Tag Archives: support

The Hidden Curriculum of Social Media

For those who don’t know, the term “hidden curriculum” refers to the things in everyday social life that are hard for people on the autism spectrum to pick up that others just do unconsciously. From the perspective of a person with autism, these things are “hidden” because they simply don’t see them. It’s not out of willfullness or stubborness, they are social cues that are too subtle for them to read.

While I’m not on the spectrum, I feel like I have had a full run-in with the “hidden curriculum” of social media lately. I’m a casual user of Facebook. I don’t know the ins and out of it. I don’t “poke” people. When I share posts I credit the people I shared them from, because in my mind, that’s the proper thing you do. You give credit to the people you’ve borrowed something from. I remember enough from Pinterest a couple of years ago to know people were up in arms about not giving credit there.

I don’t know how “tagging” works. But, apparently it’s a pretty darn big deal. Enough so that it warrants warnings like this from people: “I have to say this far too often: don’t tag me in any post not specifically related to me and don’t add me to groups. Both acts earn an unfriend and block.” Now, “not specifically related to me,” that seems perfectly fair. And adding to groups? That would be downright rude. “Both acts earn an unfriend and a block.” Wow. That’s wielding power in the Facebook world.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal if another author hadn’t PM’d me personally. “Could you please stop tagging me when you share something I’ve liked? If I wanted to share it on my timeline, I would, and tagging makes it show up there anyway unless I go in and manually untag myself.” Now, again, that’s not an unreasonable request–except I had no idea I was “tagging” anyone. I have no idea how that works. But then it comes to the almighty timeline. I replied that I didn’t know how that worked, apologized, said I just wanted to give credit. Now, she was nice about it, but then there’s just that little bit of ambiguity where 70%+ of language is non-verbal so you’re really not sure what the tone is. “FB can be SOOO confusing about what it does sometimes. It ought to come with instructions!” Now, does that mean it does come with instructions and I should have read them? Or that it really is confusing and it should be easier to figure out?

I take things I shouldn’t too personally sometimes, but between that and the other post, my first reaction was just anger. The people I consider my FB friends are mostly authors, and a very nice group of them. But things like this start to show a difference in the fan/author chasm which isn’t usually so wide. In my experience, none of the authors generally act superior or more important than the fans. After all, we buy the books that support them. I consider it, generally, a really nice group of people. But I’m not in the position where I’m posting things that are being reposted. I’m not the popular one. I’m just the fan. No one would care if I posted statements about tagging and unfriending, because I’m just a fan, not an author. So who cares if I unfriend and block someone?

So there is an unequality, a “hidden curriculum.” I’m not as important, even though that isn’t mentioned. Now, I certainly do not mean this to all the authors I know online, but when it really comes down to it, it’s true. Isn’t it? I don’t even know. I just know that when a timeline is more important than a real human being, I think some priorities have gotten a bit askew. And it hurts me to say that. Because it’s blown a hole in my idealized little online Facebook world.

In the meantime, I’m not going to repost anything from individuals, only the organizational group pages. Or my friends. Because gods know I don’t know what I’m doing, and gods forbid I accidentally tag someone. I think The Republican War on Women is not just going to block me and throw away the key on me. I’ve been blocked, without having a chance to explain myself, and it hurts. I have blocked people. People who have bullied me IRL. Not because they tagged me. Put things in perspective, maybe? Or maybe it’s just a hidden curriculum that will continue on. I’m sure there are people who do things deliberately, but then again, there are people like me who do things accidentally because they don’t know what they’re doing. But, off with their heads.

It’s really made me take a closer look at the niche I felt comfortable in, and I realize I don’t feel as comfortable anymore.

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Befuddlement and Clarity. Somewhat.

This is a strange post for me to write, and one I didn’t think I would be writing, because I thought the whole issue was in the past and wouldn’t come up again. In fact, it doesn’t need to come up again other than for the fact that I’m bringing it up, because it digs at me a little, still. Why? Because I’m an insecure person who doesn’t like to be lumped in with the “crazies” when authors refer to fans. Granted, this was when the authors were breaking up and going through a lot of stress, and I’d been going through an extremely hard time myself, but I was trying to help, in my own misguided way, got frustrated when I thought I was being made fun of and said some things I shouldn’t have, but was immediately shut off and blocked before I could explain anything.

