Fandom Misogyny and Racism 

Okay, this is going to be a long discussion about the intersection of misogyny and race in fandom, followed by other people’s rants about White fandom “acting a fool”. I stumbled across a Tumblr blog where the focus was entirely on misogyny in fandom. There wasn’t a lot of interesectionality in it, although it touched on the topic of racism from time to time. Most of the focus on these topics has been about its manifestation in  fanfiction. I’m not really heavily involved in that part of fandom, but I pay attention and have noticed  it everywhere else, in meta analysis, critiques of movies that haven’t been released, Twitter, in my various news-feeds, and on other websites.

What is happening in fandom is happening throughout all types of fandom, (even in books). The more PoC make a name for ourselves in media where we had been systematically denied, the louder and more strident becomes the backslash, from White people who feel we’re encroaching on something that’s theirs, making too many demands, forcing diversity, or critiquing how they perform fandom.

Calling out racism seems to galvanize those individuals who ,while reluctant to move or complain about anything else in the world, will respond to protect their bottom line. That bottom line seems to be feeling good about themselves as people, while trying to justify their complete inactivity on these issues. We’re not talking about the hardcore bigots. (Those people can’t hear anything through the swarm of wasps that live in their heads.) We’re talking about your average, everyday fan, the kind who thinks they’re liberal, progressive, good-hearted people who think they bear no one any malice because they haven’t burned any crosses on anyone’s lawn. These are the kind of people who are perfectly willing to sit and watch injustice and unfairness being done to others, and do and say nothing.  I call such people ” The Peanut Gallery”. The only time they will speak up,when they feel a  need to justify their inactivity, because feeling good about themselves  is their primary goal, not speaking out against unfairness.

There is a certain type of person who, once they find a comfortable spot on the road of life, will simply sit there and do absolutely nothing. They don’t speak out, they don’t help the ones who trip and fall in front of them, they won’t move from their comfortable spot because “they got theirs”. That’s the closest metaphor I have to the racist pushback I’ve been seeing in fandom.  There are White women who  are complicit in upholding the status quo for a variety of reasons. Most of them view themselves as not participating in racist behavior because they have been victims of sexism. They fight to hold on to their sense of being feminsit and progressive, often throwing PoC, the differently abled, ,and transgender men and women under the bus to do so. They claim to support women, but not all women get their support, especially if she interferes with whatever they want for  their favorite White characters.

It’s not just angry White men, whining about women, or racebending, in movies. There’s a significant contingent of white women engaging in racism and misogyny, mostly through their analysis and fictioning of shows and movies, and through  their erasure of certain characters. In its most toxic form its “misogynoir”, the vilification of black women, which is unique and different from the treatment of men of color, and white women in the narrative. Its rare but not unheard of for White women to engage in racist Twitter  and Tumblr rants, and harassment as well, when they feel their sense of ” being good people” has been attacked.

Many of these women consider themselves to be progressive and liberal. In all senses they consider themselves to be good people, and craft elaborately baroque reasons for why certain WoC within the narrative are villains, or should be disregarded. (This is often  but not necessarily related to “shipping”.) In the words of finnorgana and artepen, these people are anything but progressive. They want to be seen as progressive, hence the elaborate, occasionally completely non-sensical reasons they create, for their dislike of certain characters. What it actually  is, is  these characters challenge their notions of the roles  PoC, roles that have been informed by decades of Hollywood racism. Rather than confront this thinking head on, because to do so might admit they have racist ideas, they have to justify their dislike for a black hero, or black love interest and will go so far as to make up, out of whole cloth, moments in movies which never occurred, or concoct wild interpretations of the canon narrative.

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*The Get Down, Black Panther, and Luke Cage

The Get Down is a show on Netflix, chronicling the lifestyles of some young  and pretty twenty something black people in seventies NY, around the popularity of disco, and the start of rap music. It has some beautiful gender representation and even a little gay/queer representation, as well. But since it’s a mostly black cast, that doesn’t prominently feature a white narrative,(Luke Cage), it is being ignored by the same people, who claim to care so much about representation of women and gays. They can make the argument that white women’s representation is good for ALL women, but can’t seem to make that same leap when it comes to Black women. The message one derives from that is WoC can’t represent ALL women. The same people telling black gay people to wait their turn when the representation is white,(Agent Carter) seem uninterested  in representation when it’s PoC.

