No, seriously. I’m horribly impressed that Offended Fandom ™ has managed to get some attention in their newly adopted crusade against a pro-anorexia community (which apparently only managed to start offending them in the last two weeks – funny, how that goes).
But stop. I’m serious.
This is not me particularly giving a damn about a pro-anorexia community, because they are creepy as hell. But.
This policy clearly states: “If entire community is dedicated to providing instructions on how to best commit self-destructive behavior, along with frequent incitement for others to do the same, terminate community.”
Prove to me that an pro-anorexic community is helping commit self-destructive behaviour. (The examples cited in the post don’t even come close to qualifying as reasonable proof.) Do this, mind you, when medical science is pretty damn solid on thinness linking to longevity. And that very thin (not morbidly, but very) people have a pronounced tendency to live longer. (Hell, it was the cover story for Maclean’s a couple months back.)
The anorexics will tell you all of that and then just say they’re trying to be a self-help comm, and guess what – it becomes your word against theirs.
Understand, again, that I am not advocating prolonged and dangerous fasting as a method for achieving this; I’m not even advocating extreme thinness.
The Terms of Service cleary (sic) says: “You agree to NOT use the Service to promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities, promote physical harm or injury against any governmental entity, group or individual.”
Legal language like this is to stop the use of nasty violent-ish behaviour against other people, you understand. If somebody starts up an LJ community devoted to encouraging black people to play in traffic, they’re probably racist and unpleasant, but nobody is forcing the black people to play in traffic. Likewise, nobody is forcing the girls reading the pro-anorexia community to starve themselves. The law has a higher standard of required proof for inciting people to do harm against themselves than it does for proof of inciting people to harm others, because you’re generally going to be a lot less inclined to harm yourself than others, and because when you’re harming yourself, there’s suddenly a lot less witnesses to corroborate the event.
But anyway, this isn’t about the law, and it isn’t about Livejournal’s terms of service, and it isn’t even about the pro-anorexia community (the timing makes that painfully obvious). This is about one of the most agonizingly hypocritical collective tantrums I’ve seen thrown in quite some time, thousands of fangirls on Livejournal deciding all at once to be Jan Brady complaining about Marsha. Amazing how these rugged free-speech advocates managed to turn right around and find some speech they didn’t like and call for it to be quieted, isn’t it? It’s almost as if their libertarianism regarding freedom of expression was only a convenient pose to give them the moral high ground in regards to their hobby.
Listen up: if your response to being silenced – by public or private entities, there’s no difference at this point in the argument – is to say “here, censor these other people too!” you have already conceded that your censored speech was improper. You have accepted their terms; you have endorsed their sentiment; you have extended your hand for the “good game” handshake. This is not the stance an adult takes; it is plainly and simply the stance of a child who doesn’t mind admitting they were full of shit the whole time, someone who despite their protestations knew that they were doing something wrong and were hoping to get away with it.
Supporting free speech means that you have to accept that you will not like some of it. I don’t mean mild dislike; I mean choking-down-your-own-bile disgust, silent-clenching-of-fists loathing.
So, I reiterate: just. Fucking. Stop. It.