A reflection on "TERF".

June 29, 2023 ren 4 minutes

      The more I’ve been pushing myself to be more independent, and to just grow in a positive direction, the more I realize that so many people just aren’t worth listening to.

      TERFs are the obvious example, but I also refer to other similar ilk on the fringes of the Internet, sometimes crawling out of this woodwork onto more centralized “hub” locations, like Reddit or what have you. The type that show, get mocked for not having a sense of compassion or reason, get banned, and the cycle repeats.

      It’s not like that’s anything new, though. You’d have these types of people from the dawn of the Internet, when computers became so affordable that any moron with an opinion and a wallet can get one, complete with dial-up, and annoy 4chan before trawling to other places.

      No, what surprises me now is the vehemence of it all. It’s like watching a wasp’s nest, but in reverse. One where they don’t attack for being trespassed upon, but one where they attack for being ignored. It’s “voices” and “exposure” to these people. They’ll cry out whatever they can in these public spaces from earlier before getting smacked out once more, hoping that anyone will trawl their same rabbit hole and wind up stuck like everyone else there.

      I’m not making all of this up, I was in one of those similar holes with RaidForums in 2015, where I would happily go to random Twitch streams with song requests enabled, queue something racist as a joke, then leave. I’m not proud of that, but I’m not going to neglect that either, none of us are smart all the time.

      So if I could be stuck in Twitch raiding hell for a year, those with less self awareness can get stuck in other holes, on the same track, going in circles for however long.

      Before I’ll get to TERFs, I’ll point to the now (likely) defunct Kiwi Farms. If you walked up to them and asked them what their perogative was, they’ll tell you that they’re just archiving what people do for posterity, and in case people try to cover up a dark past. Yet, were you to actually look at them, it’s not as pretty as archive.org. It’s not archival, it’s stalking. Paparazzi level for normal people. And the people who stay there and actively post are yet more wasps in the hive, trying to attract new ones.

      Racism, sexism, any kind of -phobia, the works. None of which is any semblance of productive. How do you grow with this? To spite random people on the street? They had a thread specifically for spotting trans people in reality, sometimes complete with pictures and exaggerated stories of the socially awkward. Where does this even get you, long term? Stuck in the hole more?

      And in the same vein, there are TERFs. Once more, if you ask them, they’ll tell you that they call themselves “Gender Critical”, and that they’re just trying to “defend women’s rights”.

      I’ll give you a word of advice as well. Normally, “if someone tells you who they are, believe them”. Yet, places like these are far more insidious. Remember, when looking at these edge-dens inhabited by those the wider Internet rejects, they’re dealing with some mental gymnastics of their own to justify their existence. They’ll tell you the end product of those gymnastics.

      “I’m not holding feminism back, I’m being critical of gender!” is the output of the “I feel like transgender people are encroaching on my territory of womanhood, but I don’t want to come off as an asshole.” input. This is why the wider Internet rejects them, in tandem with whatever they’ll say as a result of their irrationality (for example, “woke moderators!”).

      The inability to recognize that is what gets someone into these rabbit holes leading to the edge-dens. Which is rather amusing, given the large swath of information on the Internet, out there, waiting, ready to disprove the original mental gymnastics in the first place.

      Or, they’ll attempt to “debunk” those too, cherry-picking examples that skew the other way yet taking them out of context, just to fit their own narratives. What’s that? A trans person did a gun crime? That’s so male violence!

      …In America, where mass shootings happen every tick of the minute hand. But anything to make it seem like more of a problem than it actually is!

      I do wonder why this sounds so familiar. Well, it’s just like the antivaxxers and flatearthers. Sure. they’re obviously wrong, even if they’re just as aggravated, but the types I’ve mulled over are far more insidious. Long term playing. Eager to get the first thought of “Well, maybe (skin color/gender identity/sexual preference) might be bad…” in your head. Eager to get that hesitance. Because that, uncontrolled, is the first trip into the rabbit hole.

      It’s just amazing how search engines exist, yet are never used in fact-checking ridiculous claims.

      But who am I kidding. People only read headlines, anyway. We’re doomed.