The top post on the Men’s Rights subreddit at the moment, with more than
300 600 700 net upvotes, is a link to this screenshot, posted as an example of radical feminism gone wild:
Naturally, the assembled Men’s Rights Redditors are outraged yet quiety affirmed in their beliefs by the quote. OuiCrudites responds with a slogan:
And DavidByron demonstrates a severe disconnection from reality:
There’s just one little problem with that rad-fem screenshot they’re all reacting to: it’s, uh, pretty freaking obviously not a quote from a real feminist. Not only is it ridiculously over-the-top — there’s no feminist alive who thinks women shouldn’t be responsible for any of their decisions — but there’s also that “supposed” in the final sentence, which makes it clear this isn’t a comment from a deluded feminist but a sarcastic comment from someone who is not exactly a fan of feminism.
The person who posted the screenshot to the Men’s Rights subreddit did not, alas, post a link to the source of the screenshot. But, making use of a little-known internet technology known as “Google,” I was able to trace it to its source: the comment section on Gawker. Specifically, right here.
Unlike the last screenshot from Gawker media that caused the Men’s Rights subreddit such embarrassment, this screenshot wasn’t doctored. But the screenshotter did leave out a bit of context: that is, if you look at GardeniaBlossom’s comment history, it’s clear that this pretty flower is no radical feminist.
Most of Gardenia’s comments are attacks on fat acceptance; there’s a snarky one insulting prostitutes and a followup suggesting that women dating PUAs shouldn’t be shocked when PUAs sexually harass them; and one, in the comments section to an article about feminism, setting forth the basic MRA talking points about circumcision and female genital mutilation. (You can find more analysis of Gardenia in the AgainstMensRights subreddit; there are also a few — a distinct minority — in the Men’s Rights discussion who suspect a troll.)
I’m guessing Gardinia is, at the very least, a Redditor, if not an active poster to the Men’s Rights subreddit.
MRAs love to claim that I take quotes “out of context,” but I quote liberally, and when I quote and/or post screenshots, I provide links to the quotes in their original contexts — as I have done here. I don’t generally quote comments by obvious trolls, or quotes that have been heavily criticized by others on the sites I find them on.
When I take comments from sites like Reddit or The Spearhead where readers can up- and downvote comments, I tend to quote comments that have received a substantial number of upvotes. When I quote outliers or unpopular comments, I mention this in my posts.
The Men’s Rights subreddit, by contrast, is happy to upvote completely unsourced screenshots without even doing the thirty seconds of Googling it would take to figure out where they come from in the first place. But that sort of makes sense. Given that Men’s Rights Redditors spend so much of their time fighting imaginary straw feminists — and that the entire Men’s Rights movement is in fact built upon fighting straw feminists — why does it matter if the screenshots of evil feminist quotes they like to circle-jerk over are real or forged, or, in this case, actually from a feminist at all?
Fighting imaginary enemies, all in a day’s work for the Men’s Rights Warriors of Reddit Dot Com.
EDIT: I reworked the paragraph starting “There’s just one little problem” to be a bit more blunt.
EDITED TO ADD: Some of the regulars in the Men’s Rights subreddit has discovered this post of mine. The regulars have recognized their folly, and have begun some serious soul-searching about their willingness to believe the literally unbelievable about feminists without even doing the most basic factchecking first.
Nah, just kidding, they still think the screenshot is real — though the subreddit’s mods (apparently having a teensy bit more sense than the subreddit regulars themselves) have finally labelled the screenshot a “fake.” Which isn’t exactly true. It wasn’t fake; it was simply some fairly obvious sarcasm that the regulars in the Men’s Rights were too obtuse to notice. Did none of them even read the comment all the way through to the end?
Also, turns out the TumblrInAction subreddit also had a giant circle-jerk over the screenshot as well, which garnered nearly 700 upvotes and more than 200 mostly outraged and not-in-the-slightest skeptical comments; they also discovered this post of mine and are also continuing to insist that the screenshot was a real feminist probably, honest.