Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Factoid: Under Your Skin

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy is it for someone to get under your skin?

I can't answer that with a number in any meaningful way, sorryyyy.

Whether something "gets under my skin" depends on what the issue is, who's saying it, why they're saying it, and if they're saying it on purpose to piss me off and/or should know better.

I'm usually an incredibly tolerant person and everyone comments on it online. "How do you deal with those assholes so patiently? How haven't you snapped by now?" I'm pretty used to taking ignorance and addressing it with education. But I will go from cucumber to hot pepper if anyone uses the following techniques in their conversations with me:

  • Infantilization (e.g., "Honey, you're just not experienced enough to grasp this.")
  • Misdirection (e.g., "You say you're not gay, but really you just hate gay people. Why do you hate gay people so much?")
  • Exaggeration (e.g., "You don't want kids? Guess you want all humans to die.")
  • Invalidation (e.g., "You don't have an important message. You just want attention.")
  • Argument from authority (e.g., "I'm a biologist and I know there's no such thing as an asexual human.")
  • Ad hominem (e.g., "Your real issue is you're a bitter, lonely, jealous woman.")
  • Entitlement (e.g., "Hi, I'm a stranger with a question. I could Google it or watch a video, but I'd rather you just answer my several in-depth questions personally.")
  • Shock statements (e.g., "Ugly bitches like you would stop talking so much if they'd just get laid.")
  • Tone argument (e.g., "You sound kind of emotional. Calm down. We can't have this discussion when you're worked up.")
  • Therapy trolling (e.g., "You really need to see a psychologist for these *issues* you have. GET HELP, seriously.")
  • Appeal to consensus (e.g., "Men and women can't be just friends. Ask any man.")
  • Negging (e.g., "There are some holes in your argument, but I guess I can ignore those. I admire how well you've grasped the basics of this issue--maybe one day you'll get up to advanced.")
  • Name-calling (e.g., "lol what do you know, you're just a dumb slut.")
  • Intellectual dishonesty (e.g., "I know I'm right--I read a study on it. I believe that study, and I won't read any conflicting research.")
  • Downplaying my experience (e.g., "Oh big deal, you're asexual, it's so painful that sometimes people joke about you being a plant.")
  • Shaming (e.g., "How dare you steal the spotlight from people with real problems!")
  • Misleading accusations (e.g., "You just made up something to be mad about because you want to sell more books.")
  • And anything that sounds like "Well, you'll get smarter/do your research/live longer and you'll eventually see that I'm right."
I also hate when someone says something incredibly rude and when I treat them like they did so, they act like my response is baffling. I recently had someone on an asexuality video comment who wrote "what is this shit??" on my video, and I actually answered him nicely, and he proceeded to say it was maybe interesting but he just wasn't sure if it was "a real thing" because people just love labeling themselves and are probably just attention seekers. When I addressed that like it was the grossness that it was, he exploded all over suggesting my attitude had poisoned him against learning anything about the orientation. It's insultingly transparent; nobody who comes into a conversation twice acting like the subject is ridiculous and probably fake is actually there to learn.

And when I'm in a conversation with people who disagree with me, one of the things that irritates me the most is when they claim I'm overly invested because I keep replying (while I guess they aren't, even though they're also still replying?) or they "give up" with sarcastic comments about how I must think I'm right because I went to college or know a lot of words. Like, as if that's my position. I hate when they suggest I'm still talking because I need to have the last word. I keep talking if I still have things to say, and more often than not if we get to that point the other person is not actually responding to what I've said. They're having an argument with an imaginary person who believes or says the things they're debunking. I can't even tell you how many conversations I've had like that, where suddenly it's about why I'm so selfish that I can't "give my boyfriend sex" when I'm still trying to get them to understand that I don't even have a boyfriend (nor do I want one). Whether it's "selfish" to not treat sex as a right that compromises my body is another story entirely, but wow it's hard to have conversations with people who are literally rewriting what I have said about myself to make it fit a narrative they can demonize.

I guess most of the bullet points above are rooted in one of two things: misrepresentation and nastiness. If someone is pushing the misdirection buttons, they're ultimately implying that I'm dishonest with my words, and that's a major insult to me. And if they're pushing the nastiness buttons, they're infusing the conversation with hostility nobody needs; they don't want to argue with me so much as punish me. Not cool.

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