The Horror of Debate

So, someone’s mad at Act, because she has all the luck.

But that’s not what I found notable about this. There’s something terrible lurking here.

Let’s nest some quotes.

“They also got rid of a bunch of female classes– there is no longer a female triathelete, for example, because equality is for 2002 I guess.”

You say “a bunch” and mention ONLY ONE, because female triathlete was the ONLY CLASS THEY REMOVED!

“…That’s 47 men and 32 women, meaning 33% more sprites are male, and the actual distribution of male/female in the game is much, much worse.”

Ratatouille has only one female character in it… is it sexist? NO! Colette is one of the most strong willed female characters ever! FOCUS ON QUALITY NOT QUANTITY!

So in other words, we can see they’re just snapping at everything they can snap at. Act comes back to the complaint about missing female classes, but that doesn’t matter and isn’t even mentioned. She gave an example, a really easy retort is to say that’s the only one, so that’s what’s done, even though their very next point is that it doesn’t matter if they removed one or all but one.

The entire thing is just that, snapping at every possible thing there is regardless of if it’s completely inconsistent. It’s at this point that one usually brings up points about arguing in bad faith, but – this didn’t even manage double digit notes. Half the people tagged commented back with that they don’t even know about Pokemon. If this is just an attempt at posturing and getting attention, they’re totally incompetent. Unspeakably, really, since this is on tumblr and not getting attention on tumblr may well be harder than getting it. It may be merely improbable but it sure is pushing impossible.

The more likely option, then, is that despite all the hallmarks of someone screaming just to get attention, this is sincere.

Get involved in arguments long enough, and you stop having any interest in the actual arguments. You’ve already talked and argued about SUBJECT. You’ve read lots of stuff that’s in favor of your side on SUBJECT and it all sounded really convincing. You’re sure your position on SUBJECT is right. You already know that anyone taking the opposite position on SUBJECT is wrong, so everything they say must be wrong, so why take the time to actually think about what they’re saying? It’s wrong. Those other times you wasted your time trying to actually read it, you ended up being able to work out how it was totally wrong or you could eventually dig up someone else explaining how it was totally wrong, so you know you were always right. And that’s so much work! Just skim until you see something that might be wrong, point and laugh/snarl, resume skim. You can’t not engage it, because it’s wrong, but you can’t muster the energy to read what it’s saying either, because it’s wrong.

This is really, really easy to let happen to you. (Tumblr may well be making it happen a lot faster than usual, but that’s a concern for another time.) And it’s the point where you don’t even care about what your own side even is any longer, just that you’re right and other people aren’t. And it’s not like you’re going to hit something that’ll make you rethink any of this, because that’d require actually reading whatever that might be.

It doesn’t even matter if you picked the right side by the end of it. Do you even remember what that is? Why it is?

Let’s all look at this and remember to disengage before this point. At the point you don’t want to even hear what stupid thing the other side things about SUBJECT, stop listening. Stop seeking it out. Stop frothing over it if you find it by accident. Stop. Come back to it later.

Because once you go down this sort of rabbit hole you won’t come back anytime soon.


  1. Keleri says:
    ah yes, an “egalitarian”. I too was a teenage misogynist.

    I’ve found that the combativeness of tumblr is a little like leprosy; it can be pretty horrific, but it’s actually hard to catch. I’ve been on tumblr for 4 or 5 years and I’d never gotten an angry message until a few months ago, when someone showed up to defend the honor of Farscape.

    1. Negrek says:
      wait what is your tumblr I must follow

      plz e-mail if you would prefer not to post publicly

      1. Keleri says:

        I’ll post it here and then delete the comment after a few days since my disqus results are googleable: my handle is [snip], feel free to add me and observe my sweet cat picture, steven universe, and occasional leftwing/social justicey reblogs

    2. Roarke says:
      Really? Almost the first or second post/ask I made to some blogger led to that person being extremely passive-aggressive at me, basically saying “I’m too good to argue on the internet, but here’s all the reasons you’re wrong.” So I thanked them for the response and basically never use tumblr now.
      1. Keleri says:
        Oh no, I’m sorry you had that bad experience. :( If more of you DQ’ers have tumblr, let’s form a webring or whatever (lol).

        Oh true, the ask/reply functions on tumblr can be a bit dangerous because of the character limit; it’s hard to really express yourself. I remember replying to a post where someone got glasses for the first time as an adult and I tried to express that I was so glad that they weren’t dealing with that eyestrain anymore, etc. but they took my wording to mean that I was judging them for letting it go on so long. Unfortunately some people deal with shitty anons and babies crapping themselves over a late webcomic post so they’re more ready to take things in a worse light. In this case I apologized and clarified and that was the end.

