Wit Against Misogyny & Various *-isms: Techniques

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.

Agreement Jiu-Jitsu

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.

Feigned Confusion

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.

Absorbed Projection

part of Heina's exchange with Moen on the comments here: https://the-orbit.net/heinous/2014/11/18/matt-taylor/

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.

Neutral Acknowledgement

Kristen Stewart giving double thumbs-up, captioned

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.”

At its heart, this is a more polite version of “Cool story, bruh” or its ancestor, “That’s nice, dear.

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.

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Wit Against Misogyny & Various *-isms: Techniques
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9 thoughts on “Wit Against Misogyny & Various *-isms: Techniques

  1. 2

    Both of these are great. I was just pondering how to address a bandmate of mine who likes to use pussy and gay as pejoratives yet doesn’t think there is anything sexist/homophobic about doing so. It’s a touchy scenario since he pays me to play with him and it’s my main source of meager income so I don’t want to be too combative. Also, he’s pretty clueless about social justice issues and his own privilege and I doubt that showing him that he’s punching down would mean anything to him. He also has a fragile ego and will get defensive when anyone tries to inform him on something (because of the obvious admission that he was wrong or clueless on said topic.) So I think the next time he makes one of those jokes I’m just going to ask him “isn’t that sexist/homophobic?” and then ask him to explain why not.

    I’ve been using “Noted” for simply writing-off trollery of just about any sort for about 10 years. It’s great in taking away the troll’s fuel (getting me worked up) and makes my disagreement pretty obvious. I also like that it suggests to everyone else who sees it that the troll is not worth my time (or theirs.)

    1. 2.1

      I’ve been in somewhat similar situations with cab drivers. I’ve been without a vehicle for almost 2 years, so I have to take a cab wherever I go. I have two regular cab drivers that are fairly nice guys, but both have said stuff that I’ve cringed at. Sexist stuff. Homophobic stuff. Transphobic stuff. For a long time I didn’t know how to handle that shit bc I really needed to stay on these guys’ good side. If I need to be at work at a certain time, I know I can text either of them and get a ride in a reasonable amount of time, rather than calling up the cab company and waiting for a cab to show up (I’ve been over an hour and a half late to work before due to cabs not being available).
      To deal with their comments, I’ve taken to saying “I know some gay men who really hate hearing that”. Or if it’s a transphobic comment, I’ve said “I know a few trans people and I’ve learned that they feel really hurt when people say that stuff. I’ve learned so much from them.”
      It’s a way of expressing dislike for what someone says by invoking other people. Plus the statements are true. I’d much rather simply call out the statements, but I don’t feel I’m at the point where I can do that, so I make do.

  2. 3

    I don’t have links to specific examples, but I always enjoyed the way Crommunist dealt with trolls in his comment sections. Worth a browse if you’ve got some time to kill.

  3. 4

    Heina:

    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.”

    At its heart, this is a more polite version of “Cool story, bruh” or its ancestor, “That’s nice, dear.”

    I think the Southern US phrase ‘bless your heart’ is another one that fits with the above.

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