I probably shouldn’t make this public post, but I’m going to anyway.

I’m sorry to anyone following me or just around in general that’s getting harassed and abused by people (or possibly one person) that have it out for me. I block them when they come after me under a new name, but there’s not much I can do to stop them from going after other people.

Aaaand abusers gonna abuse. I definitely want to be informed if I’m being an ass and don’t realize it, but if the person saying it is making up things about me, twisting my words and acting in bad faith, I’ll assume they’re just trying to hurt me.

Also: I’ve had this username for over a decade. I’m not going to abandon a part of my identity that I care about, especially not if making me drop it is one of the goals of harassment directed at me. I’m not important, my thoughts and feelings don’t carry much weight, but I’m still me. Harassment isn’t going to change the fact that I’m alive.

*looks at latest reblog notifications*

… Really? Three different accounts, nearly a week after my initial post, just so happen to reblog each other’s remarks on that post within the same couple hours using the same logic, with its progression slowly building toward increasingly hostile and abusive?

That’s… that’s not very subtle. I mean, none of it is subtle, but especially not that.

Puerto Rican with 300 Twitter accounts accused of harassment

I’m sharing this on my account for a couple reasons. One, to further demonstrate that harassment is bad, and excessive harassment is increasingly getting punished via law. Two, because of the number of accounts he used.

This is a guy who created 300 Twitter accounts for the sake of harassing other people. 300. Social media like Twitter and Tumblr makes it INCREDIBLY easy to make multiple accounts, and extremely devoted people can and will be heavily active with a slew of them to make themselves and what they’re doing look bigger and broader than it really is.

I’m saying this because I’m extremely familiar with fandoms and social media use. I know there are some great, amazing people out there who get bombarded with hate in this fashion. Without having experienced it over a long period, it’s easy to think all that hate is a wide swath of people and you did something horribly wrong to deserve it. In reality, a lot of the time, it’s one person with multiple accounts and a mission or vendetta of some sort.

“How can someone maintain 10 or 20 fairly active accounts? This can’t all just be one person.” That’s the most common thought, and this article is proof that a single person can definitely maintain that many active accounts. If this man could maintain 300 accounts, what’s 10-20?

Puerto Rican with 300 Twitter accounts accused of harassment

I want to make a quick post about “true fans”, the people who insist they’re the real fans of a franchise or character to the point where they will smear and abuse anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Most of us already know how awful this is. The people who do it are trying to become the ones who have total control over fandom. They want everyone to adhere to whatever they decide is best, and they want everyone to admire them.

It doesn’t work that way, of course. Toxic fandom is toxic not only because it hurts people, but because it hurts the very things people insist they’re fans of. With every person that gets driven out of the fandom because they don’t want to deal with abuse, the object of fandom has fewer people to support it. The object of fandom gets fewer pieces of fanart, fanfiction, cosplay, and fewer reasons for the company that actually owns the rights to care. Once the fandom has lost so many fans that hardly anyone’s talking about it, the fandom becomes much much less than it can be. It’s a direct attack on a much loved dream.

There’s another element, though, that’s extremely important to bear in mind.

“True fans” don’t flock to things that are worthless. They don’t abuse people over things that have no value. Abusive fans are horrible to have and everyone would be better off if they stopped being abusive… but they also demonstrate that what they’re being abusive around is meaningful in its own right, and that a LOT of other people can see its worth too.

No matter what happens, how horrible it gets, it’s important to remember that. Past the vile behavior, there’s a wonderful franchise or character that has so much to offer. If that was not the case, abusive types would focus on a different franchise or character with a much bigger following.

This is what really keeps me going in spite of smears and attacks: knowing that the thing I’m getting abused for supporting has a lot to offer.

‘Steven Universe’ fandom is melting down after bullied fanartist attempts suicide

This article actually came up among the people I follow on Twitter. Discussion was pretty much how bullies really aren’t about the fandom they claim to be about, as illustrated by these ones even attacking the team that created Steven Universe. Bullies only really care about bullying people, and attacking anyone that gets in the way of the “thrill” they get in doing it.

‘Steven Universe’ fandom is melting down after bullied fanartist attempts suicide

“there are bad and hypocrite people who like to discredit characters and you seem to be one of them“

Yeeeeeah, maybe try not introducing yourself with the fan equivalent of “I don’t like what you said there, therefore YOU ARE LITERALLY THE EMBODIMENT OF HITLER.” That’s an insta-block. Especially because it’s now an M.O. I’m very savvy to.

I actually kind of have mixed feelings about being targeted like this. On the one hand, I don’t really want to be a big known name of anything, if I did then I’d have a real blog with featurettes and regular output and such. That was never my goal.

On the other hand, if we’re to the point where a person or group of people is trying to harass and smear me like this, it means progress. People don’t typically launch attacks against fans of obscure nobody characters, they’d see it as a waste of their time.

