny, MRA, PUA, rape, rapey, sexual harassment, threats, violence against men/women. Bookmark the permalink. 722 Comments.

  1. shaenon: I have the same problem with anxiety – it can be really, really hard to tell the difference between what’s actually a problem that I can fix and what’s something the anxiety is conjuring. MrB, while not always the most socially adept person, is really good at helping me sort this stuff out.

  2. Come to think of it, wouldn’t the ‘tingling’ be far more likely to occur in the clitoris or labia, as the blood rushes to them during arousal in a process broadly similar to that which causes a penile erection?

    I always thought that the vagina itself was fairly insensitive and therefore not especially prone to spontaneous tingling – but I obviously can’t confirm that at first hand.

    Mind you, there’s every likelihood that MRAL is simply misusing the word “vagina” as a synonym for the entire female genital area, and he’s far from alone. I’ve seen plenty of people go “OMG, you can see her vagina!” or similar in response to the merest flash of pubic hair, which is anatomically implausible to say the least.

    I suspect this historically derives from a combination of sexism (specifically, men only really being interested in the muscular tube that grips their penis during intercourse – who cares about the other bits?) and a cultural reluctance on the part of women to discuss traditionally ‘shameful’ areas in graphic anatomical detail – but this kind of ignorance is the sort of thing that causes both sexes to have entirely unnecessary hangups about women’s bodies, with all that that implies for the quality of their sex lives.

  3. Yes, the more accurate term would be vulva tingles, or ,’lva tingles (I’m not sure how that would be pronounced exactly), but he is afraid of the outer genitalia of women, so he needs to be anatomically inaccurate for peace of mind.

    Again, no one who is afraid of or disgusted by the genitalia of the person they are going to have sex with has any business trying to have sex with that person.

  4. No need to say “tingles”… just make a portmanteau, Vulvulations.

  5. I kind of hate that we have words that define you as either “the kind of person who has had sex” or “the kind of person who has never had sex.” Virgins and those who are no longer virgins are not different kinds of people, they’re just people who have had different experiences. We don’t have a special word for those who have or haven’t eaten Morrocan food (unless we steal the sex term and say “Morrocan food virgins”) and eating Morrocan food for the first time in my life was pretty perspective changing. Also I’ve had a lot more bad sex than bad Moroccan food.

    I suppose this seems rather off-topic, but if MRAL has not had sex (is that confirmed or just speculated?) then I wonder if he’s feeling immense pressure both internally and externally to make the transformation into a non-virgin, the kind of person he is supposed to be at his age.

    I was a virgin at 19. And then I wasn’t. I didn’t become someone I hadn’t been before.

    I don’t know if I’m really expressing myself very clearly or if this makes any sense. In any case MRAL obviously has bigger issues.

  6. I kind of hate that we have words that define you as either “the kind of person who has had sex” or “the kind of person who has never had sex.” Virgins and those who are no longer virgins are not different kinds of people, they’re just people who have had different experiences.

    And ‘virginity’ is usually defined in terms of a single penetrative sexual act.

    My first sexual relationship didn’t involve penetration – for various cultural reasons, my girlfriend wanted to keep her hymen intact, and I respected that. There were lots of other things that we could get up to, so we got up to those, and most enjoyable they were too. Technically, by the time we broke up six months later, we were still virgins, but it sure as hell didn’t feel like it, and I didn’t really regard myself as one.

    In fact, actually losing my virginity felt like something of an afterthought – it certainly wasn’t this unbelievably mindblowing experience that was supposed to rock my entire universe. At least not compared to what I’d already done.

  7. The thing about a straight man using “gina tingle” as an insult is that you’re essentially insulting women for finding you attractive. Beyond being rude and cruel (I can’t even imagine how devastated MRAL would be if a woman mocked him for being interested in her), it’s unbelievably stupid. I’d say it’s the most dumbass thing I’ve ever seen, but I’ve been hanging out here for a while now.

  8. In fact, actually losing my virginity felt like something of an afterthought – it certainly wasn’t this unbelievably mindblowing experience that was supposed to rock my entire universe. At least not compared to what I’d already done.

    I was the same way. Coming from a Catholic upbringing, my first thought was, “Wait, all that other stuff we did was okay, but I’m going to hell for this?” Not that it was a letdown or anything, but… well, the other stuff had been pretty great.

  9. @Shaenon

    I know it sounds like Im beating a dead horse here, but I have problems with depression, serious problems, and its taken me a long time to learn how to separate this is a real concern, and it has real solutions from this is a collection of paranoid fantasies, exaggerations, projections, and worst-case scenarios that my brain creates to stop me from doing anything useful.

    Have you seen this?

  10. Wow that was awesome cynickal!

  11. Allie Brosh’s stuff is really good, she has a great way with words.

    And, while we’re on the subject of depression, this is also interesting:

    http://depressioncomix.tumblr.com/

  12. Brosh is the best. And that was a ridiculously well-expressed look at depression… story of my life. :p

  13. Just don’t get Allie Brosh started on how Kenny Logins ruined Christmas…

  14. Kenny Logins wouldn’t kick the baby Jesus!

  15. Ah, Allie Brosh. I love her. I’d spent the past few months depressed and denying it and it was her blog post that inspired me to seek help.

  16. Shaenon: It’s insulting them for 1: having attraction, and 2: paying attention to it.

    The complaint is really that women get turned on by other men.

  17. Best of luck, Lauralot! When I realized I was depressed way back in high school I had to think back very hard to dimly-remembered times of happiness and objectively compare them to my current state, because that shit really can sneak up on you without you noticing. (“Oh, am I more apathetic now? …Eh.”) :p Fucking mental illnesses, being all internal and mucking around with your mental-illness-detecting device in an assholish brain-on-brain recursion of crazy. >_<

  18. *gives Lauralot hugs* :(

  19. The thing about a straight man using “gina tingle” as an insult is that you’re essentially insulting women for finding you attractive.
    Not “you” so much as “men who specifically aren’t you”, I think…

  20. Yes, I don’t think MRAL himself has ever given a woman a vulvulation (to adopt Pecunium’s splendid term). At least not to his knowledge, though who knows?

  21. God, some of those comics were brutally true. I’ve been really depressed myself over the last few weeks, what with cancer, surgery, chemo and a pre-existing depressive illness. I can really understand where the authors are coming from.

    Lauralot: (((((((((HUGS)))))))))) I hope it lifts really soon and you start to feel better.

  22. Thanks, guys. The campus health center adjusted my antidepressants and my friends have been a huge support, both online and in person. It means a lot.

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