Tuesday, February 3, 2015

No to Silence

As I mentioned before, I've been having a lot of unpleasant interactions with a certain type of people on Twitter. This happened because Anita Sarkeesian tweeted something and I, like the silly person I am, went to view what people had said in response.

The assertion that outspoken feminists "victimize themselves" is a common one from misogynists like MRAs. When it comes to Anita, they like to say that she's turned herself into a damsel in distress (because she dared to talk about the trope). To them, talking about her harassment and how she's had to contact the police over threats is the same as being kidnapped and locked into a tower and having to wait for a dude to come rescue her while she serves as his motivation.

This, of course, makes no sense and demonstrates a serious ignorance about the trope itself or even what a trope is. The whole point of the damsel in distress trope is that it removes the woman's agency entirely. However, actively contacting police and speaking out about threats is an act of exercising one's agency. She's the opposite of a damsel in distress.

What these people really want is for Anita to be silent. Again and again, I was asked why she doesn't just quietly contact police and then not talk about the threats and harassment she receives to the public? Why doesn't she just "ignore it"? Plenty of other people get threats online and they don't talk about it (then how do you know that they get threats????). Why does she have to complain about it? She's feeding the trolls!

I'm going to write up an entire piece about the oppressive nature of demanding that the oppressed be silent about their oppression. It's an old, old tactic. But for now, I've got this incredibly well-timed (for me) piece that shares a story about how speaking out about harassment got a troll to change.

What happened when I confronted my cruellest troll

It also talks about how the old "don't feed the trolls" mantra doesn't work, explains that trolls aren't just looking for attention, and sheds light upon the true nature of trolls themselves. Not that they deserve pity or forgiveness for what they've done, but if the world only worked harder to make people feel like they were worthwhile no matter what, maybe we wouldn't have a troll problem.

Women and other marginalized persons have been silent about the abuse they receive for ages, and what good has it done? The troll problem is worse than ever. Here is a definitive example that I can send to these Twitter fucks telling me that Anita shouldn't speak on her harassment. Look. This is what can happen when you do speak up. What happens when you keep silent? Nothing.

This is the message I intend to push on these GamerGaters and unaffiliated misogynists on Twitter. Silence gets nothing done, and if you're advocating for silence, that's probably what you want. Because you're on the side of oppression.

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