Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Internet is a Funny Old Place

I don't mean funny as in 'ha ha' - although it frequently is, of course. No, in this particular instance I mean funny as in 'head-scratchingly, face-palmingly weird.'

For anyone who's been living in a nuclear bunker for a while, this week saw the launch of the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter, around the same time as the outcry from the Elliot Rodgers shooting incident. This is relevant to me, naturally, because I qualify for membership of the Female Club - sorry, but that's just how I was born. However I'll be honest; it was almost a week before I could bring myself to even go and look at it, because I already had a pretty good idea of the level of trolling that was likely to be occurring there.

I'd already been on another, well-known 'woman-friendly' site (if you could honestly say such a concept exists on the internet anymore) about the same subject, and the vitriol I saw from some individuals - directed at everyone in general and then me personally when I answered a question posed on the thread - was a damning barometer of how certain portions of male society feel about women - those hateful harpies - having the audacity to talk to each other, publicly, about the awful things they'd been through. How dare they hurt the poor, sensitive feelings of alpha males like that! Some were clearly there to derail the conversation and steer it firmly towards their own agenda - "I know this isn't about my needs and issues and I'm actually showing up of my own accord, not because I was asked to or anything - but everybody needs to shut up and listen to ME ME ME!" kind of thing. Others were simply there to be the smartass, making snarky and often downright cruel 'jokes' about the comments from women who'd been through the most awful stuff  - and probably imagining cyber-bros everywhere giving them virtual high-fives for it as they did.

I had a tangle with the latter.

The reason I left comments on this other site instead of the official Twitter site is because my Twitter account has my actual name on it, whereas on the other site I have an alias. And a couple of the comments I left were accounts of things that have happened to me that I'm not ready to just casually scatter over the internet under my own name. (Hell, it's taken me twenty years to even drag up the courage to talk about those things at all.) And I'd noticed that one particular (obviously male) person had been asking the same question, persistently and insistently, with the air of 'I have a right to an answer, because if you women won't answer my question then you're as evil as the men you're calling out.' So, in spite of the fact many people were telling him his question was insensitive and cruel, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was asking sincerely, because he genuinely wanted to know. And I replied to him politely and respectfully, giving my answer. It was a very difficult answer, because it involved talking about things that still hurt and haunt me, to this very day. But I did it anyway, because I thought if I could make him understand the damage done to a woman's psyche in that situation, the answer he was so determined to have might make sense.

That was very naive of me, as it turned out. His response to me baring the wounds of my soul in order to give him the answer he so aggressively demanded from all those nasty, man-hating women? A quote from one Dorothy Dix: "Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its punishment in silence."

He was never looking for an answer to his question - he was looking for another opportunity to be a smart-ass. Line up the target and then - slam-dunk! Another bitch put in her place - aw, gimme some skin, cyber-bro's! And that's what made me angry. I don't care that he dismissed my pain with some rent-a-quote he'd probably found in a Google search somewhere to make him look clever; hell, if he honestly thought that could crush me his knuckles are dragging a lot lower along the floor than most of his primate ilk. No, I care that there are people like him out there, throwing their toys out of the pram like the babies they are, because somewhere on that massive world wide web those pesky women-types are saying mean things about some o' their bro's. And those big, tough, smart alphas can't allow that, 'cause that's not fair! They're special little snowflakes and nobody gets to say mean things about the bro's, not ever!

So, to those particular members of the male society, I have this message:

Grow the f**k up. (And that's not a word I normally use in these blog posts, but I wouldn't have put it here if it didn't feel completely necessary.) You think you're getting a rough deal, having to listen to women telling you all these things and blaming - gasp! - people of your gender for them? Well try living through some of those things - not just once, but practically every day of your life. Yes my dears, we realise you guys get it hard too, sometimes. Men get raped, men get beaten up, men get screwed over by the courts in child custody cases - men even get falsely accused of crimes against women... we know all of that. And you're allowed to get pissed off about that when it happens, no-one's saying you're not. So... in return, how about you stop telling us we're not allowed to get pissed off about what hurts us, eh? For just five minutes of your bloody lives? If you want us to listen to you, it has to work both ways. Stop shutting us down every time we speak up, stop telling us how we feel and what we go through doesn't matter - and especially stop telling us we deserve to go through what we go through because we're scheming, conniving, manipulative women. You gotta give respect to get respect - and if the reason for your obvious grudge against women is that you feel they don't give you the respect you deserve... well, that might just be the reason that's eluded you thus far.

My post this week originally wasn't going to be about this subject at all - but because one of your kind tried to cut me down and shut women up, it is. You can't crush all of us; you can keep on trying 'til your manly little balls turn blue, but you're wasting your time. There's always going to be enough of us who get right back up again. If you seriously think women need to just live with your dickheadery, because 'being a real man' requires you to helplessly give in to urges from a part of your brain that hasn't evolved past slack-jawed ape-man... well, you're really not fit to be running a chimp's tea party, never mind half the world, are you?

And to the rest of the male population out there - the many decent, kind and intelligent men who treat the women of the world right - thank you for being you. We love and respect you, we really do, even if we don't always show it. And... could you maybe help us out a little, please? See, those dunderheads don't listen to us because we're women. We're The Enemy. But they might listen to you. You don't have to start a fight or anything; even just a cold look or loaded silence when they dial up the douche-talk in your presence would be appreciated.

I'm afraid you'll probably get some flak for it - similar crap to what we get, I'd imagine. But we'll be there for you if that happens. We look out for those who are on our team - and that's more than you can say for the Alpha-Bro's.

Thanks. Normal service will be resumed in my next post.

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