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Mental Illness in the Pagan Community
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Term “Fluffy Bunny” Must Go
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Article ID: 12128
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Praxiteles [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: December 30th. 2007
Times Viewed: 7,487
I believe that the term “fluffy bunny” is not only not useful or practical, but harmful, and that we should abandon the term.
So, why must “fluffy bunny” go? In my opinion, there are the five main reasons why:
1. The term “fluffy bunny” is itself fluffy bunny.
“Fluffy bunny” is defined variously, but the general notion is that of a person who doesn’t check their facts (or even care about ‘facts’, historical or otherwise); who accepts or dismisses something without critical thought; and who goes around spreading their dogma as if it is the one True Way. The usual example given is of someone who buys one book on the Craft, or several books but all by the same author, and takes this author's approach and viewpoints as Gospel, and then goes around annoying the heck out of everyone else. When challenged or questioned on anything, the “fluffy bunny” can’t defend or explain their position, except with something along the lines of “because so-and-so says so.”
Now I agree that this behavior is rather unimpressive, and that “because so-and-so says so” isn’t any kind of reasoned response or valid argument. However, have you maybe noticed that the same people who throw around the “fluffy bunny” and “fluff” and “nonsense” labels the most are often the very people who can’t explain why a particular author or book or person is so bad, so “fluffy”? Instead of taking the trouble to back up their assertions with reasons and facts, they just slap on the “fluffy bunny” label and pour on the derision and contempt.
To my mind, this is type of behavior is worse than the behavior being criticized.
Labels and stereotypes are the tools of guilt, shame, manipulation, and domination. They bypass reason and consideration and go straight to an emotional level. No tyrant or demagogue has ever been able to dispense with these tools; no genocide, no atrocity, no war has ever been committed or fought without their help. They stop you from considering the people involved, from thinking of the person, the human being.
Fluffy bunny in drag isn’t any better than fluffy bunny. The website Why Wiccans Suck, for example, isn’t any more thoughtful or profound than that which it attacks. If someone hates someone or something because it is “fluffy bunny”, and when asked for an explanation why can do no better than say, “because it’s fluff and nonsense”, well then, I’m sorry, but I don’t see any essential difference between the behavior they are exhibiting and that which they are attacking.
And supposing that someone can articulate many good reasons why something is bad then why fall back on a crutch, on a label like “fluffy bunny” in the first place? Wouldn’t a paragraph or two of articulate and reasoned criticism be so much better?
2. “Fluffy Bunny” is a straw-man term.
Has anyone ever actually met a fluffy bunny, either in real life or online? Perhaps some people have, but I haven’t! Looking over the more serious definitions of what a “fluffy bunny” is, at, for example, Wicca for the Rest of Us, I can’t see that there could possibly be very many bona fide fluffy bunnies running around out there. And keep in mind that those people who are de facto fluffy bunnies due to ignorance, and who stop being such when confronted with the facts and better information, are not fluffy bunnies.
Fluffy bunnies, according to the definition, are those who ignorantly and stupidly cling to whatever they hold up on a pedestal, regardless of the facts. Now, really, how many of those people have you met?
So, why is this term so prevalent? Is it perhaps because its use makes people feel good because it implies that the user is not a fluffy bunny, is in fact a “real” Witch? A “serious” Witch? I think sometimes this may be the case, or partly the case, and this brings me to my next point:
3. “Fluffy Bunny” is manipulative and plays on the fears and desires of the inexperienced and insecure.
For the record, I include myself here. The stupidest thing I ever wrote online is when I asked for a definition of a “pop Wiccan” because “I didn’t want to be one, ” and knowing what it was would help me from becoming one. But, really, how could I know that I didn’t want to be a pop Wiccan if I didn’t actually know what a “pop Wiccan” was? I couldn’t. It was stupid. Or actually, it was insecure.
