The “Not All Men” Meme
Much of the recent feminist trolling began by objecting to the “not all men” rebuttal. Let’s pretend that a group of women are having an angry conversation and making blanket statements about all members of the male sex such as “men are scum because (they want to rape you/they don’t respect you in the workplace/they want to take away your right to choose/etc)”. If you, as a man, point out the obvious flaw in their argument that “not all men” are uniform in beliefs and actions, than you’re most definitely that very misogynist scum they are referring to due to mentioning the “not all men” rebuttal.
In an effort to shut down this rebuttal, memes were created and shared by many feminists. Pointing out that men are not a homogeneous group runs counter to their male bashing and misandry-based trolling. Stereotyping all members of a vast group as being uniform is a key lesson taught in Trolling 101, hence, the need amongst these trolls arose to stigmatize this valid rebuttal.
Following widespread objection to the “not all men” meme and where people identified this obvious attempt to stigmatize a valid counterpoint, a need arose for a new strategy that would allow stereotyping all of the male sex without people replying with valid counterpoints. The killing spree in Isla Vista, California by Elliot Rodger on May 23, 2014, was just what these trolls were looking for and they immediately took to social media to capitalize on it.
Of course, Elliot Rodger does not represent all men. He was an individual who ranted on Youtube that it wasn’t fair that women never had coitus with him and as such he was going to ‘make them pay.’ Even to an untrained observer, he had deep-rooted psychological problems. There were red flags, and he did see therapists. Most likely he had a severe case of antisocial personality disorder and schizophrenia.
The basis of his violence was his mental illness. When someone goes into their workplace and engages in a killing spree, it is followed by thoughtful public sentiments on mental illness and the need for treatment intake. The narrative is not a rage that ‘all employees in the world inherently want to kill their coworkers.’
But Elliot Rodger and his Youtube rants provided a golden opportunity to many Feminist Trolls for slacktivism. Born out of this is the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter. It is a play on the failed “not all men” meme, and tweets to this hashtag are mostly generalizations of all men as if the male sex is a uniform group in beliefs and actions. As the killing spree is still emotionally recent, these trolls likely feel there is immunity to make blanket statements about all men without worry about that valid and pesky “not all men” rebuttal. Here’s two examples: “#YesAllWomen know men expect you to put out if they buy you a chicken dinner” or “deep down I’m afraid of men as they have rape fantasies about women #YesAllWomen.” In my experience, most men do not subscribe to these notions; in particular, the gay males that I know certainly would object. It is an inconvenient truth for the Feminist Trolls that not all men are uniform in beliefs, personality, and actions.
Even Feminists Are Not a Uniform Group
The feminist blogosphere has many examples to indicate that they are not homogeneous in belief but rather are comprised of individuals. Recently there was a rift in popular belief when the Oxford Dictionary made “selfie” their 2013 Word of the Year. The following are the two primary sides of the debate.
One feminist argument opposing the selfie is that, in short, the selfie is not empowering but is a reflection that society teaches women that they are merely decorations and must advertise their physical attractiveness. Posting a selfie is done because they cannot derive self-worth themselves, it must be given to them by others.
The other feminist argument on the ‘pro-selfie’ side is that, in short, posting selfies is a part of ‘girl pride’ and is a response to the ‘be a good girl’ culture that society instills. Posting selfies on social media is all about celebrating themselves which is okay (since men celebrate themselves excessively), and is not about attention-seeking or narcissism.
As we can see, feminists in the blogosphere are not uniform in belief. The selfie debate illustrates that they can fundamentally recognize that not all members of a group are uniform in belief, yet when it comes to men, this fact is conveniently ignored (hence, trolling).
Two recent efforts have been made in a trolling effort by many feminists: spreading a meme in an attempt to stigmatize an obvious and valid response to bashing all men (the “not all men” rebuttal). This was followed by capitalizing on a killing spree by a mentally ill individual in a renewed effort to stigmatize valid counterpoints and treat all members of the male sex as being uniform and inherently evil. During all of this, we can remember that Feminist Trolls are indeed trolls because while they can recognize that there are individuals and differences in perspectives (as seen in their blogosphere), they strategically choose to treat all members of a group as homogeneous and malevolent.
That’s strategy right out of the Introduction to Trolling textbook!
The Midtown Troll