Sunday, September 18, 2011

That Moment of Validation

I love the feeling I get when I find an article or blog entry that perfectly puts into words something I've been thinking, but haven't been able to put it into words - or worse, that I'm afraid of the backlash that might come from saying it, sure that I'm the only person who feels that way and people are going to jump all over me for saying it. Finding that piece is often an "AHA" moment, and a moment where I find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who feels or thinks that way, and that I'm not crazy.

For example, I found this blog post today, which sums up my frustration with the "crazy" label perfectly. For years I've dated guy after guy who's told me I'm being too emotional, too sensitive, or just crazy - for getting upset with him for doing something selfish, mean, or just plain insensitive. I've always hated it, always felt there was something wrong with it. I even wrote a "Feminist Dating Advice" post about it, urging women to not tolerate being called crazy. And someone jumped down my throat for it, calling me an insult to feminism. Made me want to stop writing, really, and certainly made me want to shut up about the "crazy" issue, sure that I must be the only person who takes issue with it. But according to this blog entry, I'm not alone, and I'm really not crazy after all.

For another example, I found this a while back, a blog entry about female nerds self-objectifying themselves - sort of a Female Chauvinist Pigs specific to nerd culture. I was frustrated with the same issue, especially when I was at Anime Boston, especially after dark when the convention was dominated by 18+ events, including Hentai Dubbing where girls would get up on stage and moan and gyrate for the entertainment of a room full of people, followed by a Cosplay Burlesque. Those words put together just make me feel sad. Why I went to the event I'll never know, but I left feeling sick. Again, I seemed to be the only person who had a problem with it, even my female friends thought it was fun to watch hentai dubbing and that there was nothing wrong with the trend of skimpy cosplays, so I kept my mouth shut.

The fact is, when you're the only one with an opinion, it can be almost impossible to sway the masses. But that's why blogging is so important. If those bloggers mentioned above had never penned their essays on issues of gaslighting and self-objectification, I'd still keep my mouth shut. But because I know my beliefs are being backed up from afar, and now that I've found some intelligent ways to put my own frustrations into words, I'm more likely to speak up about the issues myself, adding my voice to the mix with conviction. And as more people add their voices, that belief gains strength in the public eye. Blogging helps a opinion go from a fringe belief to a message that can sway the masses.

PS: one does not need validation because they are weak or insecure. We need validation because we are human, and it is human to be afraid to stand alone.

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