About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

About speaking up

All changes in society come from people who decide to stand up and say "well, this is not okay". Paradoxically, even the most bitter reactionairies begin that way. But when standing up for a progressive cause (i.e. towards a more inclusive, more egalitarian and less prejudiced society), you go against the established hierarchy. That can be kind of scary.

Recently I submitted something to the Tumblr 'Men Against Assholes & Misogyny' started by the comedian Jen Kirkman, who had grown tired of all the internet sexism and the people who didn't speak out against it. Submitting something seemed like a no-brainer. It's just the internet, the safest space of all if you've got something to say, right?

Actually, as I was writing, I considered that it might be read by those same vile sexists that throw out casual rape threats and exclusively judge women by their appearance. I wasn't sure if I was prepared to, at best, roll my eyes at the number of people that would suggest I was gay, would surely be able to beat my ass in a fist fight or thought I was making a clever ploy to reel in all of the internet's sweet pussy. I also started worrying a bit about portraying myself as too much of a feminist - you know, a misguided progressive can harm their own cause much more than a malicious reactionary ever would. To paraphrase Nietzsche: "the most insiduous way to undermine a cause is to defend it with the wrong arguments."

I got over these thoughts, of course, but it was then that it occurred to me that speaking up in real life must be very hard for a lot of people, too. As I wrote in my short piece, I'm getting better at it. It's still not easy to be in between a rock and a hard place. You don't want to always be That Guy who goes off on a social justice tangent in every setting. But you also don't want to get idiots get away with harmful opinions.