Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jaw, meet floor: someone has admitted to being wrong on the internet

So I assume you've heard the story of the Reddit user who surreptitiously took a photo of a Sikh woman with facial hair, posted it on the internet for lolz, received the most unimaginably polite and dignified response from her, and then - contravening all known laws of internet physics - apologised?

The other night the ASN Facebook page got thoroughly trolled. The usual stuff - "you're going to burn in hell", "you are all murderers", "baby killer", whatever. It was very religious, very vitriolic, and very graphic: descriptions of "how you'll feel when you watch your baby get sucked out of you on the monitor", that kinda thing. (The poster has since deleted it, so I'm paraphrasing from memory.)

(It's odd how trolls always seem to think we're actually Abortionists: doctors, or clinic workers. Surely, given that we provide money for women seeking abortions, according to their logic, the doctors would be hit men and we'd be... a benevolent fund for people of limited means wanting to bump off their pre-born relatives? Anyway. I digress.)

So some people argued with her, some defended her; I stayed out of the fray - partly because ASN has a strict "Don't feed the trolls" policy and partly because I don't have the fucking energy to argue with people who think I'm a murderer. I mean: if that's where the discussion is starting, I can't imagine it's going to end up anywhere profitable. You're going to call me a murderer, I'm going to claim that you support a viciously inhumane policy of forcing people to give birth, everyone goes home grumpy.

So imagine my surprise when the original poster left us the following message:

This annoying, mouthy, American woman would like to apologize to all of you. Not because I feel as though y'all put me in my place but because I was out of control and saying very hateful things I had absolutely no business saying anything about. I do not believe in abortion but who am I to throw stones? My actions weighed on me and I deeply do apologize for them. I do not know y'all and I don't know y'all's situations either. So once again, I am very sorry for all that crazy shit I was spewing yesterday.
Jaw. Floor. Interface scenario.

She went on to give examples of situations where she'd see abortion as acceptable (excepting women "who use abortion as contraception" - who are these women? Has anyone ever met one? "Yeah, I could ask him to put a condom on, but it seems a lot less hassle to live in fear for a month, travel miles to a clinic, swallow several pills and have an induced miscarriage in a room full of strangers. Woohoo, let's have unprotected sex!"), which doesn't exactly meet my Official Pro-Choice Acceptable Policy Checklist, but - fuck it! Someone apologised! On the internet! About abortion, of all things!

It is, and has always been, an incontrovertible truth that there is no topic on which people are less likely to change their minds than that of abortion. (Not counting anti-choice folks who find themselves facing an unwanted pregnancy, but that's another story.) Just as set in stone is the fact that no one will concede defeat in an online argument. But this woman went from being so rabidly anti-choice that she took it upon herself to abuse some tiny little charity in another country for being big bad baby-killin' murderers - to conceding that (a) her words were hurtful and unnecessary, and (b) that there are some situations where abortion is okay.

I still can't quite believe it happened. So a massive great bravo to this woman who was brave enough to admit that she was wrong on the internet.

You guys, I think the internet might be evolving.

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