i have adventures (sometimes)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Online Dating and Humourless Feminists

(TW: references to rape culture, sexualised insults.)

I don't often talk about my online dating adventures. The first reason is that, as will become clear from the rest of the post, I haven't had that many adventures. The second, I suppose, is the lingering stigma. It's rare for people of my generation to bat an eyelid at the idea of meeting people online, but somehow I can't shake this feeling that there's something outlandish and dubious about online dating.

But... I live on the internet. I have friends I only talk to online. I have friends I only know online. I've travelled across land and sea to see internet friends. For about 5 years, my LiveJournal friends knew me better than anyone I spoke to in "real life". So I've decided not to be weird about it, and if other people want to make it weird... well, I promise not to online date them. Everyone happy? Super.

Anyway, I signed up for all this a while back with the idea that it would be fun to meet new people. I figured it would be a good way to throw myself into this real world that turns out to exist outside church, where you're allowed to date people even if you don't plan to marry them, and so maybe dating wouldn't be so damn terrifying. And no one would use the word "intentional". Obviously, I was mainly in it for the hilarious anecdotes.

Sitcom-style hilarity ensues!
And honestly? It's been pretty underwhelming.

I've chatted with a few people, usually until I get distracted and stop. I've even met up with two of them and not been murdered. The outcome of that is that I have two new friends (vegan friends!), which is awesome. But rather lacking in hilarious anecdotery.

I send messages occasionally, and get a probably-average number of messages myself, most of which I ignore, because if you want six kids and a dog, the Bible is the only book you've read, and you think there are certain circumstances under which someone is obligated to have sex with you, then I strongly suspect you haven't read my profile. (Also, re that last point, you are a rapist and I don't want to hang out with you.)

And some messages just need to speak for themselves.

Well then.
But my all-time favourites are the misogynists. Because what's more fun than messaging women on the internet to tell them everything you hate about them? Amirite, guys? Here's the most recent one, with his identity obscured even though he doesn't deserve it:

Not going to lie, I've used that response before. But I think it works. (And then I blocked him. The end.)

It's not like I'm determined to find the love of my life through a site that thinks this charmer and I are an 89% match. But the fact that he felt it so necessary to wind me up (or put me in my place; however you want to read it) speaks volumes about him and the culture that makes people like him think this is an acceptable way to initiate interaction with other humans.

Uh oh, I feel a rant coming on. Brace yourselves.

But obviously, "it was a joke". "Lighten up". "Don't take everything so seriously". Because we live in the future now! Sexism is a thing of the past! Bitches can vote now, right? And sometimes bad things happen to men too! So can't we all just get over it freedom of speech men's rights friend zone mixed signals?*

So obviously the problem is with feminists. They're such buzzkills! A well-known fact summarised with class and wit here by Nellie McKay. (That wasn't sarcasm. She's awesome.)

 Feminists don't have a sense of humour
Feminists just want to be alone (boo hoo hoo)
Feminists spread vicious lies and rumours
They have a tumour on their funny bone

But you know what? I'd rather be a "humourless" feminist than a hilariously witty misogynist, thanks all the same. Because feminists really aren't all that humourless. You know what we laugh at? Things that are funny.

Here are some examples of things that are not funny:

  • Aiming a sexualised insult at a 9-year-old, because satire.
  • Jokes trivialising rape! LOL! 
  • "When Reeva said she wanted Oscar to take her out for Valentine's Day, that wasn't what she meant." Congrats, you're a horrible person.
  • Ironic sexism. Sure, I would love to get in the kitchen and make you a sandwich.
  • Calling feminists - by which I assume women who won't just shut up and take a joke - a "useless waste of space".

As Iain Banks's Ken Nott says, "Political correctness is what right-wing bigots call what everybody else calls being polite." I promise that there are still funny things in the world without having to contribute to the systematic oppression of anyone! Anyone at all! Isn't life grand??

You can even make fun of vegans sometimes.

And if - as my newest charming friend implies - all this is why I'm not having romantic success, online or off, then all I can say is, god I'm glad I'm not dating the sort of people who are put off by the way I think I'm a person.

I'll continue to have my online dating adventures, ignoring the chronically unable to punctuate, and sending knitting patterns to the sexists. I like to look on the bright side - it's not like horrible people are actually more prevalent online. They're just easier to spot. And real life doesn't have a block button.

Only good friends and big sticks.

*Whatever, you get the gist.


  1. But, what about when I'm ironically sexist? Like when I say that the reason I'm a bad drive is obviously because I'm female?

    In all seriousness, yes, there are a lot of men on the internet who are completely awful. I agree, if you have to be a submissive sandwich-maker for you to get a date...don't bother trying to get a date. (The good news: There are some guys out there who are not shitty. I know I didn't marry the only male feminist out there.)

    On an unrelated note, I miss drinking and watching black-and-white movies with you. Le sad.

  2. But if you're not INTENTIONAL then how can you enter into a covenant marriage under the proper headship of a Godly man???

    Seriously though, those messages make me sad and disappointed in humanity. Not so much the first one because I have a sneaking suspicion that's not a human but an awkward spambot looking for love. But that second one? I feel like I should apologize on behalf of hetero males for that one. Seriously, what the fuck?! When has insulting and demeaning someone ever resulted in someone falling head over heels? Pretty sure that only happened to Carolyn Knapp-Shappey and other fictional characters. At least I hope so because if it turns out that's a successful mating tool I'm going to have to give up on Homo Sapiens forever!


    Speaking of which, if you haven't seen this, you must: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjN_IDhCDZE. Then we'll start an accountability group!

    I genuinely thought that first guy was a spambot at first, but I checked out his profile and it sort of looked like it was filled in by a human. As for the second one... I'm really surprised people are surprised! I'm very happy for people to be outraged on my behalf, but honestly I wasn't even sure whether blogging about it was a total overreaction. Sexism is the actual worst.

    And you're right, Carolyn and Herc are entirely different. (But I still ship Carolyn/Douglas.)

  4. I think the problem with ironic sexism is that it's like ironic rape jokes - YOU know you're not an asshole, but the assholes around you don't necessarily know that, so it just confirms what they actually think. So I guess it's about audience!

    Your husband is lovely, and I have encountered some very lovely guys myself. It's just a pity they're so much in the minority (especially in MAN COOK MEAT ON OPEN FIRE SMASH BEER CAN WITH FACE South Africa).

    One day we will totally hang out IRL again! You can come and visit me and we'll enjoy the sunshine! And meanwhile, I must catch up on your blog. :)

  5. I did watch that! How could I not click on a link regarding being intentional! We should totes start an accountability group! I haven't had an accountability partner in yonks, must be why I'm so backslidden and into secular things lately.... I need someone to pray for my unspokens!!

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