So much progress has been made for Polaris since I discovered her and started campaigning for her back in 2009. We went from a character hardly anyone knows, who never got to lead a team in her own right, never had her origin story told, whose status as a mutant AND as Magneto’s daughter was up in the air, to the Lorna of today.

She has an origin story, after over 40 years without one. She led her own team in All-New X-Factor. She’s her father’s daughter again. She’s a mutant again. She’s getting tons of cameos as AU versions during Secret Wars, including a big role for her House of M counterpart. It’s becoming more common for people to actually know who I’m talking about if I mention Polaris, and there are all these wonderful pieces of fanart and cosplays coming at least once per week for a character who once had hardly anything.

We’ve come so far since 2009, and the days when people would argue against Lorna being restored as Magneto’s daughter or insist she should remain in space limbo and “out of the way.” Not just fandom, but even awareness and acceptance of her as a meaningful character has really grown, and I’m so happy to see it.

I didn’t really expect to become a target of harassment in the process, but if that’s a necessary sacrifice, I’m willing to make it. I’m not going to stop pushing for Lorna just because some guys decide to smear me for my efforts six years into it, especially with the progress that’s been made for her.

Geekdom is the only place where socially shunned males can be save and be themselves. So when women, who exclude them outside geek culture, invade those save spaces and force the scene to conform to their wants and rules they leave the men with nowhere to go. Where can they flee? They’re backed into a corner. Attacking invading women is not harrassment – it is defense. Women hate socially inept males. Why should they not hate them back when they try to destoy their only sanctuary.

big-wired:

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

geekandmisandry:

Ok, where to begin with this trainwreck.

Gaming was never yours. Never. It was not designed as a safe space for guys free of women and you have no exclusive rights to the medium in the same way that no gender have exclusive rights to film and television. If women said you were not allowed to read books because that is their safe thing you would think they were ridiculous, you do not own a medium.

Women are not required to want to hang out with you in real life in order to game, that is another bullshit standard you apply to them and not to men. If a guy is a jerk whom you wouldn’t want to hang out with in real life you don’t throw a tantrum.

Women are not a hivemind, we each have our own individual thoughts and feelings and judge you individually. 

That being said, women don’t want to hang out with you, not because you’re socially inept, but because you are an entitled asshole who thinks that women owe you their time outside of games in order to be able to play games without hostility. 

If men weren’t hostile towards women, who have just as much a right to game as them, and weren’t so hostile towards the concept of fair representation then there would be any changes to the “scene” required, because people would already have a fair and fun experience.

Games are not your sanctuary mate, they are a product medium and never once has it been yours. Get over yourself.

“When women invade those safe spaces they leave men with nowhere to go”

Even if this load of absolute bullshit had any truth to it I’m deeply confused as to why this Anon believes that I or any other woman would remotely CARE

Pathetic loser men, and it’s actually been proven that men in games who attack women ARE literal losers, do nothing but act as gatekeepers to something that was never theirs to begin with.

For anyone wondering what big-wired is talking about, here’s the article.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/07/20/men-who-harass-women-online-are-quite-literally-losers-new-study-finds/

Increasingly, fictional mediums, franchises and characters are getting this sort of exclusionary talk where certain people try to dictate who is and isn’t allowed to be involved. They try to be gatekeepers, deciding that certain criteria that conveniently aligns with their own opinions and experiences determines who has legitimacy.

In this case, it’s guys trying to insist that geek culture – the entire pop culture section of society encompassing video games, comic books and similar mediums with multiple genres, and the ability to make them or fanworks based on them – is a place where women do not belong.

Unfortunately, this is a byproduct of past sexism in these industries. For both comic books and video games, marketing types with false assumptions about boys and girls decided the two mediums are exclusively for boys because a lot of products have action and violence. A lot of the boys who spout this “geek culture is a male space, women are invading it” talk are simply repeating the marketing junk fed to them in their youth without putting any thought into it.

I, for one, am happy to see so many women involved. After growing up with the same marketing junk, made to believe girls enjoying such things is a bizarre anomaly, I’m happy to see women making comics and video games and cosplaying their favorites. I especially love how I’ve seen many women pick up female characters that have been treated very poorly in the past and push companies to do more and better for them.

I’m finding I increasingly need to defend the basic right of fans to disagree with each other without being accused of not being a “true fan”, and I just find that really sad.

It’s one thing to think differently and not like what someone else has to say and think, it’s another to try to restrict who’s accepted as a fan and try to make fandom too toxic and abusive for anyone new to get involved.

“True Fans,” Fandom, and Gatekeeping

If you’ve been active on social media at all, or even taken part in something that would get a lot of spread on social media, you know how volatile people have become.

A lot of people are getting their names and reputations dragged through the mud, receiving harassment and death threats online, and some have even been SWATted (where a fake threat is called to police to get a SWAT team to raid someone’s house – which can result in actual physical harm and threats) and essentially chased out of their homes.

