But most of you don’t know that I was already near the breaking point long before I started posting about men’s rights issues on here. So, now I’m going to tell you.
Once upon a time, I was one of “those feminists”. I posted on a feminist site and checked sites like feministing eagerly every day. I didn’t think sexism against men existed. I thought that any claims of misandry were lies, that any claim of feminists hating men was just a red herring from misogynists to get everyone to hate feminism. Meanwhile, I also laughed at the idea of men facing sexism. My mom would tell me “but men face issues too”, and I’d laugh and say, “no they don’t, and if they do, they deserve it.” Because I’d been fed the lie that men had oppressed women for centuries, and I was mad. I thought that men were responsible for all the evil in the world.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I’ve mellowed out a bit. I don’t know what brought it on, but I’ve started to realize that yeah, men do have issues. So, not knowing what a hornet’s nest I’m walking into, I make a post on another site that says basically that men have it hard too, especially when it comes to rape.
And all hell broke loose. I started getting cruel comments calling me a terrible person. I had people sending me awful private messages about how I was a terrible misogynist and on and on. It got to the point that I couldn’t check my email without having a panic attack. THAT is how bad it got.
They would post anonymously, and any time I showed up to defend myself, would accuse me of trying to stir up trouble even though I never made the first post. They told me I deserved the mental issues I was battling at the time, then flat-out denied it and called me a liar. They accused me of faking a medical condition for sympathy, and then, when I went as far as to post a picture of my pills, told me to “stop stealing my grandma’s pills” and made jokes about me having murdered my late grandmother. The kicker? One of them told me I should swallow all my pills at once, and a couple of other commentors jumped in to agree that the world would be better if I killed myself. And then they accused me of planting the comments for sympathy.
When I mentioned my siblings’ experiences in an argument, they told me I was a terrible person for “using them” and that they felt sorry for my siblings for having me. They called me soulless, evil- every variation you can think of. (When I showed my sister the comment that invoked that, she actually laughed and said that was the furthest thing from using she could think of.)
I was a wreck. The anxiety got worse and I began to do extremely unhealthy things in an attempt to cope. (I’d rather not give specifics, but I will say it involved harming myself.) I eventually became suicidal, though that was as much due to other issues as this- this was just the last straw. I could barely use the internet at all without either panicking or bursting into tears.
I still go to the site sometimes, but stay away from the community where that happened. Once, I saw an argument eerily similar to the one I got in (this from someone saying they are pro-life, but do not want abortion criminalized and consider themselves a feminist) and I still had a panic attack. To be perfectly honest, there were times when I found aspects of internet social justice to be triggering. I don’t mean triggering as in “upsetting”, I mean it as in “gave me terrible panic attacks and urges to engage in self-destructive behaviors”.
Feminists, the ones who claim to be supporting and helping women, almost drove me, a lesbian- and an underage one at the time- to suicide and played a part in me developing an anxiety disorder.
I was angry and bitter. So I searched things like “feminists are sexist” just to see that others had the same thoughts about feminists that I did. And lo and behold, I found a Tumblr with just that. And I started reading more and more, and the arguments were so rational, well-thought out, and well sourced that my views completey changed. I was still hesitant about feminism, but decided I could still call myself a feminist even with all the bad ones.
But then I saw more and more. I got sick of it. The last straw came when I realized how little they cared about me as a member of the LGBT community. I gotta say, I have faced so much awful shit for being a lesbian… but feminists have never cared about any of it, only things they coud spin as misogyny.
And I have never seen a single feminist apologize for what happened to me, or even call out the people who were so terrible to me.
When MRAs step out of line? We “collect our people” as the SJW phrase goes. We denounce them, we call them out, we tell them to knock it off and it isn’t okay. I have never seen a feminist take responsibility for what has been done to me in the name of their movement. Not once. I have ony ever seen them telling me that they weren’t real feminists and that I’m misguided or even a bad person (such a recurring theme among feminists encountering something they disagree with) for not being a feminist.
YOU drove me away, feminists. I wanted to support your movement. I support equality for women. I know women have been disadvantaged in many ways, and I want that to stop, along with stopping what men face. But with what you did, how can you honestly expect me to trust you and feel safe in your movement again? How is it at all reasonable to ask that of me when I’ve never even gotten an apology?
I’m never going to feel safe with you. You don’t fight for me. You aren’t helping me. YOU ALMOST KILLED ME. You don’t get to call yourselves women’s advocates when some of you encouraged a teenage womant to commit suicide for disagreeing with you and the rest of you stood by and let it happen.
I’m never going to be a feminist. I will be a woman’s rights activist and men’s rights activist, egaliarian, equalist, or whatever else I feel like calling myself. And I’m still going to be a better feminist according to your definition of feminism than you ever were.