Yesterday I posted Professor Kevin Westhues’ “Checklist of Mobbing Indicators,” and, as if by clockwork today I was mobbed on Twitter in a thread that matched 13 of the 16 indicators, point for point.

I’ve been the target of what Westhues describes as mobbing, which is evidently a sociological term that sometimes also gos by various other terms in other contexts like “bullying,” “group think,” “epistemic violence,” “gaslighting” and so on, for going on 3 years, now. As others & I have stated time & again, these mobbers’ unwillingness to examine history, and to re-write history so it begins at whatever most recent retaliation or refutation I make, is a constant theme. I’ve been discussing this on-and-off for as long as it’s been happening, but mostly in a detached, academic way. Others, notably unquietpirate, have written much more deeply personal accounts of the impact this has had on them, as well as on me.

Reading Westhues’ descriptions of the traumatic effects mobbing behaviors have on targets resounds very deeply and very painfully. But it is also an enormous relief. Finally, I can name this specific abuse I’m enduring with terms endowed with the magic cultural legitimacy of the academe, and even though I think academics are classist hogwash, I’m hopeful using the sociological term and framework may convince more people to step outside their “not my problem” bubble and pro-actively support me against this rather than remain uninvolved bystanders.

So, I am asking you for help.

  1. Please read about mobbing. I’ve just begun to do this, too. Maybe we can help educate each other. I’m currently going over the “Virtual Mobbing” article. It’s long and dense but obviously specifically relevant to my “workplace,” the Internet.)

  2. Help me find answers to “What to do about it”, which is a topic I’ve found mentioned but only briefly at the end of, “At the Mercy of the Mob.” If there are no solutions provided by the texts, help me imagine possible countermeasures and think through potential solutions, mitigations, harm reduction tactics, and so on.

  3. Send me notes of encouragement, tell me what you like about my work, about me, speak kindly to me, and perhaps even more importantly, speak kindly about me and do so in public. Here’s a simple example of how to do this.

I want to highlight number 3, in the list above, because this is one the things that people still don’t seem to understand about the Internet. One of the unique characteristics about “Virtual Mobbing” is that the Internet enables a kind of plausibly deniable stage whisper. This kind of talking about someone but not necessarily to them is one of the most pernicious and common tactics of cyberbullies and virtual mobbers, because of the scale, speed, and confusion at which the Internet amplifies fearmongering.

Read more )

Signal boost.

I would also like to introduce everyone who assumes that a person who is being cyberbullied or mobbed "must have done something to deserve it" to the following (very relevant to what Maymay is doing) quote:
Problems worthy of attack, prove their worth by hitting back. --Piet Hein

Up Close and Personal: Consent as a Felt Sense and the TSA

[…] The woman who patted me down last Sunday was so good at making the encounter feel consensual — or more consensual than usual, or perhaps “minimally non-consensual”, anyway. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was she did, how she moved, how she inflected her voice and when and where she made eye-contact specifically, to inject a sense of non-violation into the situation. But it was something about her own gently expressed awkwardness in combination with her unquestionable competence and professionalism that did the trick.

She made me feel like we were both humans stuck in a bad situation that neither one of us was happy about, but that it was also sort of funny in a sad way, and that it was a worse situation for me than it was for her, but we were agreed on the point that we mostly just both wanted to get it over with and get on with our lives without either one of us causing the other undue hardship.


And this is my point. Even though every TSA agent uses the exact same words and touches the passenger in the exact same places, some of those encounters feel more consensual than others. According to a legalistic definition of consent as permission, every encounter I have had with the TSA pat-down has been identical in terms of consent. But there is absolutely no question in my mind that this is not the case. “Consent” is an experience much more nuanced and rich and complex than a simple question of whether I said “yes” or “no.”
Link to the rest of Unquietpirate's essay

I love that you’re talking about this. And because I thought you’d find it interesting, I wanted to chime in with a story of my own. Read more... )
"In the weeks that followed, my mom used all kinds of emotional abuse to get me to stop criticizing her. [...]

One evening, when I was exhausted from arguing with her, I collapsed on the couch. She sat next to me and stroked my head, and told me I could trust her, and that she loved me, and that she hoped I’d get better, and said how she thinks I’m an awesome person.

It was like being cuddled after a nonconsensual BDSM session, as I told a friend a few days later. Had I not read a post on tumblr criticizing the lack of consent in Fifty Shades of Grey, I would not have recognized what my mom was doing that night.

