As we all know, incestophobia is an intense and irrational fear or hatred of consanguinamory and consanguinamorous people. Remember that not everyone who has an objection to consanguinamory is an incestophobe, sometimes objections come from a simple lack of education on the subject or from simply copying what ‘everyone knows’, when in reality, common knowledge is often in error. Incestophobes are people who are highly irrational in their argument, unwilling to learn, and hateful in their mindset, and occasionally the ridiculous comments that spews forth from their frothing mouths beggars belief.
So let’s compare the three main mindsets of a tolerant person, a normal objection from ignorance and a genuine incestophobe, just for clarification:
TOLERANT PERSON: People should be free to love who they are in love with without any prejudice by the system or other people. They may not want this type of relationship for themselves, but they understand that some people do and have no objection to others pursuing such relationships. Many people in this category are allies.
NORMAL OBJECTOR: Somebody who basically knows no better, they’ve swallowed much of the misinformation about the subject whole simply because they haven’t been exposed to any other information. They generally believe it should be illegal on the grounds of genetics, religion, or encouraging child molesters, but they do acknowledge that for some it is a victimless crime.
INCESTOPHOBIC: These people go WAY beyond normal objectors, they have not only swallowed the misinformation from society, but they’ve embellished it in the re-telling. These people will name-call and hurl abuse at consang people online, and come out with outrageous statements, backed up only with how disgusted they are at our very existence. These people can be very irrational and debating them is usually not worth the time and energy spent, unless it is to allow them to make a fool of themselves. If you take one on, be prepared for CAPSLOCK ABUSE and a liberal amount of bad language and insults.
As you can see, the normal objections may be woefully ignorant, but the mindset isn’t irrational. These are the people we can debate with, engage with, and change their minds gradually. Most of them have never knowingly had any interactions with consanguinamorous people, but if they did they can could be persuaded to move into the tolerant category. They will be open minded enough to ask us questions and learn about us in order to update their worldview.
So, how to we reach genuine incestophobes? While it would be nice to think that we can tackle them head on and put forward our counter-objections, I don’t think this approach is going to get us very far. Usually they become more irate when faced with evidence or arguments against their position, and the stronger those arguments the more irate they become. I’ve seen it happen many times when debates have sparked up in response to articles on the subject. Their irate attitude isn’t entirely down to misunderstanding, it’s down to their emotional response. This is what makes their reaction so extreme. Obviously they have a very strong Westermarck effect, but that still doesn’t excuse their bad behaviour.
What will work is them seeing more and more people move towards tolerance, knowing that more and more people are beginning to disagree with their position may in itself lead to them questioning their own position. Minds will not be opened by us screaming ‘incestophobe’ at them, but by them being given a reason to look deeper. Sad, but humanity does on the whole act as a herd, to follow what is trending. When ignorance is alleviated and more people become tolerant of us, the social pressure not to be a bigot will be too much for many of them. Attitudes can and do change, but such significant changes as these take place slowly over time, but once it starts heading in that direction and the momentum is built then the necessary changes are inevitable.
I also doubt that incestophobia will be stamped out in it’s entirity, after all, there are still some pockets of homophobia around even though there is plenty of information out there now about homosexuality. What matters is changing enough minds and hearts to open the doors of equal rights for us, starting with decriminalization and ending with marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws.
One piece of advice I can give you is to not let haters like this get you down. Sometimes they can say things which are downright hurtful, but that doesn’t mean that they’re right, actually in many cases they show themselves up for the idiots they are. Whatever you do don’t get yourself into a heated argument with one, it will quickly degenerate into trading insults, and that isn’t what you want, it’s a useless waste of time at best and counterproductive and emotionally exhausting at worst. It might be difficult to do when somebody is giving you such ammunition, but retain the moral high ground and anyone watching will realize that compared to that idiot, it’s you who is being most reasonable.
Anyone serious about tackling the problem should consider joining our efforts to educate the public, and thus help make the change quicker. There are many ways in which people can participate:
- Participate in anonymous interviews to let them know your story (or why you’re an ally)
- Share the links to our blogs with othes on social media like facebook.
- If you’re really adventurous you might even consider starting a blog of your very own, this approach isn’t everyones cup of tea, but if you think you have the necessary skills and time it’s worth giving it a go.
- Creating and sharing youtube videos or podcasts on the subject.
- Offering emotional support to consang people if they’ve come under attack, although this won’t change the mind of the incestophobe it will help to demonstrate to those who have been attacked that not everyone is against them.