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How ‘She’s Not Gonna Fuck You, Bro’ Became the Ultimate Online Own

There’s actually a lot more to it than its stupidity suggests

While browsing Twitter recently, I shared a particularly poignant tweet written by a woman I follow. The now-deleted tweet was pretty harmless — a simple point about the way in which consent shouldn’t be considered just in sexual contexts, but also when it comes to private, online conversations. Yet moments after I retweeted it to my timeline, I received a reply from an anonymous account, bearing the avi of the Tottenham Hotspur football club, which read: “She’s not going to shag you, mate.”

It turns out that on Twitter, this response is pretty common:

Twenty-two-year-old Lewis (a pseudonym) tells me that multiple guys flooded his mentions with a similar sentiment after he used his Twitter account to speak out against misogynistic comments made by fellow Manchester City fans. “I’d seen some people online talking about women having to understand when their boyfriends get angry if their team isn’t playing well,” he explains. “I responded after I saw a tweet from a female friend who was talking about how domestic violence can increase on days when [soccer] games are played.”

Lewis thought that this was a fairly mundane (and reasonable) comment to make, but in less than an hour, he received multiple replies from men who kept telling him his friend wouldn’t have sex with him. “It was pretty funny to be honest,” he says. “I’ve known her since I was a kid, and even the idea of doing something specifically to have sex with her is hilarious!” 

Still, Lewis continues, “There are definitely guys who just say stupid stuff to provoke, but at the same time, there are guys who are serious when they say things that justify violence toward women, or even excuse shitty sexual behavior if the man is drunk. And if you say anything to them on [social media], they mock you or say that you’re only saying these things so that you can get laid.”

“These men kind of remind me of the guys who rag on other men for being vegan or eco-friendly,” adds Julia Pugachevsky, the sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan. “It stems from the perception that feminism is purely a gendered issue that only benefits women or is designed to make women superior to men. These men might see it as a guy going against his own kind, and the only reason to do that, in their mind, is that he wants to have sex.”

That’s not to say that’s always the case. Nineteen-year-old Ryan explains, “You can tell who is sincere and who is going over the top in a way that shows they don’t actually mean it. You can tell because they constantly reply to the woman in question, use emojis and are basically doing whatever it takes to impress her. It’s a guy who is trying to show that he isn’t like other guys.” 

When I ask Ryan, who openly admits to calling these guys out with a pointed “She’s not gonna have sex with you” response, whether he was generalizing — and that overly earnest replies don’t necessarily indicate ulterior motives — he tells me that too many men these days are vying to take advantage of their “ally” status. “You can tell which [men] say the kind of things to bring attention to themselves,” he argues. “It makes them look worse than the guys who make shit comments to women in the first place.”

Pugachevsky agrees: “Men being outspoken about feminism are genuine in trying to be good people, but [they] can get it wrong precisely because they’re focusing on feeling validated that they’re on the right side of history.” 

Or like Ryan believes, there’s nothing genuine about it in the first place. “It’s a real thing for people to virtue signal, project the opposite of who they are or think that their growth is done because they put ‘proud feminist’ in their Twitter bio,” Pugachevsky continues. “Being good to women isn’t just about supporting Planned Parenthood or equal pay — it’s also about showing up when they’ve had a bad day, doing just as much around the house, actually caring if they have fun in bed, too, and being communicative and calm in a disagreement. Otherwise, I have to agree with the Reply Guys: We really won’t have sex with you, mate.”