Then I realized she’d done this all my life: attack, threaten, comfort. Hurt, and then flatter."
How a Logical Girl Talked Herself into Fundamentalism, Part 3

From a lovely blog that is probably well outside of the filter bubble of the rolequeer discussion. For a little context, there’s an initially shocking amount of kink/BDSM among the survivors of Fundamentalist homeschooling.

There has not been much criticism of the BDSM scene from the exhomeschoolers, although I don’t currently feel like that’s on their heads so much.

So let me start it now.

With the context of ubiquitous physical punishment and emotional abuse, it is perhaps not surprising that for many of the people who grew up in these environments gravitated to the BDSM subculture when they left. After all, we were used to a male dominated, seniority based authoritarian structure, with physical punishment, normalized abuse and so on. The right to chose our own jailers felt like freedom.

But the BDSM Scene is the exact same lie as the Fundimentalist homeschooler subculture we walked away from.


cool-yubari, you were homeschooled, right? Was it anything like this? If not, why not?


No. There’s overlap, but no.

I’ll try to summarize the personal parts, but this is going to get long. Read more )
Maymay's prompt )
These recs run from light to heavy. I’ve been considering whether to point out Maleficent to you. It has a nominally-Dom/awesome-Sub relationship - Maleficent’s raven for the win, you guys. If unquietpirate’s around, she might appreciate the titular character in monster furry!feels and Goth!feels ways. And it has other aspects that are hella cool, but also spoiler-y, so … suffice it to say that this movie broke with Disney’s usual formulas on a number of different levels. Or if spoilers don’t bother you, I can go into more details.

I also think you might like V for Vendetta. I love V, and Evey, and Valerie’s whole monologue - our dignity sells for so little, but it’s all we really have. It is the very last inch of us - seems blisteringly relevant to the facet of rolequeerness that’s about separating our sense of self from the stories society tells us about ourselves. V for Vendetta was deeply personal for me. I was touched that the movie respected the way V self-defined and didn’t unmask him, even in death. And V was the closest thing to a protagonist that I could actually consider heroic that I’d seen in Western media in a very long time. I don’t approve of his being watered down from an actual anarchist into a … violent proponent of democracy, obviously. But the graphic novel is very sexist, and I’m glad the movie filtered that out. And the movie actually challenged the modern use of “terrorist,” and the criminal behavior of the state. It’s rather extraordinary that, not that long after September 11, someone had the guts to include the line - If our own government was responsible for the deaths of almost a hundred thousand [of its own] people… would you really want to know? That’s the reality it’s trying to wake people up to: one where the “protectors” are the very thing everyone needs the most protection from.

But both of those are stories that I liked as an adult. One (of many) movies that was formative for me as a kid was Wuthering Heights, the version with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. It was the first love story that I can remember resonating with me. Romance was an aspect of fiction that I suffered through, overall; an obligatory part of most movies but definitely not something I could appreciate. All the stupid singing and googly eyes and exaggerated declarations of tender feelings, you know? And Wuthering Heights portrayed a love that I could relate to, a love that was fierce, intensely personal, and amoral. I was bitterly disappointed that I couldn’t find more romances with that kind of fire and depth to them, and it broke my heart that other characters who didn’t understand Cathy ultimately managed to tame her. It wasn’t a happy story, but it had two characters who were really in love. This was an affinity that they’d kill for, or die for, and with good reason. This was the loyalty of two people who could be true to each other by being true to themselves, and a oneness that needed no compromise; no watering down of harshness, no above and no below. This was wildness and perfection and passion, and I cherished them. WH spoilers below. )
lol our society is so structured on binaries that people think cats are the opposite of dogs

we also regard dogs as “masculine” and cats as “feminine” to the point that it’s “weird” for men to love cats, women and gay men are stereotyped as liking cats, and creepiest of all, cats are stereotyped as “sexy” animals

omg. whoa. this is so on point, and so weird, and so embedded that this NEVER occurred to me before.

Hah. This works in ways that I do not understand at all. Like … following the analogy to its (il)logical conclusion, men who are all about dogs and icked out by cats are acting very gay. Whereas, you’d expect a straight dude to have all the appreciation ever for cats, what with cats’ sensual mannerisms and socially promoted femininity-correlation. If you have a fetish for women, then naturally, all the ways that cats remind you of women should appeal to you.

