Vacula also wanted attention from Stephanie, so like me, she obliged. Unlike me, she read the whole post, which I lacked the motivation or interest to do. It’s good that she did, because she looked at one passage that is quite sinister. Vacula wrote:
Whether we consider classrooms, internet forums/blogs, or the hostile climate against atheists, it should be understood that nasty people exist. The nastiness is, of course, unfortunate. We can work to change this nastiness and hope that people will be nice, but this just isn’t the case and likely won’t be in the near future. We should, then, make responsible decisions based on our environments. If you don’t get along with another student in class, avoid interactions with that student.
Ah but mere not getting along is not the issue. (How I do keep repeating that, don’t I. That’s because they keep misrepresenting what the issue is. It’s not disagreement, it’s not dissent, it’s not criticism, it’s not not getting along. It’s not. That’s not it.) Mere not getting along is not the issue. The issue is a determined campaign of persecution.
That’s different, you see. You can’t avoid it by simply avoiding interactions with that student. The student pursues you, to pursue the determined campaign of persecution. You can’t avoid it unless you leave the school altogether, and maybe not even then.
Also, we already know that what Vacula says is bad public policy. It’s a cowardly do-nothing failure. Teachers and principals who tell a persecuted student to just “avoid interactions” with the persecutor are not doing their jobs. Their job is to make the persecutor stop, not to make the persecuted hide.
It’s not “responsible” to decide that because you are being persecuted, it is your duty to stop doing what you were doing when the persecutor decided to target you. It’s responsible to stay off the road during a hurricane; it’s responsible to evacuate low-lying areas as a hurricane approaches; it is not responsible to decide not to say things because there are vicious people who will respond by calling you a fucking cunt.
Vacula went on:
If you can’t handle negative feedback online and have received it many times, disengage and write about another topic (or stop writing).
Ah well now that really is blunt. Thank you. Now we know where we are. If you “can’t handle” being called a fucking cunt, then stop writing.
Those are our choices. Be called a fucking cunt, and ugly, old, fat; be photoshopped; be misrepresented and lied about; be relentlessly harassed via Twitter and trolling; or stop writing.
That’s just how it is. We were irresponsible enough to decide to be women, so there it is. We can write, or we can avoid constant harassment; we can’t do both. As Stewart said yesterday (and Stephanie quoted him): The real message is “being a woman does not entitle you to protection from the extra hostility you get for being a woman.”