So I’ve been enjoying watching dudes throw a shit fit on Twitter about the hashtag #MasculinitySoFragile. Tauriq Moosa said it best when he explained that the hashtag is referring to how masculinity is constructed and not at individuals or groups by using the catchphrase of anti-feminists correctly for the first time ever:
But my favorite response so far has been this one, which I believe is the world’s most perfect example of Bro’s Law:
A while back I attempted to coin the term “Bro’s Law” to describe a corollary to the famous Poe’s Law which states that it is impossible to tell a sincerely expressed extreme statement of belief from a mocking parody of an extreme statement of belief.
Bro’s Law states:
Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor (and sometimes even with one) it is utterly impossible to parody the views about gender held by many in online culture (gaming culture, social media, etc.) in such a way that someone won’t mistake it for the genuine article.
Take this person who is so upset about a hashtag that they just challenged basically all of Twitter to a cage fight. When I first saw this, I laughed out loud. I thought it was the perfect parody of the kind of bravado that a certain breed of amateur MMA douche likes to project around themselves. I can hear them now…
Hey bro! Do you wanna take this outside, bro? I’ll fucking beat the shit out of you, bro!
But then I saw lots of people taking the tweet at face value. It got re-tweeted all over the place as the ultimate example of why the hashtag was necessary in the first place.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have indeed been the subject of many a violent tantrum by a man who feels his masculinity has been slighted. Thank god I’ve never gotten beaten up. But I’ve been threatened for doing things like choosing one guy over another. I’ve gotten grabbed hard enough to leave bruises on my forearms. I’ve been held by the shoulders and shaken while getting screamed at in the midst of a breakup. I’ve been warned that if I didn’t shut up, I would get busted in the mouth. And of course, like #YesAllWomen, I’ve been subjected to snarling mean mugs and insults and threats and cruel jokes and sneering leers by strangers on the street. And that doesn’t even touch on the flood of shitty comments that I get here on the blog,* on Twitter, etc.
If all of these things can be so, if all of these things can seem like normal everyday occurrences, then why should I assume that this person (who looks to be an avid supporter of #GamerGate OMG are you shocked by this???) is making a joke?
At this point I have no idea whether this is
- A sincerely expressed challenge of random Internet feminists to a fist fight
- A joke at the expense of the hashtag trying to model a stereotype of the dude bro that he believes feminists have constructed. This version would be a parody of how feminists supposedly view men akin to “oh, they think that all men are rapists.”
- A hilarious feminist joke by a parody Twitter account that has lots of #GG and anti-feminist people fooled.
I think the last bit is the least likely at this point because it would require this person to have sustained a misogynist performance for quite some time now.
But when I first saw the Tweet, I was certain that it came from a feminist supporter making a joke about the fragile egos of men she has met.
This is Bro’s Law in a nutshell. This is Schrodinger’s Rapist in a nutshell. When our day to day experience is so hostile simply because we are women, it is difficult to tell a joke from a real act of aggression.
*Note to shitty commenters: I delete everything that you post. My personal blog is not a “free speech forum.” It is my space to dispose of as I wish. And I’m not going to subject anyone who comes to visit this space to your shittiness. I don’t delete comments that are critical or that take issue with my work. But I do delete posts that exist just to be shitty. Don’t be shitty. And if you don’t like it…