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A new study out of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, found that female dragonflies of a specific species, the moorland hawker, will suddenly play dead mid-flight and crash-dive to the ground in order to avoid the harassment and advances of male dragonflies.
According to researcher Rassim Khelifa via New Scientist, the moorland hawker is vulnerable to harassment when it lays eggs because its mate doesn’t guard it, unlike other dragonflies. A single sexual encounter is enough to fertilize all the female’s eggs, and could subsequently damage her reproductive tract.
Within mere minutes of the study’s publication, hundreds of women chimed in on Twitter to identify with the dead-dropping, harassment-avoiding moorland hawker butterfly.
A mood https://t.co/idUNe8ZtLB— young tramp (@taytheasthmatic) April 27, 2017
Yet another thing female dragonflies and I have in common https://t.co/WlFfufcQvx— jay b (@jaybahoreal) April 27, 2017
*Takes notes* https://t.co/FWzs1Krq8r— Chihiro Ogino (@WickedBeaute) April 27, 2017
We gotta follow their lead, ladies. https://t.co/ol7uQRKg4O— damita jo (@kiaspeaks) April 27, 2017
I can relate https://t.co/sLmGbRlge4— Amanda mills (@AmandaMiIIs) April 27, 2017
relatable https://t.co/zEGSZMWNJ1— lindslay (@lindsaydemeola) April 27, 2017
My spirit animal https://t.co/QW5LllWQRy— mean irene (@ireenee_b) April 27, 2017
I feel that, sis. https://t.co/j2sWxklqgC— Slim ✨ (@_liltigg) April 27, 2017
my girl, with all cis men https://t.co/gGtdcqzmoV— levi (@somethingtosky) April 27, 2017
I mean what woman hasn't, really. https://t.co/k4Htw3DgZN— TheShepherdPersists (@civilwarbore) April 27, 2017
Guess I'm a dragonfly https://t.co/jIOTtNy2R7— nikirazavi (@razaviniki) April 27, 2017
is this me https://t.co/VHHYqcceZI— viv (@starwarsbuck) April 27, 2017
Have u ever read anything more relatable in your life https://t.co/eMiuK5qhf9— XINGONA (@lmaomelanie) April 27, 2017
i always knew i wasnt human https://t.co/5a8VXP7nEf— $corpio (@CUMBACKTOME) April 27, 2017
i finally know what my patronus is https://t.co/7TwPAcKC5R— elena yip (@elena_yip) April 27, 2017
Who did a study on me https://t.co/RdweafJm64— Melanie (@hh_melanie) April 27, 2017
Damn why I gotta find out through twitter that im a female dragonfly https://t.co/nzRvlCmWjq— Stony (@frankoceansmom) April 27, 2017
Yes, this is quite possibly the most relatable, hilarious study conclusion women who have experienced harassment have come across in some time because it has to do with insects instead of actual humans. Like LOL, could you imagine if women could avoid being accosted by a harassing man for another second if they just crossed their eyes, stuck out their tongues, and keeled the fuck over? Hilarious!!!
We get these tweets are jokes (we all made them, too). But think about it: Harassment of female humans by male humans is so awful that real-life adult women are finding humor in wishing they too could emulate a flying insect and fucking crash land into the cold, clammy embrace of death, just in order to get men to take a hint and leave them alone. Literally hundreds of women find solace in jokes of faking their own destruction over receiving unwanted attention from a man.
The amount of responses that included some form of the phrase “Same,” “It me,” and “I feel you, sis” is infinite—all over an insect that dive-bombs to its possibly real death. How bad must harassment be for this to be the alternative women prefer over most anything having to do with unwanted attention from a man? Pretty fucking bad.
So like our version of 'I fell asleep'. Nice https://t.co/hOaI7PPrX2— Bo Diddley (@damnnnn_homie) April 27, 2017
@DavidNelsonNews Him: hi, would you like to....— LoLa (@lolalissaa) April 27, 2017
Her: *interrupts* I can't, I'm suddenly dead
they hear "aye shawty with the clear wings" and put in that acting work https://t.co/KKsufioRL5— thegreatdeshlid (@deshachrist) April 27, 2017
the scam knows no species. iconic, truly. https://t.co/gTnLJARQSs— mi (@helloalegria) April 27, 2017
Have done this at bars https://t.co/dmccU0pHom— Jenavieve Hatch (@jenavievehatch) April 27, 2017
Smarter than humans. https://t.co/7UpHAsrePq— Jenn Mattern (@Jenn_Mattern) April 27, 2017
Using headphones isn't enough anymore. https://t.co/7brI34kzHA— Bigly Smalls (@sisternoles) April 27, 2017
Gonna try this next time somebody asks for my number https://t.co/aWNqyn84u9— The Kitchenista (@MissAngelaDavis) April 27, 2017
My girls can't ever just relax. https://t.co/aHCvl6n8Y5— Z. (@lujuriamiu) April 27, 2017
RT if you have at least considered it. https://t.co/1iamW6411R— Lisa M (@PhysicistLisa) April 27, 2017
Hello, how do we harness this power https://t.co/iNKv9plhCt— myra (@myra_mc) April 27, 2017
A feminist icon https://t.co/xdgudCchFH— Selina Vile (@TVNYX) April 27, 2017
Another researcher from the University of Vigo in Spain said female moorland hawkers only play dead if male harassment is “intense,” which by human standards could mean anything from being asked to take off your headphones to getting IRL murdered.
Khelifa also found that the females will often retreat to dense vegetation while laying their eggs “probably to hide” and “act dramatically when they emerge.” Which, again, as an adult women, I too would totally do if I was getting harassed while going about my fucking business. Imagine not being able to fly freely about your pond without a male dragonfly trying to get it in all because he doesn’t see you with your dragonfly boyfriend—some shit, huh!
So yes, pardon me if I duck into some heavy brush because this fuckfly’s been following me for the last five lily pads and then get upset once I’m fed up with hiding because I can’t be left alone and would rather pretend I’m dead. It’s hard out here for females of any species, apparently.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.