In other words, these “good, progressive” people, who are deeply concerned with representation as long as all the characters are white, aren’t watching The Get Down, because it’s too Black. Rather than face that racist idea, they craft elaborate reasons for why it’s a bad show, while uplifting Stranger Things, which is something more familiar, with its 80s/Goonies pathos, and an all white cast. (There’s no female or queer representation  in Stranger Things.)

 
finnnorgana artepen

artepen:

what really kills me about the whole situation regarding the get down is that it’s the same annoying ass fake concerned white people who’s favorite pastime is harassing black and non black people of color to settle for fucking scraps on these terrible all white or predominantly white tv shows because it’ll either be better for white women or white queer representation, that are running up in my inbox telling me they’re not wasting their time on a show that’s a flop or they’re just flat-out ignoring it, like they didn’t read every black and nonblack person the same tired ass essay about waiting our turn because soon enough something for us is going to come and everyone will be happy and martin luther king jr’s dream about us all having sleepovers together is gonna come true!!!!! like it’s the same crusty ass white people who acted like they gave half a shit about diversity and actual positive representation that are completely ignoring the get down for the dumbest reasons, like the people who feel triggered by certain aspects of this show have an actual reason to not want to watch, like nobody’s gonna force you to watch a show that legitimately makes you uncomfortable but the people who just don’t fucking care??? the ones that are probably the same losers who tried to push black people into watching shit shows like agent carter or the 100 where we’d have to see ourselves being disrespected and ormurdered and violated on screen, y’all are trash

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Here, mouseavenger lays out the various forms that misogyny takes within the MCU fandoms. There are more examples than these, and it pairs with “misogynoir” in interesting ways. Since very few Black women have had any prominent roles in the MCU, it’s not entirely clear if that has had an effect on misogynoir. This is  just a description  of how White women are being treated by fandom , which is awful without adding any elements of race.
preach on it
mouseavenger

The Marvel fandom hates women.

  • They want a Black Widow movie..but will put down other women for the sake of keeping Nat high.
  • They want to Agent Carter renewed…but erase her from Steve’s life as if she never existed to him
  • They don’t want Bruce paired with Natasha…but also forget Betty Ross literally exists and nobody seems to even care for her because she would be “irrelevant”.
  • They want Daisy Johnson and Jessica Jones to live happy…but ship them with Grant Ward and Kilgrave
  • They want Steve and Bucky to be the first canonically gay MCU ship…but trash the hell out of Sharon Carter because she…”gets in the way of their white male gay ship.” (but they won’t hate Natatsha no?)
  • They want Marvel women to be more appreciated and loved, but will tear down others in the process and diminish them to nothing.

This fandom is so FULL of hypocrisy it’s embarrassing, we are NOT progressive, we do NOTpractice what we preach to others, we are full of misogynistic trash.

We don’t really care for Marvel women, it’s all just a joke to make us look better.

Maybe we don’t deserve a Black Widow movie or a Captain Marvel movie or Jessica Jones or Agent Carter- because all I see is endless mistreatment of women in the universe.

EDIT : I’ve had few replies saying that this is generalizing the entire fandom, I am well aware that this should not be a reflection of everybody, but as of late it HAS become more apparent, the fandom has become SO divisive since AOU, characters that shouldn’t be trashed are, ship wars are getting out of fucking control, and this fandom is about ready to finally crash and burn. And shit needs to be called out because now it is just NOT okay. I’m also aware that part of this is on Marvel for not treating the female characters with proper respect, I will not deny that- but this post is calling out the FANS who are further contributing to this problem.

There’s a difference between having legitimate criticisms over a character and just trashing a character because she’s just a bitch and needs to die for no good reason. We should not pretend women like Pepper Potts, and Peggy Carter don’t exists (there have been fics that have been said to erase these women from characters lives, something that is also not okay). How are we supporting women by shipping them with men who abuse them and rape them?

Those who are doing know who they are, and they should just stop because they’re not needed.

