“Maybe She Can Be a Feminist and Still Claim Her Own Opinions?”
In this autoethnographic account, the author explores “academic trolling,” a variant that enfolds scholars trolling scholars, trolls trolling scholars, and scholars trolling trolls. Scholars trolling scholars is represented in Reviewer #2, the stereotypical representation of agonistic gatekeeping mechanisms of academic publishing that undermine the work of women, minorities, and researchers using nonconventional approaches. Despite this, academic culture positions itself as an arbiter of knowledge and morality. Thus, trolls view the academic community as hypocritical and highly exploitable for humor and for derailing a narrative about epistemological production and progressive tolerance. Trolls trolling scholars adopt Reviewer #2’s tactics to paint journalists and academic scholars—the major offenders in misrepresenting troll cultures—as corrupt, self-interested, hypocritical, and inconsequential, characterizations legitimized by academic culture. Finally, the author considers how trolls identified her as a potential target but presumed she was a white male based on her insider knowledge and prose; once they discovered her background, they were compelled to rationalize her ability to occupy their world while remaining a feminist academic. From this experience, the author explores the potential for academics to troll trolls via a restoration of the creative principle to language.