I’ve been experiencing a weird sort of dissonance lately. Or maybe it’s just overload, but either way, it’s definitely a sign I should spend less time online. I’ve been feeling strangely out of place even among what I would consider like-minded people. Now, I tend to get anti-social when I’m stressed, and that’s part of it, but it’s something I’ve been noticing over the course of a year or two. A sort of…group think, maybe?
I find that in online communities of every sort and purpose, there’s an almost violent (mentally violent) correction of anyone who disagrees with the prevailing opinion of that community or steps outside expected beliefs. It doesn’t matter the topic or the politics or the person speaking. The thing that’s been niggling at me about it, is that we expect that sort of reaction from a self-identifying conservative group. (I’m not speaking politically conservative here, but anyone invested in preserving a belief or way of life.) But I find it so jarring in self-identifying progressive groups. For example, as a feminist, I don’t want anyone telling me the RIGHT way to be a woman and RIGHT language for a woman to use and the RIGHT things for a woman to find offensive and denounce. If I was okay with that, I wouldn’t bother with being an independent woman with my own brain. I just get freaked out by the “Don’t let a patriarchal society tell you what to do and how to think! Let a a matriarchal society do it!” Hee. That’s an oversimplification, I know, but I think it’s a decent example.
But as I said, it’s not just about politics or religion or sex. I’m sure you’ve all seen it in every micro-community you participate in. Or is it just me? Does it disturb anyone else? I feel like I’m almost-intelligent and fairly careful with my words, but more than once I’ve been told to shut up and sit down and learn from people who are obviously more enlightened than I. So am I unenlightened because I have a different take? Or are you unenlightened for not considering that not every person feels the same as you?
I guess I’m just feeling like I’m not very progressive or interested in honest discussion if we all only hang out on blogs and communities where we know everyone will agree with us. Where people are drummed out and mobbed with frothing chastisement when a toe crosses a line. Hey, I disagree with people online all the time, and I’ve been rude when someone pisses me off. But I feel a little sick that it’s now considered necessary policing of our own communities to be sure that the one person who said that one thing gets at least a thousand smacks on the head from his/her peers so that it won’t ever happen again. It’s all a little…puritanical for my tastes.
I feel…out of sorts. So tell me. Is it just me? Do I just need a break? Should I be forced to join a Luddite community and think about what I’ve done?
(And this is DEFINITELY not about any one issue, so please don’t try to read between the lines about which hullaballoo I’m addressing. I’m addressing all of them. ALL OF THEM!)
Now break into small groups and discuss.
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- elladrake said: I so agree. It feels like there is no middle ground to be found out there anymore.
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- emmiedark said: I definitely find myself censoring my opinions and not saying things that might be provocative because I’ve seen the reaction that can provoke and I don’t want to bring that upon myself. I don’t know if that makes me cowardly or peace-loving?
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- geekyjessica said: Ive been feeling this way, too. Since January or so. I figure it’s either my SA getting worse or a shift/growth in myself and how I view the world. Or both.
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- cherokeepurple said: I see it too. I find myself not truly expressing my opinions because of this. Any issue that comes up, I sit quietly in the corner for fear of being the target of derision. I still enjoy my communities but I don’t want to stir any pots.
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