Your comment about “imagining something that’s just not there” got me thinking about how some of the views that have been expressed at intfiction strike me as having–for lack of a better phrase–a very different approach to reality than I do.
Here’s a quote from a poster there who spoke up during that whole CoC thing:
Even if you think she was objectively wrong, it’s still not “equally inappropriate” to be wrong about misogyny as it is to make people feel ostracized and discriminated against.
Suppose a person (whom I’ll call “Betty,” because I can’t think of anyone in the IF community with that name) visits a country she’s never been to before. The language spoken in this place is not one that Betty is fluent in. While in this place, Betty overhears a conversation spoken in the local language. One of the words sounds to Betty like a slur in her own language. Betty suspects they are talking about her, calling her an offensive name. But Betty happens to be a pretty happy-go-lucky individual, and ultimately she just rolls her eyes and moves on.
As it happens, the people having the conversation are using a word that sounds phonetically similar to a slur in Betty’s language, but which is a totally innocuous word in their native language. The conversationalists do not even see Betty standing there.
If I’m to take the statement I quoted above at face value, and apply it to this situation–if even the most innocuous action that makes someone feel discriminated against is ALWAYS worse than EVERY accusation of whatever-ism that has ever been made–I suppose I’d have to conclude that people saying innocuous words in their own language is WORSE than a malicious false accusation that utterly ruins someone’s reputation, causes them to lose their job, lands them in jail, is a factor in their subsequent suicide, or whatever the worst-case scenario is that you can think of.
And as much as I appreciate the good intentions of people who want to fight against misogyny, I find this line of thinking incredibly problematic…and not especially comforting.
Like, I want to believe that this person was just speaking hyperbolically, and doesn’t actually carry it to this extreme, but…I don’t know what to think.