Hello, fellow feminist!
I’m so glad you found time in your schedule to read this. As a feminist, I know you must be busy plotting with your BFFs to infiltrate and take down the most popular clique in school.
No, wait. Sorry – I’m thinking of the plot for Mean Girls. Feminism is the one where we’re trying to create equality and justice and empowerment for marginalized people and all that jazz.
Which might really keep you pretty busy. And if your feminism overlaps at any point with your online life, then I’m sure you know a thing or two about what anti-feminist trolls think of you.
They’re impressed! Sure, they may be hurling insults and demonizing the movement, but if you read between the lines, you’ll see that they think we feminists are capable of some incredible things.
How else would we keep up with all of the conspiracies they’re accusing us of? Apparently, they think we’re responsible for everything from plotting against men to using mind control as part of the Illuminati.
They must believe we have an abundance of power, influence, and organizing skills – not to mention the ability to slow down time or something, so we can find the time for all of this elaborate plotting.
But hey, who am I to argue? I’m only an actual feminist, who knows much more about what the movement is up to than the people who spend their time trolling us.
Unfortunately for the trolls, this means that I see right through their accusations.
Some are based on myths and misunderstandings about what feminism stands for. But it’s not hard to detect that many of these conspiracy theories are just excuses to express some outdated, misogynistic ways of thinking.
Trolls can be tiresome, and I use a variety of strategies to deal with them. But when it comes to these hilariously absurd ideas about what feminism is all about, sometimes all I can do is laugh.
On second thought, that’s not my only option. I can also expose them while I’m at it – dig up just how wrong they are about us. And how, behind the alarms they’re setting off about feminist conspiracies, there’s bigotry that’s so obvious, it’s cringe-worthy.
So in case you didn’t get the memo with the latest iteration of The Feminist Agenda According to Trolls, let me catch you up on what you’re supposed to be up to.
Here are some of our most sinister alleged conspiracies – and what it means that anti-feminists are accusing us of these things.
1. Establishing the Supremacy of Women
Well, we’re not being very careful about concealing this plan, are we?
Our perceptive antagonizers picked up on the obvious correlation between the word “feminism” and the term “female supremacy” – and they’ve decided this means we want women to have power over men.
I guess it’s no use arguing with them about it, because no matter how many times we debunk the myth that feminism is about hating men, anti-feminists insist that man-hating is at the top of our priority list.
Which proves that this conspiracy theory isn’t about what feminists are actually doing. These guys could easily find information about the difference between hating patriarchy and hating men.
If they really paid attention, they’d pick up on the fact that we’re striving for liberation for people of all genders, including men – it has nothing to do with elevating one gender over the others.
But they’re willfully ignoring that information to demonize us as hateful people.
And some of them actually interpret gender equity as oppression against men. Which is pretty telling – it’s only people who are used to privilege who think that equality feels like oppression.
I’m starting to think that anti-feminist men who fear women’s supremacy are really just worried about karma. If you’d been treating women like shit, you might be afraid of how a society with women in charge would treat you, too.
2. Taking Away Everyone’s Right to Free Speech
This plan’s going to be a tough one to carry out.
I mean, the right to free speech is pretty well protected, being in the US Consti-freakin’-tution and all, and we have yet to work out the details of how we’re actually going to muzzle people to keep them from saying whatever they want.
But according to our trolls, the fact that a plan is impossible to carry out has never been enough to keep us from attempting it. So, Operation Shut People the Fuck Up is a go.
The manosphere is really concerned about this one. MRAs and other anti-feminists have created blog posts, videos, and more dedicated to warning their fellow men that the feminists are conspiring to make them free to speak no longer.
We’re coming for their rape jokes. We’re coming for their ableism. We’re “censoring” their harassment on our pages, and we’re not even laughing at their “ironic” racism!
Sure, we say this is just about encouraging people to be thoughtful about the impact of their words. But the way they see it, before they know it, we’re not going to allow them to say anything at all!
What they don’t know is just how long this conspiracy has been in the making – from the time they were children, when the adults in their lives failed to teach them how to be considerate people.
The rest of us just tagged in at the end here. And how were we supposed to know that telling some people to avoid saying offensive things would leave them with nothing to say at all?
3. Destroying Chivalry – And With It, Basic Human Decency
If there’s one thing that gets you down, it’s men being polite – right, feminists?
Eh, that’s probably not quite right. I’m sure you appreciate men being decent human beings just as much as anyone else.
The conversation about the problem with chivalry requires some nuance – thinking about how even seemingly positive cultural norms can be based on benevolent sexism.
