Like everyone with an internet connection I've noticed a rise in some seriously vile behavior from guys that I used to identify as "my people:" Atheists, skeptics, geeks, and online gamers. Women have spoken up only to find themselves subject to horrendous threats and abuse. Misogynists got their backs up when when called out on their misogyny and responded with graphic threats of assault and rape.
Inevitably, other voices, both men and women respected in these communities, spoke up. I'm not certain why "don't be a dick" is such a tough pill for certain guys to swallow, but inevitably whenever these prominent voices speak up, their comment threads fill up with truly epic numbers of passive-aggressive douchebags.
One particular breed I'd like to discuss right now is the "Yes, but-" man. These guys pop up like weeds in the aforementioned threads and give a token agreement in order to seem like a decent human being. Then comes the word "but," after which the true pathetic specimen stands revealed.
I have no illusions that this little blog, which gets a new post once in a blue moon and a comment even less often, is going to change anyone's behavior. So I'm going to aim a little lower than "revelation akin to Paul on the road to Damascus" and ask that the reader be aware of a single word.
"Yes, guys who stalk and harass women in a shared game world are losers, but-"
"Yes, threatening to rape and kill a woman is wrong, but-"
"Yes, you shouldn't creep on a woman and make her feel unsafe, but-"
Guys, when you feel that "but" forming on your lips, pause and consider. You're about to try justifying the inexcusable. You will fail and your true colors will be revealed. Everything after "but" is why your parents and society as a whole have failed you. And you, them.
Think about why that is. If you value rational thought as much as you claim to, what is that snarling impulse in your forebrain? What is that raw, ugly hatred?
Whatever it is, name it and put it the fuck down. You are the party in the wrong, dude. Not Rebecca Watson or Amanda Marcotte.
This has been a public service announcement.