The reason I queued several posts recently in short order about #eseld is that I’ve met her before. Or, more accurately, I’ve met her mindset.
I keep mentioning the term “masochistic lie”, from JREF. It was originally coined to refer to 9/11 Truther arguments, but is commonly used by most conspiracy theorists, including feminists. I used to spend a lot of time at JREF, back when the 9/11 subforum was more active, and I still like to keep my hand in.
One of the long-term members is a Truther named Ergo. (My first post there was to mock him.) He has a tendency to make not-quite-rulebreaking generalizations about debunkers - who he “wittily” calls “bedunkers”, yet inevitably falls flat on his face the few times he tries to make any actual argument. So he doesn’t even really bother anymore; he mostly just makes generalizations, quote-mines, and deflects desperately when actually challenged.
For example, here’s Eseld responding to unseen accusations of her using logical fallacies (which she does all the time) by claiming MRAs use false premises. Thing is, that has nothing to do with whether their accusations of fallacies are correct. Even the “example” she made up doesn’t actually involve the straw MRA actually accusing someone of any sort of logical fallacy. Moreover, she says they’re wrong, but never quite explains what the “right” definition is. In another post, she said people should look it up on Wikipedia without actually saying she agreed with the definition. (Ironically, Wikipedia notes that feminism has a different definition of Patriarchy than the regular one. Maybe she meant the Jungian definition.) Evading getting pinned down to a position on certain things that hurt your position is pretty characteristic of Truthers, CTs, and sophists in general, but most usually only achieve said knowledge after having to move the goalposts over and over. Eventually, they just never put them down in the first place. Eseld tried to look like she’s addressing it by talking about “patriarchal characteristics” or suchlike, while remaining remarkably vague on what those actually are. Because it can’t really be done without explaining what The Patriarchy is.
Eseld isn’t really doing anything different from all the feminists who reflexively dismiss people as “MRA trolls” if they disagree with them. Except for the part where she’s actively lying about MRAs, not just ignorant. This is a women who knows that female MRAs exist, yet keeps referring to them as men.
In fact, there’s a response to an Ask, about the time I started queuing these posts (around mid July, and I’m not going back to look for it) where someone calls her out on that, and she starts off by saying something like she knows that female sexists and MRAs exist (and I’ll bet she thought she was being subtle). I didn’t read the rest of the post, but I suspect it would involve implying or saying that female MRAs are few in number, or only token members (despite herself having “criticized” GirlWritesWhat, a prominent, respected, MRA leader on several occasions. Oddly enough, she rarely/never referred to GWW herself as an MRA, even when saying she’s widely liked by MRAs), or saying that the female MRAs are just parroting the men, or some other nonsensical excuse about why female MRAs don’t matter. (Which would have some interesting implications for male feminists. But that’s another post.)
However, there are differences. Ergo once accused debunkers who didn’t use their real names of cowardice. He was promptly asked his real name and went quiet suddenly. He later tried to ask debunkers what their credentials were to challenge some Truther ‘expert’. Again, he was asked what his qualifications were, and went silent. Eseld, by contrast, will wave her alleged educational status and knowledge around at the drop of a hat. In one post, she said that she refused to make her language more accessible, easier for most people to understand. It’s almost as if she wasn’t actually interested in communicating her ideas, merely looking smart.
I, by contrast, am in fact really smart, and make a concious effort to be as clear and understandable as possible*.I believe that if you really know what you’re talking about, you don’t have to show off. And sure enough, readers know that I’m smart anyway. I’ve had more than one tumblrfem accuse me of “trying to look smart” when I was doing nothing of the sort. Stephen Hawking is a bestselling author without flying over people’s heads.** Then there’s folks like Bill Nye, Carl “Billions and billions” Sagan, and Neill deGrasse-Tyson. There’s a reason “I use big words, therefore I’m smart” is a worn-out cliche. Even My Little Pony: FIM manages to avoid the trap, and clearly show Twilight is smart (mostly by having her reference books a lot)***. Transformers Prime has Ratchet do it by simply being a clearly-experienced doctor, Shockwave does it by heading up various science projects and having an obsession with “logic”, and Raf has more experience with Cybertronian tech than just about any human alive and frequently assists Ratchet. (No, the glasses and sweatervest don’t count; his shirt is untucked and his hair is too cool for a stereotypical nerd.)
Oh, right, my main point. I’ve developed something of an immunity to Ergo, barring extreme cases of stupid. Eseld is still pretty fresh. I mention her in several future posts. The galling part is that she’s not the first feminist to directly lie about MRAs. Manboobz does it all the time. But at least they openly admit it’s mockery. The really galling part is that she’s utterly convinced she’s justified and correct, even when she lies.
Seriously, constantly talking [POOP] about MRAs, but not wanting to talk *to* them, and even blocking people who prove her wrong. That’s not an indication of someone who’s secure in their convictions. Ironic that someone who likes to go on about their education can’t seem to stand any actual criticism or “peer review”, and doesn’t like to reference the evidence for her claims.
* I also do my best to admit when I’m wrong. By contrast, I don’t recall Eseld ever admitting she wasn’t right about something, no matter how minor, even once. Even Ergo, rarely, admits that he’s wrong, even if he tries to play it off.
** And even educated feminists can say really, really stupid things. Case in point; Drs. Jackson Katz and Michael Kimmel. All the time.
*** Interesting that cartoons have moved from “smart because they know everything” to “smart because they know they don’t know everything, but know where they should probably look to learn what they don’t know”.