Open letter to people who wonder why us feminists are so angry

Hi. It appears that you’ve walked into a discussion about feminism on the internet, asked some questions and now are looking on in consternation at what appear to be some fairly hostile responses telling you to do some fucking research before jumping into a discussion, or calling you a sexist for making statements you thought were innocuous.

If so, the first thing I have to say is: welcome to the club. Most of us social justice fighters — the closer to “white, straight, Christian, rich, cisgendered, conservative male” you get, the higher the probability that it’s happened — have found ourselves in the same position at one point or another, being seemingly piled on by a bunch of fellow fighters for what we thought was a perfectly harmless question or statement. Moreover, most of us have likely initially objected, only to be told the same thing: we’re ignorant on a basic level and should really just shut up and listen to what is being said.

Which brings me to the second thing. You see, there are things called ‘points refuted a thousand times’ (PRATTs) that have been brought up and debunked so many times that it is acceptable to post a standard response and then move on because the point has been conclusively shown to be wrong.

Bringing up PRATTs indicates a fairly basic level of ignorance. This isn’t bad, because ignorance will always exceed knowledge. The problem is constantly bringing up and re-hashing the same PRATTs, because that stifles the discussion by restricting it to a 101-level discussion where the educated folks have to start anew every time re-educating people who don’t get it. This gets old fast, and at some point the discussion has to get past the 101 level of just educating people about the issue and actually, y’know, deal with the issue.

It is, furthermore, arrogant to simply waltz into a discussion complaining about how you know nothing and no one in the discussion will teach you anything. This is the Internet. If you don’t know what’s being talked about, it’s not hard to plug it into Wikipedia and spend some time poking around LEARNING SOMETHING before diving in headfirst. You don’t have the right to demand that others spend their time educating you if they would prefer to spend their time discussing the issues you want to be educated on. If you want to sit at the adult table and discuss those issues, then do the research first. Otherwise, you’re free to make your own thread where discussion can be tailored to your level of understanding.

In short, stop acting like you’re The Most Important Person In The World and people will stop telling you to get off your high horse. We are not your Feminism 101 professors, and if we do not have the time and/or energy to teach you then you are just going to have to make use of the resources at your fingertips.

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