On Being an Argumentative Killjoy

Published March 13, 2011 by sleepydumpling

So I read this piece on Tumblr recently:

You know, the “PC” one? Who “has a problem with every little thing”? And “Doesn’t have a sense of humor” and “doesn’t get that it’s just a word,” etc.? Her? Yeah. I hate being her. I mean, I’d rather be straight up hated, really, than perceived as a nuisance and cause for avoidance and eye rolls and resented and thought of as someone who thinks she’s better than everyone else.

I mean, if you’ve been That Person, you know The Look. The one that everyone gets on their face when you start to take issue with something fucked up they’ve said AGAIN, and the way they all look at each other like “Oh. Her. There she goes again, being all ‘political’! Sigh. Is she done yet?”

I don’t know why that look terrifies me so much. It’s a lot worse than a snarl and a combative stance, to me. I can yell back and argue with the best of them, if I want to. But that sense that I am just a giant pain in the ass and it’s best to just ignore me and why can’t I shut up and stop making everyone uncomfortable already … just inevitably makes me feel so small.

That means I’m often bad at saying something when I want to. Fear of that look. Even online — no, especially online, because where The Look happens in real life or not, I won’t know, and so will just assume that it has happened anyway. And then, inevitably, I end up hating myself for it.

by Cara aka Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies

I totally understand where Cara is coming from.  I too have been That Person.  No, not have been, I AM That Person.  I’m the one that people consider a killjoy because I call them on what they say.  Even when they are “just making a joke”.

I understand The Look.  The eye rolls, the sighs, the face like you’ve taken a shit on their dining table in the middle of dinner.  I’ve heard all the lines too:

“Calm down, he/she was just making a joke!”
“Why do you always have to start arguments?”
“Why are you picking on me?  Why are you making me look so bad?”
“You’re so ANGRY all of the time.”
“You’re making something out of nothing.”
“Stop being so political.”
“Nobody can have fun when you’re around.”

Sigh.

The onus is always back on those of us who call it out.  Like we’re the ones with something wrong with us, like we’re the ones who are behaving in a way that harms people.  When the fact is, making a comment or joke that is at the expense of others is just plain shitty behaviour.  The only person causing friction, the only person making something out of nothing, the only person stopping the fun, the only person making anyone look bad, is the person who is saying the inappropriate thing, be it joke or not.

Like Cara, there are times that I think to myself that perhaps it would be just easier to shut up and go away.   That it would be easier for myself, not just other people, if I wouldn’t point out when people are saying something that is at the expense of someone else, joke or not.

But I can’t.

I can’t live with myself when I just shut up and go away.  I can’t let go of the feeling that it was wrong of me to just sit there and not say anything.  I can’t carry that on my conscience, because I know that when I just shut up, and don’t say anything, people think I AGREE with them.  They think that I feel like they do, that it’s OK to make jokes or statements at the expense of others.  When I “let it slide”, I feel like I’m sanctioning that racist comment, that joke at someone’s body shape/size, the sexist statement, the classist jibe.  And those who are suffering at the expense of those comments/jokes, are hurt by my silence too.

Just like I’ve been hurt when someone has made a fat joke or sizeist statement in front of me, and everyone has sat there silent, even though they clearly know it was the wrong thing to say.

I read the Tumblr blog Microaggressions every day.  It serves to remind me just how little comments, a “bit of a joke” hurts people every single day.  It reminds me that the reason I do speak up, the reason I risk The Look or any of those jibes about being humourless/argumentative/angry/political etc is because these little comments and jokes hurt people.  And they permeate our culture so thoroughly, that people think it’s ok to behave and think like that.

It is NOT OK, it’s not funny, nor is it acceptable, to make jokes, assumptions or comments at the expense of ANY other human beings.  Ever.  Don’t fucking do it.  Think about what is coming out of your yap before you open it.  The same goes for things you post online.