I greatly admired (and still admire) the person with whom I was talking, and wanted to avoid what she despised or dismissed. In other words, instead of thinking for myself, I wanted her to think for me. This is not what being a Witch is all about--quite the opposite--regardless of whether the opinion or position was right or wrong.
Witchcraft isn’t about having the “right” opinions, or reading the “right” books, or being taught by the “right” Coven--not if “right” is something you dogmatically and thoughtlessly accept from others.
The widespread use of the term “fluffy bunny” and terms like it, creates an atmosphere of negativity and nastiness, and this atmosphere tends to focus the attention on opinions and positions instead of on process and methods, which help develop discernment and skills.
It’s got a bunch of people out there wasting time trying to avoid being a “fluffy bunny” when they don’t even know what that really is, and could thus only accept the judgments of others on the subject, and hence perpetuate the fluffy bunniness of the term “fluffy bunny.”
Wouldn’t it be better to focus attention instead on learning and progressing? I suggest that maybe the best thing we can do is not to be afraid of being called “fluffy bunny”; not to be afraid of reading a book reputed to be “fluffy bunny”; not to care so much what others opine, but instead to care more about trying to find the truth for ourselves.
I think dialogue is good; discussion is good; considering the thoughts and reasoning of others is good; by all means engage in these activities (as we are right now). But I think that accepting labels and bald dogmatic assertions, even from those with more experience and skill, short-circuits all of these good things.
4. “Fluffy Bunny” is authoritarian.
It seems to me that those who use a label, a stereotype, like “fluffy bunny”, necessarily imply that they are an authority. They are asking you to take their word on something, unless or until they bother to explain the reasoning behind the judgment.
And, please! I am quite sure that there is always someone out there who thinks that you and your way is “fluffy bunny”; always some group ready to look down on the group looking down on a group just finding their way as best they can; always someone ready to point out what you are not, what you have not, where you are unworthy of serious consideration.
Wouldn’t it be better to just stop with all that? Don’t we have better things to do with our time than criticize and condemn and judge others and how they practice? We’re not monotheists! We have no orthodoxy to defend; no Tradition to keep pure and untainted. Can’t we instead use all of that extra energy to strive all the harder to live and practice to the best of our ability?
5. It will hurt your magick.
Or at least it did me. I have found that contempt and disrespect is not something that will enamor my Younger Self to my Talking-head Self. Contempt is spiritual and magickal poison in my experience. It goes hand in hand with skepticism and snobbery.
Obviously, this is only my experience. Test things out (if you haven’t already) and see for yourself. Try for a day, or for 8 hours, to bend your mind to the good in people and situations. Do not indulge in contemptuous or belittling thoughts towards others or yourself. Now cast a circle or do a pathworking or LBRP, or whatever practices you do, and see if you notice a difference. Perhaps you will find that it is easier to reach ritual or magickal states of consciousness. I certainly do.
But, don’t get me wrong here. You don’t have to go around fooling yourself into believing everyone is an avatar of perfection. You don’t have to check your discernment at the door. You just have to avoid holding others in contempt.
So those are my reasons. Perhaps you found them interesting and worth reading, or perhaps not. But either way, I do understand the problems and frustrations behind the widespread use of the term “fluffy bunny.”
I understand that there are plenty of people out there playing at being Witches; dabbling, posturing, looking for instant gratification, and I understand that many serious Witches are concerned that these people drag things down to a lower level and give Witchcraft a bad name, and so on.
I do understand that.
What I don’t understand is why we give them so much thought, and even a stereotype, when instead we could have given their opposite as much or more thought, and held it up as a shining ideal.
Fluffy bunnies are, after all, immune to criticism by definition, right?
In my opinion, it’s better to show what you think is the way forward, and the ideal, than to waste time and thought on where you do not want to go, on what you do not want to be. People will scatter from the latter in every direction. But people will go towards the former from every direction.
So shouldn’t we think about abandoning the term “fluffy bunny” and focus on the opposite?
How about the “sleek raccoon” or something?
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