What is the correct way to react to people tossing thinly veiled, insulting generalizations at you?
I have a friend with whom I share an unusual, but completely benign hobby. We were taking photographs of it together, outside in a public park. Several people have approached us and idly remarked that “whoever owns THIS [object related to our hobby] must be a complete freak, huh?”. Now if I were on my own, I’d likely tell them to their face that it belongs to me, but my friend preferred to say nothing and is of the opinion that you should say nothing, and admitting it’s yours would be too confrontational.
Personally I think that this behaviour is a lot like slut-shaming or kink-shaming- it’s a way for people to look down and publicly deride others while feeling justified, superior and generally socially acceptable. Again, it is a hobby which does not in any way hurt or insult anybody and which we engage in for our own money.
What does Admin think of this? 1122-13
I have this nagging feeling that I am being asked to approve something I really do not know what it is but which has the potential to be quite offensive. You did, after all, use the words “freak”, “slut” and “kink” in your short submission and noted that total strangers have little inhibition about approaching you both and commenting on the apparent freaky nature of whatever this object is that you and a compatriot are photographing. And to admit to owning this item has the very distinct potential of creating confrontation? Red flags for me.
You are exercising your hobby in a public place and along with that should come the expectation that you have no privacy. Doing anything in the public arena carries the risk of public commentary regardless of whether it is deserved or not. My suggestion would be that if you desire to continue doing your hobby in a public place, that you grow a thicker skin because you cannot control the behavior of others. The alternative is to find a private place to photograph.