His teeny little profile picture was cute. He was the right age range and city. But when I opened the online dating message from this random dude, this is what he said:
Isn’t feminism a little obsolete? Men and women are equal nowadays. In fact, the balance is tipped in your favor.
Of all the things for a man to comment upon in my profile, he chose to kinda-insulted me by calling my belief system “obsolete”? I rolled my eyes. I hit delete. Another one bites the dust.
I’d been “negged.”
I have a different take on this. I actually think the guy was trying to make conversation by challenging her about something she mentions in her profile. The definition of “negging”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is:
Low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances.
Therefore, to me, this was not a case of negging. This was a case of a woman being askedabout something she included in her profile. The guy may have intentionally been trying to insult her. Or he was trying to engage her in a spirited back and forth. But I don’t think he was “negging” her. I think this has now become a go to explanation for why a man might not immediately jump to effusive ass kissery when trying to woo a woman.
We see this all the time. We read statements in someone profile that pretty much BEG for a response. They are either blatantly inflammatory statements or they involve hot button issues like religion, sexuality or politics. My personal feeling is that people include these bytes because they want to be noticed or acknowledged for those particular thoughts or opinions. What they don’t want to do is have to defend their stance. Which, to me, comes off as inauthentic.
If I mentioned in my profile that I believed in heaven, and someone emailed me and asked me (without being rude) why or suggested they didn’t believe the same, I’d reply. If it’s important enough for the person to include certain beliefs or ideologies in their profile, they should be prepared to defend them. Unless, of course, the person identifying themselves in a way that they know is provocative is doing so just to get attention. If they’re going to write anybody off who tries to debate their publicly stated opinions, then maybe they should take such points out of their profile. You won’t get as much attention, you say? Oh, alright. Someone can challenge a point and still respect whomever they are engaging. It isn’t always an attempt to be combative or insulting or degrading.
When looking through profiles, I tend to avoid the vocal self-identifiers. If a man said he was a Men’s Rights Activist, or that he didn’t want to hear from anybody that wasn’t Democrat or Republican, or brings up Occupy Wall Street, or talks about their spanking fetish, I’m clicking the back browser. I have no desire to date a rabble rouser. They’re attention seekers. They want you to argue with them. They want you to ask them about their problems, fetishes and passions. They also want you to give them a reason to disqualify you because they don’t really want a relationship. They just think they do. They’re spinning their wheels on those sites trying to see how much attention they can get or so they can have all their negative opinions about women confirmed.
Now, of course, “negging” is a real technique. Like the author, I believe it’s a horrible way to try and get a woman’s attention and I think it works on a specific type of woman. I just don’t agree that this was an example of “negging.” I think the author brought something up in her profile with the intention of getting attention from it. She just didn’t get the attention she wanted. What if he had replied and mentioned spanking or something sexual? How much should we bet that he’d still be labeled a wanker?
Look, there are many words that are immediate boner killers for men. “Feminist” is one of them. It’s not that they don’t respect a woman who identifies as a feminist. Nor does it mean they don’t believe in the fundamental principles that are the cornerstones of feminism. Where most men become super-cautious is when a woman announces – like in a dating profile – that she identifies as a feminist. To many men, dating such a woman will involve a series of ongoing arguments and ‘intellectual discussions.” They envision a frequent battle of wills. That’s unfortunate and inaccurate, of course. But that’s the typical internal reaction that a man has. A woman is better off showing how she’s a feminist than just stating she’s a feminist. It’s like when people talk about being into polyamorous relationships. They’ll probably have more luck simply stating that they’ve engaged in relationships where they had two partners that shared them rather than saying, “I’m a poly!” Show. Don’t tell. Showing makes certain things sound less intimidating, confusing or scary.
Personally, I think a lot of women like to identify as feminist because it’s a good defense. Use sex for attention? Oh, you’re a feminist, so that’s okay. Perpetually single? Oh, you’re a feminist, so that’s okay.
Let’s not get carried away and start assuming that any man who doesn’t automatically agree with us or who challenges us is somehow being disrespectful. This is one of those areas where I really feel like certain self-identifying feminists are being inconsistent. If you want to be respected and admired for your mind, then what is wrong with a man who tries to engage you in a debate?
Isn’t that what we want?