As promised in my post about how to get started with fighting the good fight, here are some techniques. Feel free to modify and adapt these as well as suggest your favorites in the comments.
Pioneered by my former Internet bosslady Rebecca Watson (and occasionally used by me), this is a strategy best used when you want to confuse and frustrate a troll into submission — or feed them until they explode, if you please. For the record, it’s also one I wish had a slightly less Asian-martial-artsy name.
@EverydaySexism I keep asking 'why is that funny?' and 'I don't get it' when guys make sexist jokes. Embarrasses them as they explain it.
— One Sad Brat (@basinbrat) March 12, 2014
In this reversal of the JAQ-Off, you feign confusion at someone’s remarks and force them to explain what they mean. It’s pulled from the freshman philosophy student’s playbook but here is used far more artfully than teenage college students (like circa 2006 me) ever did.
By considering what the joke actually is and trying to explain it, the person will realize that they are punching down — or at least that they are making the joke at the expense of a group to which you belong or about which you care. At the same time, hardly anyone will ever want admit to using oppressed groups as punching bags. The ensuing doubling-down and defensiveness is often quite a spluttering mess to behold.
If you’ve ever taken a gander at the comments here, you will recognize this one.
Unless you have actually done something to personally upset them, angry people are often projecting any number of other people’s crap onto you. When it comes to people who do so with my writing, my strategy is to say something along the lines of “Ugh, I didn’t mean to say that at all in this piece! Could you please show me where I said or even slightly hinted at [idea pissing them off] so that I can make the appropriate corrections? I will make them with all thanks to you.”
The projection is not deflected or taken on by me, it’s absorbed by some other thing that’s tangential (i.e. my exact wording) to what’s actually making the person angry. They generally will be unable to point out where I said the thing they’re so angry about and will backpedal or disappear.
I’ve picked this one up from Greta and Miri. You simply acknowledge that (1) they said a thing and (2) you heard it but without saying anything else at all. I like “Duly noted” because in reality, the person who made the comment isn’t actually due anything at all whatsoever. Other examples include “Understood and logged,” “Your concerns have been noted,” “I’m sorry you feel that way,” and “Thanks for sharing.”
Put Your Thing Down, Flip It & Reverse It
This is an advanced technique and its use is generally reserved for dating sites. Then again, there are lots of people who think that all websites are meat markets, so it might lend itself to use outside of that.
You take their thing down and reverse it by accepting sexual advances for what they are: offers of sexual activity. However, most people rely on societal scripts for sex so they won’t expect for you to take them up on their offer for sexual activity in a way that suits you (or a fictionalized / exaggerated version of yourself) instead of them.
I have an example. Please note that I used ableist language in this one, and I’m very sorry for that. I’ve learned a lot since 2013 and no longer rely on punching down to punch up at entitled douchebaggery.
What I did flipped the script not only in that I went from potentially penetrated to potential penetrator but also in that it went from being all about his desires to being all about mine. I also reversed gender stereotypes and, not going to lie, that felt good.