I'd written a couple of different responses, and all of them didn't go the direction I wanted them to go. So rather than respond directly to the last few posts (I actually did that, I have a draft where I went line by line, post by post), I'm going to take a different tact entirely.
Please don't tl;dr this. Please read all of it. And please think deeply about it before replying. A failure to do so will have it locked.
I can't mention incidents which have been brought to my attention by others when they have chosen to remain private. I'd like to. In fact, I'd love to. But I don't have to right to betray that confidence. So instead, I'm going to detail of the many incidents I've witnessed or experienced over the years. I'm not going to name names, but I'm also not going to go out of my way to hide details about people.
Let me be bleakly honest. I don't expect this to go well. I fully expect to be mocked. I expect my experiences to be invalidated. I don't expect people to be sympathetic. I don't expect this to be a safe space, and I take a real emotional risk getting into specifics. I haven't even finished writing the post yet and I'm already flinching. Prove me wrong, maybe?
I honestly don't remember much about women being discussed at all on the AMV ML. I would have to go back to the archives, but I don't remember anything overtly negative OR positive. I don't remember much notice of women at all. That's an issue in and of itself, of course, but I'm trying to restrict myself to incidents I consider overtly offensive. Castor Troy brought up a really excellent question, even if I disagreed with how he phrases the question. Why am I only bringing this up now?
The answer is because I haven't had the necessary tools to analyze these incidents or even really cope with them until very recently (recently is relative here). I've only been heavily engaged in feminism for about four years now (although I've been around feminist thought since roughly late 2003, so almost ten years). In 2006 I had serious issues in the Navy including harassment and what has taken years for me to identify as sexual assault, all based on perceptions of orientation and a hostility towards women or those perceived to have woman like qualities. I hope you reread that sentence, because it is the first time I have ever said it publicly. This is the real reason I left the Navy, although I've often been intentionally vague about the reasons in the past. I had heightened awareness in 2007 as I found myself with smaller amounts of personal space as a woman, increased comments on my appearance, catcalled on the streets of Midtown Atlanta, followed by strange men in my neighborhood, and in one specific case, I believe I just barely escaped being sexually assaulted/raped (or murdered, once the individual in question realised a bit more about me). It's hard to say what he was doing, honestly, but after several minutes of calling out to me, then following me, when he finally reached out to me, I bolted. This is known as Schrodinger's Rapist. I was escorted home by a pair of police officers I ran into on their dinner break at a nearby restaurant.
I'd say I've only been overtly activist and academic about it for about two years, that makes sense as I attended a women's college for graduate school where nearly every class of mine was cross-listed between political science and women's studies. I've only been a published feminist writer for about three months. As has been expressed by several folks themselves in the thread, I came to believe that some people were just shitty people who said shitty things. I don't believe that any more. I can't believe that any more. I've simply seen too much evidence of an underlying patriarchal superstructure for me to consider it to be anything else but a pervasive issue. We're, the AMV hobby, just a whole lot better about it than other places; but I don't hang out in those places. I hang out here. And when it comes right down to it, it's all the little stuff, the teeny tiny bits and pieces of thought and phrase which help perpetuate the worst stuff. So it's not enough to say, "Oh, it's a minor problem. Only assholes act that way. Just ignore it." Sorry, I can't do that, and I think it should be really clear to everyone now why.
Chii isn't the only one with triggers.
At AWA 6 in 2000 (?), I was sitting with someone who would become quite prominent on the Org. He sat under VAT (or whatever it was called at that time, the AMV room) equipment drinking and making inappropriate comments on the appearance of women as they entered the VAT. I don't think many of them were actually editors (maybe a few), but that's irrelevant. I don't think I participated (I did drink, which probably shouldn't have happened, as I was 17 at the time), but I also didn't stop him.
In the early days of the Org, from 2001 to 2003, I witnessed a high number of thoughtless, off-the-cuff "I didn' mean nuthin' by it, I swears" misogynistic comments (in fairness, homophobia was just as bad, although due to intersectionality, the two cannot be completely separated). Plenty of these can still be researched on the forums, but a number of them weren't on the Org forums, and some of them are probably inaccessible because they were in the old Off Topic forum. Some of them were directed at me. Even as early as 1998, there were fandom areas (largely areas of Sailor Moon fandom) where I was identified as female, and I experienced micro-aggressions and general creepiness there. I experienced even more when I finally met up with some of these people offline.
