Yes, it's a very typical strategy to try to tag the person one is up against with some properties that make him/her look inferior, self-serving and whiny. For instance:
A is arguing that women should not be sacked or blocked from on-the-job promotion when they opt to have children. Troll P says "Girl, you have to choose whether you want to be at home with your kids on benefits or you'd like to make an effort and invest in a career that's gonna last. You clearly don't want a career, do you?"
B is arguing that it costs a fortune to even get a modest apartment, a roof over one's head, today and that the input of new, affordable apartments for young people needs a boost. Troll Q scoffs "Ah, you're one of those who want the state to buy you a posh place to live instead of you working a little for it? When my parents were twenty-two they married and bought their own condo by their own wages that's the way to go."
C is arguing against DADT in the (U.S.) military and saying the only sensible thing is to let people be open about their sexual preferences and that gays/lesbians are not more predatory than other people. Troll R says "Yeah, just like you and your buddies need to corrupt the military for your pervy purposes! We are supposed to fight
, not to sob around or sleep with each other in the bunkers. Get out!"
And yes, sexism often goes into it. I remember with some amusement the first times I actually adopted a female ID online, it was on some forums about song lyrics. Even though I hardly made any gender-related comments at all I got a great deal of crap as a wimpy or uppity girl for posting irreverent comments about a number of acts (the guys got furious when "Cindy" opined that The Offspring's Self Esteem
was a canard and the band a cheap rip-off of Nirvana).
It works impressively because online, on a forum or in a comments field, it is hard to prove or decisively counter-prove who or what you are, and with someone that's as disparaging as in those examples, you don't want to feed them or look like you're begging to be accepted: "No-o, I'm really not a jobless girl and anyway what would it matter?". And in an open online thread, it's often hard to force someone's POV down by arguing that it is self-contradictory or evades basic facts, that it proposes a solution that's already been tried and shown to fail, that they are skewing key facts or that there's a dirty underbelly to their case, something they lean on but don't want to fully own up to. Personal punches, 'stories' or "You're a LIAR - see these facts ->link" work much better and are easier to repeat: "you still haven't answered my demonstration that you're a self-serving liar" and so on.