TrollsFor years now, I have wondered, “Why is he here?” He would be a male.  I can’t bring myself to call him a “man,” although biologically that would probably be the correct term. He* baffles me by showing up on websites and blogs geared toward women only to wonder why the conversation isn’t about men. He peruses posts about what women are thinking, the ones where the comments section numbers into the tens and hundreds, and then calls the issue “irrelevant” or dumb.”  He shows up to every conversation about Black relationships to remind Black women that Black men are not interested in them, somehow missing the irony that by reading and posting — always at length — his action contradicts his assertion.  No matter the issue, he absolutely always faults women in general or feminism at large.

If he posts early enough on Clutch, his comments are shielded from later viewers with a “hidden due to low rating,” the invariable result of the Sisters who got here first clicking the thumbs down button. But for the stragglers, the one who show up to a juicy post a day late (that’s me), his often off-color and vicious comments sit. I always read the rant and I always wonder mid-way, “boy, why are you here?”

I wanted an answer, truly, for years. But I’ve treated the musing like a rhetorical question. Someday it would be answered… better, someday, someone would ponder harder, do the work, and deliver the answer since I was interested enough to wonder, but too busy to really be concerned. And then a Clutch commenter suggested, “someone should write about why there are all these male trolls on women’s blogs.” And so I have.

I had my theories. Leading the list was a lot of men like having sex with women, but don’t really like women. But that seemed too simple. I wondered if berating women online was to get the same effect of doing it in the real world. Guy emotionally batters women because he insecure about self and must make woman feel inferior so he can feel strong and she will be docile. That kind of had merit.

My conspiracy theory went something like—if boy believes feminism is the downfall of mankind, and most women’s sites/blogs are perceived as having feminist leanings, then maybe he thinks women are on women’s sites plotting  to overthrow men. He might think “natural hair” is our code word for “machete.” Maybe his rabble-rousing in the comments can distract us (because, you know, women are like children) and thwart our agenda to take over Man, which, of course, would make him a hero among men. I swear, it’s not really as far-fetched as it sounds.

It still felt like I was missing something though, so I asked my guys — my Male Mind Squad, if you will — why they thought some boys were trolling women’s sites.

The first response gave the most obvious answer: “We live in a trolling world,” he explained matter-of-factly. “Anonymous posting has allowed anyone to be a cyber-terrorist, bully, or saboteur.”

One friend genuinely thought that maybe women were looking at it all wrong and the guys weren’t as bad as I made them out to be. “Men, generally, are solvers and when women have issues,” he guessed. “Some men believe a simple opinion will cure their issues and voila … problem solved.” Or er, started.

A couple of guys had outlooks I didn’t expect (but in retrospect, should have been obvious). “Men are perpetually trying to figure out the foreign specie that is the female human,” one gent hypothesized. “Once men discover the truth, they’re not willing to accept it and become combative toward it. Very similar to a woman asking her man if she looks fat in new jeans …”

Another guy confirmed a theory about these males: “They are there to prey upon any weak-minded women and portray themselves as ‘real men’,” he said. “They’re lost. They don’t understand the entirety of context and what it’s like to BE a woman.”

And yet another guy confirmed my leading suspicion. “On the low, a lot of dudes HATE women,” he said. “This is a vehicle for them to let out their anger bitterness, frustration and venom.”

Why do you think the males are here?

*The “he” I refer to isn’t any of the plethora of men who visit women’s sites and manage to contribute to the conversation meaningfully with their male POV. I get why they are here. Most of what society tends to think of as women’s issues don’t affect just one sex. And well, men who like women and want to get along with tem are genuinely interested in what we’re thinking and talking about. I find their input mostly helpful. Oh, and so the guys tell me there are ZERO forums for men to express themselves, “and probably won’t be,” said a guy friend. I assume all of the above is why men join in from time to time.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

225 Comments

  1. I honestly don’t get why some of you ladies continue to engage them! That is what they want. I don’t even bother reading because I know it will be complete nonsense. Every woman who not only reads but responds to their posts is the reason why they not only come but thrive and get comfy.

