Written By: Candice Heath
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
Call Out Culture: An attempt to address oppressive behavior (usually of a single individual) that often leads to public shaming.
What’s good about it
- Well intentioned
- Brings muted discussion on important issues to the forefront
- Informs those unfamiliar with certain circles of activism on unseen struggles
What’s bad about it
- Blanket ostracism of an individual rendering their good actions void
- Punishment for mistakes rather than an invitation to learn and grow from them
- Doesn’t acknowledge evidence in opposition to the attack or “call out”
How does Gillian Anderson play into it?
Over the last week, call out culture has taken over the Gillian Anderson conversation on Tumblr regarding a tweet she posted in April found here.
First things first…
Who is Old Gregg?!
- A cult icon from The Mighty Boosh, a British comedy series. Half man, half fish? Hermaphroditic genitalia referred to in the series as a “mangina” – oh and the mangina apparently blasts blinding light that makes you pass out? Hmmmm. You can find him here.
What’s bad about Old Gregg…
- The fact that he’s a seemingly trans character made out to be a monster, something not quite human, and openly mockable makes him a liability to the trans community. Groups without representation that are caricaturized in pop culture are at risk of public phobia.
What’s bad about the tweet…
- Insensitive to the trans community – especially considering the choice of word “fortunately.”
- It was posted in April and hasn’t been taken down or commented on by Gillian or her team.
What call out culture does not acknowledge…
We don’t know who runs Gillians social
- It’s not fair to say she has or has not seen the criticism surrounding the tweet and chosen not to speak out.
Gillian dedicates a great deal of her life to fight for equality
- In the form of several charities found here.
Gillian is writing a book entitled, WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere
According to the HollywoodReporter, Gillian states that WE is “a call-out to all women around the world and by women I include girls, transgender, anyone who identifies themselves as being intrinsically female.” This, being her only direct statement about the trans community, indicates a supportive and inclusive attitude.
Accountability is important
Call out culture brings a lot of good things to the table and unfortunately, it’s often used as an excuse to tear each other down rather than educate offenders on ways to improve. Addressing problematic behavior is a crucial part of constructing safe environments for at-risk communities, however attacks (on either end) are counterproductive to achieving this goal.
Gillian’s tweet, intentional or otherwise, definitely carries transphobic subtext. Is it worth addressing? Yes. Should one bad reference define someone’s stance on an entire community when direct statements indicate a supportive position? No.
Cool it with your mob mentality and take the time to see the big picture. Research first, form an opinion and use your voice as a tool, not a weapon.