I have a vagina and an opinion. Naturally this cannot go unpunished. Twitter trolls, mediocre white dudes I went to high school with and that guy named Chaz who watched me on Youtube and thinks he can’t be sexist because he has a sister have all taken it upon themselves to put me in my place. If I’ve learned anything from getting into Twitter fights with people whose profile picture is Hillary Clinton with a bullet in her head, it’s that these trolls are the true experts on sexism. Here are seven times I’ve received a much-needed schooling about what’s really sexist. Hint: It’s me!
1. That time I tweeted about how a man tried to mansplain sexism to me and then got a barrage of tweets from men mansplaining how the word “mansplain” is sexist.
Can you believe I almost got away with suggesting that sometimes men feel the need to take over conversations by offering their unsolicited opinions? Luckily these guys jumped in and helped me realize that it’s sexist to ever mention the sexism I experience daily. If you are a man with a Ph.D in what women go through, feel free to add your voice to this valuable conversation by following me on Twitter.
2. When I challenged the #NotAllMen army by suggesting they maybe, I don’t know, just shut up and listen to women?
Ah, here I go again thinking that I have the right to dictate the terms of a dialogue. Silly me! Why talk about how we can stop sexual harassment when we can just talk about how most men are just fine? I’m so grateful these guys stopped me from alienating them by asking that they let someone else speak for once. Close call!
3. When I stood on stage and suggested that instead of killing all of the men, we just make them our unpaid interns.
Boy, I sure was out of line punching up at the vulnerable men who sit atop the power hierarchy. What did I think I was doing, trying to challenge the delicate sensibilities of the same men who would catcall me on the street? A fool’s errand. Next time I’ll stick to the jokes about how low my self-esteem is. Thanks for the wake up call, boys!
4. When I purposely booked mostly women on my comedy shows.
Ugh, sometimes I just get so caught up in how the patriarchy is trying to take my rights away that I forget to value women as little as society does. Trying to level the playing field by booking women on comedy shows that are usually oversaturated with bearded white dudes is probably as retrograde as a gal can get. The male experience simply doesn’t get enough attention these days, you know?
5. Any time I have dared to mention the word “rape.”
I really need to work on keeping my emotions in check. Some brave men have pointed out that when I don’t, I tend to end up dropping the “R” bomb. This makes them uncomfortable and attacked. I can’t imagine what that must be like! I guess I should just get over my rape and stop hurting the men in my life by bringing it up—it’s just too triggering for guys who live in terror that they might someday be falsely accused. I’m so blessed to have these men reminding me to check my rape privilege!
6. When I supported Hillary Clinton.
Here I was thinking that I voted for Hillary because a) I’m a registered Democrat, b) I agree with a lot of her politics and c) I wanted to stop the pile of putrid garbage she was running against. Dumb, dumb, dumb! I was clearly only supporting her because she’s a woman and I am sexist against men, which is a thing that is possible. Thank God the same men who spread rumors about her corruption, while ignoring comparable rumors leveled against male politicians, were able to save me from myself. Everything’s great now!
7. Anytime I made a Facebook post about how sometimes men can be bad.
As someone who has spent her whole life being objectified, belittled and harassed and/or assaulted by men, I was way out of line here. I would like to take this moment to apologize to any man I have asked to put aside his God complex and acknowledge the harm that he or his peers may have inflicted on women. Women have only been oppressed for, what, a couple centuries?, and it’s not really that big of a deal. I should just relax and focus my attention on stroking the egos of those who have never been subjected to violent oppression in the history of civilization. And pre-civilization! My bad, dudes.
I look forward to being called sexist for writing this. Carry on! Oh, and here’s my Twitter again.
Irene Fagan Merrow is a comedian and writer based in Brooklyn.