I also think this conversations is incomplete without a hard look at how much dogs are also stereotyped as animals with an innate desire/need for hierarchy. Read more. )
Click for context. )
[Addressing the OP directly because that’s how this post flowed.]

Here’s a shitty fact about straight society: there are a lot of things that don’t explicitly mean “do you wanna have sex with me?” that do, in fact, often mean “so, wanna have sex with me?” It’s confusing, I know. A lot of women turn down offers to do stuff that they wouldn’t actually be averse to doing, like … you know, meeting someone in a private place for coffee, because they have a diffuse sense of social discomfort that warns them they might not be hearing exactly what the other person is implying. And yes, straight men set up this dynamic, in order to make sexual offers to straight women and not be turned down directly.

When everyone’s on the same page, it sort of works. Like, “I turned down his offer to grab some coffee together after dinner, and we can both pretend he didn’t just covertly proposition me.” Or “I can agree to have coffee with him, and the rest of the room can pretend we didn’t just have a conversation about how we’re going back to his place to have sex.” It’s not fair of straight men to get their reaction to hearing their own secret codes used in a non-sexual way all over your fabulous gay self. That sucks.

I would be all in favor of said secret codes being a lot more publicly accessible, or abolished entirely, because it’s dangerous for, say, socially awkward or neuroatypical women (and everyone who didn’t grow up with English as their first language) to have to navigate a world where people are offering one thing and believe they’re obtaining consent for another. But it clearly also creates problems for you, as a gay man who wants to have literal coffee with man friends and keeps being misunderstood.

On those grounds as well, help us dismantle the patriarchy. :)

Tags: sexuality, feminism, consent, psychology
[This post and previous discussion truncated.]
since I make clear that they can not actually cripple me with self-doubt, they do everything they can to cripple others with self-doubt. This forces me and mine to defend not only against the infliction of direct challenges to our senses of self, but to (over-)extend ourselves to reach others for the same kind of defense. That’s not merely harder to do, it’s also not actually within our power to do. And even if it was, it’s certainly not ethical to do unilaterally.

They know this, which is why second-order attacks and whisper campaigns are so effective. That they would resort to these tactics without questioning who these whisper campaigns actually harm (i.e., that they harm survivors who have consistently shown a great self-motivated desire to have access to the anti-violence technology we build) reveals their abusiveness to anyone with even a shred of perspective on the matter.

I left this alone for a while because I needed to think about it. But something Unquietpirate said in the post you pinged me added a dimension I’d been trying to put into words. How much energy it takes a person to defend a thing they believe in, when doing so puts them in conflict with vocal, angry people, is not a fixed quantity. It’s something they can learn to do with reduced wear and tear (and less fear of wear and tear, as they develop confidence) and get less worn out doing. This is the specific skill that mainstream activism blocks people from developing, first by victim-blaming the people who are being most viciously attacked by the opposition, but overall by presenting burn out as totally normal, as opposed to … a thing that happens when you’re fighting really hard with no clue how to mitigate the effect of constant invalidation, opposition, and emotional abuse being aimed at you.

Trying to make your allies stand with you no matter what would be impossible and/or abusive. But making them aware of ways to develop the strengths you have isn’t.

Tagging idlnmclean on this because I want their input. I have misgivings, but my impression is that most people who abuse this kind of power already have ample access to it. And people with marginalized identities tend to be so caught up fearing that what they do might make them just like their abusers (if they switch to less self-doubt and more effective tactics) that few of them deliberately learn how to fight without sacrificing their spoons and emotional well being in the process. And IME, you self teach or you don’t learn, because no one is talking about this. Thoughts?

Tags: discourse, changing things, gaslighting, psychology, security, advancing despite stop energy, distributing power and fire, idlnmclean
The reason I am ruffling so many feathers is that my critiques of the BDSM’ers are not at all similar to the ones coming from people who know nothing about BDSM and thus make outlandish, obviously false comparisons to chicken fuckers or whatever pathetically weak arguments they tend to make. (See, for instance, this Twitter thread.) I am not saying BDSM’ers are pedophiles—it is actually BDSM’ers themselves who are comparing me to pedophiles, in the exact same way anti-SM 2nd wave feminists famously compared me to pedophiles and sex traffickers years ago, ironically—what I am doing instead is pointing out how ubiquitous and mundane rape in their spaces has become. And that is a much more dangerous existential threat to both their self-image and their cultural legitimacy. That much is clear; we all know this.

