To be a woman on the internet is to be in front of a firing squad where Twitter jocks, Soundcloud rappers, and rabid Reddit bros are all aiming at you hoping their bullet isn’t rubber. Talk to any woman you know who’s ever tweeted or Instagrammed and ask her how many times this week, this year, since the birth of the internet, since the dawn of man, how many times something she liked got ruined by men on the internet.
One thing I’ve learned about being a woman over my 2o years of earthly navigation is that you’re literally not allowed to like anything. Once a trend becomes adopted en masse by women, all of the men on the internet will attach a very degrading and often sexual connotation to it. The “hoe filter” wasn’t always the hoe filter. It was actually just a dog filter, a fun little installation included in a Snapchat update. But then, women decided to enjoy something, and now it’s the hoe filter, and if you take a selfie with it, you automatically get chlamydia. Trust me, I tried it once and now I have endless chlamydia that can’t be cured and I’m going to die from it.
Some girls decided to dress as Harley Quinn (specifically Margot Robbie in the popular movie Suicide Squad) for Halloween this year. It is a mildly revealing, easily understandable, cute Halloween costume that offers the appeals of easy, fun makeup, easy, fun hair, and a hot look, which I was under the impression that men enjoyed. I can affirm that, after having to explain that I was “dead Sharon Tate” to a bunch of boys at a basement party and then explain further who Sharon Tate was while they stopped listening and stared at my blood soaked cleavage, easily understandable costumes are the way to go when you’re going to a party full of drunk dudes, and I can also affirm that every party somehow gets inundated with drunk dudes.
So you’d think that the costume was chill and expected. As women we know that we’re always going to get criticized for wearing trendy Halloween costumes, along with literally everything else we wear, and say, and d. But, stemming from the same core issue here, there are not many female leads in movies and pop culture these days, so the Harley Quinn character, rivaled only by Netflix’s Stranger Things heroine Eleven, would be an understandably popular costume choice. In a perfect world, people would consider that and think, “Oh, yeah, true.” Totally expected, maybe a little uncreative, but at least understandable. In a really perfect world, men would realize that it is actually their fellow bros’ fault that there aren’t many women in popular media to choose from, and also realize the hypocrisy where half of their buddies dressed as Ken Bone and the other half as a dead gorilla and none were called any names for it. But, this is the internet, so we all knew that inevitably we’d hear the following:
And, in a stunning two-for-one:
And so Ms. Quinn joined the ranks of….
…. pumpkin spice lattes.
… santa hats.
… sparkling water?
… um, Applebee’s…..
… tax returns, for some reason.
… the Dallas Cowboys, in their entirety.
… owning a television …..
… but also not owning a television…
… photo sharing platforms…
… not… being… hungry………….?
… sparkling water (again)?????…..
… toe socks. Really?
… enjoying underground music under the age of 22…
…wearing a garment made for cold weather when the weather is cold…?
… wanting clothing that fits her properly and to her liking?
… making a stylistic textual choice…
… wearing makeup (and recycling?)
… Facebook poking…
… beating you at an iMessage game…..?????????????
… and, somehow, genetics….
… and not being Keith Kloss of the Los Angeles Clippers (1997–2000).
Meandering the internet as a woman is like walking an unending loop around home plate at a machine pitch baseball tournament where the machine is men and the baseballs are horrible comments and insane tantrums.
“It’s not that deep,” somewhere, some dude is mumbling. “It’s just a meme.”
Consider: to adopt a meme format in order to shame women for quite literally everything you can think of is a power grab, where men across the world can reach their hands across the web and high five men everywhere for bashing women in order to control them and maintain dominance by shaming them. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, it’s sociology, a science I’m sure we all wish we could ignore when it is inconvenient, embarrassing, or “lame,” but that which we cannot, because science.
As the memes go viral, the perceived shame increases, and the perceived female power decrease occurs, and then everyone’s biceps explode into Hulk arms and every man behind a keyboard becomes the penultimate alpha and gets showered in panties and hundred dollar bills, I guess. But, unfortunately for the men that try to tear them down, ladies just aren’t having it.