It doesn’t make you a killjoy to think before you make a joke.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a laugh, or be silly.  It just means using your damn brain before you open your mouth.  You can still have a wicked sense of humour, you can still laugh at the absurdity of human behaviour, you can still make fun of yourself.  But when it comes to making jokes about other people, are you making a joke about how someone looks?  The colour of their skin?  Their religion?  The shape of their body?  Their gender, sex or sexuality?  Their race?  The clothes they choose to wear?  Their health, physical abilities or mental state?  If the answer is yes to these (or anything else about a person’s general state of being), then don’t fucking do it.

As for any other statements, think about what you’re saying/writing.  Are you using language that belittles someone or a group of people?  Are you perpetuating a stereotype that harms someone?  Are you making assumptions about someone based on their state of being?  Then don’t fucking do it.

But most of all, when you do screw up, and yes, we ALL do it, own it.  Take responsibility for how your words affect other people.  If you don’t know the correct way to talk about something, say so.  Use the best language you know how, in the most respectful way you can and if someone gives you advice on how to do it, then learn from it.  We’re all learning, finding our way.  I look back across things I used to say and think, and cringe at how ignorant I could be.  I know I have a long way to go.  We’re all learning about how other people experience the world we’re in, and we can’t get it 100% of the time but we can all put the bloody effort in.  Anything else is willful ignorance.

If that makes me somehow unpleasant to be around, an inconvenience to little jokes and conversations, if it makes someone feel uncomfortable, then tough.  I’d rather be known as an argumentative killjoy than sit back while others say things that hurt others.

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42 comments on “On Being an Argumentative Killjoy

  • Great post. It reminds me of the point Inga Muscio makes in her new book Rose. She argues that all those “jokes” and hurtful comments are passive violence that fester and turn into active violence.

    Thanks to you and Cara for speaking up and encouraging all of us to do the same whether it’s easy or not.

    Stop the violence, increase the peace.

    • Absolutely paponda. Because while most people just go “Yeah joke”, there is that dangerous person that hears it, the ticking time bomb that hears a sexist joke, or a racist comment or so on, that it adds to the justification of violence. I read a piece somewhere written by a man for White Ribbon day about staying silent when other men make “jokes” about domestic violence – which opens the door for the man who IS violent to justify his behaviour.

      What is the Martin Luther King Jr line about evil being done while good men do nothing?

  • I’m consider myself pretty principled, and for a long time was one of Those People, until I lost a good friend through stupidity. There wasn’t a racist bone in this guy’s body – I’ve known him for years, so I would have noticed by now. But one time we were out having drinks with some work mates, one of whom was french, and he made a comment based on a silly superstition, and i went _through_ him because of it.

    He tried to explain where he was coming from, citing his ‘innocent’ grandfather who used to “say stuff like that all the time”. I was having none of it. At the time there wasn’t an excuse he could conjure that would make me forgive him. Now, given time to think about what really matters to me, I wish I’d acted differently.

    My problem was that I let my principles rule with an iron fist, and coupled with my pride, I lost a friend that I wish I hadn’t.

    I found out that being known as ‘That Person’ meant that I spoke out a little bit more than was acceptable. As much as these people need to think before letting slip their little comments, we also need to choose our battles, because we’re all here to get along, and that’s not gonna happen if we keep throwing up walls left right and centre.

    Some people are ignorant. They deserve to be told.

    Some people are good, and occasionally slip up. They don’t deserve it.

    I wish I learned that sooner.

    If any of your readers have been in similar situations to the one I was in, I hope that this gives them something to think about.

    • I disagree Neil. If someone cannot accept being called on their harmful attitudes (and being called doesn’t mean you are aggressive or angry about it, it’s just pointing out the problem with what they have said), then I don’t WANT them in my life.

      My GOOD friends are the ones who have grown and learnt with me, who have opened their minds and thought about their impact on the world. Not the ones who have railed at being gently reminded that their privilege is showing and they need to change their language.

      There is no such thing as speaking out “a little more than acceptable”. The whole point of this post is that when it comes to challenging harmful attitudes, speaking out is ALWAYS acceptable. Everyone “deserves” to be told when they are being judgemental or harmful in their jokes/language/attitudes.

      • Oh Prickly Pear, you are so full of bullshit.