Yeah. I’ve said this before, but it’s abundantly clear to me that the people who’ve called you a pedophile are throwing the worst accusation they know in your general direction. They’re hoping it will scare potential allies away from you and distract attention from what you’re actually saying. To date, they don’t seem to have a good response to any of your points about the BDSM community facilitating abuse and silencing/victim blaming survivors.
That being said, I would not be surprised to learn that BDSM spaces do harbor “the really stigmatized stuff,” because there is literally no better place for such stuff to hide—see, for example, FetLife’s relatively recent attempt to “cleanse” any controversial material, for this exact reason. But the important point to make here is that “the really stigmatized stuff” is stigmatized even within BDSM circles. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. It means it’s stigmatized.

I know a lot of spaces that periodically kick people out because they don’t want to get a reputation for harboring unsavory stuff. I don’t tend to give them credit for evicting pedophiles, so much as willingly participating in a moral panic.

But … hmm, point taken.
Finally, I appreciate the distinction you’re making between “most normal people” and “people who are uncommonly invested in shutting you up.” This is the exactly the correct way of thinking about it, I think, and it’s precisely why you’ll see me say “kill yourself” to people who I think are probably not that invested in shutting me up, and why I will doxx the people who are. The two tactics are different because the target of those tactics are different. And, of course, doxxing someone doesn’t actually shut them up; shutting them up is not my goal, anyway. (My goal is to get them to leave me and my spaces alone.) What they do instead, then, is begin gaslighting the people socially proximal to me and trying to ensure I am isolated and my work is censored. But that is an indirect attack, rather than a direct one, and given that I do not yet know how to defend against indirect attacks, I would rather be forced to endure only those than to endure both types.

I’ve been looking for countermeasures for those for a while, because I’ve known people who are a lot more easily gaslighted and disheartened than you who also have this problem. Even though they didn’t do anything wrong, having a few people constantly insinuating that they did and hissing hate in their friends’ ears affects them on an emotional level. The experience has made them paranoid about getting to know strangers or trusting at all, because they’re very aware that certain people will go to great lengths to hurt them. And, as I understand it, their pool of potential friends has contracted as a result, because the Just World Fallacy is a thing. I.e., most people assume that if anyone is that mad at them, they must have a good reason to be. They wouldn’t just lie and bad-mouth them everywhere for no reason, right? Which is to say, the ignorance of people who have never been on the receiving end of that kind of malicious whisper campaign results in a kind of victim blaming.
Click for context. )
I’d say it really depends on your environment. Most normal people, in my experience, will actively avoid being humiliated and attacked by a stranger if they can. Especially when it’s as easy as not arguing with them, or not continuing to argue with them after the conversation gets hostile and unpleasant. So, with those people, “kill yourself” does exactly what you want it to. However, your actions are putting you at odds with people who are uncommonly invested in shutting you up; people who don’t just make shocked sounds and run away because you insult them. And in relation to them, you … might inadvertently be playing dominance games. Because you’re dealing with people who do resort to being nasty, and don’t mind being identified by onlookers as such, and in that context, overt attacks are a language. So what would mean “go away” to someone who doesn’t feel like they can fight, or has any desire to, means “c’mon, show me what you’ve got” to anyone who came in with the intent of challenging you.

I also have a few things to add to idlnmclean’s next post.

People are responding to dominants. When you threaten people, tell people to kill themselves, and disrespect their feelings, they are perceiving you on average as a dominant. --Idlnmclean

This. And while some people will respond to that with the idea that they need to GTF away from you and run crying to their friends group with a tale of woe and unprovoked attack, or make an angry social display and posture back because they’re feeling *threatened*, others will have sort of an … “oh, hey, must befriend” reaction.

