Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Hey you know what's weird?

I posted a video recently and one of my commenters was obnoxious. This is nothing new, though this particular one was sort of unusual in that they repeated a lot of the same things I debunked in the exact video they were commenting on. But ultimately, what was weird about it was how the commenter immediately defaulted to QUESTIONING MY CREDIBILITY when we disagreed.

They questioned my credibility. As an asexuality activist.

You know, that thing I've been doing since, I dunno, 1998--about which I have been interviewed perhaps three dozen times in various mainstream media, had literally thousands of conversations, and written a book which was widely reviewed and multiply recognized with awards.

True, the person was questioning my credibility as an AUTHORITY--yes, it's true that anyone can talk a lot on the Internet and write a book, and it proves nothing at all about whether I am right--but they offered these criticisms in response to my saying I was EXPERIENCED. Not qualified--experienced. We were discussing the frequency with which people ask a particular question, and they were pestering me to acknowledge that this specific question was "the" question people will ask the most and accept that I had a responsibility to answer it a particular way. Otherwise, said this commenter, I would be ~confusing people~ and muddying the waters. And when I pointed out that my experience did not corroborate this based on the incredible number of opportunities I've had to have these conversations, my commenter said this:

"You're by no means an authority on this subject. You don't even have relevant degrees. [...] We both know you are not unusually intelligent or educated, so for you to think your opinions about asexuality, which isn't even a self-contained field of study [...], trumps that of [...] commenters you disagree with is absurd."

(I made some omissions there to make it a little easier to understand because the original comment is really convoluted.)

And here's what I consider to be the weird part.

It is absolutely clear to this person by this point that they are talking to someone who has had more conversations about asexuality than just about anyone else on Earth. Though I am not claiming to be a scientist, I am also not making any scientific claims, so reporting on and contextualizing these conversations isn't misleading or dishonest. And despite knowing my background includes twenty years' experience writing about this and a lifetime of BEING part of the population I describe . . . I am somehow not qualified to talk about it because I'm just plain not educated or smart enough.

(I will admit I laughed a little at the gaslighting attempt, y'all. It's transparent and weak.)


Without any disclosed background, without any personal experience cited, without any relevant degrees discussed, this YouTube commenter believes themselves qualified to make these observations AND reject mine.

So, isn't it weird that we marginalized people are held to incredibly high standards when we make our claims about our own experiences, but there are no minimum qualifications for them to make counterclaims or reject ours?

It makes sense that we who live this life are the authorities, right? I don't need a degree in women's studies to accurately report on what it's like to be a woman and have some valuable observations about it. But if someone who isn't a woman pops up and says they don't think what I say is true, their default understanding is that their belief can only be earned if I agree to jump through unjumpable hoops (hoops they have constructed with minimal understanding, perhaps even deliberately constructed to be unjumpable).

. . . However, I throw up my hands and give up when I get a commenter like this. Not just because they think they can avoid answering for their poor reasoning by questioning my credibility, but because they are always, always hypocrites. This one made an incredibly unscientific blanket statement about a behavior they insist every single asexual person on Earth has engaged in (full disclosure: they claimed that we all need to admit every one of us engages in masturbation, and that until we "admit" this, we shouldn't be talking about this subject). But then refused to address how they justify making such a ridiculous claim despite being called out on it by me and other commenters. (And there's also the fact that they accused me of "refusing to address" a topic the video was literally about, which was itself a response to someone accusing me of refusing to address the issue, in response to me addressing it the first time I did so in 2007. But I guess pretending I "refuse to" talk about something is easier than listening to what I said about it if your agenda demands that I come to a different conclusion about the subject.)

This is the kind of person who earns a block from me. There is no discussion possible with a person who does not accept the lived experience and qualifications of someone they would otherwise accept (if only I agreed with them). Especially not if they're going to have said discussions arguing against positions I never took and contradicting words I never said.

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