Not too long ago I was pondering over how I find myself enmeshed so often in feminist causes. I’m a dude, as has been noted, I started out that way and I plan on ending up that way, hope that’s all right with everyone. Yet I find myself very sympathetic to feminist causes.
Eventually I realized that usually what got me going was the topic of harassment, sexual or otherwise – but, obviously, in the context of feminism, sexual harassment is a huge issue. Harassment is key here, and something I find common cause in, I realized. This all forms a huge layer cake of misery, in which the layers we’re looking at are sexual harassment, harassment in general, and bullying – which is where I came in.
Bullying has gotten a little bit of attention lately due to some deaths brought to light by the families of the victims and others. It’s interesting watching the reactions across various strata of society. It is generally agreed that the deaths are regrettable, even tragic, and wrongful. Less prevalent is whole-hearted support for the victims. There almost seems to be a feeling from these people that the victims did something … wrong.
A lot of the people that can’t somehow find a way to fully support the victims (now and future) perhaps are bothered by the past, maybe they are ashamed of being victims in the past. Or maybe the regret implicit support of the bullies, by just going along with it. Just letting it happen. Watching that poor kid open his mouth in protest just one more time and getting floored for having the temerity. And doing nothing, because it’s the highest blade that gets trimmed first.
Harassment, then, and especially sexual harassment, are nothing more than bullying. I was lucky. I was bullied for years, and it was often submitted that I was the problem for not submitting to whatever demands the authorities thought I was rebelling against. I’m not sure what demands I was to submit to when I tried to go home and six burly rednecks blocked the school gate and dared me to try to push through.
One day I left home and started choosing who I kept company with. I was able to get myself out of that bad situation, and, eventually, return back home without fear. But not everyone is so fortunate as I. If I had not been able to help myself as I did, I shudder to think what my life would have been like. I may have well surrendered to despair, as well, like those poor kids on the news.
And that right there is my point of solidarity with the feminist cause, because one key is to create a world where women can stand proudly in the world without fear of being targeted, harassed, and bullied just for being female, any more than I was for being short and nearsighted.
A long time ago (relatively), I named the blog Empowered Fire as one of the best-named blogs in recent times; a blog centered on feminism and magery, an excellent combination. That blog fell silent. I didn’t find out until later that one of the two bloggers there was undergoing a serious bout of sexual harassment from a former friend in WoW, and that in the end the bully won a small victory and shut them down indirectly. It could have easily turned out far, far, worse, and almost nobody would have known.
I am thrilled and gratified that the blogger now known as Apple Cider decided to pick back up and rejoin the WoW blogosphere, to blog on the same topics. She is brave and wonderful and fights the good fight.
Harassment in-game or out is serious business. It gives us all a black eye if we let it happen around us, for fear of reprisal or just out of a desire not to rock the boat. We are diminished every time we lose someone to the bullies. Friends will find other things to do if they feel uncomfortable around our fabled halls.
- Or the precipitate. [↩]