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Angry feminist mob

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The angry feminist mob is a rhetorical device sometimes used to discredit feminists in online (and offline) discussions. It occurs when feminists say something fairly mild, and a non-feminist observer reports the feminists' statements as having been much more aggressive than they actually were.

For example, during the Mark Shuttleworth at Linuxcon incident, Skud posted an open letter ending with the following request:

I’d like to invite you to think about the message you’re sending to women in the Linux community, and, if you didn’t mean to convey the message that we’re technical illiterates and hard to educate, consider apologising publicly.

This request was referred to variously as "hounding" Mark Shuttleworth, going in "with guns blazing", "bayonets fixed", or calling for a "lynching" -- all physically violent descriptions at odds with the fairly measured statement. More generally, terms like "going after speakers with pitchforks" or "tarring and feathering" have been used to describe requests for speakers not to give Sexualized presentations and the like.

The insult Feminazi is a version of "angry feminist mob" that likens feminists with Nazis.

See also:

  • Tone argument: when someone discredits a feminist argument based on its (perceived or actual) level of hostility
  • Damaging my reputation and Witch hunt: when someone portrays feminist criticism as a grave threat to a supposedly-innocent person's reputation or career, again frequently independently of actual level of hostility
  • Pick your battles: when one incident of criticism is treated as a future prediction of indiscriminate conflicts.  Ironically, attempts to silence or contain feminist criticism this way may actually lead to the feminist asserting herself, which may be reframed as battling.

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