I am damn sarcastic. I’m sassy and I know how to throw shade. I would say I can’t help it but that’s not really true. The truth is I had to get a bit of an attitude if I was going to survive middle school. I went to a competitive, affluent school and being a lil snarky went a long way when it came to navigating mean girl cliques. Maybe that’s true at any school. I don’t know, I can only speak to my experience.
The more I practiced my new demeanor though, the more I realized I was good at it. I am someone who laughs easily and finds most things funny. So adding a little wit to my running commentary on nearly everything came naturally to me. But I am not immune to internalized misogyny. And when I learned that some anti-feminists write off feminists as snarky, I started refraining from sarcasm. I hate to admit it but it’s true. And well I should clarify I somewhat laid off the ol’ sarcasm, I mean I could never give up sarcasm entirely. But I didn’t want to feed into the stereotypes and propaganda that the so-called men’s rights movement puts out about women and feminists. So I went about my life, a little less snarky – or perhaps just feeling a little ashamed about my snarky-ness.
But the thing is… I’ve long prided myself on my wit. I always felt like it was a way to empower myself, especially when it comes to misogyny. It’s like it’s unexpected from me (as a woman) and it’s a way I show some intelligence. So when I learned that anti-feminists expect this from someone like me and in fact would insult me for it, well, it felt crappy. I felt devalued and like something I like about me was being used against me. It also felt a little like something was being taken from me. Because something was being taken from me. I realized this when I was reading an article about Paul Elam. For those of you who don’t know him, here’s some 411. His specialties include making awful statements about domestic violence and rape and then claiming it is satire (I mean, duh, how could you interpret it otherwise? *sarcasm* – see I just can’t not sarcasm – and yeah, I just made sarcasm a verb). Anyways, as I read that Paul Elam has said he meant it as satire that women beg to be raped, all I could think is Wait, isn’t satire supposed to be clever?
Oh but that was some prime snark on my part. And to me, it felt empowering because it was taking a different angle to shut down something really inappropriate and offensive. And for a moment, I almost stopped myself from sharing these thoughts with a friend. Because I just hate giving anyone ammo against me. However, I realized wtf? Why was I even thinking about changing for a group of people who will always put me down and make me feel bad, no matter what I do or don’t do? Women (and those who are born biologically female) are socialized to be people-pleasers and accommodating to others. So when you’ve been told all your life to make others happy, it’s hard to face criticism and feel like you’ve let people down. But men who manipulate and want to control women know that. And they like to use anything about women (or people they don’t like) against women (or people they don’t like) – whether those traits are “good” or “bad.” I know from my years of DV work that people who abuse their partners are good at breaking people. They chip away at one’s self-esteem and sense of self. They do this to individuals (their partners) as well as to groups who challenge their entitlement and power over others. And that’s what I was experiencing when I felt the need to let go of my inherent snark. But fuck that. They don’t own me, nor do they own anyone else. If I want to be snarky – hell if I am snarky then I will be that way. Cuz it’s my choice. And isn’t it interesting that an aspect that goes against traditional (submissive) gender norms for women is something that anti-feminists attack? I am who I am and making me feel like I should be anyone else is an attack on me. I need to keep in mind that people who feel that way about women would never really like or respect me anyways – even if I was always sweet and loving and kind and accommodating and caring.
Truthfully, I am those latter traits more often than not. But I am also hilarious. I can be sweet and kind and caring and flippin’ sarcastic. Sweet and sarcastic are not mutually exclusive. And people can say otherwise but they won’t be speaking the truth. They’ll only be trying to cut me down. So snark on, my friends. If anyone tries to insinuate that you or I should be different, I’ll just be all like-