Why I quit Download Squad

9 years ago

You're probably thinking, "But Amber, you had just started there!" Yeah, I did - in January. And two months later, I'm quitting. All my posts are here, but there won't be any more coming.

The comments in my last post spiraled out of control, quickly. Right now it's up to 92 comments (but for the past twenty or so it's been the same two guys beating their chests at each other). From the beginning, I probably should've created a Gmail filter to automatically delete comment notifications (which I did later), but I didn't want to miss any good comments.

Then the attacks started pouring in.

I didn't want to comment, because I knew it would be pointless. But then I left one snarky comment, and then a few more. Even as I was doing it I was feeling the emotional toll, and yet it was like the car accident phenomenon of not being able to look away.

And then I got some emails from fellow Download Squad bloggers who said they found my comments "reprehensible," "close-minded," and "mean-spirited." They characterized the trolls, slut-baiters, and anti-feminists* as "disagreeing" and "addressing [me] civilly and, for the most part, maturely."

So.

After lots and lots of thought on the matter, I've decided that I'm not going to continue writing at Download Squad. The kind of thing that happened on that last thread is just not a healthy environment for me to be in. I know how those kinds of situations affect me, and it would be extremely detrimental for me to continue putting myself in such a position.

It's not that I'm all that surprised, really. I mean I'm not stupid or naïve. I guess I just... thought? hoped? wanted to believe? it would be different this time. But I've gotten that kind of reaction so many times, in so many different places, that at this point I can't even try to enumerate them. That's why I made the commenter Bingo card; it really is like marking squares off a board. They say the same shit every time. And some people have a thick skin, and that stuff doesn't get to them, and they stand tall in the face of it and shout their message out to people who are determined not to hear it, in the hope that maybe 1 person out of 1,000 will listen and really think about what they've said...

But I'm not one of those people.

I've mentioned before that this is why I don't consider myself a hardcore activist. I'm not cut out for it. I can say with reasonable certainty that being on the front lines of this kind of stuff would turn me suicidal.

I do very well in face-to-face one-on-one interactions where I know the other person sees me as a fully equal human being and is willing to listen respectfully and thoughtfully to what I'm saying. I enjoy those interactions; I enjoy respectful, intelligent debate. I do not enjoy or do well in verbal onslaughts where people are telling me I need to shut up, go away, show 'em my tits, get laid, change who I am if I want to be taken seriously, and by the way why am I so ugly, why am I such a whore, etc. etc. etc.

For the sake of my own health (not to mention self-respect!), I won't allow myself to be spoken to that way. And as I learned a long time ago, the "just ignore them" adage does not work.

As I said in the fateful Download Squad post, it's important to keep hacking away at these bullshit barriers. And I completely believe and agree with the sentiments expressed here. But, I can't do it on a large scale. This is something I know about myself; I can fight this fight with individuals and very small groups, but not with large groups or (god forbid) "the public."

It's an important fight. But it's one we all have to do our own way, and that is not my way.

Maybe Download Squad can find someone with a thicker skin to write what was my column.

* Funny thing... I was called a radical feminist on that thread. That's one thing that does make me laugh. Inevitably, in discussions (and I use that word loosely) with people like the lovely DLS commenters, I will eventually be called a radical feminist. Usually I'll be called a lesbian as well, or the question will be raised of when I last had a good deep-dicking. Oh, if only they knew... actual radical feminists can't stand me! And they accuse me of being some kind of girly-girl embodiment of the common man's wet dream, which also cracks me up. Little do they know, the common man is calling me one of them!

[Originally posted on my blog, Being Amber Rhea]

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