Yesterday, A Voice for Men’s Facebook page was temporarily suspended. I’m not sure how long it was down, but by the time I discovered Paul Elam’s announcement of the suspension late last night, it had been restored.
Donald Trump is probably the most casually dishonest serious candidate for president that this country has ever seen. He lies so easily, so shamelessly, and so regularly that media outlets have largely given up trying to factcheck his more, er, problematic assertions.
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Yesterday afternoon, a totally real feminist who couldn’t possibly be a troll pretending to be a feminist, no way, took to Twitter to announce a bold new campaign to fight domestic violence and defeat patriarchy by encouraging feminists to give themselves black eyes, thus showing the patriarchy that, uh, women can punch themselves?
If you’re a woman who engages publicly in that whole feminism thing, it’s almost inevitable that you will find yourself followed around the internet by a small squadron of the Internet Lady Hate Army, baiting you with disingenuous questions and bad-faith “challenges” and general abuse. If you’re a famous woman, well, that just makes it worse.
Consider the case of Emma Watson, the Harry Potter actress turned UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, who’s been a favoritetarget for this seething mob ever since she publicly embraced the F-word in a nervous speech before the UN in September 2014.
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Last week, a news story out of Portland Oregon sent the right-wing “anti-PC” brigade into a state of gleeful fury: A student at Reed College was alleging that he’d been banned from class for challenging some commonly cited rape statistics.
“Dissent forbidden at liberal arts college,” a headline at Truth Revolt declared. “Apparently, feelings are more important than facts,” sniffed the National Review.
The New York Post devoted an entire editorial to this alleged outrage, declaring that the “real mistake” of the student in question, freshman Jeremiah True, “was to think Reed College is dedicated to the search for truth,” adding that
That gun-loving gamebro who flipped his car while on his way, he said, to “race” video game developer and GamerGate critic Brianna Wu? It turns out he’s not the delusional and potentially dangerous asshole he seemed to be in the countless videos he’s put online.
No, he’s actually an aspiring comedian in an “extreme” comedy troupe known for trolling everyone from anime fans to TED talk attendees, and “Jace Connors” is just a character he’s been playing, a sort of parody of a basement-dwelling, monster-drink-guzzling gamebro douchebag who can’t tell the difference between real life and video games. His harassment of Wu — what he called “OperationWupocalypse” — was all part of an elaborate comedy bit that he’s been doing for years.
A detailed post by Java expert and game developer Sierra describing the harassment and vilification she’s faced for the crime of, well, basically for being a woman in the tech world. While long and a bit rambling in spots, this is an important piece that, among other things, describes how harassers can sometimes transform slanderous assertions about their targets into “conventional wisdom,” details the damage that “trolls” can have on a person’s reputation (and their life generally), and offers some sobering reflections on the culture of harassment and how difficult it can be to fight.
You all got the memo about #EndFathersDay fiasco, right – the phony “feminist” hashtag, seeded and spread by 4chan trolls, that aroused so much consternation on Twitter the other day, and that took in so many who’re already given to thinking the worst about feminism?
It would be nice if we could just dismiss this whole thing as trolls being trolls – no harm, no foul. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
For one thing, the troll campaign worked. At least on some people: While feminist writers quickly rushed in to point out that the whole thing was an antifeminist hoax, more than a few in the right-wing media were taken in utterly.