Sometimes I post pictures of cats and talk about video games or tv.
Sometimes I reblog or point out oppressive systems that piss me off.
I can’t help but notice bout after bout of chaotic uproar on Tumblr, the most intense of which was my own experience last summer. I can really only take so much more of this before I vomit all over my computer.
For starters, I disagree with Tyler Oakley’s “Why Diversity Sucks” video posted 5 years ago.
No. No. And no. I very much think that diversity is extremely important — and I’ve expressed this on numerous occasions in my videos.
What I don’t give a fuck about is witch hunts and hate campaigns against fellow Tumblr users. (Well…I do actually give a fuck, I just wish I didn’t have to.) Unprecedented amounts of vitriol, bullying, and harassment are not okay, yet it is very much a reality for YouTubers like myself who grew up on camera, for people who blog about substantive, high-stake topics on Tumblr, and people who speak up about social problems.
I’ve found that Tumblr can be more cruel and hateful than any other part of the internet I live on, and that is saying something. The internet isn’talways kind to women. Being immersed in a hateful environment causes psychological turbulence, depression, and self-hate in peoples’ every day lives. For anyone affected. It’s a real problem that many people on Tumblr don’t seem to understand goes two ways. It’s a reality that much of my time on Tumblr is spent feeling like I’m walking on eggshells in an abusive relationship, which is NOT OKAY. Last summer, my partner and I had to move into a new apartment because of stalking, threats of rape, and violence from Tumblr users. Please take a moment to think about what that seriously fucking means. Again: this sort of behavior NOT OKAY. I cannot stress enough how NOT OKAY this is.
My situation is an unfortunately extreme example of an ongoing problem we have here on the Tumblrsphere. It’s unfortunate that it happened and it’s unfortunate that the same stuff continues to happen. I’m going to attempt to characterize this problem because I feel it needs to be discussed. It’s really hard for me to discuss publicly, and I haven’t done it much, because it’s scary for me and past attempts have opened me up to more harassment.But a level-headed conversation about this problem really needs to happen. We need to talk about what’s going on here, and to find better ways to handle these situations.
I’m going to call this behavior a “witch hunt”. A witch hunt is a shared moral outrage over a community member’s fuckup that is followed by hunting and figuratively burning them at the stake.
The context I’m referring to in this article is very particular: when a well-intentioned figure says or does something that is really not okay, often, it seems, in their past. Racism, sexism, transphobia; using the t-word, saying diversity isn’t important, slut shaming women. Bad not okay things.
And then it begins.
Online bullying behaviour is absolutely NOT OKAY. But calling it “witch-hunting” immediately sets up the people calling out oppression as the aggressors and the persons who originally participating in the oppressive behaviour as the victims. That entire ideology is a really bad way to frame this discussion, because the internet in general and oppressors specifically have a really hard time separating those participating in harassing and violent behaviour from those angrily and justifiably reacting to their experiences of oppression.
While I’m open to the idea of opening dialogue when it comes to oppressive behaviour in internet-famous people, there’s a whole whack of really inappropriate tone-policing in this post that’s really upsetting and not okay. It’s not okay to expect people who are experiencing oppression to be nice to their oppressors in the hope that they’ll learn from that. What people who are experiencing oppression have told us again and again is that niceness rarely works. More importantly, they’re the ones being oppressed. Even if it IS productive, no one is under any obligation to be NICE to their oppressors. People have a right to be angry, and to respond angrily, to their experiences of oppression.
Your ideas on forgiveness are particularly nauseating. No one should be required to forgive, and it’s sickening of you to even ask that of people. Even IF oppressed people forgiving their oppressors made a difference in the fight against oppression - AND IT DOESN’T - that’s a completely unreasonable expectation to ask of people. AND that’s not what forgiveness is, AT ALL. Forgiveness is something given freely, because it frees the person holding the anger - not given in expectation that it will change things. “Forgiveness” with an agenda is not forgiveness at all. Forgiveness of oppressors CAN be a healing and freeing experience for people who have been oppressed - when they choose to do so, on their own time, in their own way, for their own reasons. Not as a way of manipulating people into stopping their oppressive behaviour.
Laci, the reason I still don’t like your attitudes through all of this is because you see yourself and Tyler as people who made mistakes, and the people who attacked you as bullies. And that might be true. But what you absolutely fail to see, time and time again, is that you and Tyler participated in fundamentally oppressive behaviour, and the people you were oppressing fought back.
Until you acknowledge that dynamic, your attempts at reconciliation are fruitless and counter-productive. The bullying and harassment you experienced was wrong. But the wrongs committed against you were not part of a systemic, historical, political context dedicating to crushing you and your identity and everything you are. It was people pissed at you, because you participated in systemic, historical, political contexts dedicated to crushing them and their identity and everything they are.
Until you see that, and acknowledge that, and deal with that, and do something about it, apologies not accepted. Your relationship with the people you’ve oppressed and with the so-called “social justice” communities on Tumblr won’t begin to rebuild until you stop seeing them as witches and start seeing them as oppressed people you never expected would have power over you.
I just want to add to the excellent commentary above, Laci, that you should look at some of the “positive” reblogs on your post. Quite a few talk about “social justice” like it was a plague. These are the people you are talking to with shit like this. The people who think that caring about oppressed and marginalised people is “social justice” (which is starting to feel a lot like the new “polictically correct”), and thus “too much.” That’s your ideal audience right now. It’s telling.