        I don’t care if someone, ANYONE doesn’t like my blog and stops reading it. It’s MY space to express MY thoughts. If you, or anyone else doesn’t like it, buh-bye.

        It always makes me wonder what kind of sad little life someone has to read blogs they hate, and piss and moan on them.

        And no, you’re not calling me out for anything, you’re just picking at something because you’re pissed I got rid of you last time.

        Boo hoo, you no longer support FA. That doesn’t make you special, it just makes you an arsehole.

  • I think this is a great post, and I often feel like the killjoy, too. But sometimes I think the issue is that people feel embarrassed when I call them out because they are ashamed that what they said is hurtful. But their response isn’t usually “I can’t believe I said that something hurtful” but a defensive “why are you a killjoy?” Which is to say, why are you shaming me in front of others?

    I think the thing is, if they’re close friends, I do think they are inherently kind, thoughtful, and well-meaning people, and that what they said was misguided rather than intentionally hurtful. So sometimes I think it’s better to bring it up privately rather than publicly. If I call them out publicly, they feel shamed and thus blame me for their embarrassment rather than consider the harm in their own comments. Of course, I think the response should be quite different if the person is saying something to be intentionally cruel.

    • Betsy I think you hit the nail on the head – a percentage of it is embarrassment at realising they’ve said something wrong. Instead of taking that on board, they try to put the onus back on the one speaking up.

      I agree – it depends on the situation where one brings it up. If someone has said it on a big ole public environment though… it needs to be said publicly. That doesn’t mean it isn’t said respectfully, but sometimes others need to hear it challenged as much as the person who said it does. But yes, something said in a different environment/context can be brought up privately… and I’ve had people react the exact same way to it then too.

  • I also read Microaggressions to help me learn/remind me of the small moments/comments/incidents that make *ism the death of a million cuts rather than a single deep wound. I think if I was going to recommend a website to someone new to privilege, and ready to dig down and examine it, it’s one of the first sites I’d recommend.

    • Courtney Microaggressions teaches me so much, every single day. Boy does it open my eyes. I hope it continues to do what it does, because the more we read about these things, and are made aware of the damage they do, the better people we can all become.

  • Hey! i’m a frequent lurker but I saw this and just had to comment because something like this just happened to me yesterday. I’m in college, so stupid, rude comments are like breathing to the boys around here but yesterday a group of them were (jokingly) complaining about how “they” had granted women too many rights (becuz obs the men did all that, women did nothing for their right to vote, speak, etc). The other girls with us were laughing but I protested what they were saying. I got “the look” and it couldn’t have been described any better than above.

    I wound up feeling like the rude, no fun one instead of them. Even the other girls glared at me like I had ruined their night. Still, reading this made me glad I opened my mouth.

  • “It is NOT OK, it’s not funny, nor is it acceptable, to make jokes, assumptions or comments at the expense of ANY other human beings.” Agree, agree, agree!!!

    In my world (high school teacher) I am constantly stopping kids from trashing each other, for whatever (clothes, hair, size, the way they talk, racism, sexism). In fact I even put it in my “class rules” handout.
    Of course, the bullies hate me for it, but even if they do, *perhaps* a lesson is being learned, and it’s worth a try.

    Keep on being that “pain in the ass”! You never know if someday, somewhere those same people you are calling out hesitate to repeat a hurtful joke, use negative language when describing someone, or jump to conclusions based on stereotypes.
    Every little tiny fight-back helps!

    • elizabeth I can’t imagine dealing with a hotbed of young, ill-informed minds spouting the things they do at any opportunity to hurt another. I remember what high school was like for me, and while I know it must have improved somewhat in the past 20+ years, it’s still a place that is full of trash talk. Bless teachers for working at it, really.

  • Really great post! I, too, look back at some things I used to think and say, and am ashamed. And I have a long way to go, too, obviously, because years of living in this culture, absorbing and spitting things back out uncritically, have left layers of yuck.

