I made a status yesterday about how I have a lot of respect for women who are highly assertive of their boundaries and how even if I don’t agree with them it’s still impressive to me because that’s really hard to do under patriarchy.
You probably know that’s not what this post is actually going to be about though, is it?
These are the first comments on this thread. This man, who I shall just refer to as Manarchist, is not someone who I know. I have never seen him before in my life and none of our mutual friends had interacted with my status thus putting it in his feed. Automatically that skeeves me out. I’m highly suspicious of strange men commenting on my profile. This story will be a p good example as to why. I honestly feel like I was very patient with him though I do admit that I was treating him with hesitation, but that hesitation was well-warranted given the huge amount of red flags contained in just his first few posts. In fact, I went through his posts, line by line, and outlined what, specifically, he had said that gave me cause for concern and why.
I interpreted these flags as having 1 of 2 origins. 1) he’s just a sexist appropriating feminist terminology for personal gain or 2) he’s rather new to feminist theory and doesn’t quite grasp some of the finer points yet. I chose to assume number 2 and help him understand, in detail, what I was saying.
The next 250+ comments and 5 hours was spent with Manarchist just digging himself deeper and deeper and getting more defensive. Which in and of itself would probably make me want to talk about this here. But this thread got much, much worse. My friends came to my defense and Manarchist buckled down in his claims that he was being “attacked” and that I was “mischaracterizing” his arguments. He tried to claim that I was a TERF for denying his assertion that feminism is simply about femininity vs masculinity to which my trans friends in the thread replied by making themselves visible and he didn’t return to this argument. He actually made his first “I’m leaving” comment immediately in reply to my 17 bullet points, though if I had a dollar…
I asked Manarchist multiple times to show me how it was that I was mischaracterizing his positions. I told him that I wanted to be wrong about him because I *did*. I would have loved to have been wrong tonight. It would have been a much healthier night. A friend who had encounter Manarchist before provided a copy pasta of him defending the word “cunt” which immediately invalidates pretty much the entirety of his original claims about how he handles patriarchy. Friends of friends were commenting on the thread and soon someone spoke up saying they thought “cunt” was ok sometimes and I immediately said that I don’t allow that language nor defense of it on my wall. One of my male comrades replied with an apology and asking me if he should delete his comment. Later in the thread I highlighted this behavior as an example of how to properly handle criticism from a woman but I feel like it went ignored both times by Manarchist. At this point Manarchist began offering non-apologies like “I apologize. But i said good day for a reason, my opinions are clearly not welcome or appreciated" There he goes with that "but" statement! As well as more tone policing as he tried to shame me for my justified reaction to his sexism. And for the record, the two words "I apologize" do not, in fact, constitute a real apology. It shows the person you’ve hurt absolutely no proof that you know what you’ve done, how it’s hurt them, that you’re remorseful, nor what you’re going to do to fix it.
So I rejected his non-apology and provided him to a link to how real apologies are constructed. His response is to continue to paint himself as a poor misunderstood man. He also criticized us for our lack of “manners” as if he had the moral high ground when he chose to mansplain to a woman he didn’t even know. He also called my 17 bullet points “strawmen” but refused to elaborate on how they were strawmen. When I addressed his manners argument, though I never once mentioned his mother, his response was “Stating that my mother raised me is sexist?” Which honestly? That’s deliberately misreading someone’s comment if they never even said anything about your mother raising you. He keeps insisting that I’m strawmanning him without explaining how so I back up the thread to my first three bullet points which are what I found wrong with his very first comment. At the same moment, however, Manarchist began accusing me of gaslighting him. That’s right. He accused me of gaslighting him as a means of gaslighting me. That’s some meta-manarchist shit.
I’m an abuse survivor so gaslighting, is something I’m far more familiar with than I would like to be. I warned Manarchist that it was at this point that he had started to cross some very real lines with me because of my being a survivor and was about to piss me off. His response? To keep insisting that I was gaslighting him. For the entire rest of the thread. The entire rest of the thread was a mix of half-baked fake apologies, more misrepresentations of what was being said to him, and worst of all, an insistence by him that I needed to accept his apologies. I refused to do so. None of them were real and even if they had been, I still don’t accept it. I have no obligation to. He began begging me to accept his apology and when I absolutely would not he told me that I was being ableist for doing so because he’s on the spectrum. 3 of the people commenting on this status immediately piped up that they, too, were on the spectrum and that he was engaging in incredibly manipulative behavior (gaslighting) and that they didn’t approve nor did they agree with his claim of ableism. He kept saying that he was leaving the thread and then would come back to tell us to stop replying to the thread after he left. The thread on … my wall… He insisted he had no idea what he had done wrong, even though I continued to outline everything every step of the way (including, again, a *17 point* list at the very beginning which he all but ignored even existed).
It was at this point though that I finally reached an emotional tipping point:
I suffer from suicidal ideations too, which he had no way of knowing how triggering this was for me, but this just isn’t the fucking shit you say to strangers. You do not accuse strangers on the internet that you harass of driving you to suicide because they won’t accept your fake apologies for that harassment! As someone who has suicidal ideations and someone who deals with a lot of bullshit online, the thought of driving someone to suicide is literally the worst thing I can think of doing to another human being. It is precisely THAT scenario that I’m trying to avoid when I’m patient with people. Which for the most part in this thread, I was. I got really fucked up from this and began overanalyzing my actions and starting to buy into his gaslighting that somehow I, the victim, had been abusive to him, the abuser. Which started me on a really long dark spiral that brought up a lot of past abuse and internalized gaslighting and misogyny and I was in a really dark place for awhile. I was also angry because his gaslighting *worked*. I felt sorry for him. And that made me angry. I felt sorry for a guy who I had done nothing wrong to and who, in fact, had wronged me and didn’t feel sorry for me at all. That’s not right. That’s emotional manipulation and that’s abusive behavior and you just don’t treat other human beings that way.
