Hardcore

Having a platform is a privilege, and Richie Hardcore has a platform. He’s a DJ for bFM, a motivational speaker, a personal trainer and a writer. He seems to do some really good stuff around mental health, addiction and the prevention of gendered violence. Hardcore is also part of the #mybodymyterms campaign, which states in their about section:

In mid-2015, a group of people came together to talk about the hard stuff. Revenge porn, sexual assault, victim-blaming and consent. They’re difficult issues to understand and engage with, and that’s why we wanted to start the conversation.

That’s an awesome kaupapa and important work.

Then a few days ago Kim Kardashian posted a throwback photo of her censored naked bod on twitter and Instagram, and Hardcore weighed in.

On a boring as hell attempt to call out nude selfies and “self worth” he wrote “Good words brother. Tautoko. We need to teach healthy ways of validation.”

Considering that #mybodymyterms seems to be about people, namely women, deciding their own ways to express self worth and refusing to be vilified for it, Hardcore’s comment was swiftly called up by women on twitter.

Hardcore wasn’t called up because he’s never allowed to make a mistake. He wasn’t called up because people decided he was deliberately pro-rape culture or slut shaming. He was called up because it’s possible to buy into, and contribute to, rape culture and slut shaming without even realising it. It’s why it’s so insidious – people often have no idea they’re feeding it.

In response, Hardcore tried to justify his thinking, retweeted supporters, thanked people for engaging with him constructively and blocked everyone else who’d been trying to speak to him.

Lizzie Marvelly, manager of #mybodymyterms posted a really lackluster statement which instead could have been used to talk about how campaign members are going to mess up sometimes and that’s ok, but they’re expected to do better. Instead, the statement reads as an all-eyes-on-you invite to Jess McAllen who wrote about the fall out.

Then Hardcore apologised.

I saw it, exhaled, and thought ‘Ok, well that feels a bit fake considering all those women are still blocked, but at least it’s an apology.’

And then I saw this.

hardcore 3

I’ve seen Hardcore tweet at a woman and ask if she’d taken her meds, I’ve seen him fancy dress as an ‘esse‘, and most of his fitness stuff makes me wince. He reminds me of a straight edge cool youth pastor and his name drives me nuts, but his work on mental health and getting more men to talk about gendered violence is genuinely important. So I’ve continually put him in the ‘more good than harm’ category of male allies.

But COME ON.

If your going to be a spokesperson against gendered violence, you’re responsible to the communities you’re advocating for. And when you mess up, as everyone does, you need to be humble and genuine in making amends. Not apologise in one medium then call people unsuccessful cunts in another.

Here’s a tip:

Most women are DEFCON 1 exhausted by men who get platforms in social justice. Imagine having someone say they’ve got your back and then letting you down constantly. Like one after another, just when you think you can trust someone – BAM. Every single time.

Then imagine those people get societal kudos for applying the bare minimum of decency to marginalised groups they don’t belong to. Imagine they get listened to about issues that affect those marginalised groups more than people who actually experience those issues. Then imagine every time you feel frustrated or publicly despair about the situation, people tell you to stop turning on your own and be thankful for people who want to help.

Richie Hardcore is that guy with a platform, whether he means to or not. Many women are going to enter the conversation with him already exhausted and burned. He has the choice to lament the unfairness of that and divide people speaking to him by who’s nice and who’s “attacking” him, or he can be a point of difference.

Anger isn’t an attack. Strong emotions aren’t an attack. And as a woman who’s existed online through harassment orders, threats to my family and a constant avalanche of hate from weird US anti-choicers, it’s frankly offensive to call something an “attack” when it isn’t.

Crying “attack” when women are mad is a tactic to silence them into being even more generous with their time, emotions and unpaid labour in order to foster a better, more educated male spokesperson who reaps the rewards of that effort and then expects it all over again next time he fucks up.

Hardcore may have only made a small comment in a friend’s Instagram feed, but people are reading his stuff, big and small, because he cultivated a platform as a woke dude with good politics. And part of living up to that is not being a two-faced dryballs about the criticism that comes with the platform, it’s not very hardcore.

6 thoughts on “Hardcore

  1. Thank you for writing this. You hit the nail on the head. It’s not about the initial comment anymore, it’s about how he chooses to engage with real women – not theoretical women impacted by being women – but real women who are upset and are using the one medium that gives them a voice that feels kinda safe.

  2. I think posting stuff from his personal FB and calling out things he said years ago and has since apologised for is really stink. I get why people got frustrated at the initial stuff, but the way you jump on people who mean well but screw up is really harsh. It is a form of bullying, and it’s sad you don’t see it. Twitter would be so much more positive with less of this nonsense on all sides.

    I see your hearts are in the right place, but you know what? So was his. People don’t need to treat each other like this. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt – this guy does a lot of really positive stuff on mental health. There are a lot of twitterers who thrive on bringing down others for even a slight disagreement, and it’s poisonous.

    You have been told this before by plenty of people, but no doubt you’ll write me off. Go ahead. But good people don’t do this to others, whether you think it’s for a good reason or not.

    • I think some of the criticism in your comment is unfair. In the post Tangerina acknowledges that Hardcore has done positive work in the area of mental health and gendered violence. And she says that the response from #mybodymyterms should have focused on how campaign members are going to mess up sometimes and that’s ok but are expected to do better. I don’t think that constitutes “jumping on people that mean well but screw up”.

      The focus of her article seems to be that it was Hardcore’s response to stuffing up that was most disappointing, rather than his initial comment. And also the fact he undermined the sincerely and credibility of his apology with his subsequent comment on FB.

      The irony is that you are probably asking Tangerina to give a heck of a lot more slack to Hardcore than she ever receives from people who don’t agree with her, as a female blogger.

      Moreover, as Tangerina says, Hardcore’s position as a respected commentator on social issues makes it even more important that he be called out, before he undermines the change he is trying to bring.

      I agree with you that there’s a lot of poison on Twitter, I just don’t think Tangerina adds to it, especially not with the post.

      • True, maybe I am expexting more from her than I should. I generally hope that people abide by the ‘don’t be a dick’ rule. But if Tangerina wants to fight against social media harrassment and bullyinh, it may be worth examining her own glass house for cracks.

        It’s fine for Tangerina to have her opinion on Richie’s public statements. But she’s not automatically in the right when she shares his private FB posts and brings up years-old issues that have been sorted.

        I would argue that she is indeed part of the poison, as many people (including lefty women and feminists) have left Twitter due to how they have been treated, and her name pops up more than it should. That’s poisonous in my book. I’ve seen plenty of it myself, although fortunately never been a target.

        “Calling people out” is how everyone reacts to everything, and it’s so unnecessary. Not everything has to turn into a public shitshow for Twitter likes. Try a DM sometime. Everyone deserves more kindness than they get (including you, Coley. You generally seem very nice when someone’s not being hounded).

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