    I pretty much live (online) in FA and feminist spaces, and I think that has helped me kind of reflexively examine stuff before it comes out of my mouth (or before I type it) but I still mess up a lot (for instance, I still don’t always catch ableist slurs or comments until after I’ve made them).

    I used to be a terrible people-pleaser. I would never call anyone out on *anything*, even if it made me deeply uncomfortable, because “YOU MUST LIKE ME AT ALL COSTS!!”. And if I did call someone out, I did it all weirdly and aggressively because I didn’t know how else to handle it, and I felt panicky and sick about it the whole time. (if aggressive is your style, rock on! it never feels right to me, ghosts of people-pleasing past, boo!) I have done some radical changing in the last year, both because I found FA and because of some other life-changing personal issues, and that sickly people-pleasing is being chipped away daily. It’s something I’ll be working on a long time, but I have come sooooooo far from where I began. It’s so incredibly freeing, and I find myself able to speak out so much more now, and I can do it in a way that feels comfortable and organic to me. (though I still have the “should I say something? do I need to say something? crap, yep, I guess I do” response, lol)

    Anyway. That’s a lot of rambling, but I really want to say thank you for this post. It’s important for me to read this, and be reminded that speaking out might seem like a small thing, like it wouldn’t make a difference either way…but a small pebble makes ripples, you know? I don’t know who might actually reflect on what I said, who might take it to heart.

    • Oh absolutely raindelayed – I think back on some of the assumptions I’ve made, the things I’ve thought and am so embarrassed. But as I said, we’re all learning and so long as we’re making the effort… then that’s what’s important. Every single human being screws up, what matters is how you handle it.

      In a future podcast the SuperFats want to talk about FA 101, being new to social justice and making mistakes. I think it’s really important to work through those awkward times when you’re being challenged by so many new concepts.

  • I go to a low-residency school where I attend for a week each semester, and then do all my work at home. During that residency, every time I’ve gone, there has been a emphasis put on ‘personal pronouns.’ (He, she, etc. I didn’t know until I attended my first residency that there is a non-gender pronoun–ze.) I’m an almost 40-year-old woman who lives in rural Nevada, 250 miles from the nearest city. This isn’t something that comes up in my everyday life. Ever, at all. But it makes me aware. Someone who is genetically a man, but identifies as a woman, doesn’t want to be called ‘he’ anymore than I do. If someone persisted in calling me a man, I’d be upset. This isn’t about being fat at all, of course, but it really did take my awareness of other people to a higher level. I’ve worked as a drug and alcohol counselor and a teacher, and I always had a policy (I have it still for my own kids, and anyone who comes into my house): No slurs. No mean jokes. No calling things lame or gay when we don’t like them. No use of racial slurs, even if it’s done with a smile or a laugh.

    I’m a fat white woman. Laughing at a fat person’s expense is offensive to me. So is laughing at anyone’s expense. When I say, for instance, “calling something you don’t like lame offends me,” I sometimes have to explain why. And I do. And yes, I’m often seen as the one you can’t joke around, but that’s okay. I’ll live with that.

    • shaunta I have to admit I’m still very much on a learning curve about gender issues. All I can do is try my best, and when someone gives me the correct language, learn it and work with it.

      I have a similar rule about my spaces. Basically, no harmful talk about other people, unless it’s talk about someone’s direct behaviour. Besides, when you turn off all that negative judgement, it’s amazing how much better the world and yourself looks.

  • I live in a very sexist culture and the sexist assumptions being made around me all the time used to grind me down. Even to explain why I am offended is to enter into a long and, ultimately, unproductive conversation, because people don’t understand first feminist principles. For a while there, I was just angry all the time. Now my attitude is just “don’t bring it near me”. If people say dumb, sexist things to me, I either tell them it’s offensive, or I ask them what they mean:
    “All women want children.”
    “Do they?”
    “Of course!”
    “Well how come I know so many women who don’t?”
    It leaves them flummoxed. Much easier than carefully explaining that biology isn’t destiny and that everything they think they know about women is wrong.

    • Alexie I don’t believe anyone is under any obligation to educate others in privilege and social justice.