I don’t understand it very well. In school, some people gravitated towards me because I could protect them as easily as I protected myself. I think. But, apart from that, the years when I gave the least fucks and was the most harsh, I was surprisingly popular. Behavior that’s socially interpreted as dominance, (whether it is or not) can be sort of idolized.
doublespeak becomes a necessary part of this system. A system of subtle, non-verbal or encrypted verbal signals that allow the effective exchange of information among privileged classes of people with the appropriate decryption knowledge. Sound like anything you’ve dealt with before? Hipsters, frat bros, and BDSMers all come to mind. In the BDSM community there are people with kinks which they can not straightforwardly talk about for very real fear and threat of ostracism and alienation. People who fetishize rape, murder, mutilation, pedophilia, assisted suicide, cannabalism, gore, vore, and more. How do these people find each other? How do they interact? How do they communicate? Via covert networks and coded languages.--Idlnmclean

Not sure I agree with all of this. In my experience, the people who are actually worried about being jailed gravitate towards deeper cover. I think you’re [Maymay’s] 100% right about BDSM being a less risky, edgy thing masquerading as Mortal Danger. Maybe I’m naive, but pedophilia, murder, and mutilation aren’t things I ever tripped over by reading BDSM sites and the sites referenced on them.

I’m also skeptical because a lot of fringe subcultures overstate their own importance and pretend internally that they’re teeming with extreme people. I know a few rapists. IMO, most women do (and know that they do, unlike most men). I have yet to meet any rapists who read non-con fanfiction on the internet. And yet, womens’ fandom spaces attract vocal, sanctimonious SJWs complaining about “problematic kinks” and the erotica they disapprove of. I think they’re tolerated because women are predisposed to feel guilty and insecure about their fantasies. But dealing with would-be activists who think they can fight rape culture by exhorting everyone to purify themselves and sacrifice moar (when “everyone” doesn’t even include the group that’s attacking people) is a pain in the ass.

And this is a pattern I see in a lot of communities: people like to believe that they have more power than they actually have, so they make up dire consequences for actions that are ultimately not morally significant. And then they create hierarchies based on that - “I like caning, but those incest play enthusiasts are disgusting.” And so forth. It creates a context where they can act out the (intrepid, significant) person they think they are in perfect safety, making arbitrary rules for themselves and then judging everyone who falls short of them.

I’m not close enough to the BDSM community to tell if it’s hiding people who practice pedophilia/zoophilia/necrophilia/etc. The really stigmatized stuff. But I’d be surprised if it did, because I had them pegged as relatively normal, risk-averse people who fancy themselves spontaneous, wild perverts. And at the same time, who would edge people out of their group for not fitting their heterosexist, unspoken self-image: what you noticed about how unwelcome submissive men were. I have a hard time believing that a group that weeds people out that casually and superficially wouldn’t … be throwing everyone who isn’t precisely them under the bus in their bid for cultural assimilation.
Some people […] are challenging you and harassing you specifically because they expect you’re going to fight back. Some of them are picking fights with you to establish their dominance by slaying the dragon; some of them though are picking fights to attract the dragon’s attention and woo the dragon violently. Some of them want to be your submissive and for you to tell them to kill themselves and degrade them and publicly humiliate them. They think its all part of the D/s game.--Idlnmclean

*facepalm* I agree with this. Especially the dragon slaying thing … you must be ruffling feathers in a big way, lately, to attract so many people who think they could improve their own standing (with the existing BDSM group) by beating you.

Tags: discourse consent sexuality social oppression pop social justice thinking more but posting now
Click for context and longer explanation. )
My point is, though, that activist culture has done a piss poor job being honest with people about the fact that they don’t get a choice about being political. The same way you can’t safeword rape culture, you can’t make others open-minded and accepting of a thing that they rejected in order to be perceived as normal. “Being normal” involves a lot of sacrifices, disappointment, and unhappiness. Not to mention boredom and loss of self. The stated payoff is that you are rewarded with as much happiness, acceptance, and stability as a human can get. Someone who waltzes in and wants those nice things without martyring themselves in the process makes everyone who took the bad bargain and settled for it feel cheated. If life doesn’t punish that, they’re quite willing to. And I think it’s telling, and terrible, that activist culture doesn’t address that at all. Doesn’t warn people of what they’re in for from other people, and why, when they embrace the ways that they’re different. Because that whole dynamic is intrinsic to the struggle, but you don’t have to go in completely unprepared for it and unarmed.