        The other problem is that it’s hard to find people who WANT to have a legit discussion on tumblr and so if you do come into someone’s ask asking questions they might see it as Sea Lioning/JAQing off; unfortunately there’s a ton of that especially when it comes to political/social justicey stuff. Further, some people deliberately try to start shit or send themselves bellicose anon messages once they reach a certain level because it means more activity and exposure for them.

        I try to follow bloggers who do foster discussion and aren’t hopping to take things in the worst way; unfortunately, like reddit, this means a trial period of curating your friendslist until it meets your expectations.

        1. Farla says:
          As far as I can tell the main way one uses tumblr safely is by not engaging anyone ever.
    3. Gust says:
      Yep, most of the fighting on Tumblr I’ve seen was from people arguing with people I follow. I guess it depends on whether you make posts or just reblog them. The most crap I’ve gotten is a few gators and the author of Wither getting mad at me. I didn’t even know she had a tumblr, I swear.

      i also must follow you.

      1. Ember says:
        Hot damn, you got the author of Wither mad at you? AWESOME! And here Farla was jealous of ACT.
        1. actonthat says:
          Emeberrrr you should check out the VN ‘The Royal Trap.’ Female protag with 2 female romance endings (and 2 male ones (and 1 that’s male but I would not call romance)), society where heredity is via female children, and the crazy-ass lengths people will go to in order to ensure succession.
      2. Farla says:
        How did you enrage the terrifying spectre that wrote Wither?
        1. Gust says:
          Ok, the story’s not that interesting.

          I was just tumbling at 1 AM and saw some screencaps of the #growingupfemale or whatever hashtag from Twitter ( Then I went to reblog it and noticed that the name on the tweets looked familiar. Ugh, right it’s that lady who wrote Wither. So I put a small comment about how that’s nice what she said, but she wrote a book that’s full of rape apologia. It was 1 AM, so I wasn’t that coherent.

          After I posted it, I noticed that the OP of the post was the author. Then I got a notification from the author 10 minutes later reblogging my post and she said “that was such a ridiculous thing to say that I’ve lost hope of understanding humankind” or something. Which is probably how everyone on this blog felt about reading Wither. Was going to respond about the book but then I got too anxious and I don’t know if she’d listen anyway so I stopped.

          Speaking of which, did you know there’s more books by the author of Wither? You know what that means, right? :D

          1. illhousen says:
            “Speaking of which, did you know there’s more books by the author of Wither? You know what that means, right?”

            I don’t think there are enough Exalted novels for this quest.

      3. sliz225 says:
        I second Farla. What’s the Wither story? Detaaaails.
    4. SpoonyViking says:
      Oh, you talked about Farscape? Can you post a link? I liked that series, but I watched it before I started reading on gender issues; it should be interesting to see how well (or badly) it did on that front. I promise not to send you an angry message. :-P
      1. Keleri says:
        Haha it was actually in response to an offhand comment I made on someone else’s blog entirely. I keep meaning to watch Farscape (and Babylon 5, and DS9, and BSG, and…)
        1. SpoonyViking says:
          Ah, shame.But I do recommend the show (and most of the others you mentioned). :-)
    5. Farla says:
      And like leprosy, youth makes you more susceptible.
    6. sliz225 says:
      Yeah, I’m with you. The majority of people on there aren’t any more annoying than your average obsessive fangirl, and being a mild fangirl of certain things myself, I find that almost endearing. There are tons of people who only follow/reblog other people, and rarely write a post of their own, but you don’t know about them because, duh, they’re not actually creating anything. Meanwhile, the controversial/crazyballs posts get tons and tons of exposure because, duh, they’re crazyballs.
  2. Roarke says:
    I’m glad that I clicked the link before reading the rest of this article, because I didn’t even get halfway through it before closing out. I followed Farla’s advice before receiving it, wheeee!
  3. Socordya says:
    《AND blatantly admitted that you want to see female supremacy, not equality, in games!》
    Dammit, they are on to you, Act! Abort, Abort!
    1. Wright of Void says:
      Oh my god this again? Are these people seeing a different article than we are or are they really just that bad at reading comprehension?
      1. SpoonyViking says:
        I’d say they’re really, really good at projecting their own issues over others. It’s possible, for instance, this self-identified woman had to fight tooth and nail to get respect as a “TRUE NERD” among her peers, and instead of realizing how awful the game is, she gets angry at others for not playing it – and even worse, for pointing out how the game is rigged against them.

