Boogie2988 and Anita Sarkeesian

Here I am again, late to the party.

I tried to stay away from Vidcon bullshit, because it was content-creator clique, “everyone look at me being awesome with other awesome people, aren’t you so jealous you’re not me?” garbage. It was bound, in one way or another, to be a drama-fest. You don’t get that many attention whores in an enclosed space for as long as Vidcon without something ignorant and short-sighted happening. In fact, it’s why I refuse to go to cons of any sort whether it’s some national mega-con, or my local annual gathering of nerds. It’s just the way things are.

I heard about the thing with Boogie and Sarkeesian, but I didn’t look into it after Sargon’s publicity stunt. Don’t get me wrong, Sarkeesian was thoroughly in the wrong, and it’s a joke she wasn’t banned for so egregiously breaking con rules as a content-creator and community leader, acting thus in an anti-harassment panel. But an ignorant-ass publicity stunt is an ignorant-ass publicity stunt, and we all know what Sargon did was an ignorant-ass publicity stunt.

Then I saw this.

Hold up. Hold the fucking phone. Look, I’m going to skip the bullcrap. I have a past with abuse, too, and have learned to recognize signs of abuse and abusive/narcissistic personalities. So, let me unpack this through my own personal filter as an abuse survivor, going off Boogie’s own words of the incident.

Boogie dared say something that contradicted her. This angered her, and she lashed out at him after the panel. She saw she caused him distress, and faced with the prospect of a second incident where she directly — in the presence of witnesses — violated con rules and might face the consequences of her actions, backed off and made a conciliatory gesture in the form of conversing with him privately for fifteen minutes. During this conversation, she switched back, turning the conversation about how she and other women face harassment, then pointed out Boogie’s health and weight problems to suggest perhaps this is why he receives criticism.

Y’know, never mind the fact it’s Sarkeesian’s own followers, who by Boogie’s own words, are among those harassing him.

Just looking at this, and the Sargon incident, a person can only come to one logical conclusion: Sarkeesian is a narcissist and has an abusive personality. Yes, I know most of the people reading this are saying to themselves, “no shit, Sherlock”, but it’s important to point this out, here and now, because it’s a case example no one with a history of abuse should gloss over, nor should anyone sympathetic to those with histories of abuse.

Cycles of abuse occur in four steps: tension, incident, reconciliation, and calm. Tension builds, the abused feels the need to apologize and tread lightly around their abuser, communication breaks down and the abuser gets angry, and this eventually leads to an out-lash of verbal, emotional, or physical violence. Afterwards, the abuser “returns to reason” and seeks reconciliation through apology, denial and/or victim-blaming, and token concessions or acts of contrition. After a period of peace, the cycle repeats.

But, don’t take it from me, have some outside information:

This isn’t exactly ground-breaking stuff, so I won’t spend more time on it for now. Now, with a narcissistic abuser, the cycle changes slightly, focusing more on the abuser’s ego and the fragility thereof, and opposed to reconciliation the third phase focuses more on DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim and offender) as an act of perceived self-empowerment on the abuser’s part.

Within the microcosm of Boogie’s encounter with Sarkeesian, in his own words mind you, the cycle makes itself apparent.

There was already a level of tension, because given Boogie’s own commentary on dealing with social anxiety plus the desire to not anger Sarkeesian, he’s aware on some level she already has an abusive personality. I refer you to “step 1” of the cycle of abuse; the abused feels the need to walk on eggshells around their abuser, apologize for perceived slights, and seek approval. Exactly in Boogie’s own words how he felt around Sarkeesian; even the idea of being around her invoked those feelings.

Sarkeesian obviously felt slighted, embarrassed, or threatened by Boogie’s statement that harassment is universal and a human rights issue, and that handling it as an identity-based issue is not the best-possible means to approach it. Just watch the look on her face during his closing comment; she is clearly displeased with his statement. This triggered her attack of him after the panel; Boogie himself (and witnesses) remarked she was angry at him for his statement, specifically for having made it during closing statements, ostensibly because the other panelists could not respond in kind. Except for the fact other panelists did get to respond, just not Sarkeesian, so really what happened is she is angry she did not get to respond.

She attacked him personally, publicly, and around witnesses. That’s probably the only reason she backed off and made conciliatory gestures; otherwise, she stood to be called out for it, publicly, and face consequences as an undeniable repeat offender of Vidcon guidelines for personal conduct. Then, she engaged him privately, which means with deniability of the content of that conversation should she say anything else. I will say, that was fucking ballsy of Boogie to engage her absent witnesses, mediators, and fully-transparent recording; I certainly would not have, she could claim anything was said during that private conversation and have it accepted as gospel truth.

So, what did Boogie have to say about the content of that conversation? Anita was pissed that “some people” used the same talking points as him to trivialize targeted harassment on the basis of gender, that it was employed divisively, and that it was made as a counter-point to her own statements. That’s right, she was pissed his message of “anyone can face harassment, it’s a human rights issue, and we need to treat it that way to unify people” is somehow a divisive message, and reductive…to her own statements.

She was pissed, literally, because the panel was not all about her and that someone dared say something that may have contradicted her. And that she, personally, did not get an opportunity to respond even when other panelists did.

Then comes the switchback and the DARVO. Sarkeesian and women are the real victims. Saying that anyone can face harassment, even “straight white males”, is divisive and marginalizing to women. Boogie should have spoken as a fat, unhealthy guy instead of as a straight white male (that fat, fat, fatty who’s fat), to keep the conversation based on identity rather than human rights. And, by all means, he should never have the last word; not as a straight white male, not even as a fat guy.

This is how abuse, manipulation, and narcissism works. They make you feel like you have to walk on eggshells, and wracked by anxiety, around them and afraid to speak up. They make you feel that way because they lash out, then manipulate you into feeling like you’re culpable for their outbursts. They make you feel like they’re the good person, and you’re the bad person. And, if it ever comes to be they just might be held accountable for their own misbehavior, they will say and do just about anything to deny and avoid it.

I have to add my own voice to this to speak out against Sarkeesian. Unlike others who are happy simply saying she’s a bully for the crap she pulled with Sargon and Boogie, I’m not. She’s an abuser, and she needs to be called out and removed from platforms where her abusive personality can and will be indulged, and to prevent the enabling of so many abusive personalities drawn to her methods and message.