Because enquiring minds want to know: what is the best way to consume Fluff? Also, music and writing and stuff.
John Waters (pg. 178 Role Models)
My fellow comedian Jen Kirkman is boycotting Twitter until men stop using it as a medium to be awful to her because she’s a woman yet still has the audacity to express her views on occasion. Or more specifically, until her male counterparts speak up against this kind of treatment.
Alright, Jen. I’m in. And this isn’t something I should have had to wait until it got this bad to be “in” about. This is something we should’ve done on our own and I’m sorry about that. But anyway, here goes.
The rest of this post is addressed to men in general, more specifically straight men who use the Internet to be mean to anyone, and more specifically, straight men who use the Internet to be mean to women.
Alright, guys: Imagine you’re a woman.
Shouldn’t be that hard. Don’t bring any baggage about “Women are like THIS, man” along with you. A lot of things about your life would be different but the overriding feeling would be one of just being a human being, which is the overriding feeling most of us feel all the time without even realizing it.
So, you’re a woman. Now, because you’re a woman, everything you say or do is judged out loud, by any stranger that feels like shouting or tweeting their opinion at you.
On its merit? On its logic? On its coolness or funniness? Not exclusively. Not at all.
Instead, all too often, it will be judged based on that person’s idea of what should be coming out of the mouth of someone who has the same sex organ you have. You are no longer whatever you are. Now you are a “female (whatever you are.)”
Fail to comply with each and every person’s individual set of standards about how a “female ______” should behave, and you will hear about it, and it will hurt.
Imagine that your every word and action could be held to an outmoded sense of standards by a bunch of strangers because you have one kind of sex organ instead of another kind of sex organ.
That each one of these strangers had a slightly (or in some cases wildly) different set of standards regarding how you should behave given the sex organ you have, and God forbid you should point out that these standards are outmoded, unfair, or downright backwards, because HEY THAT’S JUST HOW THEY WERE RAISED.
After emerging from the Imagination Chamber, maybe you say: “Well, if somebody’s offended by something I say, that’s just because they’re too sensitive. If I were them, I would take it in stride.”
Would you? I’m not sure you would. But even if that were true, it doesn’t matter. You are NOT them. And you demonstrate a shocking lack of empathy and imagination by being unable to place yourself in their shoes, to feel what it might be like to be them, to be subject to the torrents of abusive crap somebody like Jen, somebody like your girlfriend, somebody like your sister, somebody like your mom, has to put up with on an hourly basis.
If you find yourself saying “You’re too sensitive” a lot then it is entirely possible that you are, in fact, being a jerk.
Great points. Reminded me a lot of being younger, when I had friends who would insult me and then quickly follow it up by saying “JK, JK” as if that defused the insult. Granted, they were 12 and they don’t do it anymore. Similarly (hopefully) I bet a lot of these anti-Jen Kirkman tweets were from people who maybe aren’t that cruel in real life. Pointing out the lack of distinction between IRL insults and Twitter/Facebook/etc insults in terms of how they hurt the insultee is an especially important thing to mention that isn’t mentioned very often.
Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease.
I want to leave a mark.
But the marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “they’ll remember me now, ” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. You coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion.
We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless, but I am an animal like any other.
We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad to leave a lesser scar, but it’s not sad, it’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm.
The real heroes aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox.
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (with omissions to avoid spoilers. It’s a good book, you guys)
“please be: funny, good looking, college educated, creative, goal oriented, have impeccable style and love dogs.”
The other 1% prefer cats.
In the immortal words of Hoobastank: “I’m not a perfect person/Occasionally I wear sweaters that have holes.”