As a student of the art of narcissistic rationalization, it’s often hard to divine what part of the religion of emotion drives otherwise ordinary people to feel compelled to put their feelz on display for all to see. There is a bizarre belief, that such people ascribe to reason, that they are entitled to express their deepest feelings, coupled with the entitlement not to have anyone read what they’ve written and reply that they’re absolutely full of shit.
Go figure. So when I stumbled upon a master’s thesis in narcissism, I took notice. It began with a pedestrian effort in self-absorption.
I am tired of men thinking they are entitled to my attention because they find me attractive.
I am tired of men thinking I owe them something as a thanks for them finding me attractive.
I am tired of men reducing me to my attractiveness.
I am tired of being on display.
It goes on and on, its author apparently thinking very well of her own beauty. But it’s hardly new. This gig was done by Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles, and Mel Brooks did a much better job of it.
For reasons unknown, it caught the attention of a great many who took issue with the author’s shifting of blame for her misery of being so darn attractive, catching 458 comments, most of which were unfavorable to her whining and blaming.
The next day, the author, Elyse Anders, doubled down in a post entitled I’m Sorry You Are So Exhausting. There is a pic of a woman giving readers the finger, and it’s unclear whether this is Anders or a stock photo called “woman giving finger.”
Now I’m hardly the best judge anymore, being well past the age of interest in such things, but this pic raises two issues. First, it doesn’t strike me as the act of a person who wants to be left alone. Second, if this is the author, and I believe it is, perhaps Anders isn’t quite as attractive as she thinks she is. Just sayin’.
Apparently enjoying the passive/aggressive nature of the response to her post the day before, Anders decided to goad readers by offering them the comfort of her insight into what drove comments to her:
But men are mad. They are so angry that I said these things about my existence and my life. They are mad I targeted men, as a gender, in a conversation about the way men treat me on a daily basis. I am talking about men. I am talking about masculinity. I am talking about patriarchy and I am talking about male culture and male entitlement. I AM TALKING ABOUT MEN.
And I understand that anger. I understand why you are mad. I understand it because I can envision what it is like to be a man, going about your life, and learning that you are not the arbiter of women’s worthiness when you always assumed you were.
Classic begging the question, creating one’s own assumption and then using it to prove one’s point. I told you this was good stuff. Even though question begging is now a fixture of the slackoisie view of the world, few do it this well.
You were angry because I called the shot about where I stand. And I said, unapologetically, that I am aware of the fact that men find me fuckable.
So be done with it. I am tired of you. And I am going to take a nap.
I love naps, but that really wasn’t the point of the post. And Anders’ second round attracted 147 comments, many from women emoting their support and sisterhood.
Having thus successfully proven her virtual attractiveness twice, at least in comments, Anders tempted fate by going for three, this time in a post called The War on Speech, which is the one that first caught my attention.
I think there is a part of internet culture that really believes these women bring this upon themselves by being so loud and so outspoken and so brazen and so public, they should expect backlash. While I completely disagree with this sentiment, I think there is maybe something in there where it seems just unrelatable to the average person because most of these women have achieved some level of fame and notoriety. It seems like a thing that happens to famous people. It’s horrific, but it’s not the norm.
Shy and demure people are always surprised when anyone notices them. Even when they rant about their attractiveness and irresistibility to the opposite sex.
Trolling is an assault on women. It is an organized weapon of terrorism used to silence feminist voices. The abuse is a mob attack, flooding our inboxes and comments Twitter mentions and Facebook pages, so that there is nowhere we can go online without seeing how little the world thinks of us. How little the world wants us to exist. It is an act of terrorism designed to force us into facing that, more of that, escalating levels of that… or being silent. It is an act of war against feminism. And if you do not relent, they will not only come after you, but your family, your friends, your job. Their goal is not only to drive you into silence, but to wipe your presence from the earth. And if you even hint at criticizing these actions, you are un-ironically accused of trampling on “free speech” and are subject to more abuse as punishment for taking away their fundamental human right to call you a stupid cunt on Squarespace as the Founding Fathers intended.
Bingo. This is the sort of stuff worthy of study, worthy of scrutiny. A person pens a rant attacking men for making her tired about her attractiveness and publishes it on the internet. Other people respond to her rant. They are trolls. See? Even I can learn a thing or two.
Their weaponized speech can and will wear you down. It will seep into every part of your existence. You walk the world wondering who knows who you are. You wonder who wants to hurt you. Your mental health takes a beating. Even while you soldier on with a brave face, you grow weary. Even if you continue, you do so at an expense, and that is your tithe for daring to be a woman on the internet. That is your fine for speaking up on your behalf.
It’s totally understandable why Anders is exhausted. I’m exhausted trying to make sense of this gibberish, though I really like the phrase “weaponized speech,” much in the same way as calling accusers “survivors” catches my eye.
You see, what is usually overlooked is that Anders has a right to rant. She also has a right not to be worn down by the weaponized speech of those who disagree with her rant. And isn’t it understandable how tired all of this makes her? Where is your empathy?
But on the other hand, Anders is basking in the warmth of her humblebrag attention, passively/aggressively demanding more, particularly the embrace of her speech victimhood. And anyone who thinks otherwise is a troll engaged in an “act of war against feminism.” I’m exhausted just trying to make sense of this.