Tags: feminism, sexuality, coercion, gaslighting, psyops, discourse, pop social justice, being normal isn't a good thing, when normality = complicity with abuse
aquila_black: Text says "maybe tomorrow." (Soubi: Distrust)
( Oct. 24th, 2014 09:09 pm)
[Discussion truncated.] I have not found “For the most part, this semantic expansion of identity space has been embraced and celebrated” and “it seems generally accepted that it’s a good thing for people to have lots of different words to talk about ourselves with” to be true. I have encountered (as in run into, not as in people did it to me) quite major amounts of backlash around these things, from ‘why do you need labels anyway’ to all the issues people take with demisexuality to invalidation or policing of non binary identities to mockery etc. Which is all gross, but I really have seen it a lot.)

Meanwhile, semantic expansion of identity space is important and excellent. So. Thank you. --lyricalagony

I haven’t either. There’s a lot of anger from people who don’t consider themselves part of the queer politics social bubble and don’t see any reason for the enormous proliferation in terms. Part of it is certainly coming from regressive, “don’t rock the boat” types. But I’m concerned that the emphasis on popularizing ever more specific words may be yet another way for career activists to look busy and a thing that’s encouraging people to be apolitical and self-absorbed: identity politics taken to the extreme where everyone has a list of labels a mile long and accepts or mistrusts other people primarily based on what they call themselves.

Rolequeerness seems to be clearing the way for actual, concrete changes. I like what Unquietpirate and Maymay are doing with it and I see the use of it. But it’s overtly political in a way that most labels aren’t. It’s embracing the ways that it confronts existing structures. And it feeds into more direct challenges to sexual Business as Usual, in the context of Consent as a Felt Sense. That is, it’s being popularized in a situation where the people exploring it aren’t boasting that their identity is omg, so radical, while in practice fleeing from risk and conflict. That, to me, makes it quite different from most labels.

Tags: discourse consensus reality sexuality changing things
"Indeed the state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations, but must regulate their sleep by another’s, and their walk by another’s pace, and obey orders in those freest of all things, loving and hating. If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own."
—Seneca the younger, De Brevitate Vitæ (On the shortness of life)

Relevant to what Maymay has been posting about wage slavery as an extension of debt and property. Notice that Seneca is depicting this state of affairs as unnatural and taking it for granted that people would stop living this way, if they just “reflected” adequately on the foolishness of their arrangement. That aside, I think it’s also good proof that forced, money-based employment is not a prerequisite for civilization.

Tags: human batteries normalized abuse discourse
"So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘arch priestess of the sightless,’ ‘wonder woman,’ and a ‘modern miracle.’ But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics—that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world—that is a different matter! It is laudable to give aid to the handicapped. Superficial charities make smooth the way of the prosperous; but to advocate that all human beings should have leisure and comfort, the decencies and refinements of life, is a Utopian dream, and one who seriously contemplates its realization indeed must be deaf, dumb, and blind."
—Helen Keller (letter to Senator Robert La Follette, 1924)

funny how the most popular narrative about helen keller is a harmless little girl who learns to communicate and then the story ends for some reason gee i wonder why that is

Gee. Why does the popular narrative end before she became a communist? So strange! And the Martin Luther King Jr. narrative does the same thing! What a coincidence!

Also, that the narrative is generally about the abled teacher helping her and how amazing she was to be able to do it. As the wikipedia article frames it: “The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker.” So even the story about Helen Keller is often not really about her.

Reminds me of a quote by Hélder Pessoa Câmara, late Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil, that is often paraphrased as “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they called me a Communist.”

Tags: economics, capitalism, civilization created poverty, artificial scarcity



[Abbreviated argument.]

In the most pragmatic terms possible, this is why throwing more stigmatized groups under the bus is an inherently self-defeating strategy. As long as society has a category of “okay to abuse. Okay to hurt,” devalued, sentient beings are at risk of being demoted into it. When that isn’t challenged on all fronts, the prison just keeps getting bigger. 

So I’m going to be a bit pedantic but I hope my larger point gets across in this stream of consciousness.

If I understood, your fundamental assertion is that human animals are subjected to a legal system they did not agree to be bound by and have no recourse against. This parallels the way humans used to inflict their legal system on other animals. I agree.

