I took a Gender Studies class once in college and I wont name names but there were a couple people who stood out.
One was a guy, we’ll call him Craig. He was a bit overweight and not ugly, just unkempt. He would always wear t-shirts with obscure video game references on them with a fedora. We gave him a lot of shit about the fedora. Craig was… a dumb shit. Not just because of his views on Feminism (which verged on hilarious), but just in general not a smart person. He would always misuse words like literally, “you literally killed this conversation!” and never seemed to fact check anything. But what got me the most about Craig was the smug, self satisfied tone of voice he always had. No matter what our professor was saying, he was ready with a pre-prepared comeback. Never once were any of these retorts met with even a single giggle from the rest of the class. But he would plug right along as if the professor was only speaking to him. He’d spend a good portion of the time just shaking his head at her and chuckling to himself. It was beyond annoying. He also seemed be really obsessed with The Amazing Atheist. You know, that guy from Youtube? He would quote his videos in class like he was Richard Dawkins or something. The guy also ranted about Anita Sarkeesian a lot, which was awkward because only three people in the class knew who he was talking about. I was one of them. The other was a girl we’ll call Janet.
Janet was like Craig’s complete opposite while simultaneously being exactly like him. She was a bigger girl, who wore heavy 50’s style makeup and had a septum piercing. She had a tattoo on her left arm that just said, ” CUNT” which I thought was pretty cool when we first met. That was before I got to know her.
“Nine out of ten women WILL be raped.” she said to me once in what I thought was a conversation, but quickly descended into an all out lecture. I couldn’t get a single word in for a about fifteen minutes. But I had so many questions… like, nine out of ten? Who are we factoring in here? And where? Are you talking about the Republic of Congo or like… Wisconsin? By the end I was so mentally exhausted from her tirade I made my excuses and escaped the cafe, slightly worse for wear.
Janet was frustrating because where she would always start off with reasonable points about Feminism…
“Women shouldn’t have to live in fear of harassment just because men find them beautiful.”
But then would always inevitably go too far.
“Hearing stuff like that is so violating. It’s basically verbal rape.” she said.
This was always met with a groan from the entire class because we knew nothing else was going to get covered that day. Craig was ready with a meladramatic, “UGGGH” and would launch into a sermon about how Feminism is all about maintaining a constant state of victimhood. He encouraged us all to “take the red pill” and see that all of this was a thinly veiled conspiracy to destroy modern manliness.
These two became the center of our class. They could find something to argue about in nearly every subject we covered. When we talked about the concept of rape culture, Janet purposed it was because men are naturally sexually aggressive whereas Craig flat out refused to acknowledge it even existed. Wage gap? Craig spent 25 minutes ruminating about why a capitalist society needed to factor in that women “breed”, unlike men. Janet said that was, “typical”– I agreed until she said, “We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if women ruled the world”.
Eventually we gave in and just let them go at each other. Sometimes we would try to have legitimate conversations around them. Like literally would move our desks so we could talk freely. But their fights would get so heated and volatile no one could concentrate. One guy, Dan– he was from from Texas, insisted on sitting close to Janet because he was sure one of these days Craig was going throw a punch.
“If anyone’s going to get bitch slapped, it’s Craig.” we joked. And eventually that’s all we could do. I mean if you weren’t trying to discuss anything, the two were pretty funny. Craig would bang on his desk like a pissed off chimpanzee and endlessly quote Youtube and Reddit threads like they we’re God’s word. His zealotry was particularly funny because of how much he talked about Atheism. Despite his hardcore liberal persona, he’d always call Janet a Feminazi– a term coined by Rush Limbaugh. When his eyes bugged out we called it his “Atheist Zeal”.
But Janet was just as bad. Despite knowing she would inevitably end up fighting with Craig, she never bothered to come prepared. Instead she’d depend on anecdotes from her life and her friends to make her cases. Whenever she couldn’t back up something, she’d just start crying. Anyone who challenged her feelings would instantly get shot down for “abusing her”. Half way through the semester she claimed, “All men are inherently rapists.” and I caught the look of hurt in Dan’s eyes. He stopped sitting next to her after that day.
Fortunately, he found solace in our post-class roast of the two and I think we genuinely started to enjoy it for a while. A friend of mine drew a comic where the two ended up getting married and their baby was a demon spawn. I wrote a short story once about how Craig actually thought he was Neo from The Matrix. Craig was always easier to make fun of, I think Janet got to us more. Mostly because she always gave Craig something to shriek about. Whenever we thought she’d finally cornered him, caught him in a fallacy or something, she’d always punctuate it with something hyperbolic like, “hashtag-killallmen”. She’d say hashtag. Then Craig would crawl up on his cross and stay there until the timer ran out. In retrospect I think the two only showed up to class to yell at each other.
The semester ended and we all went our separate ways. I would see them every once in a while around town, but understandably didn’t go out of my way to catch up. When I showed up from the next level Gender Studies class the following term, I was surprised not to see either of them. I asked a classmate about them and they said, “”You didn’t hear?”
I hadn’t heard.
“Craig went off his meds or something and beat the living shit out of her. She’s in the hospital.”
After that, we couldn’t really joke about them anymore. I don’t know what happened to Janet, I think she might have moved away or transferred. I assume Craig went to jail for a while. But the stink of what had happened hung over the class after that. Even though they were gone, we couldn’t relax. So we got very little done after that.
…by the way this is a work of fiction. None of this ever happened, it’s just how I feel about the internet sometimes.