      But sitting them on their butt when they make a harmful assumption/statement/joke is a perfect way of making people think!

  • Heads up to all. If you’ve come here to piss and moan because something challenges the way you think, and you think that’s “aggressive”, you’re going to get what comes to you.

    I am quite happy to be labelled anything some troll can throw at me as the price of standing up for what I believe in. And yes, I’m going to block people whenever I feel like it. Because it is MY blog and I’m the boss of this space.

    Go read someone else’s blog if you don’t like this one, nobody has a gun to your head forcing you to.

  • My oh my, wherever do I begin with this one?

    I agree with a lot of this. When you are with someone, you respect that person’s preferences and boundaries. For example, I am very blunt on my own blog and have no problem using terms like schizo or crip. However, when I am on someone else’s blog, or when I am talking to someone face-to-face, I am much more sensitive. If someone says, “could you not use that word around me?” I find something else to say. It’s not that hard.

    Over the years, I have had problems with relatives saying what they wanted to me however they wanted to say it, and absolutely refused to hear any criticism from me and insulted me for being insulted. Comments about my weight are a prime example of this. They can make degrading comments about being fat, but I’m not allowed to get upset or ask that they stop? Riiiiight.

    On the other hand, and I see this A LOT, a desire to defend people from hurtful words often turns into a game of “Listen to well-educated liberals lecutre dumb people who may or may not be minorities on what to think and act and say.” This isn’t really a problem with blatant bigotry, i.e. joking about fat people in concentration camps. It also is not an issue as much when a person’s classification is obvious, i.e. the person is clearly a person of color. I mean the more subtle jokes and stories, issues with language and tone for when a person’s status is hidden, i.e. mental illness, poverty, etc. For example, I once had to listen to a lengthy lecture about why I’m not allowed to tell jokes about my own illness and use certain words about myself because it’s demeaning to me and people who have that illness in some way I’m just to stupid to know about, apparently. She did not know my background and simply assumed that I have never heard that line of argument before and that I had no personal connection to what I was joking about. I did NOT take kindly to that whatsoever. I was on welfare in the past, and this same person is lecturing me, and other women on welfare, about how welfare really works and what opinions we *should* hold about it. This is a person, FTR, who is able-bodied, able-minded, and who has never been on welfare and lived in poverty. She basically was what you might call a Chardonnay liberal.

    Anyway,I could say a lot more, but I’ll leave it at that. Thought-provoking for sure, and I basically agree with you. Use your judgment and if something is going on that really is negative, don’t be afraid to say something. For you own comfort and the comfort of people who might be listening but who are afraid to say anything.

    And, don’t be afraid to delete this comment if you think it will cause too much of a shitstorm.

    • I get what you mean completely JoannaDeadWinter. There is ALWAYS someone who wants to take it too far, turn it into even more privilege denying. I consider it a bit of an “I know you are, what am I?” for grown ups, you know?

      You’re bang on when you say that there is always someone wanting to turn it into a holier-than-thou lecture. It’s infuriating, ESPECIALLY when you’re not allowed to talk about your own marginalisation in ways that suit you. I’ve been lectured about not using the word fat, or making jokes about fatty stereotypes, by people who are not fat, just for an example. I know I have absolutely no right to tell someone I have privilege over how they should speak about themselves.

      Chardonnay liberal – I love it!

      But what I’m more referring to with this post is the whole concept of speaking up when someone actually is going down the wrong track. It’s assumed instantly that by challenging what someone says, that you’re yelling at them, arguing with them, shaming them etc etc. Even if your tone is gentle and you are simply stating clearly that something is “not cool”. (Point in case, the response I had earlier [retracted to prevent spamming] suggesting I was yelling at or being aggressive to commenter Neil, whom I disagree with.) It’s as though some folk equate being challenged with being bullied. They cannot fathom that sometimes, people don’t get it right and someone will speak up – that’s instantly assumed to be a fight. It’s right back to putting the onus on someone for calling them out, rather than taking responsibility for their own poor behaviour.

