Hi, sure is a lot of traffic spikes here, look at that stats graph go zoom, zoom.
It’s come to my attention that a lot of people who aren’t familiar with me from Ars Marginal are under the impression that I’m white, straight, male, from the first world, or all of the above.
Well, hwæt! Plot twist’s after the cut.
I’m none of those, and being misidentified over and over–I find cocks gross, kthx–is really starting to irritate. I also find this phenomenon curious. I can totally understand, for example, that another POC or woman might mistake me for a white dude who’s doing his damnedest to play Minority Warrior. If you are and you do, well here’s where I will clarify that I’m not. I also don’t believe I speak for every gay person, every person from a developing nation, or every woman of color. I’m not, therefore, trying to speak for you. I’m not here to invalidate your experience or reactions. I’m here to talk about mine and make no pretenses that my views represent that of anyone else, or that my views are authoritative with regards to any -ism or -phobia.
But many who misidentify me this way are straight, white, and from the first world. Very often they’re also male. And I’d like to know why it is exactly that these people lack the capacity to imagine that anyone who isn’t like them might speak up about racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Here follow my hypotheses.
- the first assumption is this: these people generally believe themselves to be enlightened and progressive. You support LGBT movements, you believe in racial equality and think the KKK are pretty nasty, you think women should have the rights to vote and own property. On an abstract level, anyway, insofar that it enables you to think that you are a decent human being.
- but… what? Something you like to read, or watch or play, is called racist! Or misogynistic! Or homophobic! Or all of the above! This will not do. No. Being associated, even remotely, with racism or sexism is just not on. It’s the worst insult in the world. You can’t cope. Time to get out of this bind. Do you–
a) shrug, accept that it’s possible to enjoy something while acknowledging its problematic aspects, and move on
b) enter berserk asshat mode because you are a fan of this thing and by god you will defend it, and its creator, to the VERY DEATH
c) enter berserk asshat mode because if something you enjoy is called racist/sexist/homophobic/etc then that’s just like you are being called all those nasty, horrible names personally! This must not stand, and by god you will defend yourself, and this thing you like, to the VERY DEATH
- someone brings up the genderfail, or racefail, or anything else, in a given piece of work. Say the racism in All Together Dead or the misogyny in Storm Front. At this stage, it is paramount to dig yourself in the Trench of Delusion: deny, as hard as possible, that you can discuss this “political stuff” in relation to entertainment (or to SF/F as a genre). Do that thing Moff’s Law tells you not to. Oh yes baby, do it hard. If possible, bleat at the horrors of political correctness and how it stifles the expression of your special snowflake racist, sexist self.
- there is a good deal of evidence to back the person’s opinions of why X or Y fails to handle race, sexuality or gender well. Hmm. Shit. What to do? Ah yes! Dismiss. Dismiss everything. But how? You’re a mindless douche in the throes of RAWR BLARGH GLARGH. Coming up with anything coherent is too hard. But what if… what if you can simply write off the other party as a naive white liberal bleeding heart from the first world? YES OH YES THAT IS THE TICKET. You’ve got it. This will invalidate everything they’ve said! EVERYTHING.
- corollary: this stems from the assumption that said racism or sexism is imaginary and, thus, cannot possibly offend anyone–let alone a woman, a person of color, or indeed a woman of color
- corollary: part of this has to do with the idea that women or people of color would never speak up; that we should know our places and not be “uppity”
- corollary: if the asshat is aware I’m a woman at all, it’s time to trot out suggestions that there’s something pathologically wrong with me. I understand we call that ableist, if you’re wondering, compounding the misogyny
- corollary: a belief that in developing nations everyone starves, sells their children in the streets, and swims in shit while dying of AIDS–the idea that in these countries there exist people who are educated, more literate and more intelligent than you is unthinkable. That we might invade “your” space (e.g. blogging on the Internet) is beyond the pale: “third-worlders” are only, to you, abstract things or circus exhibits in sensationalist media coverage about India or Africa or something