    I also don’t understand why blogs allow them through. They don’t contribute anything of value to the conversation and are not interested in your ads.

    I think it is clear that the majority of the black male trolls are abusers in real life who enjoy any opportunity to intrude on a womans peace. Others just do it for what they call lulz. Either way don’t give them the satisfaction — downrate and move on.

    0
    • black_feminist

      “I honestly don’t get why some of you ladies continue to engage them! That is what they want.”

      Exactly!

      0
    • @black_feminist

      I agree. If a weed gets water, it will grow. If a weed doesn’t get water, it will die. And paying attention to trolls is like water for them. I ignore them.

      0
  2. Anthony

    I hang out at Clutch so much because I think this site has some great articles that really interest me. I also really, really like being around women. I love my wife, my daughters, my sister, and my late mother and aunts. I also enjoy my female co-workers too. As a man, understanding feminism and the female perspective is a life long learning assignment because I am a man, and I will never totally get women since I am not one. Sometimes the best thing a man can do is just read and not post even if he is tempted to write.

    0
    • I appreciate what you’re saying, but your last line sums it up. Zip it.

      0
    • Anthony

      Onegirl, do you mean never post, or be mindful of where I post?

      0
    • Anthony, you are one of the few men who comment here whose opinion I always look forward to reading (also Ravi). Even when I may disagree, I can tell your opinion is not meant to be dismissive or hateful. You GET it–at least–as much as any man can try to “get” it. Understanding that sometimes you just have to read and not comment is something too many many don’t get, and don’t want to get (hi, jamesfrmphilly).

      0
    • Anthony

      Nona, I appreciate your kind words.

      0
    • Chelle

      I think it also should be said, Anthony, that we don’t need “Yes men” either. You come off as genuine so regardless of your POV it will be received well. Any woman that jumps down you’re throat for respectfully giving an opinion is no better than the trolls.

      Maybe I’m speaking for myself but I rather get the good with the bad from a man who’s genuine like yourself. There’s a difference in saying, “Yes I have seen a lot of black women walking around with extra weight,” than, “Yeah I’m leaving all ya’ll black women for white women cuz ya’ll b*tches is fat.”

      A man can be stating facts but when you get condescending it turns to pure f*ckery and detracts from whatever statement he’s trying to make.

      Hope you stay and hang with us :)

      0
    • Anthony,

      I always enjoy reading your infrequent comments. BUT, if you have something to say, “SPEAK YES SPEAK TO BE HEARD SO HARD!”. This may be a space created for us, BUT I absolutely HATE when I see other women, asking “why are you commenting?” It’s great to read a man’s point of view!! We just ask that you remain respectful. That’s all.

      0
    • LemonNLime

      I too enjoy reading your comments. The key is just to be respectful and realize that you are speaking from an outside pov. So long as you aren’t being dismissive or being disrespectful (and YES that includes the dreaded “female” discriptor, then your comments should always be welcomed.

      0
  3. MimiLuvs

    I was surprise to see that this article was posted on here. I honestly thought the staff, here on Clutch, was turning a blind eye to the foolishness and hiding behind the free amendments. There are men, regulars, whose comments that I feel are welcoming.

    0
    • Not at all. We are a small team – only one person monitors the site daily. Most of the time – comments end up in moderation or if it gets through we don’t see it until later or until it’s reported. It’s gets hard to monitor on post that reach high comment numbers. If there is a comment that is offensive and any reader feels like to be removed please report and email us @ [email protected].

      Thanks!

      0
    • anon Black male

      Perhaps the Clutch team could clarify the commenting policies/expectations.

      Ms. Lucas and many of your readers seem to think that since this site is “geared toward” Black women, Black men who would like to comment should do so only with implied permission–that is, in a way likely to be found agreeable.

      I’m not trying to debate the merits of such a policy. But readers generally might be helped by knowing whether this is, in effect, the official policy.

