I can only love and tolerate so much…

[Trigger warning for a lot of stuff. Not here, but on some of the links. Mostly slurs and some rape jokes.]

Whilst browsing the blogs, I came across this post by Feminist Fiction, and it raised some similarities with recent developments in the skeptical community which I felt like sharing. But first, some background.

I am a brony. You all should know that. In fact, I am pleased to say that I am one of the guys mentioned in FF’s post as buying and proudly wearing my Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash* badges. Because Twilight, Dash and the Mane Six all kick ass, and the brony/pegasister fandom is an awesome one – in my experience, it’s always been full of creativity, love, and care.

“Love”? On the internet hate-machine? What a novel idea!

So I was horrified to find out about the sort of abuse that went on at Everfree convention a while back. You really would think that this fandom should be free of misogyny. Transphobic slurs, molestation jokes and country matters prove otherwise.

“And bronies need to learn not to use the N word.

And not to make rape jokes.

And not to call cosplayers cunts for not allowing them to take photos groping them.

And not to openly mock transgender individuals.

And not to make molestation jokes around the underage voice actresses.”

Upon reading this, I was shocked to see so many similarities between recent fuck ups in the atheist community. For the short version, a bunch of skeptics of various levels of “feminist” proposed that the misogyny at conventions such as TAM! was far too endemic, and received a world of hurt for it. And it’s escalated.

God, this is becoming a new rule of the internet:

Rule 30: There are NO girls on the internet.

Rule 30 (a): Any girls who DO show up on the internet, and have opinions and such, MUST receive inordinate amounts of hatemail.

Let me say this clearly: People. Who are opposed. To being hit on. And objectified. And molested. Have a right to privacy. And feeling safe. No matter where they are.

Why has this happened to us? Both of these communities should be – almost by definition – full of people who are smart, open-minded and curious. (I would also roll “gamers” up in this same boat.)

To answer this, I’m going to say that it’s very interesting that both FF and Natalie Reed have pointed out a key principle in both communities.

Transgression. Both bloggers have pointed to the transgressive natures of their/our/my respective communities as a potential reason for why these horrible things are allowed to happen. We both refuse to accept something socially acceptable, be it gender boundaries or established dogma. And because we’ve broken one boundary – one that seems like unhelpful bullshit – that liberating feeling of escaping from the unnecessary and constricting rules of society can be so exhilirating that other boundaries (see: taste) might begin to look like fair game too…

They’re not. We shouldn’t be respectful to other people because society says so. In many cases, society doesn’t even say so – or not loud enough. We aren’t nice to others, and don’t do our best to analyse and minimise discrimination of all kinds, because it’s a societal rule. And similarly, we aren’t being anywhere near as rebellious if we try to “transgress” the “rules” of basic social kindness and decency.

We’re being dicks.

“They’re in our fandoms, in our activist movements, even… IN OUR MOVIE THEATERS!”

Look – the skeptical community and MLP fandom are full of lovely people. But, like the Sturgeon’s law of people, we are not free of our cockbags. We may never be. And like always there are segments who are trying to move us forward, and regressive segments who are intent on keeping us in a form of stasis, or worse, dragging us back.

But I hate that my communities are still being filled with shitbags, such as maddening Men’s Rights Bronies and the equally incongruous response to skeptical equality agendas. Frankly, I doubt there’ll ever be a community totally free of assholes. Hell, some of my friends are assholes, and I’m the one choosing them. But it’s gonna take some serious work to keep these assholes down and to the back of whatever group it is that we like, so they can’t poison the well for the rest of us.

Internet; sort this out for me, will you? I promise it’ll be worth it.

* MLP Rant: I sort of get some of the fan-hate for Rainbow Dash – she’s had some terribly written episodes that make her seem like she can’t learn from her mistakes, and she gets handed all the “someone in this scene needs to be horribly blunt/bitchy” moments. But she’s confident, loyal, brave, and capable of striking amounts of sympathy, overcoming her natural desire to be the centre of attention.

(So’s Rarity though, I know, but Rarity’s pretty great too.)

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Posted on August 23, 2012, in Atheism & Skepticism, Feminism, Stuff I found somwhere on an Internet., Tropes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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