EarlierÂ this week, we talked a little bit about what we learned about ourselves from our new male commenters, namely, that we play Tiger Beat and should not have the right to vote. This meant we spent the entire week making dirty jokes about what it meant to “play Tiger Beat” and also, thinking. Thinking about how most of the really angry comments we’ve seen – those comments clearly intended to stir up trouble because the commenter is angry – come from people who, at least judging from their usernames, were male people.
And it’s not just us!
Our intern Joanna notes “A couple months ago I won a contest from the Criterion Collection – it was like 22 movies. So my friend and I made a vlog of us opening the videos. It was just supposed to be fun. And the video got so many comments from the Criterion Collection forum and Blueray forums – they apparently exist! – and middle aged men started calling me names. It was things like “who is this dumb bitch, she’s disrespectful, she doesn’t respect the Criterion Collection.” And the video was just me for 5 minutes opening a box of movies and holding them up. I could track where the comments were coming from and the demographic was all 20-30 year old guys. One of the comments was “who is this terrible flighty 20-something female!?” A friend tried to point out I had a film degree, but then I had to write a response trying to defend myself. I think there is an idea that women of a certain age don’t know anything. And I feel certain that never would have happened if I was a man opening a box of movies.”
Right. And if you’d been a man saying you didn’t like women who wore white socks – as Amanda did in one of her posts for us – I doubted you’d be told to “go kill yourself now.” That obviously doesn’t take into account the 40 odd comments just calling her a cunt.
I mean, that seems like a dramatic overreaction to someone not liking white socks, right? Although I do love the sock salesman who points out that “I am a sock salesman and to hear that some fat ugly high school dropout bitch doesnâ€™t like white socks is very disheartening. I sell white socks every day of the year to those who loves them, Itâ€™s a way of life!”
So clearly, there are some people who care very much.
But I thought it was curious that there seemed to be no angry women. But then I thought, “well, maybe that makes sense in this case, as the post is about not wanting to date a certain kind of man.”
So I found a post called “I Swear I Hate Fat Women. They Sux.”
I read the comments on that post to see if there were any women screaming “GO KILL YOURSELF NOW!”
Which I assumed would be the reaction. After all, the two posts seem roughly comparable (except that Amanda’s is, to my mind, well written and, I think, clearly a matter of personal taste). There weren’t any comments telling the writer to kill himself. There were comments like:
There was a time when fat women were jolly like all other fat people. Not true anylonger. They are always complaining and smell. I promised myself I would never date another one. I took one to IHOP and she complained to the waitress, nice looking young lady, constantly. I think the fat pig was jealous. They are terrible people, fat girls.
And the angriest women seemed to reply not with prompts for that man to commit suicide but by saying:
You need help with that attitude. The girl you took was probably insulted by your oggling the pretty girl while she sat at the table for all intents and purposes invisible. Do all large women a favor and stay away from them. You can’t handle all the loving they hold inside themselves. Go get yourself a beanpole.
This surprised me. I mean, we’re often told that women aren’t allowed to be as aggressive in public as men because it’s perceived as being “unladylike.” That explains why we’re not societally allowed to yell at people and challenge them to fights.
But this isn’t society. This is the Internet. This is a place where women can anonymously call people assholes all the time. No one will ever know! Or they might, but only if they were a site admin who dedicated their life to tracking down your IP address’s location! Very few people are actually that obsessive. (On a side note: party at your house next Tuesday, I’m bringing nachos!)
But, in spite of that, women don’t seem to take to trolling. I mean, occasionally, we get wonderful things from women we think might be trolling the Internet to stir up anger like Melinda, who wrote:
“You are all so well versed in manipulating words until their not even mine. Your regular Bill Oâ€™Reileys, all of you. And its not fair. Iâ€™m not stupid, ok? Iâ€™m very smart. My sister was valedictorian of her class at BU. â€śYouâ€™ll never be peopleâ€ť isnâ€™t an insult. Itâ€™s a pitiful fact, none of you are people. Iâ€™m done with this website, why should I give you the satisfaction of more site traffic if Iâ€™m going to be blatantly harassed?
“You’ll never be people.”
Those are gems are as precious as the ones you might find in a troll’s belly.
But those don’t really seem violently hostile. If Melinda is a troll, she’s not a terribly effective one, because rather than making people OMG SO ANGRY, she made people just full of joy, like a watermelon.
Of course, we do few women commenters we see being angry. But they mostly seem angry not because they want to create discord and start a fight, but because their feelings were hurt. Like the lady who wants the man who thinks ‘fat women smell’ to know that those smelly ladies have a lot of love inside them!
Some people point out that I shouldn’t really be surprised by this at all.
Maybe it’s because, as a random office Gadfly speculatesÂ “women – of any age – will never hate men as much as teenage boys hate women.”
In conclusion, there are very few female trolls because women are more virtuous than men. QED.