on prince-koyangi, @tumblrTXT, and identities
So I just heard that the prince koyangi blog was a troll - and, really, not surprised given the behaviour and style of that account. It made me squirm to see both these things all over my social media feeds, in no small part because I could easily be seen as “one of those nutjobs”. (I’m going to clarify my identity, but that’s for another post.) That and the fact that often legitimate portions of an overall problematic identity were being mocked, like asexuality.
I’m going to say this much.
I am cynical of transethnicism, outside of an adopted child finding conflict between the way they are treated because of their being a certain race and the fact that they have been raised in a different cultured household. The fact that at least some who claim to be otherkin are people who if born ten years earlier would have expressed it via writing short stories as someone else or in a fantasy persona on a forum or something does not mean that I can make a judgement that they all are pretenders. Asexual people are… ace. (Sorry.)
…but does it matter? I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue is when someone’s identity is being used as an implement to mask more dangerous or bigoted or hurtful or damaging behaviour. When transethnicism becomes an implement with which racist stereotypes are perpetuated, or which disregards or shouts louder than or minimizes the legitimate experiences of someone who is actually treated as that ethnic group. (Which it basically always has been, from what I can see, but that’s the point - call them out on that.) When asexuality becomes a motivation for slut-shaming (and I’m sorry to say I’ve seen this once irl and not spoken up), or when high-functioning autism becomes something to be proud of with the price of belittling anyone who is not typically good at logic or does not share common “autistic” interests and traits.
I was a teenager back in the days when old-school forums were around. I roleplayed in text-based games, or in post-by-post forum threads, or by simply making a whole bunch of email addresses for different “people” and listing each “person” on a penpal site and exchanging emails with others. I think it’s highly likely that if I was thirteen today I’d be on tumblr pretending to be something I wasn’t. And there’s nothing wrong with that! What would be utterly fair though would be that I get called out where I’m being stereotypical (as I was once or twice when pretending to be Iranian, being that my influences were obviously Malaysian Islam and nothing like the reality) or when I’m being hurtful or when my pretending becomes otherwise detrimental to an actual group or entity. But one can do that without denigrating the entire group which identifies with the word this particular person is using dangerously.
As many a popular-but-fake-persona-blog has hit the news and receded, it’s clear that impersonation or roleplaying, whether due to emotional issues on the part of the puppetmaster or not, is not limited to those claiming extravagant identities, although by nature of often being a cry for attention the character chosen is often dramatic in one way or other. The terminally ill girl and the Middle Eastern lesbian are two notable fake blogs that come to mind. Should people react to all poignant blogs with doubt? That’s up to them. Should they troll these with hateful messages? No! Even if they were fake, that’s both giving the master more ammunition and just being a jerk. I choose to treat these interesting story blogs as just that, interesting. Things I can learn from. I may be thrown if my favourite blogger turns out to be a scam. I may think “thought so” if one I dislike is a scam. But they’re interesting just to see how people articulate their identities and what they think and how they think, and many, whether real or fake, in my mind are literary works of art. Social experiments. I know I treated mine as such, way back when.
And if they’re being misogynistic or racist or their beliefs are clearly damaging their health or someone else’s, I’ll call them out on it - just like I would anyone else.
I’m interested in your thoughts. Have I missed anything out? Said anything you disagree with?