That is one thing I hate about the internet. The fact that someone can just shut you off as easily as they turn off the tap. Yes, I might have been a genuinely crazy person, and yes, I do refer to myself as mentally ill, but after finding out what I did last night, I had to wonder if people who are hiding bigger secrets about themselves tend to trust other people less. If they are actually less secure, or were less secure, than I was, and that was the reason for the reaction.

I’m not up to date on the “gossip” in the M/M Romance world, because there are a fairly close-knit group of people I follow and talk to. The two authors I was following, but didn’t anymore after that incident, I had no idea what was going on in their lives anymore. I heard rumors about a woman who had been pretending to be a man writing M/M Romances, which I didn’t really pay attention to. There are so many women writing in M/M I didn’t see what the fuss was about.

It was about the putting on of an identity and presenting that identity as an author to fans, who connect pretty passionately at times. I had no idea that A.J. Snow wasn’t a man, or that Theo Fenraven was twice the age I’d thought and had been born a woman, but is a man now, and really, always has been. I hope I phrased that right, Theo, if you read this–if I messed up, it’s unintentional. I never saw you as anything other than a man, although, as you said, a younger one. I kept what you told me a secret, and I’d hoped that had proved I was worthy of some trust on your part, and I didn’t mean what I said; I was very, very frustrated and of course had no idea of the difficulty of what the two of you were going through on top of just separating.

The problem is that I am basically WYSIWYG–I have never been able to put on a persona of any type, so I am just me, for better or worse, and I have a thin skin, mostly for worse.

That isn’t really important here, but it is in a way for the reason that I am impressed with how well both authors were able to present their images to the public. I can understand how some fans would be really upset to find out those identities weren’t real, but a true fan is one who would give you their support whatever the case. A.J. Snow had an excellent reason for changing her identity, and I think she’s extremely brave, both for pressing on with the identity and for coming out. I know this is late support, but you have mine, even if I am one of the blocked crazies. And Theo, you have my support as well. I think you’re both fantastic friends for sticking together and supporting each other the way you did, and I’m so happy A.J. Snow has met someone she’s truly, truly happy with. Theo, I’m glad you’re out of the grey you were so miserable in and someplace warm and sunny, and your photos are as gorgeous as ever.

Because whatever their author identities, it doesn’t change the quality of their work, which is excellent. Sometimes people have to do things for reasons of their own which have nothing to do with the fans. Fans need to be mature and accept that. People don’t like fairweather friends. What about fairweather fans? Authors are people too, with lives that are sometimes messy and hard, really hard, with difficult decisions. Would you rather respect an author for telling you the truth, a difficult decision for them, or turn your back on them for being honest? Yes, it may burst your bubble, but I can’t imagine living a lie, sort of why I wrote that I can’t live with a persona online–I can write in a fantasy world, but I can’t live one online. The closest I come is when I sometimes get a little delusional and think sometimes people are better friends than they are. I don’t know if that’s always delusional or just hopeful.

I know that’s a really odd image to put up, but I bought those socks, compression socks, because I realized I might be wearing them for a while (I do wash them, obviously) after I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (non-progressive–still trying to figure out why I have it). The point of that is that it’s invisible. No one knows I have it unless I say something, in real life, and online, no one knows at all unless I say something. I know you can’t compare socks and sexuality (unless you have a sock fetish, granted, some of these are kind of cute, but I don’t think they count), but there are people who want to make some things invisible and they try to force everyone into little boxes of invisibility so they don’t have to see or hear the truth.

I think what A.J. Snow and Theo Fenraven did deserves admiration and respect, as well as the support of those who have been their fans. It does hurt to be lied to, but when someone is also willing to tell you the truth, you should listen, because there’s often a really good reason. It doesn’t change who they are (in real life)–it changes something that never existed in the first place.

