aquila_black: Text says "trapped inside of my Mind" (Soubi: Holding Patterns)
( Sep. 27th, 2014 09:38 pm)




do centaur babies suckle from the horse nipples or the human nipples tho

Centaurs aren’t real. Do you understand that?

yes that is why i made a tumblr post about this instead of just asking a real centaur

I love the verbal ju-jitsu on Tumblr. You brilliant people take on a multitude of banal, normalized instances of social harassment and cheerfully destroy them. And I get to watch you do it and feel my soul heal a little every time. It's ... humbling and hope-inspiring to feel like we're collectively unfucking our imagination here. I don't always have the energy to re-frame broken, oppressive shit. But it's heartening to feel like I can hear the other people who are fighting for the things I'm fighting for. And like I can complement them, instead of having to write everything from the ground up. 


[Umpteenth rant that's crossed my dash about "impressionable children being sold the images and logos of fictional extremist hate movements" re Hydra and Death Eater merchandising]

I'm going to break this down for ease of argument.

1. Fandom is for everyone. Children are welcome, children belong here, but trying to rid fandom of everything (and everyone?) that you'd rather children didn't see is unacceptable. I don't care how self-righteous you feel about your cause. That's major douchebag behavior.

2. Children run into problematic stuff. As long as problematic stuff exists in the world, children will notice it, because they are awesome like that. Trying to keep them away from it just makes it seem cooler and more attractive. I'd hope that's not what you're going for. 

3. Some fans, children included, like villains for all sorts of reasons. They're not obligated to explain it to you, and they have as much of a right to like what they like (without being concern-trolled and accused of immoral behavior) as any normative hero-fan. 

4. The explanation that people throw around "ohnoes, they must like death eaters because they're racists" is a chimera. Racism, sexism, and other institutionalized abuses of power exist in fandom, but asserting that they're interest coded is beyond naive. 

5. Oppressive people often get the benefit of the doubt because their favorite characters are socially-approved. Meanwhile, people who are bothering no one are chronically suspected of being horrible because the group asserts that who they like is a more reliable indicator of their character than how they actually treat other people

TL;DR, Challenging villain-fans' right to exist in public and be visible is overt bigotry. Instead of hand-wringing over the perceived image problem they pose or the fact that companies are willing to take their money, fandom needs to address the broken dynamics of its own geek hierarchy. 

Never expect anything of fandom that you are not willing to contribute. Never believe that a fanwork creator ‘owes’ you anything, or that readers ‘owe’ you anything in return for creating fanwork.

From Saathi1013's post, On Fandom Expectations, Entitlement, & Exclusion

This seemed relevant to what Maymay's been saying about how dehumanizing it is to deal with people who perceive the world exclusively in terms of consumption and production. They act like paying customers who were promised a positive experience, and they're hell to deal with whenever they get into a situation where no one is actually obligated to cater to them. It's an anti-skill that carries over from long term immersion in Capitalism: expecting some sort of tit-for-tat, labor-for-payment arrangement in a space that doesn't work like that. Or alternatively, expecting that because they came in wanting to be entertained, the people creating stuff have a duty to successfully entertain them. This is a conflict that plays out in a thousand different ways in fandom. 

I wonder if the progression of vampires from disgusting to desirable tracks with the progression of female sexual expression from taboo to mandatory.  In all cases they’re the boyfriend who won’t take no for an answer, and what’s changed with the times is whether that provokes “how awful, only your husband should do that” or “how wonderful, this is what sexy romance is supposed to look like.”


I disagree. I've been a fan of vampires since I first read Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the recent stuff? Twilight and such? These are not vampires. We'd already be having this conversation if we were talking about, frex, sexy thieves who don't actually steal anything or violate any relevant social convention.

We should be having this conversation whenever we're talking about a villain archetype that's being watered down into a socially acceptable anti-hero.

That's happening a lot lately - media creators are trying to capitalize on the widespread popularity of villains by tampering with their personality until they stop saying and doing things that make society uncomfortable. With Buffy, they had a fucking joke for a vampire boyfriend. Angel, who not only doesn't eat people, he's plagued with guilt over his villainous past. He had his fans, but ... let's just say he wasn't poaching people from the villain-fan pools. And then Spike. He was alright until Whedon became concerned about his popularity, and tried to discourage it with the (notorious) abortive rape attempt. That backfired spectacularly, so they shifted gears and made Spike less and less of a villain, sacrificing most of the things that fans who like villains liked about him in the process.

By the time Twilight rolls around, you have vampires who are waiting for marriage. I haven't read it, and overall I don't plan to bash it. But as far as I can tell, Edward is just another boring hero who's trying to hide his boring hero-ness behind "noo, I'm a bad boy! Look, I wear black!"