      Reasonable men then would not have to be instructed (or shamed) to “get off our site”–if this is not where they are supposed to be in the event they feel compelled to register an unpopular opinion. Your site, your rules.

      0
    • Hi Anon,

      Thanks for responding! We welcome all voices – but the issue is a few bad apples are coming to post/articles leaving very rude and offensive comments that are not related to the topic or just plain disrespectful and not adding to the conversation. We truly think all the ladies of Clutch have no problem with men reading and comments on the content – but they just want to make sure you are here to add something productive and respectful and not here just to harp and express anger/resentment towards us.

      Our comment policy is here – http://www.clutchmagonline.com/comment-moderation-policy/

      Thanks again!

      0
    • victoria

      Well commentor Nate Higgers has to go. I will be sure to report him in the future.

      0
    • We have already banned him – but he keeps getting through our moderation. Please let us know – and we will continue to delete him when he gets through.

      0
    • anon Black male

      Clutch team: I appreciate the thoughtful reply, which is consistent with the policy I’d read.

      Yet I’m not sure about this: “all the ladies of Clutch have no problem with men reading and comment[ing] on the content – but they just want to make sure you are here to add something productive and respectful….” Comments on this article, for example, suggest that quite a few ladies would like to enforce a more exclusive policy, whether through shouting down or shaming.

      Fortunately, your actual policy takes precedence on your site.

      0
    • When I do comment on here, I tend to write with a creed in mind: Write, using tact and speak to someone as if they are standing in front of you. I think that is a part of the ongoing commenting-conflict that is going on: a lot of commentators choosing not to engage in a healthy conversation with everybody/anybody. I seriously doubt that these same people have conversations others (in real life and away from the computer) with the same mannerisms and behavior that they have here on Clutch. I doubt that they are quick to name-call and insult another person, because their opinions are different than their POV.
      If so, then they shouldn’t be offended if they are called “a**holes”.

      0
  4. 9 times out of 10, I’m interested in what a male’s point-of-view is regarding our topics. There are a lot of great discussions on Clutch, so I can understand why they would have a desire to comment.

    0
    • I’m interested in the male’s point-of-view on as long as it’s relevant and constructive.
      Name-calling, blaming without any personal responsibility, and general jack-a**ery contributes to nothing.

      I ignore the comments and eventually stop visiting any site if it get’s out of hand.

      0
    • “blaming without any personal responsibility”

      Lots of men will find this comment funny. :-) I expand on this in a later comment.

      0
    • Perspective

      @ AnnT –

      This ain’t the black church! These REAL LIFE BLACK MEN – aren’t in your pocket – WE DO NOT PANDER TO BLACK WOMEN, just to make them FEEL BETTER.

      If you don’t like what’s being said – that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the truth.

      How do I know it’s truth

      Many reasons –

      1) Sista would rather BURY COMMENTS then intelligently respond with logic and reason. “Hmmm, ok I could see or understand that!”

      2) Women are the biggest culprits of shaming, name calling, and other ad hominems

      3) Black women love to make the exceptions swallow the rule. Black children are failing, we have a high single motherhood number, there is a connection between the two. Where do black women go in order to DEFEND the sisterhood.

      “Nuh uh! Look at Ben Carson!”

      Really chick… Really!!!? What is that 1 in 100,000 black males. 75% of our prisons are full of men who came from fatherless homes and BEN CARSON is supposed to shut me down?

      Its to the point of ridiculousness.

      4) When in doubt! – “THAT’S NOT IT – YOU JUST WANT WHITE WOMEN AND LIGHT SKIN!”

      Doesn’t matter what the topic is. A man can break down dating single mothers is a drain.

      “You’re not my daddy”
      “Baby daddy wanna suddenly show up because your smashin his EX GIRL! – NOW he wants to be a dad!”
      “If you date a single mom – there is NO WAY money is not coming out your pocket.”

      What will the women say if you don’t want to go through all that?