So I may be mentally ill, with my ups and downs (I can relate to fear of crowds and the need to escape, I have a generalized anxiety disorder that used to cause panic attacks; I’m on medication for it now, but there’s still a lingering fear sometimes, and being around a lot of people is exhausting. I was also “mobbed” at work for a year and a half at my last job, which makes it hard for me to be around groups of people or to trust groups of people, so there are some things I can relate to, if not everything) but it still hurts to be a blocked crazy. That was before this, because I didn’t even know this happened until last night and I just felt compelled to offer my support. Neither of you deserve any ill treatment for having the courage to be who you really are, and I think it’s terribly sad that we live in a world that makes it so difficult and harsh. Love is love. A good book is a good book.

I wish both of you the best and all the happiness you deserve. And sunshine. 🙂

 

Friends

From 95.7 KJR:

Lily and Maddison

Lily and Maddison

I’m Not “Doing it Right” ; The Price of Hubris

A respected (by me, at least) site on Facebook had a guest blogger write a post on how, in the wake of the media furor I confess I haven’t watched, allies are, in their ignorance of transgender issues, creating more of a problem than helping.

A very nice way to phrase it, I thought, while insulting allies in the process. Well done.

It should be pretty obvious how I feel about the LGBT community after all my posts on the subject. I’m not even going to say anything about that. But I would like to say a few things.

Being a woman in many countries in the world isn’t a cakewalk either. We happen to be born that way too. Get over it. In many of the same countries now receiving attention for their treatment of gay couples, it has been absolutely fine to drag a woman out of her house, rape her, and set her on fire, or however else her husband wants to kill her. Legally. It could have just been because she looked at him wrong. She looked at another man. She spilled something. That’s been going on for centuries–longer. It’s so commonplace it doesn’t even make the news.

I already wrote about what’s happening in this country with women’s rights. I thought I had written everything I had to say in my last post. I guess I hadn’t. I wasn’t being told I was doing things wrong at that point. Or, at least, I hadn’t read the post.

This isn’t meant to be hateful–I am truly angry. I am angry at the self-righteousness of some people in the LGBT community who seem to feel they are better than everyone else. I had a conversation, online, about this once with someone who may or may not have been real (long story, but he was representing himself as a gay man). I said, “Don’t you think pride might get in the way a little bit when it comes to equality? Which is more important? It’s not like you have to demean yourself, just don’t put everyone else beneath you, because that isn’t equality at all.” He just said he was better than everyone else. Better than those of us (me) who practiced abnormal sex and didn’t understand anything. Okaaaay.

Now, given that he was someone who may or may not exist, I’ll take that with a few cups of salt. I see nothing wrong with having a sense of pride in community, and I think that there is a distinct gay community that I certainly wouldn’t want to see destroyed. A man commented recently on Facebook how he thought the “g” on gay should be capitalized (I’m assuming the same would go for the “l” in lesbian, etc.) because it was a community. I thought about that, and before I could reply with what I was thinking, someone else did (all the replies up to that point had been negative). The man who replied commented that it would be sort of akin to how the Deaf community capitalizes the “D.” The people who consider themselves part of their distinct culture capitalize it. The ones who don’t, simply don’t capitalize deaf. There’s division there as well.

The problem occurs when a community starts to act superior. I think the slogan, “Born this way,” is awesome. It states a fact and leaves no room for argument. On the other hand, “Get Over It,” in my mind, takes a completely different tack which I find offensive. Think about all the other contexts that has been used in, even if unspoken. So you’ve been raped. Get over it. Your husband beats you. Get over it. Your husband left you for a younger woman. Get over it. Your wife left you for another woman. Get over it. Is this starting to make sense? As a society, this country isn’t very sympathetic or empathetic. I really don’t know how “Get over it” is supposed to be taken. But that’s the way I see it, and if I see it that way, and am of the mind it doesn’t matter a whit who people love, have relationships with, or marry, then how do people who don’t feel that way see it? I don’t think it makes them feel any more kindly toward the LGBT community. I think it’s going to alienate them further. The people who will think it’s the most clever are the people in the community themselves, in my opinion. It doesn’t matter which well-respected actor you have wearing the shirt proclaiming the slogan. I love the actor, really don’t like the shirt.

