9 Phrases All Women Hear on the Internet That We Need to Retire Immediately
Being a woman on the Internet is like walking into the middle of a garbage hailstorm with an umbrella made of tinfoil: It's an endless onslaught of insults, negging, condescension and threats, and when women attempt to call this trash out for what it is, they're treated even more poorly.
From journalists to activists to interim CEOs of major companies, the Web plays host to a vast and murky array of people who enjoy pissing women off. For many women, the buildup over time of this behavior induces vague feelings of rage, which are in turn dealt with in various ways, like public shaming, GIFs, commiseration and creative snark.
In honor of those women fighting the good fight against bullshit on the Internet, we've put together a list of phrases women often hear that we need to immediately set on fire. For added hilarity and visual aid, we've included a supplementary spinning-word GIF response for each phrase, all of which are the brilliant work of Tumblr user Cat Frazier.
Ready, get set, incinerate.
1. "You don't know what you're talking about. Here, let me explain!"
A common breed found in the wilds of Twitter and comment sections, the mansplainer enjoys butting into conversations he may or may not be part of to "helpfully" explain what he assumes a woman couldn't possibly understand already. These comments typically include the words and/or phrases "actually," "it refers to" and "essentially."
2. "Stop complaining and do something."
When a woman expresses an opinion on the Internet, particularly when it's related to something she's upset about, the response often falls along these lines. Like many of the phrases on this list, "stop whining" serves to trivialize a woman's perspective and imply that her worries don't matter — and that it's her fault anyway if she's still encountering the problem.
3. "Here comes the Social Justice Warrior Brigade!"
"Social Justice Warrior" is a pejorative term used to describe people who actively engage in debating the importance of social issues, particularly equality. As such, many women and feminists are labeled "SJWs" by people on the other side of the debate simply because they're arguing that equality is a good thing. Who would have thought?
4. "Why do all women..."
It's true: All women are secretly the same. We're one big, indistinguishable, wriggling mass with the same thoughts, opinions and emotions about all the same topics. We're not capable of having different experiences, and we're certainly not individuals with our own minds and bodies.
5. "I'm not a woman, but..."
This line typically comes up in conversation about issues that affect or involve women. People who aren't women can certainly occupy this space, but when women are trying to make their voices heard, the last thing they want is for a man to unnecessarily insert himself spouting off a position no one really wants to hear in the first place.
In other words, don't be this cat:
6. "Listen, [first name] ..."
The condescension that reeks from someone using a woman's first name on the Internet is almost palpable. A woman already knows you're speaking to her — she doesn't need the added clarification. It comes across like a teacher chastising a student, which is a dynamic no one deserves to be subjected to.
7. "Honey," "dear," or any other term of condescension
Similarly to using a woman's first name, using terms like "honey" and "dear" are enough to set any woman off. We're not your wives, girlfriends or children — stop treating us that way.
8. "Relax. You're overreacting."
While this isn't unique to the Internet, being told to "relax" is a common refrain women hear online. As Mic's Julie Zeilinger wrote of the phrase and others like it, "When men passionately express their opinions, they're generally taken seriously and their comments are considered for their merit. When women do so, they're often dismissed and their comments are attributed to their emotionality, rather than have whatever point they're trying to make or concern they're raising validated."
9. "Prove to me you were actually harassed."
You know what's easier than questioning whether a woman was harassed? Believing her. When we don't take women at their words, we participate in a subtle form of victim blaming, one in which a woman's account is thrown into doubt simply because she's a woman.