All of this activity can ultimately be traced back to one thing: the concept of a “true fan”, and attempts to dominate fandom and control who is or isn’t considered a fan.

As much as I’ve been active on Twitter, I haven’t been nearly active enough about this on Tumblr, and it’s time for me to say something here.

There is a lot of loaded language wrapped up in this concept, so there’s no perfect place to begin. We have to just jump right in and elaborate from there.

We’ve seen a lot of volatility as of late in fandom everywhere. There’s GamerGate, full of people who insist they’re fighting for ethics in games journalism – when really, the language of most GGers is stilted in things like “fighting the SJW menace” and “exposing <insert female critic, developer, research, etc>’s lies.” Many GGers insist the people they target are “not real gamers.”

When the Batgirl cover referencing the Killing Joke came out, and many people complained and criticized it (I believe rightfully so), many people insisted demands to pull the cover amounted to censorship… and some of the people who demanded the cover be pulled received harassment and death threats, and calls that they weren’t “true comic book fans” or “true Batman fans.”

I’ve experienced this first-hand, of course. Nowhere near to the same degree as so many others have received it. But practically any time where I’ve criticized a company or product or shown concern that something bad might happen to something I love, there will be someone who comes along with this insistence they’re a “true fan,” and that I’m not because I said something they didn’t like.

So here’s the critical question in all of this: what makes someone a “true fan”?

If I buy absolutely anything and everything a company makes, even if they openly insult me as a consumer and all the things I care about – am I a true fan?

If I buy absolutely nothing, never have and never will, and say something needs to radically change into something else before I’ll buy it – am I a true fan?

We know the dictionary definition of a fan, but there are so many individual, personal semantic definitions. One person thinks you’re not a fan unless you defend a company and what it does to the death, no matter how bad it is. Another person thinks you’re not a fan unless you mercilessly criticize everything and show no appreciation. Still another person thinks neither route is correct, that you need a mix.

Or is it something else? Are you a true fan if you play X number of games or read X number of comics featuring something? Are you a true fan if you paid to commission fanart, or write fanfiction?

Depending on your definition, who counts as a “true fan” changes.

Suddenly, a person who’s read comic books about their favorite character for years and bought countless comics and art commissions isn’t a “true fan” because they’re willing to complain about the company that owns that character’s rights.

Suddenly, a woman who makes experimental video games or cares about better representation for women in video games isn’t a “true gamer”, while a man who’s never played a game before and has regularly insulted gaming as a whole is an “honorary gamer” for supporting certain people and playing a little bit of one video game.

Suddenly, people who deeply love and respect something “don’t count” as “true fans.” And here’s the reason: power.

Fiction has cultural power, and whoever has the loudest voice gets the most say in its shape. Whether explicitly or implicitly, most people are starting to realize this.

Want a character to get raped? Silence all dissenting voices, and it might happen.

Want a certain person to quit the video game industry? Send him or her enough death threats, make up things like “she has sex with dogs” or “she’s a rapist”, hack his or her bank account, all sorts of nastiness, and it might happen.

That is the shape “fandom” is increasingly taking right now: smear jobs, character assassination, real life harassment even to friends and family just for being associated with the intended target.

It’s all gatekeeping. It’s all an attempt to take possession of the keys, and then dictate who’s allowed to have them. “You’re not a true gamer unless you accept games as they are.” “You’re not a true Batgirl fan unless you accept her being presented first and foremost as Joker’s victim.” “You’re not a true Polaris fan unless you never complain about Marvel and never worry they might do something bad to her.”

And while it looks recent, this has actually been going on for years. Probably far longer than I’m even consciously aware.

When Anita Sarkeesian launched her Tropes vs Video Games Kickstarter in 2012, she received a wave of harassment and threats simply for the IDEA of criticizing video games through a feminist perspective, suggesting that as great as they are, they can be better.

When a woman working for Bioware said video games should permit a “skip gameplay” option to be able to enjoy only the story, also back in 2012, she received a swarm of harassment for daring to suggest games don’t need gameplay.

This behavior looks new, but it’s not. It’s been a very gradual escalation across several years. It only looks new because most people weren’t watching the horizon and what was slowly spilling over it.

The more people who think this is the right approach to fandom, the more extreme people will become when they get desperate. Right now, GamerGate laughs off the idea that any of the people they target will ever get killed. But is it really so laughable? In the span of 3 years, we’ve gone from internet harassment and some online death threats to women like Anita Sarkeesian, to people getting SWATted, and smeared as supposedly being rapists or fucking dogs or selling their kids for drug money.

All in an attempt to become the gatekeepers of fandom, and terrorize and chase out anyone who disagrees with them. If 3 years is enough for people to turn out like that and think it’s perfectly acceptable, what will 3 more years bring us?

Any time you see the words “true fan”, always, ALWAYS ask: who’s using them, how, and why. We can’t afford to not ask those questions when lives are on the line – right now, professional lives, the ability to actually get a job. But perhaps some day, the ability to continue living at all.