VidCon Debrief

Personally, I am disappointed to see that Vidcon is officially taking such a one-sided view of this.

You are essentially playing right into the narrative that the likes of Sarkeesian have pushed for years. This narrative, which purports that there is a near-automatic extreme harassment/bullying of women online (vs a presumed relatively friendly atmosphere for men) does not stand up to scrutiny. (In a nutshell, the internet can be a very ugly place for public figures, especially those whose public footprint is primarily made online. No serious study of the topic has revealed that women are subject to much more abuse than men, though undeniably we are socially conditioned to care more when one sex receives it.) That many people, be it out of “benevolent” sexism or cynical calculation, have chosen to rehash the narrative to the broader public, or at least pretend to agree with it, does not erase nor diminish its inaccuracy.

Perhaps a deeper study of the “broader context” of this particular “clash” at Vidcon would be in order. One which does not presume one side or the other to be absolutely correct or truthful, but gives both a chance to present their arguments and version of prior events (precisely the kinds which give context), before Vidcon makes an official determination. On the plus side, tt does seem that there is at least some awareness by Vidcon that they need to better understand the “broader context” at work here.

Please note that I am against harassment of all kinds. I do not for a moment condone harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, Carl Benjamin, or anyone else. But I also do not accept blind leaps of faith which, however well intended, logically necessitate concluding that a particularly vicious trait is to be found in another party: Accepting at face value Sarkeesian’s narrative, without examination, leads to the necessary conclusion that Carl Benjamin *must* be a harasser/stalker, and an especially abusive one at that. Such a judgement, made hastily in an attempt to protect a presumed victim of harassment, may have the best intentions in the world behind it, but it would not be a just.

Thank you for allowing responses on this topic, and for having taken the time to read.

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