I used to be a fluffbunny. I was; I was Doctor Fluffbun, PhD in FluffyBunniness. I fully admit that I used to cling to wilful ignorance; I used to refuse to learn anything real, because it hurt my feelings to have my beliefs challenged.
It’s not a comfortable thing to admit to. It’s not enjoyable to say that I have been anything less than the perfect specimen of homo witchiens snarkiens you see before you.
I cut my teeth on Silver RavenWolf’s Teen Witch and Barbara Walker’s The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. I read The Moon Under Her Feet as if it were historical fact, not fiction. The Burning Times were real, and I had many sparkly pentacle gifs that said NEVER AGAIN.
I eventually learned that those books were not good sources for fact, and that The Moon Under Her Feet was inspiring fiction that had little, if any, basis in reality. This wasn’t an easy journey, to get rid of my fluff; it was a long hard slog that required the combing of many tangled mats. Revisionist history is pernicious stuff to get in your fur.
Once I became acquainted with critical thinking in the field of religious study (I had it elsewhere; gods only know why I couldn’t apply it to my witchcraft), I became a champion for educating other folks in the same boat as I’d been. This is true in other areas for me as well (feminism, f’ex), so it’s not too surprising.
What’s different, however, is the level of burnout. Yes, as a feminist activist I get so fucking tired of constantly educating people; it is not easy to do on a constant basis and often I just want to flip tables and say screw it, let’s watch the world burn.
However, there’s a certain coping mechanism there that doesn’t seem to exist in the same vein for me dealing with constant fluffball questions or statements from other pagans. Or maybe I’m just prioritizing — feminism, after all, is literally about life or death. There isn’t quite the same sort of gravity with pagan religions in North America.
You get tired. The same questions, the same misconceptions, over and over again…even though FAQs and primers have been put together, and are pretty easy to find…even though the info is out there. Hell, how did I find info on why Silly Feathered Puppy was such a shitty resource? I looked it up on the Google machine! (Or perhaps Yahoo; this was years ago.)
My point is — it’s not as if this info isn’t there. And with each repetition I must make of various points, hoping to educate folks, my softness gets worn away and I become shorter and blunter with my words.
This, when applied directly to people who are drowning in fluff, does not always go well. Because like I said above — having your beliefs challenged is painful. Often those of us who spend the time to try and teach others are shouted at, screamed at, and called Fascist Meanie Poo-Poo Heads because we’re so MEEEEAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN when we tell people, no, Hecate is not a goddess of eroticism and no, there is no Ancient Irish Potato Goddess (though Brighid might qualify as a modern one; She does like French fries, in my experience).
Deal with this on a regular enough basis and you stop giving a shit that people think you’re a FMPPH — integrity matters too much.
But couldn’t you be kinder when you educate people, Morag? you say. Certainly they’d then see the errors of their ways!
Ahahahahahahahahahaha. Clearly you have never fought the bunny.
Most FMPPHs have tried to be nicer with our wording, while still being firm with correction and education. Rarely does it work. We still get yelled at for being MEEAAAAAAAANNNNN and then the bunnies hop all over the internet, yelling about how MEAN those MEANIES are with their LOGIC and their FACTS.
Here’s the thing about being Doctor Fluffbun: you will do anything to cling to the fluffy little tail upon your backside. This is why the definition of “fluff bunny” is someone who clings to wilful ignorance. When we talk about fluff bunnies or educating the ignorant we are not talking about folks who just genuinely don’t know any better and, once educated, make an effort to change what needs to be changed. We are talking about the folks who cling to bad history and lack of facts even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
When you’re dealing with woo this is more frustrating than if you’re not. So much of pagan religions requires a bit of suspension of disbelief; a willingness to believe whatever crazy shit your friend is talking about, whether or not you experienced something similar last week; there must be a willingness to see all the weird stuff we do as normal, or there’s no point in talking to each other about it. (And honestly, I think that must be true in any religion, but perhaps moreso when you’re dealing with folks who are godbothered, or people who work magic. Etc.)
So when you get Doctor Fluffbun coming in and refusing to let go of all the just outright false stuff they’ve been taught, and refusing to label any of their beliefs as UPG — screaming from on high that the universal peaceful matriarchy was the TRUTH, dammit, it REALLY HAPPENED and if you DON’T BELIEVE THAT you’re a SUPPORTER of the EBIL PENIS PATRIARCHY; or yelling from the rooftops about how ALL gods and goddesses are simply facets of THE GAWD AND GAWDESS and how if you don’t acknowledge this TRUTH then you are DELUSIONAL because it’s REAL and we got this knowledge from the Atlantean Dolphin Masters, who brought The Wicca to Europe….
Well, you see where I’m going with this.
Wilful ignorance, run unchecked, leads to fundamentalism and bigotry: telling people what they should or should not believe. Telling people what the truth is regardless of facts to the contrary.
So if my option to counteract fundamentalism and bigotry and, well, basically just being a jerk is to don my FMPPH hat, hard-won after recovering from being a Doctor Fluffbun myself, then I have to admit: I love being a Fascist Meanie Poo Poo Head. (and I’ll ride that all the way to the ground.)