  • This post mirrors things I’m thinking about more, myself, lately, as I try to be a better ally of marginalized people and exercise more of what I believe in in a more meaningful way–it strikes me there’s a parallel with “Being that Person” and “daring to take up space”. I’ve tried not to do both at times, but I feel better and more like me when I’m…I don’t know, taking up my “necessary mental space”? Just like I’m learning to take up not feeling apologetic about the space I occupy, or the way I appear before others physically, but rather need to accomodate myself first, it seems like I’ve lost the need to apologize for asserting myself, especially if it isn’t even just for me. I hope that made sense. It’s still a thought I’m working out. I think it’s also of a piece with my discovery of and attempt to root out my own privilege-assumptions. My internal work starts to reflect in what I do, externally.

    I don’t hate “being that person”. I hate all the times I could have been, and wasn’t. I think that’s the part I find effecting to me.

    • Vixen it’s funny you mention the concept of space, whether it’s carving it out or taking it up. Lesley Kinzel was talking about the same concepts over the past few days as she’s been attending PAX East, which is some of what got me thinking about this stuff. She even mentioned it in her post about attending PAX.

      Once upon a time I’d have protested having to think before I speak. Basically because I had all those privilege assumptions swirling around in my head. But it’s not hard to second-think, to unpack what you’re thinking before you actually open your mouth. Or even after. I still do it, blurt out some stupid thing and then realise what I’ve done. Sometimes I don’t realise it, but if someone challenges it, I take it away and think about it.

      Either way, I like to think that any good human being is willing to learn and grow rather than remain willfully ignorant, you know?

  • Actually–come to think of it–that’s probably why I made the connection :)–so I re-visited–and the way she ended that post resonated with me:

    The price of safety, even relative safety, is constant vigilance; people will always want to take your space from you, especially if it’s a space for which you’ve had to fight, and which you hold with the tenderest grasp. I know this too well. I will be at PAX to spread out and keep some of that space open, for myself for sure, but also for those who cannot be there. I will be at PAX to talk and to think and to listen and to learn and to be noisy and to be silent and to play some fucking games with strangers that I will turn into friends.

    Because I get to take up space there too. Let’s make some room.

    A part of what I’m trying to understand is other people’s “room”. I find my mind has space for other people. (They’ve fought to expand my consciousness, and I won’t fight them for doing it. My consciousness needed expanding, anyway.) I can defer to other people’s experience without losing a thing of my own–well, except my pre-conceptions. I still choke on ugly things that come to mind because of the culture I’ve lived in, but I think it’s better that I acknowledge what they are, and recognize how other people would view them. If it keeps me honest, it’s all to the good.

  • The whole ‘too PC’ thing came up with my circle of friends lately. My response was along the lines of ‘what is so bad about being PC? is taking other people’s feelings into consideration that bad?’. It amazes me that people think using inoffensive language is something to be decried. And I have been called the one with no sense of humour etc etc so many times and it hurts. But not as much as people’s choice of language can hurt others. So yeah, I hear you.

    • That’s what I really don’t understand Bri. How the hell is it ok for someone to be hurtful and offensive but when someone calls them on it, then suddenly THEY are the ones who are in the wrong?

  • I never used to be that gal, but I am now and am only recently discovering The Look! But I say f-em all, if they don’t wanna hear it they should get more informed about what they are talking about or simply shut up or only make ridiculous remarks when I’m not around. What can you do? Ha-ha!

  • Reading this just made me think about the kids that bullied me in grade school telling the yard duty that when they threatened me with bringing a scorpion to school and putting it down my shirt, they were just joking, but when I told them if they did that I would protect myself by kicking them in the nads, I got in trouble. The relevance being that kids can learn from an early age, that if they say something cruel to another child and then when confronted on it claim that they were joking, they can get away with it. Fast forward to adulthood, and you see the same patterns of behavior, matured slightly. Instead of just calling a kid fat, they make ‘yo’ mama’s so fat’ jokes. Instead of just calling a kid retarded, they make insidious statements about someone’s mental stability. Instead of just calling a kid monkey, they make allusions about the relative primitiveness of other cultures. None of this is ever OK, but as kids are allowed to get away with it as children, they will learn that their views are valid if framed in the context of a joke, and will carry that with them into adulthood.

