We all have them. Those internet rabbit holes you just can’t resist going down. Maybe it’s a topic that fascinates you, or one that infuriates you, or maybe it’s just one you know has enough content online that you can kill a bit of time when things are slow at work. Maybe you have a favourite topic that you check back on frequently in hopes of updates, even if the matter has been dormant for years. Maybe you and your friends share your findings back and forth, like my BFF and I do with bizarre advice column questions from sites like Ask a Manager and Dear Prudie.
Some rabbit holes are quite common: topics like unresolved true crime (who killed JonBenet Ramsey, who was Jack the Ripper) or cryptids (mythological—or potentially not mythological—beings like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster) have always piqued our interest and our imagination. The internet has facilitated others: it’s easy to get lost scrolling through satellite images on Google Earth or idly planning a dream vacation or dinner on Instagram. Wikipedia is the biggest conduit, with its infinite hyper links making it easy to move through a series of innocuous topics until suddenly it’s three hours later and you’re deep into a world of conspiracy theories and oddities. “What is the best internet rabbit hole to get lost down?” is a common question on AskReddit, and Slate has an entire series based around the idea.
As someone who is Extremely Online, I probably go down the rabbit hole more often than most. Let me bring you down a few of my favourites:
If you’ve got a creative bone in your body, you know how hard it is to make a living from your craft. And if you don’t know, someone will tell you. Unsolicited and often. Most of us will only ever write our novels, take our photos, play our instruments for fun, and we accept that our passion will probably have to be an evening pursuit after our time spent at the workplace. But for some, making a living from doing the creative work they love isn’t just a pipe dream.
There’s a certain feeling of pride and jealousy combined that comes up every time I read about a friend’s book deal or see their byline on one of my favourite websites. It’s amazing to see people achieving their dreams, especially if they can actually pay the bills with it. While I’ve been lucky enough (or, sometimes I think, unlucky enough) to incorporate my love of writing into my work, it’s definitely not easy or lucrative.
There are a lot of sexist memes on the internet, which makes sense, it being the internet and all. Sexist memes combine two of the internet’s favourite things: memes and sexism. Most are some variety of the same theme, usually meant to explain that girls who pretend to like cool things are just lying liars who are only pretending to like cool things, most likely to attract boys. See: Fake Geek/Gamer Girl, the Bernie v. Hilary campaign positions sign, and about a hundred others.
When the denizens of this too-large corner of the internet are not talking about how horrible it is when girls like “boy” stuff, they’re talking about how horrible “girl” stuff is. For example, makeup and the “take her swimming on a first date”/”this is why men have trust issues” meme, which I find to be one of the most infuriating. You can see an example below, but basically it’s two pictures of a girl, one with and one without makeup. In the “with makeup” photo, her skin is flawless, eyebrows groomed, face all-around made up in a conventionally attractive way. In the “without makeup” photo she has sparse eyebrows, undereye circles, blemishes, maybe some hyperpigmentation, If she was the kind of girl to wear makeup every day, this picture would be the one of the day where everyone asks her “Are you sick?”
Apparently, it’s some sort of huge betrayal to a certain section of men on the internet for women to wear makeup because it’s a “lie”—as many women have so correctly pointed out, if these men think that winged black eyeliner is a natural feature, they deserve to feel hoodwinked—but there’s something about these memes that I find even more discomforting.