The latest Wondermark comic once again hits the spot perfectly, but I feel it also makes a secondary point more obvious to me. I’ve always wondered why so many dudebros online just get so unreasonably upset about someone calling them out on something, even the smallest issue in the most polite way, and I just realized that it’s not really “outrage” per se that they’re expressing, but rather a sort of pre-emptive indignation at someone pointing out they might be wrong about something.
In other words, it’s not really a case that someone is upset about SJWs taking over popular culture and other such nonsense, but rather a case that someone not wanting to accept or hear that they might have done something shitty.
The reason I think this is because it’s a classic result of toxic masculinity to react aggressively to any suggestion that they’re not perfect, or that someone else might be better at them at something. And it doesn’t have anything to do with how aggressive you are when you make such a statement, or even a specific subject. This reaction might be triggered from something as innocuous as a suggestion that they may not know as much about cars as another dude.
Toxic Masculinity then demands that they re-assert their dominance, and when they’re clearly in the wrong, their options are rather limited; either unwarranted aggression to cower the opposition or denial and misdirection. Both of these examples are plentiful in the recent examples of reactionary outrage against feminist strides in online spaces. From the constant harassment of prominent women (and other minorities) online in an attempt to silence them, to “sealioning”, to conspiracy theories and constant regurgitation of debunked lies.
So, in the end, I feel a lot of the reaction I see from dudebros is not really truly an expression of outrage culture1 but rather a case of classic male indignation to the idea that someone else might be better than they are at a subject.
- even though I find it exquisitely funny how this is another perfect case of dudebros perfectly exemplifying a concept they claim to be railing against [↩]