[Note: Those of you who read my blog know I love to swear, right? Well I drop the f-bomb a lot in this post, like a lot more than usual. I have zero apologies about it, but still – fair warning for those of you who aren’t okay with profanity.]
I’ve been sitting on this post for quite a while. I wrote out a good half of it months ago, then quietly shelved it because I wanted to start trying to focus on more “positive” things for a little while. It’s hard being that feminist who writes about harassment all the time, and I worry that writing about it too much will cost me readers. Who would want to read a blog about nothing but harassment? Hell, I wouldn’t.
But here I am, blowing the dust off of this post. Why? Because Anita Sarkeesian wasn’t able to sleep in her own house last night because she committed the crime of Having Opinions About Video Games While Female:
Folks, it’s been a hard few weeks to be a ladyblogger in games land, folks. D&D 5E ConsultancyGate is already the gift that keeps on giving. Then we’ve got the Zoe Quinn “scandal” in which a bunch of MRAs decided to doxx her in the name of “ethics”. (Spoiler alert: not actually about ethics) All this in addition to the “quiet” daily aggressions against ladybloggers and lady game designers that take a predictable toll.
Just recently a woman that I looked up to as brilliant, funny, and a bright new light in game design decided she couldn’t deal with the bullshit and shut down her G+ account. Which I found devastating, but certainly understandable. Still, I couldn’t help but vent my frustration on Twitter:
So all of that happened, and still I sat on this. But then Anita Sarkeesian didn’t get to sleep in her own home because of knuckle-dragging fuckwits decided that they couldn’t handle a woman having opinions and they needed to SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN. And that’s what pushed me over the edge.
I am lucky, insanely lucky, that the only trolls I get are both laughably bad at trolling and incredibly lazy. I have never had any credible death or rape threats. Nor have I had any real problems with sock puppets, aside from that one time a dude created one sock puppet and gave up when I blocked it right away. No one has ever made a video game about beating me up, or sought funding for a crowdfunding project about how awful I am as a human being. I’ve never been doxxed, stalked, or harassed offline.
But these are things that could all happen to me in the future because I am a woman Having Opinions About Games on the Internet.
So the fact that Anita Sarkeesian is willing to stick to her guns, to keep making videos despite facing all of these things? She’s a superhero, people. A MOTHERFUCKING SUPERHERO.
And I realize that all of this is a hell of a prelude to what was originally only 300 words, but I have SO MANY STRONG FEELS ABOUT THIS, YOU GUYS.
The thing I was actually going to say
You know, I feel like it’s pretty obvious to say fuck the guys who engage in this harassing misogynist bullshit. That shit should be a no-brainer, right? If you’re the type of dude who thinks that telling Anita she is a fucking twat because you don’t like her videos? Congratulations. You’re exactly the type of dude who needs to FUCK RIGHT OFF OUT OF THIS HOBBY.
But you know, that’s not exactly controversial. (I mean, unless you’re That Dude. In which case, go fuck yourself.)
No, what I want to add is that it is time to start holding fake “allies” accountable for their bullshit. Allies, if you want to be an ally, then actually be a fucking ally. Or if that’s just too hard, then SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO THE FUCK AWAY.
Because here’s the deal, it’s actually harder for me, and for many feminists whom I’ve talked with about this, to deal with a fake ally than it is to deal with actual misogynists. With up-front misogynists, they wear their misogyny on their sleeves so you already know it’s not worth investing any emotional energy into an interaction with them.
Fake allies? Man, it can be so. Fucking. Hard. to tell the difference between an ally who needs educating and a misogynist who wants to hide behind the ally label. Sometimes it can take years, years of friendship and regular interaction to realize that an ally who you thought was one of the good guys? Totally wasn’t.
And friends, let me tell you, that will fuck your shit right up. Because emotional investment isn’t a switch you can just turn off. You can’t just say “oh, I was mistaken about the kind of person I thought you were, I no longer give any shits about you or what you think” once a certain level of relationship has been established. Cutting ties with someone who has become toxic is hard once those ties have been allowed to persist, even when we KNOW that cutting ties is what’s best for us.
So these days, the majority of emotional damage I take is from asshole fake allies who want to claim the ally label as a way to stroke their own ego and be the hero of their own story. And I figure enough is enough. So this is me, declaring war on fake allies:
It is time to get rid of allies who…
…occupy more emotional bandwidth than misogynists and anti-feminists
…prioritize their feelings over the well-being of the feminists they claim to support
…brag about having feminist friends but sever all ties with women that tell them things they don’t want to hear
…dominate the conversation
…don’t know how to shut up and listen
…place constraints on acceptable expressions of marginalization
…use tone arguments (“I can’t listen because you’re too angry”)
…want feminists to prove their lived experience
…tell feminists they’re being oversensitive while simultaneous requiring that one walk on verbal eggshells to converse with them at all
…tell feminists they are mentally ill and need help
…make feminists gaslight themselves by making them second-guess their own memories and perceptions
…insist that not all men are like that
…tell feminists they are depressing when they talk about their lived experiences
…say feminists are making everything about them
…support and defend men with proven public records of misogyny
…don’t promote women’s voices
…say that you have to separate art from its creator
…try to shout feminists down when a thing is criticized that they like
…say that a feminists “owes” them for the times when the faux-ally was just being a decent fucking human being
…use friendship as a weapon (“I’m saying this as a friend, but…”)
…call feminist spaces toxic
…don’t understand the need for safe spaces that don’t include them
…attempt to silence feminists by tarring their reputation
…are not willing to consider the fact that they might be wrong