In 2000/2001, the female editor I was romantically involved with at the time had her own "fan club" which was totally unwanted by her. Given the age difference between the two of us (18 and 17) and the "fan club" (college age), honestly it was pretty darn creepy. Some of the posts made really turn my stomach even more now than they did at the time. This was going on outside of the Org, but still in a fandom community in which certain AMVs ended up being posted as a matter of course. As of earlier this year, 2013, mind you, one of those "fan club" members is still posting on another website with the signature "So and so's #1 Fanboy" and touting his membership in the "fan club." I find this incredibly squicky. I received a number of creepy and inappropriate comments for "stealing" her away from one of her "potential suitors." As if she was property who hadn't decided to spend time with me of her own accord. From all I can tell, the female editor in question has dropped out of fandom entirely and hasn't produced a video in years (we had a bad parting of ways unrelated to editing, and rather related to our failed relationship, and we haven't spoken since the summer of 2003).
From 2003-2005, I was not active on the forums because I was active in the officer program for the Navy. I have already addressed how that worked out. This means I am really not as clear on specific events during this time, although again, I remember incidents at AWA which bothered me; but they may have been less about AMVs and more about fandom in general. I was definitely hanging out with a lot of editors though, so I imagine that even if these issues weren't so much about misogynistic tendencies in AMV communities specifically, there was certainly bleed over.
If my notes here are correct from what I was able to dig up about my personal history, including references on the forums, 2006 was the first year where I sort of kind of maybe asked if you could please respect my pronouns. This makes a lot of sense, as I left the Navy in December of 2005. I see no evidence anyone even noticed. In fact I was pretty soundly ignored, and by 2007, largely because I allowed godix to be godix, a trend started where my gender became a humor football to be punted around the forums and IRC. Memes, image macros, overt references, terribly hostile comments masquerading as jokes. And some of these by people I considered friends. Or at least people I didn't think actively hated me. But any time I sort of kind of maybe pointed out that it might be just a wee bit offensive and not cool and so maybe you could stop, I was just given a non-apology. Or I was ignored. Or I was laughed at.
This has pretty much gone on nonstop for the last five years with various points at which I have said, "Woah, not cool, people. You need to just get over this." In some cases I have been met with open hostility and arguments about how the comments are not offensive and I am too uptight. In other cases I'm blown off with further offensive commentary. In some cases I am placed on ignore (which has since become a real problem since I have taken over as an IRC op, I can't do my job if I'm being ignored by participants, and if I try to moderate based on shitty comments directed at me, then I am accused of abusing my power over so-called "personality conflicts"). So I spend months where I simply disengage. Where I don't post and I don't talk. Until the next time when I get annoyed enough to mention it. And then people are like, "Oh, you're still here? And that's still a thing with you?"
This past year has been really bad. Really, really, REALLY bad. I have put up with comments about my genitalia being openly discussed on IRC. I've had people talk about me "being on my period" (hello, I don't have a uterus, and you're not as funny as you think you are). I've been intentionally slighted by conversations in which "we" talk all about the women in the room and intentionally leave out Kio despite the fact I'm right there and contributing to the conversation. I have gotten pushback on my pronouns. Either intentionally ignoring them or just choosing not to use them (what the hell, yo?). And at the worst points, some relatively recently (only two months back maybe) I was dealing with all of these things in a single day, either through multiple comments by a single person or by multiple people making individual comments. And some of these individuals making the comments are women (although the vast majority of the commenters are men).
I noticed patterns and started putting together the essay. I finally had enough when I noticed that women who posted certain topics got shut down and derailed. And after speaking to some folks in IRC and in PM, I realised that my feelings, while certainly a unique flavor of misogyny because of intersectionality, were not uncommon. They're pretty damn common, honestly. And the response of the community and the various forms of moderating control have been pretty subpar in dealing with it or even recognising it. I have direct quotes for all of this stuff, but if I post direct quotes, I'll also post names. I don't think this is necessary, and I would rather not do it.
Thank you for reading.