Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Confessions of a Neckbeard

Following Christopher Priest's rant about the Arthur C. Clarke awards, there have been echoes reverberating all over the Internet, particularly as a result of Catherynne Valente's observation that a woman wouldn't get away with that shit.

This really shouldn't be that controversial. And yet, in the comments of Valente's own posts, as well as all the people talking about it, there are all these neckbeards engaging in lengthy diatribes about how it's so haaaaard to be a man and bitches be crazywomen can be so meeeeeeean!

I mean, some dude actually told Valente, after she recounted her own horrific childhood experiences of bullying and then stated that she's a rape survivor, that she had it easy! Because girls were totally mean to him in school!

Holy shit. Just STFU. STFU forever.

This strikes home for me because... I used to be That Guy. Okay, not the guy who told a rape survivor that women have it easy — I don't think I was ever that big of a douche. (If I was, I have thankfully blotted it from my memory and I'm just glad no one ever gave me the beat-down I deserved.) But I was your typical nerdy dude who was totally pro-feminism but could still pull out Mansplainin' 101 about how Women Don't Appreciate Nice Guys and Of Course No One Deserves To Be Raped But If You Walked Through Central Park At Night Flashing a Roll of Cash... and other classics in that vein.

I am pretty ashamed of my younger self, I am. (Not just for those things, but they certainly give me no small amount of painful recollection.)

I make no claim to perfection now. I try to engage viewpoints I don't agree with in a thoughtful manner, and if I still don't agree with them, I'll be measured in my disagreement unless it's just downright offensive or batshit insane. I keep a somewhat cynical eye on a lot of drama & social justice sites, agreeing with much of what is said, thinking that a lot more is rather unnuanced or self-serving or kneejerk, but unlike my younger self, I don't feel a need to jump in and say "U R RONG!" When I do get into it, I have learned to walk away from arguments that are unproductive or in which the other person is clearly a troll and sees all interactions as a win/lose binary that cannot be resolved until someone cries uncle.

The thing is, when this is an argument over Harry Potter, it's merely annoying, provoking a head shake and some eye-rolling, but when it's guys telling women that their silly lady-brains are seeing misogyny that doesn't really exist, it's contributing to the very thing they are claiming doesn't exist.

This also strikes home because of course I am a big genre fan, and I even like some of those big genre works that get neckbeards so het up when people criticize them. And yet, holy shit, the rage that spews out of the keyboard-wielding howler monkeys of the Internet when a woman criticizes the things they love!

Some (in)famous examples:

Now, I do not agree with what all of the above women say. And one can intelligently disagree with them. I mean, I think _allecto_'s criticisms of Joss Whedon, in particular, are reeeeeeeeally reaching (it's one thing to say you don't think his work deserves all its feminist accolades, it's quite another to say that perceived misogyny in his work means the man himself is a rapist). I haven't actually read A Game of Thrones so don't have much of an opinion on it, but Doyle does seem to stretch a few of her points a bit, and I understand she was pretty nasty to some feminist bloggers who disagreed with her. I love ROTYH, but I don't always agree with acrackedmoon (man, ACM, why you gotta keep harshin' on Evil Stevie? And I still like Harry Potter and The Name of the Wind, so nyah nyah!), and I think she can at times be a little too quick to go for the jugular.

But. All of these women get a shit-ton of nerdrage and fucking rape threats dumped on them. I read a lot of bombastic bloggers, male and female, and while men get namecalled and disagreed with, even at their most vitriolic it's usually more of a schoolyard let's-beat-each-other-up-and-have-a-beer-afterwards exchange that's as much backslapping as brawling. My worst and most nasty trolls did some taunting and dickwaving, but no one threatened me, and if they did, we'd both know they were full of shit and it was hot air. Kathy Sierra and Seanan McGuire have received death threats accompanied by personally identifying information.

What the fuck is wrong with these people?

ETA: Locked. Not because I'm a mean ol' lefty who can't stand to hear dissenting opinions (though I expect that's what jordan179 is going to claim), but because I have to go to work, I cannot access LJ at work, and I really don't want to read ten more pages of this shit when I get home.
Tags: fandom, soapbox


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