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Trolling Wrapped in Riddling Wrapped in Enigma…ing


I’m lucky in that I’m rarely trolled; it just doesn’t happen in any volume or with any frequency. But on rare occasions I get some bizarre, trolly comments in my threads. In my last entry, I posted the art project I collaborated on with my son. I got this comment in response:

BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial says:

He wanted to do a “craft.” So we did.



I’m sure this is a super-sweet burn; I just can’t figure out precisely what the burn is. Can any of you help? I’m genuinely baffled.

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  • Vance Maverick

    I think he called you a bad feminist for doing something that feminism doesn’t object to, without knowing your opinions on the question? It’s a pretty concise enigma, so I might be missing something.

    • lizzie

      Yeah, I think it must be something like that. Awhile back I noticed the same commenter make a similar kind of remark on one of your posts. I can’t remember the details but my vague memory is it was trying to belittle you for being a mom/homemaker. It stuck in my head because it was so out of the blue, rude, and stupid and it clearly seemed like he had a problem with you (and by extension, women).

      • Jordan

        Oops, should have read the comments. I think this might be the comment you are talking about?

    • Nobdy

      Yeah. I think this is the (common) example of someone who does not identify as a feminist telling a woman that she is doing feminism wrong.

      It does help show how weird their conception of feminism is, though. If feminism proscribed having fun with your kid and making art then feminism would suck pretty bad. If feminism prevented women from doing marriage and motherhood in whatever way they wanted it would also be a pretty shitty ideology. Feminism is flexible because it is pretty simple.

      Equality and freedom. I can’t think of any feminist ideas that aren’t based in one or two of those.

      And you have to have very fucked up visions of equality and freedom to think that a mom doing a fun art project with her son is somehow a violation of those principles.

      (Alternatively it might mean she isn’t feministing hard enough because she has time for fun art projects, but that would be some weird calvinism. Is she supposed to feminist so hard that she has no time to do anything else? )

  • (((Malaclypse)))

    What is the sound of one hand clapping wanking?

    • i8kraft

      I think the required internet answer to this is “fap fap fap fap fap fap blort”

      • ExpatChad


    • N__B

      What is the sound of one hand clapping wanking?

      The presidential press conference was yesterday.

  • MikeJake

    Ha! That’ll teach you for doing something fun with your kid.

    • tsam

      And something all weenie like art. He should be learning how to shoot. There’s a race war coming, ya know.

      • Nobdy

        Plus the boy is learning that women can be fun and creative, so its fake news too!!

  • veleda_k

    I was puzzling over that comment myself. I think it means that clearly any woman who has children and raises them can’t really be a feminist, but I can’t be completely certain.

    • tsam

      Yeah–I’m agnostic at this point–it could go either way. One could be a celebration of creating something while at home with your sick kid, the other is … something else.

      If it was intended to be some kind of SAVAGE AF BURN, all I got to say is FAIL.

    • Lurking Canadian

      Yes. For some reason, this specific commenter has a bug up his ass about vs. He (I assume) shows up on almost every one of her threads and says some cryptic bullshit, usually to the effect that she’s doing feminism wrong, because art or parenting or some damn thing.

      Edited to add that I love both the original picture of the craft, and the still from Trolls. That grump green guy is the perfect avatar for these weenies.

      • Origami Isopod

        In a thread the other day, LeeEsq pointed out very reasonably that in terms of privilege, Jews occupy a grey area between white people and PoC. The commenter in question asked, “I’m sorry, did you want to be treated like PoC?” Which … is a very odd way to miss the point.

        • a grey area between white people and PoC

          I am inordinately amused by your phrasing here.

          • Origami Isopod

            LOL oops.

          • N__B

            I am inordinately amused

            Have you tried your calculator’s polar-to-cartesian amusement conversion?

            • efgoldman

              Have you tried your calculator’s polar-to-cartesian amusement conversion?

              Sorry, my Bowmar Brain didn’t come with that function.

  • royko

    Maybe feminists are only supposed to do things like arc welding instead of crafts?

    Or maybe he thinks the appropriate feminist response is, “You don’t get to choose what we do, man-presser! Now read this Gloria Steinem article.”

    I don’t know. Troll critiques of feminism are just bizarre.

  • John F


    err, ummm I have no idea

  • semiotix

    I agree that the two choices are

    1) “I’m giving you what I regard as EPIC *MIC-DROP* SHADE for your insufficient ultra-hardcore-ness in re: feminism, which is to say you are not as ultrahardcore and down for the cause as I am, insofar as you are not me, insofar as I personally define the epitome of feminism, liberalism, and every other good -ism, you pathetic neoliberal stooge”


    2) LOL ur a mom, hows feminzaism workin out for you ms. baby momma #makemeasandwich

    They’re both equally awful in terms of their practical effect on the world, but #1 is much more common on liberal blog comments so I’d guess that.

    Still, it’s funny and instructive how it’s impossible to say for sure that a given troll is a mouth-breathing MRA type or your purer-than-thou self-appointed ideological minder.

    • tsam

      I’m dying to hear the poster’s defense. I’m sure he’ll be along any minute now.

  • Bugboy

    I get the impression that a lot of men think feminism is defined as “women being just like men”,,,which brings us right back around to the patriarchy, doesn’t it?

    BTW, I really dig your work! I grew up with an artist brother and have always been fascinated with the process of his creativity. He now owns a printing business that is kind of boring (silkscreen mostly) but he was a master with the airbrush.

