Over on Twitter the always fantastic Natalie Reed made a point about something that has been stewing in the back of my head for a while. Thanks to her I now know what to say. I made a handy Storify compilation for you to see what she had to say, below the cut.
View the story “Lookism and the face of misogyny” on Storify
See? That dude wasn’t really very creepy looking, was he? Now look at this picture of me on the right and pretend you don’t know who I am. You just see my picture without knowing I’m smart, funny, and run this blog. WHAT A FAT FUCKING NECKBEARD, AM I RIGHT? THAT DUDE IS SERIOUSLY CREEPY AND WEIRD! I WONDER HOW MANY GIGS OF BESTIALITY PORN HE HAS?? It’s okay, I get it. sexist people have (I guess) pointed it out that I am a weird fatso. But my question to you is: Why does that matter?
That guy up at the top has some serious issues about women and is trying a bit too hard to look intense but there’s nothing unusual about how he looks. Look at the guy to the left here. Again, he’s trying hard to look hard, but he’s actually kind of cute. He’s also a misogynist named Jack Donovan. Sexist pieces of trash look like everyone else. Some of them are attractive, some of them are ugly. Feminists look like everyone else, some of us are attractive and some of us are ugly.
Unless you’re a racist you would probably say that of course you can’t tell who a person is by how they look. Why don’t we work harder to apply that truth to all aspects of a person’s appearance? I’m not suggesting this because I want to be treated better (though do we really want to make our allies feel bad about their looks?), but because this myth of the fat, sloppy, neckbeard creeper is helpful to misogynists. If we knew what a sexist looked like they wouldn’t be able to become our friends, get invited to speak at our events, or even get to marry us. The fact that so many people think they know what a misogynist internet troll looks like means we are less willing to admit when someone who looks “normal” or even “handsome” is a dangerous misogynist.
We can stop hurting allies and stop giving the bad guys cover for their misdeeds all at once. Pretty win-win, right?