That means pointing out when a guy would go out of his way to hold a door open for a woman, but not another man. And examining how gendered norms can have us following misogynistic ideas without even meaning to be hurtful.
But nuance isn’t really an anti-feminist troll’s thing.
They prefer to see it this way: Are you a woman or a feminine person who feels perfectly capable of opening your own doors? Would you prefer to enjoy your day without harassment disguised as “compliments”?
Then congratulations – you’re part of the grand conspiracy to eliminate politeness from our society.
The main targets of this nefarious plan? Men who don’t know how to show “respect” without being lewd or condescending.
Which is pretty alarming, when you think about it. Without these guys waiting to leer at you as you walk through a door, how do you expect to get from one room to another?
4. The Genocide of All Men
Let’s kick it up a notch – because taking down free speech and chivalry is just the beginning. If you’re really committed to feminism, some of the trolls say that means you want to kill all men.
And you know how conspiracies go – we’ve got to keep this under wraps. So, for every move we make to support men’s emotional health, men’s mental health, male survivors of intimate partner violence, male survivors of sexual assault, fathers…
Whew. Sorry, got a little distracted trying to name all of the ways feminism supports men.
Anyway, all of that and more is just an elaborate way to cover up the fact that we actually want to wipe dudes out from the face of the planet. It’s really quite simple.
Step 1: Talk about male privilege, but don’t acknowledge the existence of female privilege.
You know female privilege, right – the privilege of being treated like a delicate flower? Surely this puts us in a position of power.
Step 2: Destroy “real men” by creating space for them to express their emotions and take care of their mental health, instead of turning to self-loathing and aggression.
Step 3: Women inherit the earth. Or all people who aren’t men inherit the earth?
I don’t know – since we feminists talk so much about equality for people of all genders, I get confused about where the genocide of men comes in, but the trolls assure me that it’s on the agenda somewhere.
5. Hoarding All the World’s Sandwiches to Ourselves
Sandwiches. They’re delicious, am I right?
Nobody who wants one should be denied slices of savory goodness between bread – which is exactly why this is our most devious plan of all.
It’s also the one that our trolls seem the most concerned about. Trust me, if you’re ever looking for anti-feminist trolls to at least be original, you’ll be sadly disappointed by the number of them who just go for the tired old “make me a sandwich” comment.
These comments are coming from teenage boys and grown ass men – people you’d think would be capable of making their own sandwiches.
But they’ve revealed to us their greatest weakness – without feminists in the kitchen, they can’t figure out how to stick pieces of food together and shove them into their mouths. The end of heteronormative gender roles means the tragic end of their glorious sandwich-eating days.
Judging by the number of alarmed “make me a sandwich” comments we get, it appears that the people who hold the sandwiches hold the power. And that’s us, feminists.
Did I miss any fun ones? These are just a select few of the things we feminists are supposed to be plotting – but keep a lookout for other conspiracies.
Your fellow feminists could be corrupting children, turning straight women into lesbians, killing humor and more – and you don’t want to miss out on all the fun by focusing only on all that anti-oppression stuff.
But since I’m such a humorless feminist and all, I do have to acknowledge that sometimes these conspiracy theories get to a point that’s not funny anymore. Some trolls use these backwards ideas for harassment, threats, and violence against women and other marginalized folks.
And some of these conspiracies relate to real issues that need our attention – like the fact that men who are survivors need more support from everyone, feminists included.
As fun as it is to laugh off the haters when we can, we can refute their claims without dismissing the importance of these issues or turning to insults that rely on oppressive ideas, like the neckbeard stereotype.
But it’s clear that with these trolls – the ones who come at us like we’re plotting against them, just because we’re aiming for equality – engaging with them isn’t the way to build the change we need. They’re not actually looking to build resources with us.
So you keep doing you. If you’re dealing with online harassment and you need some affirmation, check out Everyday Feminism articles by folks like Carmen Rios and Sian Ferguson.
I’ll see you around the feminist clubhouses and safe spaces (wink, wink – don’t tell the trolls that’s code for our secret conspiracy-planning lairs).
Maisha Z. Johnson is the Digital Content Associate and Staff Writer of Everyday Feminism. You can find her writing at the intersections and shamelessly indulging in her obsession with pop culture around the web. Maisha’s past work includes Community United Against Violence (CUAV), the nation’s oldest LGBTQ anti-violence organization, and Fired Up!, a program of California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Through her own project, Inkblot Arts, Maisha taps into the creative arts and digital media to amplify the voices of those often silenced. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @mzjwords.
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