    • Origami Isopod

      I get the impression that a lot of men think feminism is defined as “women being just like men”,

      There is truth to the observation that such men don’t consider that women have challenges that they themselves don’t have, and that addressing such challenges is not “special treatment” because the male experience is not the default one.

      That said, there are women who do not have children, and there are men who engage in the same creative play with their kids that Vacuumslayer does with her son. So I don’t think this situation is the best example of “just like men.”

    • tsam

      I think chauvinistic men are more concerned with women NOT being anything close to what they consider men. IOW–stay home and raise kids, don’t bother with college–any idiot can change a diaper, etc…

      They tend to really get their little brains overheated when women decide they want to take part in manly stuff like careers, politics, leadership, being cops and firefighters–basically anything that they consider to be TOTALLY NOT a safe space for men to hang up their Penthouse centerfolds and brag about all the shit that never happened.

      • JL

        It’s a double-sided thing. They don’t want women and female-presenting people to be “like men” (i.e. engaging in activities that they consider “men’s” work or hobbies or whatever) and at the same time they demean anything they associate with women. So a woman firefighter is bad because that’s men’s work, and also a woman who forgoes paid work to take care of her kids or parents or a woman who is e.g. a preschool teacher, doesn’t deserve respect, because that’s women’s work and therefore icky.

        Someone, I think it was Julia Serano, referred to these two related ways in which sexism plays out, as traditional sexism (femininity is bad), and oppositional sexism (female-assigned people doing masculine-coded things is bad). There’s a third (which she also talks a lot about) that is strongly related to both, and wrapped up in homophobia and transmisogyny – that male-assigned people doing feminine-coded things is bad.

        • tsam

          Ahh-good point. So basically you set it up so that there’s no way women can meet with our approval, and then make sure they’re all fucked up if they don’t actively seek our approval.

          • efgoldman

            So basically you set it up so that there’s no way women can meet with our approval, and then make sure they’re all fucked up if they don’t actively seek our approval.

            Works more generally than that, though. Substitute race, religion, ethnicity, LBGT, whatever. They're not doing it RITE!!

      • Bugboy

        Let me clear, I’m not saying anything about what chauvinistic men WANT women to be like, other than I’m pretty sure it’s not being a feminist. My point is that these men have a very narrow view of feminism, and who the hell cares what they think feminism is anyway? They want a fantasy, not the reality of an equal human being.

    • I get the impression that a lot of men think feminism is defined as “women being just like men”,,,which brings us right back around to the patriarchy, doesn’t it?

      I get the impression a lot of men think feminism is defined as “whatever I (who reject the status quo) wish women would be, but most women aren’t.” Some of the time it’s what OI said “women shouldn’t have quirks that seem feminine to me but I don’t like,” and some of the time it’s more like “women shouldn’t make their kids take Ibuprofen when they’d prefer not to because it’s physical compulsion and interference with their bodies.”

  • Warren Terra

    I feel the gender of your child really messes with my attempts at interpretation. As in, if the comment is meant to sneeringly imply that you were staying at home and making art when a real Feminist would have been striding forth into the world suffused with machismo to undertake some endeavor involving powertools and/or physical violence – well, then, isn’t this interpretation undermined by the participation of your son, whom you are apparently inculcating into your sissified and insufficiently Feminist pursuits? Or is that indeed the point, that by staying at home with your son and debasing his innate masculine urges with creativity and culture you were, quite sincerely, performing a stay-at-home Feminist act?

    I think either works, but they’re mutually inconsistent. And both rely on an absurdly caricatured misunderstanding of “Feminism”.

    • I think either works, but they’re mutually inconsistent.

      Consistency is the troll of little hands.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      Since he’s used the hashtag at least twice, and neither time had anything to do with the content of the thread, my interpretation is he’s just an asshole who has issues with women.

  • LNM_in_LA

    Aaand we’re still waiting on BBNNS to weigh in with his, uh, ‘cogent’ coded thoughts.
    [insert Carly Simon Anticipation song snippet here]
    Let me add that your cooperative parent/child art thing was AWESOME, and that your son almost outdoes my godson in Indiana in the charm department.

  • cs

    My baseless speculation is that this is inspired by vac slayer recently posting something about her husband starting a new job – the commenter seems to be assuming that v.s. is living a “traditional housewife” type lifestyle and also assuming that is somehow worth putting someone down for. (??)

    (At first I was going to say maybe the comment could have been meant as honest praise, but I can’t quite figure how to justify that interpretation.)

  • rhino

    Honestly, I thought he was expressing approval of the project, and also of the fact that you were producing art while being a stay at home parent.

    It’s not very often my rosy and overly optimistic (snort) view of humanity leads me astray.

    ETA: Well that will teach me not to read the comments. Or to give strangers the benefit of the doubt.

    • tsam

      I had read it both ways at one point too. The followup “LOL I KNOW HER IRL SO SHUT UP” comment pretty much smashed all the ambiguity out of it.

      • He doesn’t know me IRL.
        That’s a desperate lie. Weird and creepy too.

        • tsam

          I know he doesn’t. I doubt you’d have been confused about the intent of the comment if you did. This is one creepy fuck.

        • Rob in CT

          I hope, for your family’s sake, that he doesn’t “know” you IRL, in that he’s a creepy stalker type who lives near you or something. Ick.

  • Jordan

    I think its maybe because he’s a nazi who dislikes you? :(

  • cpinva

    maybe he’s just an asshole. lots of them around these (the internet) parts.

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