I’m in my PJs, the AC is on and I have a glass of water. I am finally ready to talk about this post.
I want to go on the record and say that I am 26 years old, which means I’m not a teenager. But, I love books. I love YA and I write YA. Also, I love the Fault in our Stars. But, I’m not a nerdfighter, I don’t watch the youtube channel and I have not read any of his other books. And, I love TFIOS, but I don’t really understand why it’s still on the bestsellers list and I don’t think it’s the best book ever written. So, when it comes to John Green I’d say I was a fan of his book, but don’t care that much about him on a personal level. This story saddens me not for him specifically, but because it is so problematic on so many levels.
Ok, so now the article…my first thought is that while the writer of the piece understands rape culture, she misunderstands the real problem with the original post and John Green’s response.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a hardcore feminist. I absolutely believe that there is a HUGE problem in regards to society and the way women are treated. This is at every level. Camryn Garett talks about teenage voices being ignored and unfortunately that doesn’t always go away when you get older. Not when you’re female, or gay or of color.
That being said, this is NOT a situation where a girl’s discomfort was ignored or laughed off.
This is what the blogger wrote:
I bet John Green thinks people don’t like him because he’s a dork or a nerd or whatever, when in reality it’s because he’s a creep who panders to teenage girls so that he can amass some weird cult-like following. And it’s always girls who feel misunderstood, you know, and he goes out of his way to make them feel important and desirable. Which is fucking weird. Also he has a social media presence that is equivalent to that dad of a kid in your friend group who always volunteers to ‘supervise’ the pool parties and scoots his lawn chair close to all the girls.
Where in this paragraph is the moment where we learn something that John Green did? Did this blogger meet him at a bookfest and felt creeped out by something he did? If so, it’s not in this post. Where is the quote or the screen shot of John Green being inappropriate? Where is the story where John Green wrote something or blogged something that hit this blogger in a way that made them uncomfortable? Is it in his stories? Is it on his tumblr, his twitter or his youtube videos? What did John Green do, according to this blogger, besides have fans who are teenage and female?
In the Huff post piece, Camryn Garett writes, “Okay. Awesome. She said her piece, right? And nowhere in that chunk of words did she accuse John Green of sexual assault.”
First of all, in his rebuttal post, he doesn’t mention sexual assault. He says abuse and abuse is very different from assault. Assault by it’s very definition means harmful contact. Abuse is improper treatment. So, ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, when an adult male stares at the chest of an underage girl or uses his power to get inappropriately close to an underage girl, that is abuse. And, that is what that blogger alluded to.
So, when he said ,”You want me to defend myself against the implication that I sexually abuse children?” He was absolutely right, you guys. That is what the original post implied.
I have to impress upon you the power of words. We talk about the power of words a lot on COBG. Everyone know that I cannot abide the glorification of abuse or racism of any kind in books, because words implant themselves into your mind. They have the power to build and destroy. As an adult, I have to tell you that there is no greater accusation than sexual abuse against a child. In prison, murderers assault child abusers. MURDERERS have a code of conduct that tells them that hurting a child is wrong.
So, jokingly comparing a person’s social media presence to that of a father using his power to abuse teenage girls is just unacceptable. And, I’m sorry there is literally nothing mentioned in that post that speaks of sincere discomfort. Nothing.
You can argue, but this is tumblr. If you have a few followers, certain people on tumblr cannot wait to chew on a piece of you. I have been called everything from a racist to an ape on this site. I have been sent posts of people who don’t follow me, who I don’t follow, talking shit about me. This is the price you pay for having any sort of following. I’m sure John Green knows that and I am sure he deletes hundreds more offensive messages than I will ever get. But, this blogger implied that he was a pervert. That is difficult to ignore, especially since it was gaining traction by the time he saw it.
The wording of that persons post does not sound like a traumatized, uncomfortable victim. It sounds like a troll. It doesn’t have any specificity, feeling or urgency. When I read it, it never occurred to me that it was written by a teenage girl. I would have sworn it was a college guy. I really would have.
Like this line, “And it’s always girls who feel misunderstood, you know, and he goes out of his way to make them feel important and desirable.” Is it always girls who feel misunderstood? Because, I feel like I’ve seen dozens of movies about teenage guys who feels misunderstood. And, I’ve read lots of books about guys who feel like an outcast. I didn’t realize that feeling misunderstood was female like my period.
Is it only John Green who goes out of his way to make misunderstood teenagers feel important and desirable? Because, I thought there was an entire genre of movies and books and TV shows that really went out of it’s way to make teenagers feel important and desirable.
And, all of this is very annoying to me and trivial, but here is the crux of the problem. People are taking this situation and using it as an example of another powerful male stepping all over a female and the world ignoring a victim, in favor of a popular man.
Here the problem, first of all, John Green has every right to defend himself when someone implies that he is a pervert. Second, this situation screams of girl who cried wolf. The original post NEVER says that the blogger is uncomfortable. Or was made to feel uncomfortable by John Green.
So, this line from the Huffington post has no bases in the situation, “ Am I supposed to just tolerate all of the older men in my life who make me uncomfortable? The men who have more power than me because they’re older and more respected?”
WHAT?! You should never ever tolerate any man older or younger who makes you uncomfortable.
But, despite the comparison John Green is not your father. He is not the father of your best girlfriend and you are not going to his house for pool parties. John Green is not staring at you on the subway. He is not sneaking into your room to watch you sleep. He is a writer. He writes young adult fiction. Which is his right. Just as it was Dr. Seuss or C.S. Lewis’ right to write for children. When I was a kid I was OBSESSED with C.S. Lewis. If he had a tumblr, I would have been all over his page , sending him messages, hoping he would notice me. And, if C.S. Lewis was cool, and appreciated how much I loved his words, he would respond.
And, that is the problem. John Green is a success. He is one of the biggest names in not just YA, but literature right now. He has a successful movie, and another movie coming out and another in the works. The fact that he takes time out of his day to engage with his fans is pretty awesome. Just like it’s awesome that Taylor Swift engages with her fans and that Neil Gaiman engages with his fans.
And, while supporters of this blogger are throwing rape culture claims on this situation, there are actually teenage girls who are silenced even though they are being abused. Even though, they are actually made uncomfortable, or are being physically or verbally abused. And, because we are misusing this situation, they are gagged, because instead of being clear on what a legitimate violation of comfort is, we are throwing words around and placing blame where it doesn’t exist.
It’s like rape victims who do not come forward. Do you know the reason why? Because, they are afraid that they wont be believed. And the reason they fear that is because for like every Thousand girls who are raped (i’m making this statistic up) there is one who lies about being raped. And, that 1 liar, for some strange reason, overpowers the actual survivors of rape.
Claiming that this is a teenage girl who has been made uncomfortable by a powerful man and then muzzled, is fucking dangerous, because it is not true.
Let me be clear.
Your voice is important. If you feel uncomfortable by anyone in your life you should tell someone. Whether it’s your parents, a teacher or a police officer, you have a right to voice your concerns. Don’t wait till it becomes physical if you don’t have to. But, a stranger on the internet who is not engaging you, contacting you or leering at you is not a person who you call out. If John Green or anyone else makes you uncomfortable, unfollow their blog.
This is ridiculous. And, quite frankly many people are crying wolf and ruining it for people who actually need champions.