Art may imitate life, but life imitates TV


(Title courtesy of Ani.)

I just watched the other day's episode of Rollergirls. And suddenly I understand why I feel so terrible.

The espisode centered around Clownsnack. Clownsnack was a founder of the Lonestar Roller Derby, but she quit last season because her mom was sick. This season, she wanted to come back. Rather than welcoming her back, some of the current roller derby members (in positions of power) put her through the audition and hazing process of a new member, then they told her she didn't make a team. Ultimately, some of the TXRD's other members protest about Clownsnack's treatment and she's granted another audition and gets back on to her team.

The reasoning given for not wanting Clownsnack back by the women who are keeping her out varies, but it basically centers around her expecting special treatment because she's been in the league before, her being "flaky" for having quit (even though her reasons for quitting seemed very good to me), and the league being something different now than the it was when she was involved. Basically, they seemed to argue that they'd outgrown her and that they wanted their league to be something different than the one she was familiar with, so she wasn't welcome.

Ding ding ding.

It is incredibly painful to watch something you put your time and heart into be taken away from you, and that's how this had to feel. To have people for whom you have worked and to whom you have given decide they are beyond you, or they want different things than you do, so you should just go away quietly, please. On the show, Clownsnack and her supporters refuse to let her be shut out, and she ends up back on the team, but I can't help but think it must be a pretty hollow victory. After being humiliated and insulted like that, I don't see how she could go back at all. On the other hand, though, why let something she loves be taken from her just because a vocal minority are big assholes?

That is the question.

The bigger question, though, is why is it so impossible for a group of women to get together and do anything without these types of battles? Why does someone always have to be "out" in order for everyone else to feel secure being "in"? And why is the cruelty with which we perpetuate these crimes against each other necessary?

Honestly, it makes me want to give up. It makes me want to give up on the entire idea of a community of women. It makes me want to give up on believing that we deserve better than the treatment we give each other. It makes me want to give up and hide in my house and never try to be a part of anything again.


I haven't seen the episode, but look forward to it. It's been my experience that when someone starts a group event, they expect that the group will form to their ideals of how it should be rather than let the group evolve into whatever it evolves into. It because the view of many rather than the view of one and that's when breakdowns occur. So perhaps, in this rollerderby, she anticipated that this group would fulfill a particular vision and didn't take into account that each person's personality would influence the evolution of the league. And I think that applies to all communities - male or female populations. There seems to be some demand for conformity wherever you go, so we all look for the place where we can conform easiest rather than be true to ourselves and enjoy the differences.

No human group exists without heirarchy and power dynamics, and one of the safest ways of feeling better about your position, if you aren't at the top, is to find someone you can push out of the group and keep them there in the most inferior of all positions. Try it sometime. It's totally fucking fun.

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April 2012

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