Assumptions and privilege: tonight’s chatroom case studies

Content Note: entitled arseholes invading virtual personal space and denying non-binary gender status. And getting angry when I don’t like it.

– – –

I plan my Monday blogpost to be about a related topic (the difficulty of finding good partners in chatroom sexual roleplay), but this just happened and I felt it was worth sharing.

As a genderfluid person, web chatrooms that don’t require a declared binary gender are very valuable to me as ways of hanging out and, in the kinky ones, having the kinds of sexual roleplay, in ways that are denied to me by a gendered r/l body. In the chatroom mentioned below, I find that people frequently read me in my (gender-ambiguous) nickname, as being female more often than female, even though anyone who asks gender gets “genderfluid” as my answer, and I absolutely refuse to give way on what I “really” am or my r/l genitalia.

For instance, this example from tonight (took place after some lovely friendly chat and discussion of fantasies, and what a roleplay might be like):

[01:13:53] (Me) wondered how you were gendering me in your mind
[01:14:13] (Me) also, whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or what?
[01:14:50] (AverageCisGuy) haha well i assumed you were female. i’m straight but like being tied up by anyone.
[01:15:38] (Me) I’m genderfluid, but most people round here read me as fem. if I need to be male I can choose a different nick
[01:16:02] (AverageCisGuy) ah right, so what are you in real life?
[01:16:30] (AverageCisGuy) i assumed you were female from your writing
[01:16:32] (Me> ooh, bad move! in r/l I am genderfluid.
[01:17:01] (Me> what about my writing made you think female?
[01:17:06] (AverageCisGuy) sorry! i mean what were you born as then?
[01:17:12] Me is always interested in people’s assumptions about me
[01:17:27] (Me) even worse!
[01:17:48] (Me) that sort of question is really insulting
[01:18:04] (Me) and cis folks tend to do that a lot
[01:18:46] (Me) only people get to ask about my r/l genitals, are people I am going to r/l do the dirty with.
[01:18:58] (AverageCisGuy) is it? i’m only making conversation, you don’t need to be so defensive, i’m only being polite.
[01:19:22] (AverageCisGuy) i didn’t ask anything about your genitals
[01:19:25] (Me) no. it’s not polite, or “just conversation” to ask those things
[01:19:45] (Me) and I get that you don’t know that, which is why I’m still talking to you
[01:20:18] (Me) but, for the sake of myself and all the other trans*/genderqueer/genderfluid folks out there, I’m hoping to educate you on this
[01:20:30] (AverageCisGuy) well putting “genderfluid” is very vague so you are bound to get asked questions.
[01:21:10] (AverageCisGuy) plus it now sounds like you were trying to hide your gender from me from the start
[01:21:13] (Me) that’s fine, as long as they are questions like, “I’ve never heard that before, what does it mean?” or “what are you feeling like right now?”
[01:21:46] (Me) I haven’t hidden anything. my gender is genderfluid.
[01:22:10] (AverageCisGuy) i’m too tired for this now sorry, you’ve spolit a decent conversation.
[01:22:48] (Me) well, asking “what were you born as?” spoilt it for me
[01:23:11] (AverageCisGuy) good night, hope you get whatever you are looking for.

I’m particularly taken by the claim that asking “what were you born as?” isn’t an attempt to find out what genitalia I have. A trans* person asking that would obviously have a different connotation, but a random cis dude who’s already been told “genderfluid” twice? Not likely it meant anything else.

But down to the Private Message that I really wanted to quote for you all.