        Well, I’m only assuming. I imagine you know what people say about that. :-P

        1. actonthat says:
          Eh, that was a pretty accurate assessment of me in high school. The whole reason competition among women like that is encouraged is that infighting upholds the status quo. Telling women that the problem isn’t men, but other women, keeps dudes on top. So the whole culture makes it punishing to get in and then encourages you to turn around and re-delegate that punishment instead of fixing it. Refusing to participate, as we’ve seen, can have potentially life-altering consequences.
      2. actonthat says:
        People tend to see what they want to see, and it’s easier to imagine a perfect world with a few people trying to screw things up than admit the world is kind of shitty and you’re stuck in it. Committing to the delusion is often a form of self-defense, I think.
        1. Wright of Void says:
          Hm. I hadn’t thought of that, but that would go a long way toward explaining the “feminists are RUINING EVERYTHING” sentiment you see so often.
          1. SpoonyViking says:
            That one is more because of entitlement issues, I think. If someone grew up with comics where it was alright to draw female superheroes in ridiculously skimpy costumes constantly posing in ways that could only be done if they didn’t have spines, they’d probably see having sexy women as wanking fodder as a normal part of comics – as their right. So, when someone complains about it, their first reaction tends to be “stop taking away my rights” instead of “you know, I never realized how my hobby is so closed off to ‘outsiders’ “.*

            * And that, in turn, leads to the above. “How dare you criticise something I like? I was bullied for liking this thing, now you want to change it when you didn’t even pay your dues?!”

      1. illhousen says:
        Oh, hey, I know that comic. I like it, it introduced me to many amusing historical facts, including this fine piece of art:

        (EDIT: I mean, just look at her, so cool.)

        1. actonthat says:
          Hark a Vagrant is one of my all-time faves.
      2. SpoonyViking says:
        But are you one of the reasonable parents, one of the scared kids, or one of the straw feminists? :-P
  4. actonthat says:
  5. actonthat says:
    On an actual note, though, tumblr is an awful place. Every time I wade into it I remember the water is acid and it eats through everything, and I retreat full of horror. It’s full of hateful, cruel people who have found they can leverage oppression into a great a way to put others down and not get any crap about it. It’s also ground zero for lipstick feminism.

    On another note… the “not like other girls” women are always the ones who break my heart most, because God have I been there, and they don’t realize that men don’t actually respect them for being their lapdogs, they just get off on driving women into competition. It’s a horrible place to be, full of self-hatred. When I thought this was a dude being an ass I was going to troll, but that it’s a woman just makes me sad.

    1. Wright of Void says:
      What’s wrong with lipstick feminism? Does it argue that traditional women’s roles are a good thing?
      1. actonthat says:
        Basically, yeah. The rallying cry is “It’s feminist as long as a woman chose to do it!!!” It’s much more concerned with like “how to make your eyeliner empowering in three easy steps” than, say, getting rid of the social expectation for women to wear makeup and the multibillion-dollar industry that capitalizes on female insecurity. Too focused on individual choice, not enough on societal trends. Tumblr’s audience — young teens — lends itself very, very well to the idea that every choice you make is ~important and special~ because they’re all like 16, but that’s not particularly useful for a social movement.

        On a macro level, that narrative has resulted in a ridiculous increase in the sexualization of progressively younger girls — it’s their choice to dress sexily/wear lots of makeup/become sexually active at a young age! societal influences have nothing to do with it! — as well as the stifling of discussion because if someone has “chosen” to do something problematic it’s suddenly no longer problematic and is beyond reproach.

        edit: It’s also where the pervasive idea that sexualized characters somehow ‘choose’ to be sexy thus making it okay that we see so often comes from. You see it in the response here in the idea that what the characters do in a plot individually is inherently more important than the message they send — if you subscribe to the tumblr-feminism philosophy, it makes perfect sense, because she chose that and her choices only effect her and there’s no bigger picture because everyone is just making uninfluenced choices. The idea that an individual character could be contributing to a larger issue has no room to exist.

        1. Gust says:
          Ugh, that was me back when I first started. Euugh. I think most of it comes from learning from other confused teens who don’t have much experience with feminism, and the simplistic view from pop culture that feminism is just a woman’s right to choose, which sounds nice at first.

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