Followup to my last post

[edited to add final paragraph, noted in italics]

[Edit 2: See end of post for update as of June 29, 2016]

Some of the response to my last post has been supportive, which is nice. But unfortunately, a large quantity has been full of straw-manning, ad hominems, and abusive language. Like the person who commented simply, “Idiot.”. Or the person who told me that I should kill myself with cyanide in a comment that managed to combine homophobia, racism, misogyny, ableism, and fatphobia in only four sentences. Impressive.

The remainder of unhelpful responses can be broken down into two camps: 1) I shouldn’t be writing about Orlando because I’m not queer and 2) I’m trivializing the Orlando shooting by trying to talk about games.

In response to the first, I happen to believe that it’s important for non-queer folks to educate other non-queer folks. My unfortunate experience with trying to talk about sexism and misogyny has been that some men will ONLY listen to other men. Some people with privilege will ONLY listen to people with the same privilege. In writing this post, I was conscious about not duplicating things already being said by queer voices, and in my other social media channels I have only been retweeting/posting/sharing things said by others.

I’m not saying that I ally perfectly, because lord knows that I don’t. But I reject the assertion that only people who experience a given marginalization can speak to that marginalization, because in order for change to happen you need people of privilege to stand up to other people of privilege. So, if after trying to strike a balance between boosting the words of queer people and shouting some sense into non-queer people you still don’t think that I have a right to speak, period, because my identity, then I can’t help you because that is something I’m never going to back down from.

In response to the second, this entire blog is written out of a belief that POP CULTURE IS CULTURE and YOU CAN’T SEPARATE THE TWO. If you disagree with that fundamental premise, you disagree with the entire premise of feminist media criticism. I’m not going to spend time and effort on having this argument yet again, on defending the purpose of holding a critical lens to entertainment media to examine what it says about us as pop culture creators and consumers. Because you will never convince me that pop culture criticism is a waste of time, or is “trivializing” other issues, simply because the medium I happen to focus on is games.

All of that said, I’m closing comments on the previous post, and if things get out of hand here I’m going to lock down comments on the entire blog for a while. Doubtless people are going to want to keep shaming me, but I’m not obligated to provide them a space to do it in.

It’s worth noting that throughout ALL of this I HAVE been listening to queer voices and asking for advice in how to proceed, and those voices have been saying a lot of mixed things. There’s a lot of division over this right now and it’s really hard to know how to proceed. In the end, I decided not to delete the post, because I have a policy of not deleting posts. Partly this is for transparency and accountability, although there are MANY other reasons which I won’t go into right now.

Update: June 29, 2016

After continuing to have conversations about this matter, I decided to organize a donation drive to raise money for the GLBT Center of Central Florida – a charity that is providing services directly to Pulse families and survivors. You can read more information about the results of this here.

It’s also worth noting that while I continue to stand by what I wrote and how it was published, what I am not proud of was my response to some of the criticism that was levied. There were some people who were very open and genuine in sharing their pain and distress over what happened, and I responded to them in ways that weren’t acceptable.

I was in a really terrible place and was having to stay on top of deleting lots of horrible shit full of racism, homophobia, and misogyny and had been marinating in that for a few days when I saw these comments, which made it difficult for me separate people from trying to share their pain in a genuine way from people trying to shame me for what I wrote because of my perceived identity. Instead of stepping away to get some space and perspective, I responded from a place of pain, anger, and trauma, and that wasn’t okay. As such, I have taken steps to contact the people involved and make direct apologies. 

8 thoughts on “Followup to my last post

  1. Lack of representation in media doesn’t need to cause specific violent incidents for it to matter.

    Claiming that it *does* cause specific incidents of violence trivializes both the violence and the representation problem.

    If nothing else, it lends support to the criticism that people talking about representation in media are “Tipper Gores” who want to ban words and pictures they don’t like and will reach for any excuse to do so.

    • Literally nothing I said equates to “games cause mass shootings”, so that is some top-notch straw-manning. Bonus points, as “Tipper Gore” was the insult that I have only ever seen used by my primary harasser.

      • Tipper Gore, Pat Pulling, “reefer madness,” take your pick. There’s a long history of sensationalizing media that people don’t like by claiming it causes various specific social ills.

        When you talk about the Orlando shootings and then say that incidents like that are why representation in games “matters” it does imply a causal relationship. If that’s not your intent, then I apologize for misinterpreting, but my point still stands: 53 dead people aren’t why representation in games matters.

        As a white feminist speaking to another white feminist, wrapping your very real concerns about representation in games (the way the media landscape puts male heterosexuality at the center of our visual world is fucking infuriating) in the deaths of other marginalized groups is exactly why white feminism gets such a bad rap.

  2. Hi wundergeek, I read you last post (like all the others) but I didn’t feel like participating in that comment-storm.

    I appreciate what you write, including the last post, but unfortunately people have been trained to value the “too soon” argument a bit too much. As a commenter pointed out, “too soon”+”don’t politicize this”+”give time to mourn” is code for “let’s not actually do anything about this”. I think this leads to people reading your words in a way that looks to attack, instead of looking to understand. Reading your last post while actively trying to understand what you are saying, I find little to disagree with. Others are probably reading your post while actively trying to come up with disagreements and other criticisms (as invalid as they may be).

    This comment isn’t meant to be strong advice of any sort. I guess I’m trying to say “people are heated up and are reacting worse than normal”. Keep up the good work.

  3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your post, your sentiment, or your defense of our fellow human beings. We’re all people. Feminism is, essentially, the idea that men and women are equal. But that’s just a small piece of the larger idea: that all people are equal.

    The idea that you have to be part of a marginalized group to hold that opinion is absurd. The idea that you can’t mix empathy for our fellow human beings in with other content about having empathy for your fellow human beings is absurd. I haven’t read the comments but the idea that you have to defend your defense of others is mind-boggling and seems like just another avenue for trolls to hate on you because they hate the idea that your voice is getting heard.

  4. Based on some of the posts by LGBTQ-identifying posters on the Orlando post, it seems that while they were trying to bring up how your self-admittedly non-queer perspective was not reflective of their experience, that you took some offense to them.

    I found a helpful suggestion on how, as an ally, to accept when this happens and thought I would share.

    Privileged person: [fucks up]

    Marginalized person: Dude, you just fucked up.

    Privileged person: How dare you! I would never fuck up! I’m a GOOD person, not some terrible, awful fuckup! You’re just a bully! A big stupid bully!

    Marginalized person: [headdesk]

    So instead of being “That Ally”, accept the inevitability of fucking up.


    • Except Wundergeek hasn’t said “I would never fuck up”, but rather “my queer circles are divided on this and I’m working out how I’m going to treat this and in the meantime I’m not jumping on one particular action”, so maybe dial it back?

      Also, she’s admittedly queer by any definition but uncomfortable claiming use of the word queer, which is basically how nearly every one of us was at some point or another, so, uh, her voice is a queer voice that other queer voices are disagreeing with.

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