Now, before you all rush to the window to check for four suspiciously thin dudes on ponies cantering across the skyline, let me assure you that I am not bored of the notion of equality among all, but rather having the same bloody arguments time and time again. The reason we can never get anything done is because we spend our entire lives trapped in the same cycle of Arguing With Morons. It's not one of Dante's circles of hell, but it sometimes feels like it.
You know how it works:
Feminist: "Actually, it would be quite nice if we didn't live in a rape culture."
Moron On The Internet: "OH MY GOD YOU HATE ALL MEN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU MISANDRIST. YOU'RE HYSTERICAL. RAPE CULTURE IS NOT A THING. YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOUR. YOU HATE SEX. PROVE ME WRONG."
Feminist: "Here's a really good article on Rape Culture 101. Misandry is a word invented to argue with feminists. I'm not hysterical, stop gaslighting me. By the way, I am fucking heeyylarious and yeah, sex is awesome."
MOTI: "Oh, look at you, with your EVIDENCE. It's just part of the feminist conspiracy to eradicate men. You just want to be sat on your arse eating bonbons while men toil away and you deny them sex."
Feminist: "I think you're thinking of what we call 'Imaginary Feminism'."
MOTI: "THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT ALL FEMINISTS THINK ALL THE TIME EVER."
Feminist: *sighs* *realises rape culture will remain in place another day* *wanders away from the internet to make tea and read the SCUM manifesto*
So, yeah. If I could actually add up the time I have spent trying to engage with people who have decided that I'm a man-hating hag for suggesting that it might be nice if women were offered the same opportunities as men, I would probably try and drown myself in a vat of cookie-dough ice cream. And the thing is, it's not just stopping the progress of the feminist movement, but actually harming it. When an editor of a usually-reputable newspaper announces a new policy of massaging statistics on rape to shut up MRA trolls, well, that's BAD.
It's stopping me saying what I want to as well - a couple of weeks ago I was asked by a website that I really like to write a piece about gender representation on Mock The Week, and I had to turn it down because I knew exactly what the comments would look like before I'd even written a single word. Thankfully, it's been covered by women braver than I here, here and here.
I don't know what these people want. I swear, baby fucking Jesus himself could toddle down from heaven, inhabit the body of Gibbs from NCIS (the most authoritative person in the history of humankind) and present them with gold-plated evidence written by the University of SCIENCE and still they would come out with the same boring, tired, privilege-denying arguments. And I am tired of it.
Last week, I suggested to someone on Twitter that his idea that any man who didn't picket the women's-only fringe event at the Labour conference was a "gender traitor" made him a bit of a cock. I tried to explain that if women were adequately represented in the main conference, then it wouldn't be necessary to have a fringe event for them. Apparently this made me a 'fascist Jim Crow-style seperatist who hates equality and men'. When I tried to question him about this, he got all huffy and blocked me, claiming I was "swamping him" with my "abhorrent views". Our full exchange may be viewed here.
So, does anyone have any ideas about how to deal with people like this or am I just to stick with my usual recipe of cigarettes, facepalming and punching a pillow as I pretend it's the face of the patriarchy?
(For anyone who doesn't often delve into the murky world of Being A Feminist On The Internet, while looking for the link on gaslighting, I found what can only be described as The Stupidest Waste Of Pixels I Have Ever Seen - the comments seem to nicely sum up what we're fighting against.)