Today, I published Shining Light on Internet Rage: Shaming People Online is Easy; Making Change in the Real World is Not about the controversy that erupted over my earlier essay, Shining Light on Cutoff Culture.
The outrage against me began when a feminist advice blogger wrote a critique of my piece, labeling me “entitled” and distorting an anecdote I shared. For a week, my twitter account was overwhelmed with attacks. A prominent technology columnist called me an “entitled crybaby” and implied that Medium should censor my essay. Other bloggers piled on, mostly echoing the theme of male entitlement. A popular advice columnist for geeks filled his with GIFs, of course.
But as the spotlight grew, I began receiving emails from both men and women who were deeply touched by the essay:
“I was abandoned by my fiancé just two months ago and have been dealing with PTSD/depression and anxiety. I am brought to tears that someone can sympathize with my deep, primal pain and even more comforted since you are a male.”
Then, in July, The Guardian, one of the most popular news sites, ran a column which prominently mentioned me alongside the Isla Vista killer, Elliot Rodger, citing us together as examples of male entitlement.
So, what’s going on here? Why did my essay trigger outrage in some and heartfelt appreciation from others? Why did it merit prominence in The Guardian of all places?
In the piece, I also talked about my yoga and activism training with Off the Mat Into the World which helped me navigate the controversy, understand why people we’re acting out and better respond to the situation.