You can find the original thread here but I’ve expanded and edited my own thoughts to cover more of what’s happening with DARVO because it’s something I’m super interested in talking about because it’s happening constantly and people just… don’t see it or care.
Thinking about Elle’s thread on weaponized specificity and transmisogyny as well as May‘s thread riffing off of it. I don’t want to derail so here are thoughts on how I deal with weaponized specificity here.
It’s a goalpost moving form of derailing, obviously.
It’s something that excuses what people then do to you.
What happened when Courtney Milan showed the “proof” sent to her of me supposedly harassing people (2 conversations with friends about harassment that we were getting at the time or had witnessed)? Weaponized specificity was activated.
Because the “proof” was so laughable – I am in two of the six tweets in the screenshots and it’s us talking about harassment we saw and experienced – people had to shift the narrative.
It then became “but they’re talking about these people rudely” (even though we weren’t a) speaking rudely, b) naming people even though they were harassing US, and c) we’re all grown ass adults who can speak how we want about people hurting and harassing us).
Or in the replies to Courtney – seriously, go check right now – there are people like “well this isn’t harassment, but right now Stitch is harassing someone by pointing out that they were bringing them/their work up in bad faith and so they’ve triggered that person’s PTSD and heart condition.”.
(That someone was misrepresenting my work, platforming MY harassers in the middle of the harassment wave that got me in ONTD, allowing people to insult me in their mentions and lie about my work, and was pretending they didn’t know who I was despite purposefully posting my work in bad faith and out of context from Teen Vogue – the very article that triggered the first big wave of Gamergayte-esque harassment from those people in fandom who hate me irrationally and racist-ly.)
These people using weaponized specificity to dismiss what I’m saying and excuse harassing me, choose zero in on the thing that supposedly hurts them.
In my case, it’s me talking about people in multiple fandoms harassing me in increasingly racist ways over YEARS because I don’t talk about what they want me to or because I talk about their racism and harassment in a way they haven’t approved of (publicly, with profanity about the situation (rarely directed at people), quote tweeting/screenshotting people lying on and insulting me).
So they ignore what’s been done to me and what they/their friends are perpetuating in the name of “their” fandom, and fixate on the “harm” I’ve supposedly done by not taking their abuse and harassment and racism lying down.
The thing that hurts them, by the way, never ACTUALLY hurts them. It’s a performance of pain to make me too problematic to platform and it is obvious.
Because you’ll see dozens of people calling me multiple slurs (gendered, racist, and… whatever calling me a whore is supposed to be) and stalking me… then calling me ableist for saying they’re “selectively illiterate” or racist for using “PickMe” about another person of color actively harassing me.
That’s how people can get away with trying to get me fired and calling me a slurs like cunt, whore, coon, etc publicly… Because they’ve decided to weaponize specificity so they’re actually “just” reacting to my “violence” of snarking them, pointing out racism in their fandom, making memes about how badly people treat me for no reason.
Here’s another example:
I wrote Weaponized White Womanhood to talk about how some Rey/Kylo fans were forming a narrative that John Boyega was (SEXUALLY) dangerous to Daisy Ridley and violent to the “young women and girls” of the fandom.
I then got a nasty message accusing me of not knowing… What true antiblackness was & then accusing me of respectability politics and hating Black women… Because I supposedly erased/”talked over” women of color in the fandom by pointing out white women weaponizing themselves in a specific way.
And this happens a lot: If I point out racism specifically from white women in a specific fandom, one common response comes from POC TOO class fans who will fling themselves into the line of fire to derail.
Because if I don’t mention them (or what they go through from their own fandom or from fandom antis who’ve harassed them or from bigots they started a fight with), I was hurting them. I’ve erased them by not reaching out for a quote or letting them harass me directly since I have “the whole fandom blocked” and that’s just as bad as (if not actually worse than) years of antiblack harassment they’ve sent my way.
So they don’t ever have to listen to me because I’ve done a “bad” thing by not giving them access to me or platforming them – again, people who publicly perform hating my guts for clout and social capitol.
