On Labels…

Between Joss Whedon’s affairs and sexual improprieties, and the recent revelations surrounding Tyler “Evilore” Malka (the owner of the video game forum NeoGAF), both men who were supposedly “progressive feminists”… it’s helped me understand my own reasons why I’ve never allowed myself to wrap myself in such labels.

I’ve been reluctant to call myself anything, admittedly (well, at least not anything kind), but it was especially true when it came to the topic of feminism.  I had never particularly thought it was my place to make such a declaration, even as I faced accusations that I was somehow ashamed of being grouped in with such “prominent” creators who proudly wore the label on their sleeve (metaphorically, of course).

But now, I think there was more to my decision that I wasn’t ever able to really explain properly.  Self-labeling, at least to the extent that a lot of creators do, really doesn’t mean much.  I can call myself anything.  That doesn’t make it true.  I could call myself the next great Neo-Nazi writer (for the record, I will never do this), but it’d be an empty label if I didn’t actually do anything to advance that cause.

A label is something you earn, and in the case of being a “feminist” it’s something a man especially has to continue to prove he deserves.

For what it’s worth, if others decide I’m a feminist and my writing is of feminist quality, it’s a label I will gladly accept.  But it’s not mine to bestow upon myself, nor would it be something that once earned, I’d earn forever.

Whedon and Malka and others like them either forgot that… or never bothered to learn.

I’m not sure which would be worse.

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