The latest trolling hoax didn’t prove feminists are dumb. It proved misogynists are cruel.
This month, a hoax by a group of internet trolls encouraged feminists to wet their pants.
The cruel prank, dreamed up by a group of anonymous commenters on online forum 4Chan, called on feminists to share photos of their soiled clothing using the hashtag #PissForEquality.
The campaign claimed that the pant-soiling was a way of showing solidarity with rape survivors who wet themselves while being attacked.
“Left unconscious and unaware that their lives would change forever, rape victims not only suffer from the pain of unwanted abuse, but the humiliation of having soiled themselves,” the campaign claimed in a series of online memes.
“Let’s come together and do the same, to prove to these strong women that they are never alone.”
The prank was promoted on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook — and within days of the hashtag’s creation, a number of social media users got on board.
Users from across the world began posting images of themselves posing in urine-soaked clothing.
They captioned their photos with calls to action, making comments like “having to wash a pair of jeans is nothing compared to rape” and “please join this cause, it means a lot to me and others who’ve suffered”.
The hashtag had taken off. The hoax had succeeded. Or at least, that’s what it seemed like.
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Men’s rights activists and sexist Twitter users were delighted at the result, immediately applauding the trolls for a “hilarious” prank. Some pointed out how “pathetic” and “completely stupid” feminists must be for falling for the joke.
Alex Jones’ Infowars.com even dedicated an entire article to criticising feminists for their “gullibility”.
At first glance, it might seem that the misogynist trolls got exactly what they wanted: the public humiliation of feminists, the undermining of rape victims’ survival stories, and instant, viral fame.