In 1967, Valerie Solanas published The SCUM Manifesto—SCUM being an acronym for the “Society for Cutting Up Men.” This brief article is our membership call for SCUM-T, the Society for Cutting Up Man-Trolls. SCUM-T is here to tell you that it’s time to cut them out.
Let us lay out the case for SCUM-T. For years, we have tried to engage on Wikipedia, Reddit, videogames, and other sites in a spirit of rationality and civil discourse. Thyme said that we could educate and teach tolerance. Pomegranate believed we could appeal to reason, supporting our arguments with research and information outlining the value of having many voices represented rather than just one. The world is a beautiful place, Harmony told Ryvre, full of multiplicity and diversity and grace!
SCUM-T knows that the time for that kind of hippy-dippy crap is over.
For the sake of brevity, SCUM-T will give just this one short example of how reasonable approaches to unreason won’t work (if you want more, go to the Internet). “Since the beginning,” a Reddit anti-censorship megathread recently asserted, “GamerGate has been about anti-censorship.”
On the face of it, this argument seems easy to dismantle. We could counter it by saying that death threats are in fact a form of censorship. (The esteemed Redditer is illogical, Mr. Spock.) Or we could say that people who are in principle opposed to misogyny and racism are merely exercising their right to speak freely when they criticize GamerGate, MRAs, and other online misogynists and racists for oppressive behaviors. (Wimmins have rights, too, Batman.)
But when SCUM-T has to deal with white men who perceive themselves as White Knights doing nothing more offensive than valiantly and defiantly protecting free speech from those intent on chilling their lusty love of enlightenment ideals, appeals to reason only cause us to descend further into the Internet’s ugliest places. That the spaces GamerGaters, MRAs, and their pals so bravely patrol on their white unicorns are spaces devoid of rationality, reason, and verifiable evidence is an irony lost on these uber-ironic protectors de speech libre.
We are not going to combat online misogyny by appealing to reason. Battles over knowledge on sites like Wikipedia and Reddit are not really about knowing anything at all (like facts, data, and verifiable information), as recent scholarship suggests. Rather, these are stupid, exhausting battles over a rule set used to allow white men only to contribute knowledge in the first place. White men who believe that women, people of color, and queer folks are inferior; who harass people online; who dox them; who threaten them with physical violence—these aren’t people who are going to be won by appeals to reason, logic, facts, or calls for civil dialogue. SCUM-T says they will be cut out.
Rather than playing by a rulebook sold by the Men and Men First Bookstore, SCUM-T proposes that we unplay. SCUM-T refuses to play by rule books established for purposes of domination and oppression. In order to unplay, SCUM-T refuses to single out anonymity as the simple cause of online harassment. Instead, SCUM-T embraces anonymity, understanding that sexual violence is prevalent in far too many of the real places in which we live, work, and love. SCUM-T knows that the conditions that sustain harassment online and in our everyday lives are far too complex to be reduced to anonymity.
In order to fight back, SCUM-T will unplay on videogames and against the rules, especially in places where bad behaviors are routine. SCUM-T will shoot their teammates in COD if their actions are sexist, racist, homophobic, or elitist. SCUM-T will double tap if it’s a he. And we will make sure to tell him why we’re doing that. That’s how SCUM-T unplays. When you’re team-killed, thank a feminist.
SCUM-T members will have training sessions on how to troll the trolls, learning how to tie them up in endless and circular flame wars in the places where they breed, re-directing their attention away from identified and vulnerable targets to delicious diversion instead. Unplaying with trolls means feeding men delicious food with no nutritional value that leaves them gorged and exhausted.
SCUM-T will equip feminists and all our sister SJWs (social Justice Warriors) with information about how anonymity (from change.org petitions to Twitter accounts) can allow us to wreak havoc and effect political action through personas and avatars disarticulated from our everyday lives and itineraries.
SCUM-T is here to tell all those SJWs who want to join forces with us that it’s time to take off the gloves, stop behaving like nice girls, and take matters into our own hands. We are sick of playing by rules we didn’t create and that are used to dominate and oppress.
SCUM-T recognizes that anonymity can be an important political tool for women, people of color, and queer people who are so frequently targets of the most despicable online behaviors. SCUM-T knows that anonymity provides us with layers of protection. Unplay lets us fight back.
SCUM-T members: you know who you are.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. XD
Society for Cutting Up Man-Trolls