I frequently receive uninvited Private Message tabs opening up, usually from HNGs (Horny Net Guys) wanting to know “asl?” (Age, Sex, Location). The others just assume I’m female. Most behave badly and, in keeping with my principles, I try to teach them to view women as people. This is a classic example, from tonight:

[23:51:46] Common channels with RandomPMGuy: #FlirtyAndDirty

[23:51:46] (RandomPMGuy) how is u
[23:51:59] (Me) pretty good, ta. you?
[23:52:51] (RandomPMGuy) im good to
[23:53:11] (RandomPMGuy) so is a cute little thing like ur self looking to have some fun
[23:53:28] (Me) what makes you think I’m little?
[23:54:17] (RandomPMGuy) its just a saying
[23:54:59] (Me) quite an off-putting one.
[23:56:40] (RandomPMGuy) well im sorry what would u prefure me to say to u
[23:59:03] (Me) just treat me like a human being instead of your fantasy. calling someone a “cute little thing” is infantilising and that’s fine if that’s their kink, but if it isn’t it’s just insulting
[00:00:57] (RandomPMGuy) well im sorry personaly i call my gfs nicknames so i figured would be same here how woudl u liek to have fun
[00:01:15] (Me) am I your gf?
[00:02:17] (Me) if anything, assuming someone yopu’ve never talked to before will be okay with the same level of comfort and intimacy as a romantic partner, is even more insulting
[00:02:54] (RandomPMGuy) well we are in a chat room called flirty and dirty so i would concider some one in a privet chat with me a chat gf how bout u
[00:03:47] (Me) you PM’ed me without asking permission! frankly, you’re just making yourself sound even creepier. the analogy is going to a bar, dragging a stranger into the corner and groping them.
[00:05:15] (Me) if you take the time to ACTUALLY flirt, then maybe eventually you get to a comfort-attraction point where I’d be okay with pet names
[00:05:25] (Me) and who knows, even more
[00:05:44] (Me) but just assuming and grabbing what isn’t yours? not okay
[00:06:29] (RandomPMGuy) well then – pokes arm jokeingly – how about a question game
[00:07:03] (Me) after all that, you think it’s okay to TOUCH me without my permission?!
[00:07:33] (RandomPMGuy) i poked u
[00:07:57] (Me) and what makes you think I’m okay with being poked?
[00:09:26] (RandomPMGuy) it was a joke shesh im just trying to have a little fun in a non sexual way
[00:10:25] (Me) but you don’t seem to care whether I find it fun or annoying. and that’s the problem from the start
[00:11:28] (RandomPMGuy) well i cant see ur face so i cant judge weather or not u liked it in first place but now i know and so i tryed asking how about a question game
[00:13:03] (Me) and that’s why you don’t go piling in with assuming levels of intimacy that just aren’t there. you treat people with respect.
[00:13:21] (RandomPMGuy) so how about that game
[00:14:41] (Me) what on Earth makes you think I want to spend any time answering your questions now? you’ve done nothing but make assumptions and offensive remarks, and then try to excuse them when I call you on it
[00:15:54] (RandomPMGuy) it was a question game we ask eachother questions could be about anything or we could make rule shesh i did assume that cus u have talked to the this long i might make a friend
[00:18:59] (Me) I’m trying to help you not bother anyone else the same way. I’m trying to be nice, here. I gave youa chance to clean up your act and treat me like an actual person instead of fantasy fodder. You blew it.
[00:20:57] (RandomPMGuy) ok well it seemed to work for ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE IVE CHATED WITH GOOD LUCK ANGRY SLUT

Draw your own conclusions.

I wish this was rare. It isn’t. In a relatively quiet chatroom, I get one or other of the above conversations in my private message tabs (although often I cut them off a lot sooner than these examples) maybe once an hour.

I don’t always have the energy or time to try to educate people the way I did above. Sometimes they are clearly not worth it, but if I feel up to the task I try to get the message out there. These spaces are where I encounter the harsh reality of Patriarchy most directly. Most of the spaces I choose to be in are sex-positive or otherwise accepting of these things, or else these interactions don’t happen as much (and in r/l I don’t get gendered as female).

– * –

Oh yes. I feel a sense of Social Justice Warrior pride at being called an “ANGRY SLUT” for sticking to my boundaries there 😉

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About ValeryNorth

I overthink everything.
This entry was posted in Gender, Kink, Sex, Social so-called life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Assumptions and privilege: tonight’s chatroom case studies

  1. Pingback: Gender, online roleplay and media | Valery North - Writer

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