I’m also not a religious person, as people who are familiar with me know. But there’s a reason there’s the statement, “Pride cometh before a fall.” Hubris is one of the nastiest characteristics a person can have, I think. Who truly wants to spend any length of time in a room with someone radiating that emotion?

The other thing that I dislike is being accused of being an ignorant ally for the Trans* population when I have a few questions about that myself. Some of this is guessing and trying to fit pieces together, and some is from things I have read from blogs of people I trust. I’m not repeating those, I’m explaining how I’ve come to this question. I would like to know, truly, if the LGBT community is as split as I have heard. That if you are gay or lesbian, you tend to be toward the top of the group, if you’re Trans* you tend to fall more in the middle and are possibly  sometimes looked down on along with those who are bi–I know at least in literature and possibly real life people who identify as bi are vilified at times for being the “cheaters” and the ones you can’t trust because they “haven’t made their mind up?” Well, I think they have made their mind up; they are sexually oriented toward men and women. I also think they are capable of being in a monogamous, faithful relationship with a person of either sex during the time they are with that person. Why is that so hard to understand? I think it’s all a matter of personality. I’m sure there are as many gay or lesbian jerks as bi jerks, people who are bi might just make easier targets. And, as I didn’t point out very well, there are not so nice people everywhere. That’s part of equality too. No one has the corner on the market for being a jerk. It’s an equal opportunity occupation.

From what I’ve noticed, and I’m going into a bit of a news hibernation state from overload–it seems there is so much hatred aimed at the Trans* community right now, especially the youth. It makes me so…gods, sad. I don’t have the exact details in front of me right now. I hadn’t heard about the eleven year-0ld boy who tried to kill himself because of being bullied because he liked My Little Pony, and who is in a coma and may have sustained severe brain damage. I had never heard of bronys–there is a whole, huge world of which I am completely oblivious. (Returning to the gay community, then there was the high school senior who came out on Facebook and started to receive the oh-so-brave anonymous death threats, and then the 8th grader who came out and had his driveway graffitied.) The confusion and frustration of being born in a body you know you don’t belong in, one older Trans* woman told me, transitioning from male to female, was almost intolerable at times. And she’d been going through the process for, I think she said, nearly thirteen years because she didn’t have a lot of money and it was an expensive process, so she could only do it a bit at a time. She hated being in a body that was the wrong one.

And the thought that I keep having, after reading about those three boys, and thinking about a boy who killed himself a school-district not too far away from here who wrote two or three times in his suicide note, “It wasn’t bullies,” so the police ruled out bullies. Hello? If the kid’s written three times it wasn’t bullies, I’m guessing it probably was? Or maybe that’s just my overactive imagination. I really like the “it gets better” concept, and I think the support it has gotten, all the people who have made videos–it’s all just amazing. Gods, I even use it for myself sometimes when things really get screwed up. A while ago I read someone’s blog who was bullied all through school, then at work, once she went through college (which was okay) and started this particular job, one woman made her life a living hell. You think these things stop, that grown ups don’t do those sorts of things. Unfortunately, I identify with her, although my situation wasn’t nearly as bad. There are adult bullies. That wasn’t quite the point, but I started thinking about these three, well, four boys, and it’s so hard to tell them, “It will get better,” because I’m starting to wonder on some days. I try to stay positive, still tell them that. It really does get better.

