It has been brought to my attention by now three separate people that my image and contact information (including my personal phone number — classy!) is still being used by my former burlesque troupe (and you know, former partner) to promote their show. In the immortal words of the wise and hilarious Amanda,
Are we just going to be like, having to ask now if we want to NOT get kicked in the balls? Spat on in alleyways? Can we just all agree on basic things that most people don’t like and not do those things without them having to delineate all of them all the time for ever? I ALSO DON’T WANT YOU TO STEAL MY TOILET PAPER OR KEY MY CAR DUDE. Write that shit down. I am ASKING and also TELLING. Also of all the pictures choosing the one with you posing with your ex-girlfriend is extra sh*tty bullsh*t.
RIGHT?! And you know? I’m with her on this. I had a
ragefest minor hissy fit over this when it was brought to my attention yesterday because you know, I didn’t go looking for this information. I got a text message that was all, “So glad to see you and [ex-gf + troupe members] managed to patch things up (hahahahhaunlikely), and you could rejoin the troupe! When’s the next show?” and then another that was all, “Whoa! I hadn’t heard! Will you be performing as Donna? I love that act!” and then another that was all, “Can’t wait to come see you perform! Are you and [ex-gf] performing that [planned but never executed, because priorities and how I wasn’t one] duet?”
I’m not going to provide a picture of the face I made because I don’t want to wreck my excellent hair day with such an expression, so allow this emoticon to do the work for me
So now, I’m in this way shitty, totally unnecessary, completely avoidable position where I’m rage-texting Amy, Amanda, and Carl and writing very calm, succinct, and polite emails to people I, quite happily and apparently mistakenly, thought were no longer a part of my life with things like:
“Please remove me from your blog,” and
“Please remove me from the website that hasn’t been updated since JANUARY,” and
“Please remove my contact information from the ticketing website, and please remove my image from the promotional materials.”
Because apparently, people are either too lazy or too thoughtless to be like, “Oh hey, this person is legit no longer a part of our lives (or troupe) and may have her own things going on! Maybe we should alter our actions such that we aren’t USING HER IMAGE TO PROMOTE OUR SHOW.” Why. JUST, WHY.
Like, I get that I’m hot, but seriously — inappropriate and way not classy. Nonconsensual use of my image. ‘Nonconsensual‘ is the first word in that phrase OH FOR HEAVENS SAKE I CANNOT EVEN. If I revoke consent to have any contact with a person at all, it follows pretty naturally that I revoke consent to continue to represent their theatrical endeavors with my body or its image. Am I crazy? Is this crazy. This should not feel crazy. This shouldn’t feel like anything at all, because it should not actually be occurring in a world where people are sane and decent.
This. This is why people resist Ask/Tell Culture, right here. I’ve said before that I am weary of people for whom relationships are a matter of what you can get away with, rather than a focused effort to encourage the ones we love to flourish in all their quirky glory. Ask/Tell Culture can be used with either agenda. Because JUST LIKE ANYTHING ELSE it’s a tool, not a solution. Its value is directly tied to the spirit and execution of its use. Here’s the thing, y’all: There are things that people don’t think to ask for, because they are simply a matter of course for normal, healthy, decent human adults. Of course, there are normal, healthy, decent human adults, and then, there are Askholes.
Yup. I just brought my neologism A-Game to this party. You’re welcome, world.
I’ve written before on how weary I grow of people who use things like Ask Culture or Communication Monoculture as a tool to provide the bare minimum for the people for whom they supposedly care. These people are Askholes. They’re the folks who will treat another human being badly, then when the badly treated person comes forward and asks, “It occurs to me that this makes me feel like rancid tripe, could ya not?” they’re all, “But you didn’t Aaaaaaaaaaaaask me for anything different.”
And then my head actually explodes. Because whut. Dudes, I’m aware I didn’t ask for anything different. That doesn’t excuse or mitigate your behavior at all, and it sure as sh*t doesn’t make it my fault or responsibility that you apparently would like adult supervision so you don’t go around breaking other kids’ crayons and end up with no friends because no one likes that kid stop touching my crayons, godd*mn.
Here’s the thing about Askholes:
The way people are inclined to treat you without your instruction or direction says LOADS about how worthy they are of you, and how they view what it means to love someone.
If someone’s basic attitude, is “Hey, soooo, Immabeeadouchecanoe, and engage with you in ways that have a very low probability of making you feel important, special, or valued (or worse, have a very high probability of making you feel unvalued, unappreciated, disposable, and unworthy), until you explicitly tell me I have to stop, (and then I will likely defend or make excuses for my behavior anyway)” then they are Askholes. If people are like, “Well how am I supposed to know to treat you decently if you don’t first explain this to me?” They are using Ask/Tell Culture as a weapon, a bullying technique, or a supremely lame excuse for being crap at things like friendship or love.
Double bullsh*t points if they then get mad at you for being hurt or made angry by this behavior, as though it is legit, your fault for not saying up front: “I prefer to be treated the way decent human adults treat one another.”
WHO DOES NOT PREFER THIS, SERIOUSLY, SHOW OF HANDS.
Because, hey guys! I just assume that the way you treat me is you know, the way you want to treat me. Call me crazy, but it seems reasonable for one adult to assume about another that if they consistently behave in a particular way that they are doing so with full knowledge and endorsement of that behavior. I WILL OBSERVE AND EVALUATE YOU ACCORDINGLY, OVER HERE WITH MY CLIPBOARD AND LIBRARIAN GLASSES AND REALLY EXCELLENT PENS. I have a checklist. It is, oh yes, very thorough.
So, Nineteen Hours and counting, my photograph and personal contact information is still being utilized now explicitly without my permission. I guess asking doesn’t really get the job done, either. Good to know.
Edited to Add: At hour 21, another member of the troupe agreed to start tackling the task of removing my image from various and sundry social media. She handled it gracefully, and without caveat or excuses. I’m grateful for her cooperation, but remain pretty f*cking cheesed in general. I’m sure I’ll get over it?