CN: reference to rape, DV, suicide, suicide encouragement, threats of violence etc
Every who’s ever showed even the slightest of feminist tendencies online, or who has the temerity to exist in an online space while being a woman, trans, black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous, and/or any other marginalised identity has come across the anti-SJW troll at least once in their life. Even as someone who’s relatively new to the concept of truly dedicated trolling, I’m already getting to the point where I shrug it off as something that happens because the world is full of arseholes. I don’t like having to accept this, but to remain astonished and angry for any length of time over this is just a waste of my energy – especially when I could be putting that energy into something productive, like making content that pisses these whiny little manbabies off.
But a thought occurred to me yesterday, and it’s one that I’m sure has occurred to many in the same position, and that is: what the hell is the point of all this hate?
I have a very small online presence. I produce a hell of a lot of content for very little return. I have a whole 15 subscribers on my YouTube channel, and most of them aren’t watching all 8 videos I post every single week. This in itself is fine. I’m new to the internet, and it takes time – sometimes several years – to build up even a small following. Since I’ve only been making this content since the beginning of the year, I don’t expect to get very far for at least another year or more. That said, I’ve already managed to attract more than one very dedicated anti-SJW troll, and a regular stream of one-off anti-SJWs who like to visit my channel, watch my videos, and explain to me why I’m not the gender that I am, why I will eventually end up committing suicide, and why I’m generally a piece of human trash. These trolls are far more dedicated than the friends and genuine followers who actually enjoy my content, to the point where they’ve more than tripled my watch stats.
Let that sink in for a moment. These trolls, who don’t come to my page looking for debate or discussion, but who come to insult and belittle, have literally tripled my viewership. That right there is dedication.
And I can’t help but wonder why.
Why would they bother coming over to a channel that has virtually no impact, takes up virtually no online space, simply to yell into the void? (And since I moderate my comment section, this is literally what they’re doing.) What’s the point?
The point is that these people are afraid. The vast majority of anti-feminists and anti-social justice “activists” I’ve met aren’t interested in actual action. They are simply afraid that their small, limited understanding of the world isn’t right, and their response is to shout at people who challenge them until they stop talking. These people don’t care that no one is listening to me, it’s enough that someone might. They will spend literally hours trawling through Instagram posts, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and Tumblr blogs, searching out anyone who might have the temerity to exist outside their worldview, so they can tell them to fuck off and die.
Many of these people talk about feminism as anti-man, anti-white, anti-whatever-privileged-group-they’re-currently-a-part-of. They talk about the problems of men, such as higher suicide rates, prison rape, child custody battles, shorter life expectancies, and they will bemoan the concept of male privilege as a feminist conspiracy in order to keep men down. And yet their solution isn’t to study male suicide rates and figure out why they’re so high. (Feminist academics have already taken on that topic, and have discovered, lo and behold, that patriarchal expectations of stoic masculinity are a major contributor, among other things.) They don’t work on providing men-only shelters for men who are DV victims, or men-only support groups for men who are survivors of rape. They don’t put in any work whatsoever, in fact. What they do is attack feminists online. And “attack” is an accurate term. This kind of trolling is an act of violence.
And this tells you all you need to know about how serious they are about their concerns. They don’t really care about any of the issues listed above. In fact, many of these groups are the first to ridicule men who are survivors of rape, particularly if the rapist was a woman. They are completely uninterested in men who are suffering mental illness, or who truly want to raise their own children. These issues only become important to them when they think they can use them against feminists. Because the real threat to men, as far as they’re concerned, is the loss of male privilege that will inevitably come with the success of feminism. The real threat to these men is that marginalised people, people over whom they have had power, are finding their own voices, creating their own spaces, making art for themselves, and no longer giving two shits about catering to white men.
This is the real reason why they shout at feminists and marginalised people online. They are afraid that they will no longer be dominant. They are afraid that they will no longer be the centre of every discussion. They are afraid that other voices will be heard – perhaps more loudly than theirs. So they shout, they curse, they send threats, they tell people to kill themselves. They scream at marginalised people in order to silence us. And the saddest part? It often works. There’s only so much shit someone can wade through before they give up. And this is especially true for small creators like me, who don’t have a following to help me fight back, who don’t have that encouragement of knowing I have a positive impact. Not everyone can take that, day after day.
The truth is, anti-SJW trolling doesn’t have any purpose beyond silencing anyone they consider a threat to white male power. The good news is that they aren’t winning. The internet has created such a vast array of platforms for marginalised people to speak from, and we are speaking. Things might not be going so great right now, but we aren’t sitting down, and we aren’t being quiet. We aren’t letting the trolls silence us. We aren’t letting them win.
All Rights Reserved to Cambrey Payne 2017