And while I’m here, I’d like to point out that weaponized specificity and the (unfortunately often) successful repositioning of marginalized people (in these contexts, trans women, black people) as harming/bullying people harming them is related to DARVO.
“Convincing bystanders that no abusive behavior took place (or that if something did occur it was not harmful) and that the victim is untrustworthy gives the perpetrator a clear advantage in both social networks and the legal system.”Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender (DARVO): What Is the Influence on Perceived Perpetrator and Victim Credibility?
DARVO is an acronym for “deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender”. It is a common manipulation strategy of psychological abusers. The abuser denies the abuse ever took place, attacks the victim for attempting to hold the abuser accountable, and claims that they, the abuser, are actually the victim in the situation, thus reversing the reality of the victim and offender.DARVO @ Wikipedia
Weaponized specificity in conjunction with DARVO and fandom “discourse” means that, in my case, anything goes to excuse harassing me and when people question it, they’re lied to (also in public) in order to make supporting me as bad as supporting a rapist or abuser in these spaces. (They also call me an abuser in their quest to deplatform me, but I can’t even get into that considering these are all people I’ve never talked to in 20 years of being extremely fucking online.)
They deny that they’ve ever hurt me or that they’re harassing me – even as we can look at their timelines and see them making and liking hateful tweets about me that aren’t supported by any engagement we’ve had (because I do not know or talk to these people). You can search these people’s tweets for my name (or various sewing related nicknames they’ve come up with for me, like “suture”) to see just how often they speak on me, unprompted by anything other than their own hatred.
They attack me for posting screenshots of abuse and racism, for replying to or quoting people obviously lying about me/my work. They say I’m “gaslighting” them for posting their own tweets. If I talk about someone reposting my work in bad faith, that’s abuse to them. And since it’s now abuse to point out I’m being harassed… that then excuses dozens of their friends and followers quote tweeting me with insults and cursing at me. Because to them, “i started it”.
And of course, ultimately, they end up flipping the situation. With the roles reversed and fandom needing to believe the worst of Black people, it’s easy for them to succeed in portraying me as a villain hurting them by me responding to months and even years of public racist harassment from Nice White Women and Queers in fandom.
And that’s their narrative, so they’re going to stick to it even though they don’t actually have any proof of me doing anything they’re claiming – because they know I didn’t do the shit they claim and that I’m not harassing anyone to the point where they privately express guilt or they publicly try to crowdsource evidence to validate their harassment.
I’ve seen people going “okay but you’re here calling her everything but a child of the lord, but I don’t see anything where they do that to anyone? They’re literally just talking about and showing proof of racism in fandom and media” only to then get dogpiled with the laundry list of false accusations and lies from the same people who have been hate-following and harassing me for months or years.
And since that works on so many fucking people in fandom, they then tell potential publishers, employers, and readers the lie that: “hey Stitch actually harasses POC in fandom over ships so… maybe don’t support her because she’s hurting us”.
They write to my editor and her editor demanding I get fired because I am somehow… traumatizing and abusing people by pointing out that racism in fandom is bad enough that I should get fired – but you know, racism itself isn’t an issue we need to be worried about.
They’re actively out here running GamerGayte tactics on me to try and destroy my life, relationships, and writing career, but they’re framing it as justice for fandom.
And because, unlike other fandom bloggers who don’t necessarily challenge the fandom status quo and who definitely don’t speak on racism in fandom… I’m largely going through this on my own because support is… nor really happening to the extent it would for other people being harassed online and from fandom.
I have hundreds or even thousands of entirely unknown people trying to destroy my life and… it’s fine. It’s acceptable. To all of these people: it’s deserved.
Because I didn’t say something nice enough or I didn’t explain “clearly” enough or because I have since clapped back against one form of harassment. There’s always something to excuse not just not listening to me, but actively harassing me and supporting the people that do… because it’s easier for and more integral to fandom to vilify me based on stuff I didn’t say or that I would never do, than to unpack racism in fandom and make sure that it’s unwelcome instead.
Isn’t that just fucking wild?