The internet has rebelled against man-bashing on social media — which brings us right back to the woman-bashing status quo

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David Foster Wallace. Photo: Steve Rhodes/Wikimedia Commons

Men of the world, rejoice: The time when women could make jokes about you without being bullied off the internet is over. This is particularly true if you are a beloved white male author, but then, that’s hardly surprising.

On October 6, David Foster Wallace’s 25-year-old novel Infinite Jest became a trending topic on Twitter, as seemingly the entire internet rose up to defend it from… TikTok user @kel.drigo, I guess, who had 13.8K followers and listed it as a book frequently owned by “straight millennial men who make fun of women for reading diverse female authors.”

Making fun of dudes for overhyping Infinite Jest has been a meme for a long while now, as Rachel Pick noted in her Vice article about the fracas. It was also a demonstration of a dynamic recently covered by Madeline Holden in her Mel article “Everyone’s Getting Tired of Shitty Viral Tweets About Men.” Whereas making fun of stereotypical dude behavior like overquoting Judd Apatow comedies or reading Infinite Jest was “edgy” in the prehistoric era of the 2010s, Holden writes, now “male-bashing dunks are routinely subject to so much backlash that the original gets deleted, and only the mocking quote-retweets and screenshots remain (some users are piled on so relentlessly that they make their Twitter accounts private until the storm blows over).” This internet harassment of women is, evidently, proof that our culture is developing “a more protective and gentle attitude toward men.” That gentleness was demonstrated upon @kel.drigo, who now, indeed, seems to have deleted her account. …


Sady Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why” (Melville House, 2016). Seen at Elle, In These Times, and all across the Internet.

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