Society hasn't become so different and progressive that a vampire, a foreign, genderfluid, relationship anarchic, bestial, otherkin, serial killing, Satan worshipping, Madonna seducing,  sex-death-and-eternal-youth vampire is the triumphant male lead of any commercial story. It has, unfortunately, slapped a lot of edgy, deceptive labels on the same old conventional bullshit (and deprived us of legitimate contemporary versions of some great villains in the process).

There are specific tropes that annoy me, but when I criticize them in men, I'm an outlier, and when I criticize them in women, people discount what I'm actually saying on the grounds that it /must/ be an expression of internalized sexism. Which makes me want to laugh, bitterly, because they're generally protecting a male creator's character from reproach and finding reasons not to listen to a flesh-and-blood woman. Because /sexism/. Not theirs, supposedly mine. The specific thing is that I'm really put off by is incompetence in any form. Neville Longbottom squicked me right up until the 7th book, because if there was a way to get it wrong (whatever "it" was) he probably did. I hate watching characters who live in a way that they're constantly belly-flopping and easy to take advantage of; characters that make the heroes look extra smart and good by comparison; characters who are in an awesome setting, but miss out on the coolest parts because, at best, they're being left out and worked around.

My feeling hits me especially hard when the character has a position of responsibility, and is putting other people in danger by being clueless and ineffectual. Jasmine's dad in Aladdin. Belle's dad in Beauty and the Beast. This is a character type I can't stand. But, weird as people think it is that anyone could possibly dislike such well intentioned, good-hearted men, throwing in any mention of women who fail this way turns it into a conversation about "victim-blaming" even when the only thing going against them is an author who decided they should be defenseless, naive, and incompetent. We're getting fewer female characters like this than we used to. Fewer straight-up damsels. But often they're still covered with a defensive veneer of "look, once in a great while she shines, and if you aren't impressed that's totally because you're against female characters." Whereas, when a male character doesn't fail twice a year and that's trotted out as a valid, redeeming quality, I dislike him just as much. Summer-of-supervillainy and Ami-angelwings have written some very eloquent posts about the contemporary and historical pervasiveness of this, in relation to female characters. It tends to be much more pervasive and stubborn with regards to women (in the sense that they aren't allowed to outgrow it and do something cool at the eleventh hour). But what's annoying me right now is how little tolerance there is in fandom for disliking incompetent characters of either gender. The widespread agreement with sentiments like "if you don't like Neville Longbottom, I think you must have no soul" is tiresome.
Concern trolling of genres in fanfiction is long overdue for a challenge. Here's my counter-argument: Fanfic writers are not obligated to prove anything to their readers. Not sanity, not social responsibility, and not agreeing with you on key topics. All of that is optional. If you only want to read stories written by people who are very concerned about gender issues, or precede their story with an exhaustive list of trigger warnings, or never, ever write about a relationship dynamic that might be considered problematic without making it crystal-clear that the author does not endorse, condone, or even really like what they're depicting ... that's your choice. However, saying that things that don't meet your strict criteria are irresponsible and shouldn't exist is a dickish thing to do.

The longer argument. )
There's a big conversation on fandomsecret about the pros and cons of Tumblr, and I what I have to say really belongs on my journal.

Tumblr appeals to me for specific things - it's a very good place to keep pictures that I like, feel comfortable sharing, and am not so attached to that I want a copy on my hard drive. Its indexing feature is reasonable, if what you have basically amounts to a ton of image thumbnails.

Discussion happens, but not in enough quantity or quality that it's worth my while to hang out there. Roleplay happens ... and that's what made me invest the time in learning to use the damn thing in the first place. There is a large, awesome, welcoming LOVELESS cast on Tumblr. Their Nisei, in particular, is to die for. Their Mikado (the badass MOONLESS sacrifice, you guys!) is similarly worth following.

Short digression, but I think some fandoms (and characters) lend themselves to panfandom games, and some just don't. I was so glad to find a place where LOVELESS characters could play with each other, without being outnumbered 100 to 1 by non-castmates. It's a little like this. By which I mean that it has an interesting premise that's worth exploring, but can't be explored if what everyone else in the space wants to know is, "why are you bothering with that? Just cut the gordian knot!"

Back on topic, I more or less quit tumblr because the signal-to-noise ratio is unacceptable to me. There are conversations there I'd like to be in on, but people post so much stuff to their blogs that I'm not interested in (and reblog/like in such a way that I get a ton of repeats!) that I spend most of my time scrolling through ephemera. And I can't. One life, short life, not going to spend it skimming pages at top speed to pull what's relevant to me out of the oceans of stuff that isn't.

I know I'm missing out. I love that there are platforms out there where the fandom is young and opinionated and posting back and forth at a speed that makes me lightheaded. But it's not a medium that I feel any good at contributing to, and the company's idea of free speech is rather conveniently "whatever we currently approve of," so DW will continue to be where I meta, roleplay, and hang out.

Even though I mostly comment rather than journal, chances are, if I'm online, you can find me here.