Surely by now everyone has heard of the blog Return of Kings and their recent post, “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder.” This disgusting, demoralizing and disturbing article has rightfully caused an uproar from allies and opponents alike, all while gaining massive traffic on their website.

The thesis of the article is exactly what it purports to be — no sarcasm included. These men genuinely want, “to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men.”

As laughable as this sounds, these misogynists aren’t kidding. In fact, due to their previously low website traffic, they engineered the article about the positivity behind female eating disorders in order to generate a wild controversy and thus get their name out in the press. Websites and blogs such as Return of Kings and Total Frat Move are notorious for this kind of behavior. People should combat their attention-seeking actions by ignoring their taunting and lurid posts.

When being teased as a child, we were always told that people would keep teasing you if they could get a rise out of you. That is basically what these websites are doing. While they do probably believe the heinous words they publish, they also write to further their cause. By replying to them, in agreement or vehement protest, you are promoting them. According to the International Business Times, the eating disorder article is an offensive attempt at “trolling the Web” to raise the profile of Return of Kings and to profit off of the ensuing controversy. As more and more people flood the website after their friends post the link to Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, the website is gaining popularity from all the hits. It has gone viral — doing exactly what the nasty creators wanted.

Along the same lines, as Dean Obeidallah beautifully opined for CNN last weekend, by doing outrageous and attention-seeking actions, the highly publicized Miley Cyrus has achieved exactly what she always wanted: fame. By writing more articles about her and her bizarre actions (and even by mentioning her here) we are only encouraging and perpetuating her extreme behavior and fame. The more weird stuff she does on TV, the more her name is spoken, the more fame she has and the more money she rakes in.

This same principle applies to Return of Kings and its brother website, TFM. The obnoxious and infuriating articles, which often promote treating college women as nothing more than mere sex objects, have made TFM one of the most popular websites for college men. By giving specific examples of TFM articles here, I would only be perpetuating the sick culture these misogynistic men have easily created through use of the quick and accessible Internet.

While others may say that these websites are “all in good fun” or are untouchable because of freedom of speech, it does not change the fact that their backwardness is harming society. By constantly gaining popularity for talking about women negatively, some part of their mentality seeps into society’s consciousness. It promotes not only gender inequality but also rape culture through its constant treatment of women as mere objects. Whether or not these articles should be taken as a joke, they have gained popularity and are encouraging a sick, complacent group of college-aged men who think that just because someone on TFM posted about it, it is OK to act that way.

While these websites are going viral and spiraling out of control, with positive or negative comments, you can stop their prominence by not posting links to them. Truly ignoring these websites would stop them in their tracks. This is not a request to stop caring about the issues they bring up, because open dialogue is important, but this is a request to stop funding their ignorance. By replying to them and showing all your friends their links, all you are doing is adding to their growing popularity. There are other, more positive and helpful arenas where issues of misogyny and inequality can be discussed without sponsoring the instigators at their core. Join me in silently protesting the Internet-monster-men who are instigating uproar for money.

Maura Levine can be reached at mtoval@umich.edu

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