Friends, it’s time we talked about #FartRape. Yeah, I said it: “Fart Rape.” It recently came to my attention that Gary Holt, guitarist for the metal bands Slayer and Exodus, made a t-shirt to sell to fans that says “Fart Rapist” on it. He posted it on his Instagram along with the caption, “Some feminists seem to think farts are a form of sexual dominance and rape!!! Rape is no laughing matter, in any way for sure, but FART RAPE IS!!!! Hell, I sometimes rape the entire gift shop at the airport with some well-timed “crop dusting!” Who hasn’t been fart raped! Who hasn’t committed the act themselves!!”
I had so many questions: what? Also, what? And, what the actual fuck? Also, what the fuck?
So I take it that Gary thinks “fart rape” is some big feminist concept, which obviously it is not. Like, that’s the tl;dw of this video: I had to fucking research this bullshit and it’s not real. At all. As far as I can tell, no serious feminist group in the history of ever has seriously proposed this. Like, I don’t speak for all feminists (no one does), and there are some fucking bonkers individual feminists out there who will say some truly bonkers stuff, but I can say with some degree of certainty that feminists do not, in general, consider farting to be “sexual dominance” and “rape.” Anyway, Gary went on to say “I am NOT ANTI FEMINISM IN ANY WAY.”
This is like saying “I’m not an anti-semite but I’m disgusted by all those Jews who have orgies and then when the orgy results in a baby they kill the baby and turn it into small cakes that they consume for power.” “I’m not anti-feminist but I credulously believe ridiculous, derogatory things I hear about feminists without checking to see if they’re true.” Sure! Sure, Gary.
I was curious where he got this idea so I started searching around. Most of the results I found were men’s rights activists claiming that feminists believed in “fart rape,” and laughing about that while linking back to other MRA forums for proof that feminists believed this. The earliest reference I could find came from December 22, 2013, posted on The Waterpipe, a blog run by an anonymous MGTOW (so named for “Men Going Their Own Way,” basically men who hate women so much that they refuse to even try to convince women to fuck them. His only posts are “Are Chimps smarter than Feminist?”, “Why criticism of communism is misogyny,” “Feminist advise women to avoid feminist men,” and the star piece, “Can a fart be misogynist?”
In that post, the anonymous angry man describes a meeting at University of Toronto, in which “top feminist academics” gathered “to discuss if human flatulence could be sexist.” He didn’t link to anything besides a Google map location of University of Toronto — no flyer, no other write-up of this event, nothing. He states (all sic), “Ashleigh Ingle a proud feminist and an anarchist argued that because of patriarchal gender norms women were not allowed to release gas in public because of men’s unreal expectations of women to be clean and feminine. Furthermore she articulated that if a woman was to fart in the presence of a man and the man responded by farting louder than the woman, than that would be rape.”
He then says that “Local activist Steph Guthrie” agreed and created the hashtag “#FartRape” which “has started to trend as women are taking control of their own bodies by naming and shaming men guilty of fart rape. Guthrie hopes the guilty men will be identified and then their workplace will be called up and their employer will be notified the type of person they are harboring in the workplace.”
The named women are real feminists who are (or were) based in Toronto. I tried to contact them through email and Twitter but it’s been about a week and I haven’t heard back so I’m guessing they either didn’t see the messages or they don’t want to talk about this, and honestly I can’t blame them if that’s the case. If you Google their names, all the results are about fart rape and they are all from MRAs and other assorted alt-right misogynists howling with laughter about how stupid they are specifically and feminists are in general.
But did they ever actually say anything the anonymous blogger quotes? I looked a little deeper to see if this meeting at University of Toronto even happened, and what I found was that yes, it did. An event called “Disorientation Week: Gender Revolt” took place in the autumn of 2013, and there were many panels over the course of a week or so discussing topics like consent and free education. Only one of those panels featured Ashley Ingle and Steph Guthrie — it was called “What’s Wrong with the MRA? The Problem of Men’s Rights Organizing,” and it covered the history of the Men’s Rights Movement, the problem of MRAs harassing and threatening women, and myths promoted by MRAs.
How do I know what was covered in the course of a conversation that was mostly extemporaneous? Well, that’s thanks to A Voice for Men, probably the most famous MRA gathering place on the internet. AVfM were so scared of this student meeting that one of them attended this panel and recorded the entire thing, which I have now had the pleasure of listening to. He also provided copious notes on what happened throughout the two hours in case you don’t feel like listening, though he didn’t take notes for Q&A so I had a friend (thanks PrettiestPwny!) double-check that part of the recording and guess what? Not once in the course of this serious feminist discussion (which, I will mention, often centered on the importance of real resources for men), did anyone mention farts. No once. The undercover MRA didn’t mention it in his notes, and I didn’t hear it mentioned once in the two-hour recording. Weird! Nothing about farts, nothing about fart rape, and nothing about a social media campaign to call out men who “fartrape” and get them fired from their jobs.
As for that social media campaign, I doublechecked that, too, just in case. And no, prior to the publishing of the anonymous Waterpipe post, there were no Tweets with the hashtag #fartrape referring to the “feminist” concept of men farting on women without permission.
So a misogynist with an axe to grind completely made up a story about two very real feminist activists ini the hopes of smearing their name and making feminists look stupid. And now, it’s fucking everywhere, including under a lot of headlines reading, ironically, “sadly, I’m afraid this is real” and “of course fart rape is a thing.” And it’s to the point where famous metal guitarist Gary Holt is selling tshirts and getting 15,000 likes for really sticking it to feminists, even though he’s totally not anti-feminist you guys. Why? Because misogynists are fucking morons. One of them made up a story about how stupid feminists are and ended up proving how gullible misogynists are.
I want to believe that Gary Holt is smarter than this, so if you see this Gary, maybe consider letting your legion of fans know that it’s not the feminists who are gullible idiots.