Presenting a by-no-means-exhaustive collection of sharp and witty responses to abuse on Twitter from India and beyond.
Ex-editor of Buzzfeed India, Rega Jha, is always happy to receive 'constructive feedback' on her writing from trolls.
[Translation of the troll's tweet: 'Wow, your tweets... you're a total...']
So is author Roxane Gay.
Journalist Maggie Serota just couldn't contain her excitement when she found out that this man had… wait for it… an opinion!
Of course, Rega Jha's also an expert at shutting down gross dudes weirdly fixated on her body.
[Translation of the troll's tweet: 'Rega ma'am, you're looking like a witch, reduce your make-up a little bit, you're spoiling the image of the 'Indian woman'.]
Artist Naina Redhu and pop star Ariana Grande have also dealt their own sweet burns on the issue.
And journalist Ash Sarkar wasn't here for this troll's Islamophobic sexism.
Humour is a powerful way for women to acknowledge abuse and harassment and dismiss an abuser in the same breath.
Ah, memes. Even if you haven’t created one of your own, you’ve definitely seen them being used online. All. The. Time.
Memes (rhymes with ‘dreams’) are usually stills, gifs, or text from movies, shows, and other bit and pieces of popular culture that evoke giggles and spread like wildfire across the interwebs.
Even celebrities are no strangers to memes. Someone made the mistake of calling Bollywood superstar Sonakshi Sinha ‘damn ugly’, and she replied in the only graceful way she could.
When words don’t do enough justice (or rather, have difficulty being understood, *ahem*), memes come to the rescue. Because sometimes there isn't much difference between the fictional world of Mad Max and the not-so-fictional world of the Internet.
Feel free to use any of the following for appropriate (or inappropriate) situations.
For the ever-so-ubiquitous ‘mansplaining’.
Or, if you prefer, you could use Aishwarya Rai’s version of ‘talk to the hand’.
For when bros get ragey and sad because you no love Richard Dawkins. Or because you have a voice. Or an opinion. Essentially, your existence makes them weep.
If it all gets too much, throw a Ryan Gosling meme in their face. A study by two PhD students from the University of Saskatchewan showed that Gosling memes made cis men more ready to embrace feminist ideas. Whatever works, we guess?
If you’re looking for something a little less phoren, though, you can always rely on Feminist Deepika Padukone.
And, finally, for more home-grown memes, look no further than the anti-caste satire group, Savarna Fat Cat:
We aim to bring you up close to the psyche of this marvelous creature [upper-caste/savarna folks] and observe it in its natural habitat in one of the pioneering attempts of its kind.
Savarna Fat Cat's #IsThatASavarna? collection – a series of posts mocking common upper-caste beliefs held by far too many of us – is nothing less than iconic.
The website you're currently browsing is brought to you by many privileged folks - including upper caste and white feminists - and we can see the irony of us featuring Savarna Fat Cat's memes here, particularly that last one.
But we'd be remiss if we didn't include these stinging memes that make us reflect ourselves, in a section about taking back your space through humour.
Since you might not be feeling particularly funny in the face of abuse, there are tons of fab memes you can use instead of coming up with your own jokes.
In no mood to come up with witticism yourself? Outsource some of the work to Zero Trollerance – a ‘humorous feminist-toned re-education programme for sexist trolls on Twitter’ launched by the Peng! Collective in March 2015, and very much worth checking out.
Zero Trollerance is made up of 6 mock self-help videos designed for abusers on Twitter.
It goes from ‘Step 1: Zero Denial’, in which bald-headed guru Adler King asks: ‘are you struggling to engage with anyone who doesn’t identify as a heterosexual man?’
and up to the final ‘Step 6: Zero Troll’, which briefly features a ‘reformed troll’ wearing an ethernet cable around his wrist (in a mock-repentant gesture to ‘remind [himself] of his past on the Internet’).
The Zero Trollerance website states, ‘For trolls, this [website] is the first step towards a new life’. And the proof is in the pudding, a.k.a these mock tweets from reformed trolls.
(For an example of Zero Trollerance taking on actual abusers, check out this strategy.)
Although the extent to which they deflect or discourage actual abuse may not be clear, initiatives like Zero Trollerance are funny, accessible ways to comment on sexist abuse online.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the interwebs are full of, uh, colourful men. But, they’re also filled with equally creative responses from women. Sometimes quite literally.
@SanitaryPanels is an imaginative burst of feminism that all of us need on our Facebook and Instagram timelines. The artist behind the account, Rachita Taneja, shows us that all you need to explain online gender politics are stick figures and a biting sense of irony.
Rachita also has zero patience for seemingly ‘feminist’ cis straight men – those mansplain-y bros you'll usually find soaked in some good ol’ Eau de Hypocrisy.
For more proof that making fun of pseudo-feminist bros just doesn't get old, take a look at Imaan Sheikh's spectacular parody account, Bare Minimum Basheer. Using Apple's Animoji technology, Imaan animates the average 'woke' South Asian male feminist.
Just look at what Basheer has to say about the repeal of Section 377.
Of course, the world of feminist media would be incomplete without some anthemic tunes to soundtrack our struggles. And the People's Art and Literary Association (PALA) from Tamil Nadu, India know this so very well.
God’s own country – Ladies, no entry!
PALA’s satirical track responds to the intense level of gendered abuse that followed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow all women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. The Court’s judgment had become the focus of a national ‘debate’ – mainly conducted on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp – that turned very toxic, very quickly.
But through this sharp and super quotable video, the women of PALA have taken the online virality of the Sabarimala debate into their own hands. The video’s lyrics and images expose the abusive double standards that have kept women in the margins of religious freedoms for far too long.
Hilarious feminist art? Sign us up!
There’s nothing actually funny about creepy or disrespectful men, but Sanitrary Panels, Bare Minimum Basheer and the work of PALA sure do a great job of making us laugh.