Another day, another red-pill outrage online. The target of the manosphere’s ire this time is Australian actor Margot Robbie, who plays the lead in the upcoming film “Barbie.”
The manosphere, the network of websites, blogs and social media discussions led by men who reject feminism and promote their understanding of masculinity, has another strong and equally telling opinion about Robbie. She is barely average looking, or “mid,” the term for women who obtain a ranking of six out of 10 at most, the men have declared. One tweet stated that the actor was cast because she is “not attractive enough to alienate a female audience.” Another posted a (lovely) picture of her without makeup, stating she was a “6 at best. Definitely mid.” Their unsolicited opining about Robbie’s appearance quickly went viral, and within hours Robbie was not only Twitter’s number one trending topic, but also Google searches for her jumped to the top 10 globally. While beauty is indeed subjective, Robbie objectively falls into the category of conventionally attractive people.
The discussion started, in pure manosphere fashion, with — wait for it — a complaint about women. Why were modern women so average, the men pondered. All the actors in the ’80s and ’90s were more attractive. Where are all the 10 out of 10s? Counter tweets and memes followed, yet the critique-resistant manosphere persisted. Robbie is “mid,” and men were once again being judged for exercising their basic right to rank women’s physical appearance and voice an opinion. Then things spiraled into the abyss of social media tit for tat. The men who mocked the appearance of Robbie were themselves mocked for their looks, and the whole affair turned into an ugly race to the bottom: Who gets to shame whose face and body faster and more effectively, dunking on profile pictures and name calling. “Maybe just ignore the trolls,” one tweet stated — as if embodying the mandatory but lone voice of reason that we so often come upon on social media.
Of course, being provocative and edgy can get you places on Twitter, but the war on Robbie is multilayered. It is neither an isolated incident nor strictly about her appearance but reflects another symptom of the manosphere’s boldness, entitlement and increasingly thin skin. [Continue reading…]