Men aren’t safe in America.
Or at least that’s what the right wants to you believe. It’s their latest absurdity, in the tradition of allegations of climate change hoaxes and accusations of voter fraud. Right wing hacks are using the hashtag #HimToo to raise awareness that men should fear false accusations than women should fear sexual assault.
#HimToo is a bad joke based on an bogus idea. Conservatives spreading the hashtag know it’s bullshit. And that’s the entire point.
Conservative discourse is driven entirely by a desire to trigger snowflake libs. Donald Trump thrives on victimizing his enemies and his supporters follow suit. As Adam Serwer wrote, cruelty toward the “other” is the one true binding agent of Trump’s base. In this case, it doesn’t matter that less than 10 percent of sexual assault allegations are false. Or that one-in-six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. One man—Brett Kavanaugh—had his good name dragged through the mud by liberals and radical feminists, who all must pay.
As a reaction to Kavanaugh’s “smearing” (read: legitimate allegations of sexual assault and perjury) right wing crackpots start spreading garbage. They post long (and apparently misguided) soliloquies about their large adult sons and tweet about how men should wear recording devices 24/7. It really doesn’t matter whether they believe their own dreck or not. People with similar beliefs (or grifting techniques) will spread it around until liberals see it and freak out.
#HimToo is a mockery of liberals’ supposed fragile sensibilities and a direct insult to actual sexual assault survivors. Conservative nitwits co-opted the #MeToo hashtag in a cruel attempt to turn a meaningful movement into a punchline. They’re trying to invalidate the courage of #MeToo survivors like Christine Ford, who’s still receiving death threats while Kavanaugh prepares for his first Supreme Court case. The idea of discrediting Dr. Ford—let alone any woman she inspired to come forward with their own stories of sexual assault—is infuriating.
That intentional appeal to negative emotion proves that despite the obvious bullshit, triggering works. I’m an admittedly emotional and reactive person who leans far left politically. Almost everything Donald Trump does and says viscerally angers me. Sean Hannity, Charlie Kirk, Owen Shroyer and countless other pro-Trump stooges incessantly piss me off with their brazen hypocrisy and outright lies. I become angry when I hear the president parrot white nationalist rhetoric or see Fox News portray caging children as the price of doing business.
But #HimToo made me rethink how I react to conservative garble. It made me realize that they don’t take all of their statements with equal sincerity. It’s obvious there’s no serious belief behind #HimToo. The hashtag campaign doesn’t warrant attention other than a few sarcastic quote tweets. A lot of right wing bilge contains substantive hatred that leaks into policy and political rhetoric and liberals can’t afford to ignore it. But there’s no substance behind crap like #HimToo. Once you realize that, identifying the stuff that exists solely to make liberals mad is easier to spot and essential to ignore.