      “THAT AIN’T IT, YOU JUST WANT WHITE WOMEN!”

      Please direct me to the sea of brothas hopping the fence and REQUESTING the non-black women who have the very issues that brothas complain about.

      0
    • @Perspective, you are truly a damaged soul. You need prayer and a psychiatrist. Dear Lord. SMH.

      0
    • @Perspective-I know more good Black men and Black women than I know bad Black men and Black women. I’m sorry you choose to not seek out good people and instead choose to wallow in your confirmation bias, but that’s not my reality.
      I don’t even know what you talmbout because I’ve never said any of those things. I’m not denying those things haven’t been said by other women or men, but I suggest your find your “Ground Zero” girl and seek help.

      0
    • Exactly. Regardless of gender, I cannot entertain foolishness and non-sense. Name-calling and personal attacks were getting out of hand at one time from both sides. I thought it was completely unnecessary for a site created for mature women. However, I think it has gotten better. Well, maybe I should say some days or better than others. :)

      0
  5. politicallyincorrect

    I don’t understand the title of this article, There are male trolls on a lot of women’s sites and articles. Its not specific to race at all.

    There are male forums, its not womens fault they probably talk about hip hop and sports all the time. They also have their own websites where they bash women, there are sites where specifically black women are bashed

    0
    • Everybody else does it, isn’t an excuse with merit.

      Lucas specifically mentions Clutch so I assume she’s writing specifically about black women’s sites on a black woman’s site. One of the men quoted says that this isn’t a Black woman/man phenomenon.

      0
    • politicallyincorrect

      I am not saying its ok because everyone else does it. Just stop attributing everything negative to black behavior when its MALE behavior

      0
    • keepitreal

      Two words, male privilege. I know certain women delight in this invasion and are all a quiver at male attention–I am not one.

      And yeah, no, this phenomena is almost exclusive to black women sites and I find it pretty repulsive. I discovered Clutch and other BW blogs just this year & imagine my shock to find men littered all over with most spewing hate. Hell, even one of the most popular black **HAIR** care board is littered with male trolls.
      What’s even sadder is these trolls are lauded with attention and their presence defended by the very women they demean.
      Notice my use of the word litter b/c this is essentially what you males are doing, flinging your opinions where it is not intended nor needed.

      It absolutely reeks of disrespect whether or not the man in question is the obvious troll or seemingly pro woman. This should be a safe place for women to share their thoughts among her sisters. How effing dare you invade such a space.

      I can’t imagine my dad or any male of his generation sitting up in the kitchen with my mom and her girlfriends and gabbing. GTFO,
      It’s obvious a lot of these “men” today weren’t raised around men when the words Clutch, lipstick, black women hair care….. isn’t enough to keep your asses away.

      0
    • Wow.

      0
    • Exactly, and that is another issue. Many of these males were probably raised around women and don’t even know how to just be around other men. Other level headed men would probably put them in their place. They’re used to being up some woman’s skirt all the time.

      I can’t remember the last time I visited a black men’s blog or site — I honestly don’t care to hang around in their space and comment on their issues. That’s their business.

      0
    • Chillyroad

      Likewise many of you women were raised in all female spaces and are hysterically hostile toward anything male except Mr. Charlie of course. You guys have been raised around a bunch of domineering man hating no man having mothers aunts and friends. No fathers or husband so it makes sense that men are seen as hostile invaders.

      0
    • Damn….tell ‘em how you feel Chillyroad. lol

      0
    • Do better

      We must be kindred spirits Keepitreal, because you just read my mind! PREACH!!! And dead @ “Clutch, lipstick, black women hair care….. isn’t enough to keep your asses away.”

      0
    • Child be quiet, it’s not that serious.

      0
    • @keepitreal

      Yeah…..and while its sad? ….another reason is ….the only group that pays attention to anything Black men say is….BLACK WOMEN!

      0
    • LMO85

      Thank you for this comment all day long.

      0
More in community
Close