I’m starting to think there should be other options, though. That maybe fighting the bullies in schools isn’t working. It didn’t work for that little eleven year old. Surely someone noticed what was happening, yet no one did anything about it. I’m sure that’s the case in much of what happens in these bullying cases. And are these kids really learning not to be bullies, or how to be better bullies? I’ve started to think, give the kids who are being a bullied a choice; give them somewhere else to go, another school with other victims of kids who have been bullied. What would happen? Would they finally get to be themselves? Would they make friends with the same interests? “But will it prepare them for the real world?” I can see administrators asking. Right. That’s what the bullies are doing, preparing them for the real world, because the kids they bully are different and they’re going to have to deal with bullying for the rest of their lives. My answer to those administrators? “It will keep them alive to give them a chance to face the “real” world, which this certainly isn’t. Because you’re failing in your job here.” There will always be bullies, but it’s a little different when you’re not stuck in the same physical space with them. Then, life really will get better.

Having a choice isn’t cowardice. If our kids are old enough to kill themselves because they can’t get out of a situation they are forced by law to be in, then we owe them a legal alternative of a safer place to be. That’s equality. That’s justice. They deserve the right to go to school unafraid, and that’s diversity, unity, love, and equality, for children who are LGBT, a little different, for kids who just don’t fit in. It doesn’t have to get better. It can be better now. Until school administrators take bullying as seriously as the parents sitting by the bedside of their little boy, Michael, waiting for him to wake up, if he wakes up, to see how much of him is still there (be stubborn, little one–your brain is a miracle in itself), children deserve better.

Michael Morones Mashable.com

Michael Morones
Mashable.com

Michael Morones Currently in Critical Condition Pink News: Europe's Largest Gay News Service February 5, 2014

Michael Morones
Currently in Critical Condition
Pink News: Europe’s Largest Gay News Service
February 5, 2014

And so do allies. This one is taking a break for a while. I don’t need to feel appreciated. I don’t need to feel cared about. I also don’t need to be called ignorant.

Freedom Justice Equality  diaverde08-AmericanKilljoy

Freedom Justice Equality
diaverde08-AmericanKilljoy

An Interesting Question — NSFW

All of my interesting things are coming from other places lately. My additional question, which will make more sense once one reads the snippet below, is, is something I read on a post somewhere else. Is it because there are so many allies involved in the movement, that, for better or worse, we’re possibly taken for granted? The post I read said there were more straight people involved at some event than gay people–that is one person’s opinion, and he may or may not have been correct in his assumption. I don’t know what event it was.

That is just as this man’s words below are his opinion, although he has examples to back him up. I just found it interesting. I don’t know how many gay men pay attention to that end of politics, the idiotic politicians who think that women’s bodies are “designed to shut down during rape” so women don’t become pregnant because of a rape, therefore abortion isn’t an issue in that case. That’s the one I remember most clearly, because it was the most insane, but it was said, on national TV, along with a plethora of other things proving that these men knew nothing about female anatomy or how it worked. Yet they were going to make decisions that effected our lives and bodies? I don’t think so. But they are. I read an interesting story about a 14 year old girl whose parents support her involvement in politcs, and go over what’s happening and how it could effect her. They’ve taken her to see how the political process works on the local and state level (she’s from Texas).  Her picture, with her dad, in front of the capital pretty much sums the religious aspect of it up for me, even though I’m not religious.

Reblogged from Queer Tips:

“LGBT history overflows with stories of women who have come to the aide of gay men: the concerned mother who founded PFLAG, the doctor who proved that homosexuality was not a pathological illness, the popular 1960s communist who wrote that gays and lesbians were born that way and should be true to themselves in order to find happiness, and the countless number of lesbians who, after years of feeling excluded from the gay liberation movement by their gay brothers, put aside their frustrations to care for them at the height of the AIDS epidemic when hospitals wouldn’t.These are just a handful of the famous examples. It leaves out the sisters who defended us against bullies, the best girlfriends we came out to and took to the prom, and the mothers who handled our fathers who didn’t always know the right way to say they love us.This history begs a question that nobody seems to be asking: If women have stood and fought alongside gay men in some of our darkest, toughest, hardest won battles, why are most gay men paying so little attention to the vicious war currently being waged against women: the attack on their constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion?

“Let’s Be Strong Men Who Stand Up For Women” (Patrick Hinds for The Advocate)

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Billy and Tuesday Cain outside the Texas Capitol (Credit: Billy Cain)