I disagree with some of your intermediate points. My impression is that you're trying to dedicate your energy to fixing a whole range of important things that are systemically broken, though, so I'll try to keep this short.  

aquila_black: Text says "trapped inside of my Mind" (Soubi: Holding Patterns)
( Sep. 27th, 2014 09:38 pm)




do centaur babies suckle from the horse nipples or the human nipples tho

Centaurs aren’t real. Do you understand that?

yes that is why i made a tumblr post about this instead of just asking a real centaur

I love the verbal ju-jitsu on Tumblr. You brilliant people take on a multitude of banal, normalized instances of social harassment and cheerfully destroy them. And I get to watch you do it and feel my soul heal a little every time. It's ... humbling and hope-inspiring to feel like we're collectively unfucking our imagination here. I don't always have the energy to re-frame broken, oppressive shit. But it's heartening to feel like I can hear the other people who are fighting for the things I'm fighting for. And like I can complement them, instead of having to write everything from the ground up. 


[Umpteenth rant that's crossed my dash about "impressionable children being sold the images and logos of fictional extremist hate movements" re Hydra and Death Eater merchandising]

I'm going to break this down for ease of argument.

1. Fandom is for everyone. Children are welcome, children belong here, but trying to rid fandom of everything (and everyone?) that you'd rather children didn't see is unacceptable. I don't care how self-righteous you feel about your cause. That's major douchebag behavior.

2. Children run into problematic stuff. As long as problematic stuff exists in the world, children will notice it, because they are awesome like that. Trying to keep them away from it just makes it seem cooler and more attractive. I'd hope that's not what you're going for. 

3. Some fans, children included, like villains for all sorts of reasons. They're not obligated to explain it to you, and they have as much of a right to like what they like (without being concern-trolled and accused of immoral behavior) as any normative hero-fan. 

4. The explanation that people throw around "ohnoes, they must like death eaters because they're racists" is a chimera. Racism, sexism, and other institutionalized abuses of power exist in fandom, but asserting that they're interest coded is beyond naive. 

5. Oppressive people often get the benefit of the doubt because their favorite characters are socially-approved. Meanwhile, people who are bothering no one are chronically suspected of being horrible because the group asserts that who they like is a more reliable indicator of their character than how they actually treat other people

TL;DR, Challenging villain-fans' right to exist in public and be visible is overt bigotry. Instead of hand-wringing over the perceived image problem they pose or the fact that companies are willing to take their money, fandom needs to address the broken dynamics of its own geek hierarchy. 



Animal welfare is the biggest bullshit ever.
Animal rights is the way to go. 
No ‘bigger cages’, no ‘free range’ or ‘organic’. It’s all part of the same exploitative system.
Animals are not products.
Animals have a right to live.
Animals are not ours to use or buy.

Human welfare is the biggest bullshit ever.

Human rights is the way to go.

No ‘bigger cages’, no ‘open borders’ or ‘higher wages’. It’s all part of the same exploitative system.
Humans are not ‘workers’.
Humans have a right to live.

Humans are not ours to use or buy.

Relevant to Maymay's observation that humans are animals. With a toxic superiority complex dating back to Aristotle. I forget to say that because it seems so completely obvious. But human liberation = animal liberation. These ideologies need to go together. Unquietpirate reblogged an excellent post explaining how that works. To wit:


As long as it is considered acceptable to ignore the interests of others based on such an arbitrary distinction [perceived humanness], it will always be possible to define and mold the hierarchy to include or exclude others based on the interests of those with the most power. In other words, the problem isn’t that some people mistakenly fall into a lower level of the hierarchy than they deserve, the problem is that the hierarchy exists.

And just to be clear, the distinction is arbitrary. Humans, after all, are animals. Because of this, humans often act and look like animals. If all it takes to have your interests become worthless is to be labelled as “animal”, then the only thing that those in power need to do in order exclude you from moral consideration is to point at the ways in which you are like an animal. And they are guaranteed to find them. This happens all of the time. It is why people in marginalized groups often become, understandably, upset when some vegans make comparisons between them and non human animals. They are well aware of how arbitrary and tenuous their classification as “human” is. And yet, on the other side, when trying to explain to vegans why the interests of animals shouldn’t matter, people are incapable of presenting a distinction that doesn’t also exclude some of the already most marginalized humans.

We cannot simply keep fighting to make sure that those who we have arbitrarily decided are deserving can get to and stay at the top of the hierarchy. As long as it is considered acceptable for the interests of anyone to be devalued and ignored, we all will be at risk. But even if that weren’t the case, the idea that it is ever okay for the interests of some to be categorically valued over the interests of others is abhorrent.

