I don’t feel like Internetting today.
This is a problem, because I’ve been trying to record one YouTube video a week and it’s getting late so I planned to do one today. But then I made the mistake of reading the YouTube comments I got today.
I get this shit all the time.
This comment was a response to my video on female genital mutilation (FGM), in which I explain that FGM is an incredibly damaging practice that is often much more invasive than male circumcision. I explain that I oppose all forms of male or female genital mutilation, but I recently saw a video that downplayed the damage FGM does in order to make a better case for ending male circumcision. Misinformation doesn’t help anyone’s cause and so I wanted to help set the record straight.
I actually got one point wrong in that video and have wanted to do an update for some time, but every time I try I get another round of comments like the above and I decide it’s not worth my emotional well-being.
I’ve taken to simply ignoring YouTube comments, but for some reason today I responded. I checked out this guy’s profile (warning, autoplay video) and he subscribes to a lot of science stuff, including good friends of mine like Captain Disillusion. I wanted to know what was happening in this guy’s head. Specifically, I wanted to know why someone would call me a bitch and then write something that I basically said in the video (but a bit more eloquently I hope): genital mutilation is wrong, whether on boys or girls.
Here’s the rest of the conversation (my comments are highlighted):
Did you catch that last bit? He says he only resorted to psychological abuse because I made him upset; therefore, it is my fault that he called me a bitch and an asshole. When I made the parallel to physical abuse and asked if he would support the same thinking, his response is, “. . . every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
This is not a one-off example. I get these responses from men all the time. If you look at the comments on that video in particular, the top-rated comment calls me a “cunt.” That commenter, “eident9“, commented dozens of other times on my videos to alert viewers that I’m a “sexist twit” who only says “offensive” things so I can get more views and make more money.
Because that’s the new meaning of the word “offensive”: a woman who calmly delivers the facts about topics that affect women like female genital mutilation, even when she states clearly that she opposes the practice of cutting boys’ foreskins for non-medical reasons. That’s what it means to be a woman on the Internet who dares to discuss the issues facing women.
So if you’re wondering why women get a little annoyed when the topic of female genital mutilation is diverted to discussing male genital mutilation, remember that this is the response we get. The men who are most loudly arguing against male circumcision are the same men who are telling us we don’t matter, that women’s rights aren’t important, that poor and immigrant women deserve their fate, that the lives of women in developing countries are literally worth less than the lives of men (see above), and that a woman deserves physical and psychological abuse if she does something to upset a man.
And that’s why I don’t feel like Internetting today.