After several minutes he returned to the thread and said, in part, “No, there won’t be any blood and I’m sorry for letting my emotions blow up like that” and went back to insisting that I had to accept his apology or else I wasn’t a “good person.” I had to disengage with the thread soon after and since part of what this guy’s problem is, is being a last worder I just let him have the last word and tried to let the thread die as I coped with how it was affecting me.
But that still wasn’t the end.
2 hours later when I was starting to finally be ok and come back out of my funk Manarchist sends me a PM saying “So…I just want to say I’m not a manarchist”. I became infuriated again. If I didn’t reply the chances of him continuing to harass me were incredibly high. If I did reply though, he would either confront the reality of his wrongdoing and we could amicably go our separate ways, or he would keep digging and I could just block him and be done with it. Which I should have just done but there was something about the way he was appropriating feminist terminology to use it against me that was just enraging me. I decided to respond and I explained to him that it’s not up to him to decide if he’s a manarchist, it’s up to the women who he encounters. I also explained that what he had done by sending me a PM was classic sexist behavior designed to isolate and intimidate women and that it creates a scary situation for women in general. I, again, was assuming he was coming from a place of ignorance since a lot of guys actually don’t realize that. He replied:
I was actually more interested in a conversation without the groupthink and pressure ofnpuic shaming, but alright. You’ve made up your mind.
Have a nice life, I hope you are successful in whatever endeavors you pursue.
and it was on again. I had JUST explained to him why trying to isolate me from the group was an intimidation tactic and he didn’t even acknowledge that and instead actually acted as though it was totally ok for him to behave in this way. I told him for the umpteenth time that the way he was responding to me was showing me that he wasn’t actually sorry for hurting me. He was sorry that he got hurt from hurting me. He was making the entire thing about him and being completely insincere and expecting me to just deal with it when I had been very calm, and direct and plain about my boundaries and where he was violating them and what he was doing that was upsetting me from a feminist perspective and as a woman. I also tried, and failed, to explain why “have a nice life” is not a genuine sentiment but rather a sarcastic one. Which he of course responded to with “Telling you to sincerely have a nice life is sexist?”
Finally, FINALLY, he said “goodbye” in a way that made me think it could actually maybe BE goodbye and so I took the opportunity to not have to add to my block list and instead just be very clear about what I wanted and told him
if you actually listen to one thing that i say let it be this: make that your last goodbye to me. do not come back to my page. do not contact me again.
as you wish.
So I said:
k that means starting now buddy
And again, he replied:
Alright. I understand. Please stop replying. The buzzing in my pocket is getting obnoxious.
So I said:
You’re the one who needs to stop replying because i’ve told you to stop contacting me. so stop contacting me.
what you’re doing is harassment and you need to fucking stop
And his final words were:
Whatever. I’m just gonna block you and be done with it. I asked you politely to stop replying. You are harassing me. If you reply again I will contact the authorities, as much as it pains me to do so.
Yeah. That happened.
A Manarchist spent nearly half a fucking day harassing me, dismissing me, mansplaining to me, condescending me, gaslighting me, emotionally manipulating and abusing me, and when I told him that I didn’t want him to contact me ever again he had the fucking nerve to NOT ONLY tell me that I was harassing *him* but that if I didn’t stop doing so *he would call the fucking pigs*. An “anarchist” threatened to “contact the authorities” about another leftist. If that doesn’t violate everything I know about anarchism I don’t fucking know what does.
And to top it all off, the fact that he blocked me before I could block him robbed me of one last slice of control. I didn’t have control from start to finish in this conversation. A status that was about my appreciation for other women became this manarchist’s stage where the light shone on him because of course he’s the most important piece of shit in the world! So it SHOULD be about him! And now I don’t even have control over his ability to harass me in the future. In less than half a day this man went from “ok that comment is making me raise my eyebrows at you” to *threatening to sick the fucking pigs on me*. Which means I have NO IDEA if he’s going to actually leave me alone from now on. I have NO IDEA if he’s going to keep me blocked or if he’s going to unblock me at a later date to continue harassing me. I have NO IDEA if this is the start of a new stalker or if this is the actual end of one of the worst abuses I’ve endured on the internet thus far. That fucking scares me.
When I made a status about how this ordeal made me feel and what had happened it came to light that a male comrade of mine had tried to approach him privately to try to set him straight and he accused him, too, of harassment and also told him that the cops were on their way to my comrade’s house.
This behavior is downright dangerous and I’m legitimately concerned for not only my safety, but mostly for the safety of anyone who is in contact with this guy. If he’s willing to make threats to call the pigs on people that he harasses on the internet when they stand up to him, how does he react at protests when someone looks at him funny?
This is the sort of extreme misogyny that women on the Left have to endure and that men on the Left often tell us doesn’t even exist. This is the sort of extreme misogyny that pushes us out of the movement entirely because fuuuuuuuuuuuck thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.