    • Squeegeelicious, I too was punished for defending myself against bullies. I was punished for defending myself against my own brother’s bad behaviour. It’s a message that is sent over and over and over – if it’s “just a joke” then the victim should “harden up” and “deal with it”, rather than the offender changing their behaviour.

      Thing is, no matter how much anyone “deals with it”, it just means those “jokes” get far worse, far more offensive, far more vicious. It’s as though if it doesn’t get that reaction, they ramp it up even more to try to get it. And that’s grown adults, as well as children.

      The only way we’re going to see an end to this cycle of behaviour is to repeatedly speak up and out about it. To make it clear that it is not acceptable and just why it is not acceptable.

  • I love that you posted about this. LOVE IT. Because I too, am that killjoy. With my politics set aside for just a moment, part of the reason I think its my fucking business to derail conversations that I think are hateful or offensive is because I was raised by wolves. Well, maybe not like wolves wolves, but by a huge, loud, insensitive family. I volley back and forth between allowing people to stick their own foot in their mouth and sticking my *own* foot in their mouth. I’ve come to understand that sometimes being passive in the face of injustice is allowing that injustice the freedom to grow and evolve- unchecked.

    As you well pointed out, being the person who objects to these types of “jokes” can be a tiring responsibility, but I refuse to feel like a martyr (this is a common feeling among other folks I’ve talked to), or feel guilty for ruining peoples hateful “fun”. I will be the monkey wrench in the side of oppression!

    Seriously, thanks for making a write up about this. I think its often hard for folks who are living in fat bodies to speak up in these situations. Maybe its because it makes us even more hyper-visible, and opens us up to have the aggression turned on us and our bodies… Whatever the reason, I’m glad that there is dialogue being generated!

    • P.S. I’d never read the Microaggressions tumblr until this post. Oh… my… I know I shouldnt be, but Im shocked by some of these posts. SHOCKED. It makes me feel like Im reading a conversation from another era.

    • Refusing to feel like a martyr/guilty for speaking up seems to be a common thread, doesn’t it? I love the idea of being the monkey wrench in the side of oppression. I must remember that one.

      And Microaggressions is an eye opener isn’t it? It should be compulsory reading for all high school students IMHO!

  • Yes, this is so true. Well said. As I get older (the big 3.0. this year!) I find myself calling people on the jokes and remarks they make about others more and more. It is unacceptable to culture that special strain of hatred and fear with sneakily planted words designed to look innocent.
    I am becoming ‘that person’, and it is surprising people and making them think.

  • This is a great post, Kath. I know the feeling you refer to, although I don’t think I’m nearly as thorough in my own calling people out. I usually kind of shake my head and scoff a bit, or roll my eyes, but not much more unless I’m pretty close to the person. So you go, girl. We can use more serious-minded sorts. Because little things matter.

  • I am that person in more than one of my classes because I’m sick and tired of all the diet ads and all the “lose weight, it’ll make you health!” bull that gets circulated. I am also just flat out tired of college where this and many other things get circulated that aren’t true, and where 90% of the population has an opinion that they think is the word of god and therefore everyone else with a different opinion is entirely wrong and deserves to be shot down in the most rude and assholish manner possible. *twitch twitch twitch* I had a few too many assholes to deal with in class today. Can you tell?

  • you know I really needed to read this today. I am becoming ‘that person’. I just can’t let things go anymore. If I find something offensive I let it be known, loudly, to whoever is nearest to me. I got on a days long argument over weather the use of a that gay joke was offense in the movie Fanboys. Everyone pretty just told me to get over it, it was just a joke, and ‘well I have a gay friend and I don’t think he would find it offensive’. Etc. I couldn’t drop it. I was godamn offended that movie that was ‘a love letter to Star Wars fans’ had homophobic shit in it.

    At 1st I was mad at myself for being such a kill joy when every one else just wanted to have fun. But know I feel proud for sticking with my beliefs.

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