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Backfooting: The Disturbing New Dating Trend Men Don't Want You To Know About

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

We’ve all heard of dating terms like “negging” or “breadcrumbing”— but have you heard of backfooting?

“Backfooting” is a manipulation tactic where a man accuses a woman of something bad to put her on the back foot, causing her to behave defensively and in a way that is beneficial to him to prove she is not like that.

We coined this phrase in Part 2 of our interview with Lundy Bancroft (Part 1 here).

While the term might be recent, the strategy itself is nothing new. In his book “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men,” Bancroft describes a type of abuser whose possessiveness takes the form of sexual jealousy, and he constantly accuses his partner of cheating on him even though he has no evidence.

His accusations cause her to police her own behavior and avoid situations where he might accuse her of cheating, such as being alone without him.

The source of his sexual jealousy is not because he actually believes his own accusations (abusers usually don’t), but because he is possessive of her and wishes to isolate her. Possessiveness is not a sign of a man's love, it is a sign of his ownership. Isolation is a tactic often used by abusers to cut off the victim from her social connections, which give her strength.

“Backfooting” is a strategy that is used not only by abusers, but also by ordinary low-quality men as well.

For example, a broke man might accuse women of being “materialistic gold diggers,” and in an effort to prove she is not materialistic, she offers to pay for him, lowers her expectations, and stops asking as much from him.

A lazy man might accuse his partner of “nagging” or being “too demanding,” and in an attempt to prove she’s not a nag, she becomes hesitant about asking him to do things, and starts letting more and more of his bad behavior slide.

Low status men often complain about “career women” and “man-hating feminists” which causes women to downplay our achievements, shrink ourselves, and emotionally coddle men to prove that we don’t hate them.

This occurs on both an individual level (between couples) as well as on a societal level— in both the mainstream media and the manosphere, women are frequently portrayed in a negative light, a form of patriarchal propaganda that causes women to bend over backwards trying to prove they’re “not like the other girls.”

What’s so wrong with being “like other girls”? Most women are awesome.

There is nothing wrong with having expectations of your male partner, and there is nothing wrong with having your own career and social life, no matter how much the low-to-negative-value segment of the male population tries to convince you otherwise.

There is no point in trying to prove him wrong or to try and be a good “female ambassador”— you’re not going to be able to change his mind about you, or improve his overall low opinion of women. You cannot convince him otherwise, because his accusations are a reflection of himself, not you. Backfooting is like quicksand: the more you try to struggle against the accusation, the deeper you sink into his trap.

Reject men’s labels of you. If a man makes a baseless accusation against you, or women in general, don't take it personally and do not try to prove him wrong. Block and delete his number. Or, if you are at a safe distance from him and you'd like to have some fun, you can always double down on whatever he's accusing you of.

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