I’ve hypothesized before that there is something in atheism that is inherently appealing to a certain class of shitty humans, and that therefore atheists will always be plagued by assholes – at least until such time as atheism becomes mainstream enough to turn off iconoclasts. But I wonder if the source of our asshole infestation might be something that plagues a few other communities.
When I’ve spoken with nice asexuals on here before, it seemed like they’d be surprised that any asexual has ever been an asshole about the subject. I’ve been personally offended by at least two asexual people I know (we were able to get past that) and seen a lot of examples presented by other people. My guess is that speaking about asexual feelings naturally tends to draw on the misogynist / puritan vocabulary established by our unfortunately very christian culture, and leads to them saying shit that comes off very rude.
And then there are vegans. It is incredibly easy to find examples of vegans being horrifying assholes, usually by curdling into emotionally violent misanthropes who believe all animals are sainted and all humans are sinners. But veganism is a very good idea. If enough people spurned beef, deforestation and global warming would slow measurably – not to mention a reduction in prion disorder and E. coli deaths, and if one has compassion for other species, a reduction in their pain and suffering.
Meat is one of the easiest to digest and most nourishing foods, so there are good reasons to not be an absolutist about it, but if one can, why not? And I’ve known vegans that aren’t jerks about it. But the assholes? More so than jerk asexuals, they’ve poisoned the brand. Vegans are maybe slightly better received in America than atheists, but only slightly if at all. Might be interesting to see the stats on that.
All three of these things involve negating a well-established and culturally accepted concept: sexuality, meat eating, and god belief. Could the fact these are negative propositions make it so that they all attract some amount of jerks? Or is it because they each represent communities at odds with the majority of the society they live in?
Some counterpoints, just in case they aren’t addressed in comments:
It could be offensive to lump asexual people in with communities established by choice, that asexuality is a fundamental character rather than a decision. I personally feel atheism is also something people can’t control except by bullshitting themselves – theistically inclined people trying to deny their fears, atheists “deciding to believe” or staying closeted for whatever social benefits that entails. Veganism feels more like a political stance than the others, but maybe some vegans feel differently. Either way, asexuals have a surer claim to it being part of their nature, and therefore unfair to talk about that as if it’s something that inherently attracts jerks.
I haven’t presented sufficient evidence of the jerks in each of these communities, the least with asexuals. Hard to dredge up the posts I’ve seen, but on a personal level, I’ve felt insulted by at least 25% of the ones I’ve known. Nonetheless, even if I hit you with one of those posts compiling asexuals behaving horribly, would that prove it’s really a problem? It would be very easy to paint transwomen as horrible people if I just went to one toxic hangout of theirs (I know of one) and compiled all the abuse coming out of gatekeeping and internalized misogynist types, encouraging eating disorders and suicide. Does that reflect a statistically noteworthy portion of their population? I really doubt it.
In conclusion, I could be talking out my ass, but then, I usually am, and any correctness I have is intuition plus broken clock timekeeping. Make of it what you will.