In the last few months several of our friends have said to us, “I do not know how you handle all of the crap you guys get on the internet.” Most of the time our response to them is, “We do our best to try to ignore it, but it is surprisingly hard.”
I’ll be honest. I was a nerdy kid and I was unpopular and picked on, but I’ve never been bullied the way I’m bullied because of Teahouse. And I’m not exaggerating that, we don’t talk about it much but it’s pretty brutal. I’m positive the same goes for E. And I think the worst thing is that most of it is relatively anonymous and incredibly personal.
We started Teahouse with a dorky sense of humor and an adoration of stupid melodrama. The comic exists because we desperately wanted something fun and different from our superhero gigs. The book was never intended to be taken more seriously than any other BL stories out there because Teahouse is basically our love letter to the BL genre.
We come from superheroes for Christ sake. We just wanted to do a comic about dudes fucking cause THEY NEVER DID IN OUR DAY JOBS. *cry cry*
Teahouse became way bigger than either of us ever expected it to. We had no idea it’d blow up the way it did and with that popularity came a number of incredibly unpleasant surprises.
One of the biggest casualties has been our ability to interact with people and fans. We used to be able to joke around and even engage in serious conversations (not confrontations) but we can’t anymore. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point people started taking everything, regardless of whether or not it was an obvious joke, seriously. So we hardly interact with people anymore and it super sucks because we used to enjoy it.
There’s this interesting culture of hate on the internet. I don’t know if it’s just that people are angry and feel a relief in releasing their anger online in the form of anonymous online “hate justice” but it’s rough on the receiving end of it. I won’t lie. People seem to think that ugly opinions are the same as constructive criticism and it’s not but there’s no arguing with them about it. They’re not looking for reasons to like you, they’re looking for more reasons to hate you.
I’m 90% positive that most of these people would never say any of this stuff to our faces. I don’t think that it’s because they don’t have the balls, I think it’s because most people genuinely don’t like hurting people. When you say something ugly to someone’s face you see the hurt that you cause. The internet makes it easier because you can do anonymously, over a computer, and feel guiltless. They don’t feel like bad people because they don’t see the results.
So the biggest piece of advice I’ve been giving people interested in web comics recently: “Minimize your response to negative people period. Don’t even try to reason with them. Just ignore it or delete, try not to engage.” Every once in a while we’ll slip up and let something get to us or joke about something that we think is minor (always blows up in our faces, someday we’ll learn) but at this point, that’s how we try deal with all the crap thrown at us. “Ignore, delete, try not to engage.”
All of this is true, I give the same advice when people say they want to start an autobio comic.
TW: cissexism, anti-trans slur, violence and many more.
No. If this wasn’t Teahouse I might have been able to let it go, but I can’t.
Yes, there are people on the internet who are mean for the sake of being mean. However, when you perpetuate problematic statements such as your trans* character “being a trap” alongside other things….. people aren’t being mean to you for the sake of being mean when they call you out. You aren’t just joking around innocently and people are running up to you and kicking you in the face for no reason before running away because the internet “doesn’t have consequences”
Let’s talk about consequences.
Your webcomic brings you a readership. It brings you a platform. You’re trying to target the BL community….which, unsurprisingly, has a lot of queer people in it. Many of whom are trans*. So, somehow, you thought that saying something about trans* people that is often to excuse their murders and assaults is a joke? Is messing around? Is having a fun time? How many of your viewers must have heard the same thing or are afraid of hearing those very words because more often than not they are a death sentence. Do you honestly have no compassion for the people in your audience?
And for the rest of your cis audience…. you’re implicitly telling them that it’s okay to have these views. To say these things. When you respond to being called out by saying that you were just messing around and people are being mean to you then you are dismissing the very real hurt and danger that trans* people experience andface and that it’s okay for them to do the same. You are leading by example.
You know, it sure does suck being told you’re anti-trans*, but let me tell you: it hurts more to be suffering on receiving end of trans* hatred. Teahouse has said that they have suffered from being bullied…. so why is it so hard for them to understand that they shouldn’t be validating the reasons why people hurt others over who they are? It stings a bit to be called out, but then you need to get over it and actually make changes to your behavior so that you stop hurting people.
People didn’t run over and start kicking you in the face for no reason, Teahouse. They just started complaining after you stood above them and repeatedly kicked them in the face, laughing about anti-trans* things. Our reaction is not an attack— it’s self protection.
You said that most of the stuff said to you wouldn’t be stuff said to you in person. Tell me, would you spew this bullshit at trans* people in person either? Or would you recognize the damage you’re doing if you fucking saw the hurt on our faces? Hmm.
As for the whole “We were just joking and you guys killed it with being mean” argument…. I refer you to the excellent work of feminists who refute misogynistic jokes by assholes who say “it’s just a joke”. I think you ought to read some of that before you mask your lack of concern and education and the deadly consequences of your actions as someone else’s problem.
You’re assuming they’re referring to the trans issue when they talk about not being able to joke around.
The other big problem with this is that the things you’re talking about have already been addressed and removed. People make mistakes, I was an anti-abortion, super Christian-Republican when I was a teenager. I’d be really fucked if everything I’ve changed my mind about was still being held against me… and people yelled at me and dismissed my work all the time for it. I would be SO fucked. People have a right to do it, but I’d be really screwed.
If they fuck up and fix something, do you have to forgive them for it? No. But it’s really weird to keep on about it afterwards on a post that has nothing to do with that. Literally, they weren’t even able to make a post talking about how they can’t engage with fans, without you bringing up their past mistake, I think that pretty much proves the point @_@!!! I’d be more with you on this if there was anything in the original post indicating the trans issue or if they had never addressed their mistake @_@! Why would you think that’s what they’re talking about?
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