Spank a Feminist and see what happens: Twitter & MRAs

I wasn’t really that much of a Twitter person until recently. I don’t know what changed. Suddenly I just found myself using it more. I think it’s a cool platform for the most part, but I don’t live there. I do most of my socializing on Facebook and most of my ruminating on here.

Yesterday morning I woke up and found that the hashtag #SpankAFeminist was trending. I saw a couple of responses from feminists I know and automatically recognized that it was some MRA bullshit. So, I joined in.

Within a few minutes, my phone was blowing up with the pitter patter of little troll feet. These guys looked at my Twitter profile and asked me to define patriarchy. I responded with the link to Let Me Google That For You, because asking a person to define terms that you already damn well know – or could find out with a basic Google search – is just a way to make the conversation about nuanced little pieces of grammar rather than larger issues. If I tell you that the patriarchy is my favored enemy in my profile, you know what I’m talking about. And you can make all kinds of arguments based on the dictionary definition of patriarchy as meaning a government controlled by men, but the definition that I’m talking about is right there below it and your arguments are really about breaking me down so that you can tell me my points are invalid.

I’m not playing that fucking game with strangers on the internet. And as a friend said yesterday:

Of course, once I blocked them and moved on, there were other trolls accusing me of silencing the opposition and all that good garbage. Because they honestly think they’re entitled to my time and attention. Silly little trolls.

I did manage to get into a somewhat productive conversation with one person who approached me with a genuine question about my views on patriarchy. Of course, that did eventually degrade into him telling me personal anecdotes about false rape accusations and feminists not supporting men’s groups to help prevent suicide when I was on my way out the door to see a movie. Because anecdotal evidence is the best evidence? I don’t even know.

Anyway, it should be known that this hash tag didn’t just leap spontaneously into existence. It was launched by Dean Esmay, the MRA crowning jewel. In his article about why #SpankAFeminist should trend, Esmay said the following:

[A]ny time you meet a feminist, you should spank him or her until they cry. And do it every time they open their mouths to spew forth their hateful lies about standing for tolerance, inclusion, and equality, when there is no movement in the modern world that does more to fight against tolerance, inclusion, freedom, and equality than feminism. Not even real life fascists or communists can top them at this point.

So, couple of things.

First of all, equating a social movement to fascism and communism is way off the rails to begin with. As Godwin’s Law states, bringing those things into the conversation effectively ends the conversation. The fact that Esmay goes there in his announcement about this new hashtag is pretty telling.

Secondly, the people in this hashtag are trying to make the argument that this whole thing is a facetious rejoinder to the Kill All Men hashtag. I don’t think that comparison is apt at all. #KillAllMen is ironic misandry at it’s absolute finest. We are obviously not going to kill all men. We have no interest in killing all men. Esmay went ahead and quoted my Tweet yesterday as “further proof that all feminists are violent criminals” or some such nonsense. I blocked him without responding. But honestly, has there been some kind of madwoman running around cutting off the hands of men who dare to touch her ass without permission? Is there a womanhunt on the news? No. I’m joking. Calm your fucking tits, Esmay.

As far as #SpankAFeminist and #KillAllMen are concerned, the other issue with that comparison is that Esmay sounds 100% serious in his article about there being a “solution” in the idea of spanking feminists until they cry. And that shit is not OK. Describing feminism as “an intolerant, hateful, racist, anti-gay, misandrist, misogynist, gynocentric religion and hate movement” sounds pretty serious to me. Calling for violent reprisal against people who espouse it as a belief is not a joke. It’s not funny. It’s painting a group of people who have been systemically oppressed as a hate movement and calling for them to be silenced. And for a white man to do that as a member of the most privileged group on the planet is completely unacceptable.

This whole thing was my first time being involved in any kind of Twitter drama or attacks. I did not care for it. But I care even less for the legitimate attention being paid to Men’s Rights Activists and their movement. So I’m going to shout about that and take the heat rather than sit back and let them act like their disgusting venomous nonsense is at all acceptable.


As a post script, here is a beautiful poem by Shane Koyczan on trolls.