In the most pragmatic terms possible, this is why throwing more stigmatized groups under the bus is an inherently self-defeating strategy. As long as society has a category of "okay to abuse. Okay to hurt," devalued, sentient beings are at risk of being demoted into it. When that isn't challenged on all fronts, the prison just keeps getting bigger. 

aquila_black: Grell, smiling. He looks almost sane and put-together, here. Colorful, but not out of control. (Grell: Happy)
( Sep. 25th, 2014 09:48 pm)


[Cut for length.]

I’ve always been told that misogynistic abuse from strangers is something that happens to all women [...]

In some ways, I’m grateful that I seem to have been “spared”…but I’m also confused. Because, since I know this happens to all women, has been that street harassers, dick pic dudes, etc. don’t perceive me as a woman. And that doesn’t seem to make sense either. While I’m certainly not “traditionally feminine,” I don’t typically pass as masculine-of-center unless I really try to. And so it’s always left me with this feeling of, like…apparently, I’m so ugly/unappealing/worthless that I don’t even deserve street harassment. And that’s a fucked up way to feel. Especially because I’ve always felt so alone in it.

Anyway, I guess my point is just that it really helped me to hear a) that I’m not the only woman who doesn’t experience this and b) some helpful critical analysis about what might be going on with that. Thanks. <3

I think there are plenty of women who don't experience street harassment. I've never been mistreated in the ways that the comments you were responding to talked about, either. I went through a scary period when I was just hitting adolescence, somewhere between 13 and 14, when men were bothering me and paying a lot of uncomfortable attention to the fact that I was becoming an adult woman. With the ... skinny and the curves and shit. Then I got mild acne. I can't swear to the fact that it filters out guys who are are just going by what I look like, but I had to deal with random, I-like-the-look-of-you based hassles for less than one year. (And that was long before fucking me would have been remotely legal.) I'm still skinny and curvy. I can't tell for sure what it is about me that makes me not get street harassed, but I'm a lot older now and it's never been a problem. Unless you're counting that one, short window of yuck. 

The idea that a problem is only a real problem because it happens to all women is innately flawed. It's rooted in the invalidation of women. We should be arguing that women have this problem, and just as a result of that, it's worth taking seriously. I don't care if it's only happening to conventionally attractive women, or even women who wear makeup and skirts. It needs to stop. The relevant question is how do we create a world where all people are treated with respect and can be comfortable in their skins? How do we create sufficiently serious social consequences for being an entitled dick that guys cut that out? And I also think we need to lay it at the feet of mainstream feminism that, with as long as it's had to address street harassment, that problem has lingered decade after decade. 


Never expect anything of fandom that you are not willing to contribute. Never believe that a fanwork creator ‘owes’ you anything, or that readers ‘owe’ you anything in return for creating fanwork.

From Saathi1013's post, On Fandom Expectations, Entitlement, & Exclusion

This seemed relevant to what Maymay's been saying about how dehumanizing it is to deal with people who perceive the world exclusively in terms of consumption and production. They act like paying customers who were promised a positive experience, and they're hell to deal with whenever they get into a situation where no one is actually obligated to cater to them. It's an anti-skill that carries over from long term immersion in Capitalism: expecting some sort of tit-for-tat, labor-for-payment arrangement in a space that doesn't work like that. Or alternatively, expecting that because they came in wanting to be entertained, the people creating stuff have a duty to successfully entertain them. This is a conflict that plays out in a thousand different ways in fandom. 

I've been running into one particular misunderstanding a lot. I'm going to write out what I think is the antidote as a bulletpointed list.

-The fact that you're being abused doesn't keep you from being abusive.

-The fact that other people exercise unfair power over you actually makes it more likely that there's someone you're exercising unfair power over.

-Being aware that this is a thing can help with not perpetuating it.

-Asserting "you're not being abused! What's happening to me is way worse!" is the opposite of helpful.

-Often, it makes the other person feel like they have to challenge the importance of your abuse to prove that what's happening to them is worth bringing up or caring about.

-A lot of people who are being abused and exploited in different ways antagonize each other with this kind of misdirected anger.

-We need to acknowledge that people whose struggles are different from ours have valid struggles, and face real injustices, without letting the conversation turn into a false dichotomy where abuse against a particular group is the only abuse worth talking about.



aquila_black: Harry Potter is unconscious. His outstretched hand holds the Philosopher's Stone. Caption: Immortality. (Default)


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