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Online Debates

 

As a feminist who spends a fair amount of time online, I have battled many argumentative, willfully ignorant, entitled men who think debating me is some sort of sport that is either won or lost when, in reality, this is my life and not a game. I feel compelled to defend my lived experiences that are constantly challenged or dismissed completely. I hate this sort of debate because I hate when people tell me how I ought to feel and question the validity of my reality.

 

Given that we live in a white supremacist misogynistic society, there is no space for which these commenters feel uncomfortable sharing their terrible opinions on equal pay, racial profiling and gender identity. I try to delete as many comments as possible because engaging in a back-and-forth with these people never works. This is because some people are determined to believe the earth is flat when they are given empirical evidence that it is round.

 

The insistency in which these commenters harass people online speaks to their self-importance and entitlement. White men have been told their entire lives how important and great they are. Therefore, it does not surprise me that they confidently share their (subpar) opinions with everyone as if they are words from God himself.

 

The fact is, many white men are lost, angry and confused. They were once kings of their own castle and now that women and minorities have rights, it’s upsetting to share the wealth and privileges they believe only belongs to them. In other words, for those who are accustomed to so much privilege, equality can feel like oppression. While America’s white working class has suffered and the American dream is no more, that doesn’t mean you can rage online and hurt others because you yourself are hurting.

 

The backlash I face online when discussing politics makes me ask, why are women being subjugated and condemned? Centuries of cultural conditioning tells us that women are supposed to be silent, deferential, private and selfless. In my experience, the ways certain men respond to this is extremely strategic. First, they attempt to destabilize and silence women by making silence feel safer than talking. Second, they attempt to re-direct conversations away from the issues that women were trying to discuss in the first place.

 

Having to devote a large portion of time to dealing with, fending off or discussing harassment takes a lot of time and energy away from working for change. It seems the harassers know this so they tag their friends in the conversation just to monopolize more of your life through constant notifications/reminders. If you really want to know exactly the kind of harassment I am talking about, watch Marina’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbbbF5pACsk

 

 

I graduated from Queen's University in 2017 with a BA in Gender Studies and English Literature. 
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