*The above, when coupled with race,  recreates the same situations in other fandoms, only with nasty racial overtones, the purpose of which is to  erase PoC from the narrative, restore the equilibrium of White fans who are more comfortable centering White people in the story, and lowkey express racial antagonism towards characters of color. Fans erasing the existence of canon love interests, who happen to be PoC, (Michonne, Iris West) in other shows and movies, so they can be shipped with other White characters. We even get an instance of a White woman being shipped with a character who emotionally raped her within the narrative, just so they can avoid shipping her with her Black co-star. (Rey and Finn in Star Wars)

Teen Wolf

Let’s use Teen Wolf is an example of all the worst kinds of racial behavior from the fans, and even the showrunners. Scott McCall , the teen wolf in question, is played by the actor Tyler Posey, who is Latino. He is unquestionably the star of the show. If you Google Teen Wolf’s cast, however, the first image shown is that of his White co-star, Stiles played by Dylan O’Brien, who is  not the star. So Scott’s  White sidekick is privileged over the MoC, who is the star of the show, and who the show is actually about.

Whitewashing: Over the five years of the show, it has been slowly whitewashed. What started as a diverse cast  has slowly been replaced by more and more White actors in its lineup.

Erasure of gay characters: There was a canon gay character (Danny) in the first three years of the show, which the fans ignored. The same fans crying about not having gay relationships in shows, refused to ship him with any of the other characters on the show, even though he had a canon relationship with another character on the show,Ethan. Danny, played by Keahu Kahuanui, is a MoC.

Erasure of women: The two characters most likely to be shipped together would be Scott and Stiles (Sciles), who are best friends on the show, and who have been shown being loving and supportive of each other, but the paring that receives the most fanfiction is Stiles and Derek (Sterek), with fans refusing to ship Stiles with a Latino actor, in favor of shipping him with a character who actively hates him, and whom Stiles canonically fears. Fans erase the existence of Stiles’ canon love interest, Malia, and Derek’s canon love interest, a Black woman named Braeden.

There is a canon gay character in the narrative right now, Mason Hewitt. But he’s a Black man, who will be ignored by the same fans agitating about how there’s no gay representation in media.

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Vilifying PoC: These fans also craft elaborate reasons for why Black co-stars are worthless or evil, (Braeden, Finn, Sam Wilson, Nick Fury, Michonne)  and hence not good enough for their White faves. They will erase and ignore canon narrative to get these wild interpretations, or just make them up, as if the rest of us don’t have eyeballs, and can’t see that they are lying. And contrary to popular opinion, the main culprits of these types of erasure and vilification are White and female.

Here’s a  good summation of this from theprettyfeminist:

reblogged

phoenix-ace asked:

Hey the majority of people hating Iris were always white women, even before the show aired. I agree with your post and it’s very well written but I wanted to send this correction because white fandom pretty much blamed their b.s. on phantom white guys so that white women didn’t have to own up.

theprettyfeminist answered:

TOTALLY. It’s so weird being on Tumblr and hearing white women constantly talking about feminism and protecting female characters, but the minute that woman is black or non-white, the feminist solidarity completely breaks down. And yes, I’ve definitely noticed white fansgirls blaming most of the fandom racism on white men. White men are definitely a huge problem and they never skip an opportunity to hate on a black woman, but they aren’t the only ones. White women have been the main culprits when it comes to the hate that black female characters get. Especially considering most of the hate is generated from shipping wars. Straight white men usually don’t care about the shipper nonsense. It’s usually white women.

Many of them can’t identify with a woman of color, so their ability to self-insert themselves into the narrative is taken away. But you know what? Women of color have been rooting for and identifying with white female characters for decades. We’ve always defended them and showered them with affection. From Buffy to Xena to Katniss to Hermione Granger. We’re always supportive. But the minute black women finally start getting some decent representation, white women magically come up with an excuse to dislike them. And don’t even get me started on the white girls who argue “I’m not racist because I like this other black character.” Usually that “other black character” is a side character who fits into a comfortable stereotype that validates the viewer’s preexisting world view. Characters like Iris West, Lacey Porter and Tulip O’Hare challenge their world view. These girls are not stereotypes. They’re not side characters. They’re not sexless automatons. They’re fully realized women who have relationships, goals and flaws. And more importantly, the hot male lead views them as viable romantic partners.

A lot of white women can’t handle that.

*And then there’s the response to the response. Fans of color calling out people for being racist and sexist, towards their favorite characters, get called toxic by people who are unused to having their motives questioned. As more PoC enter fandom (and even form our own fandoms based around characters of color) we  are encountering racism that had remained unchecked.

Many of us can already see this happening in the Luke Cage and Black Panther fandoms, with White fans trying to re-write potential narratives to center themselves, their interests, and their White faves. They want to take these stories and make them comfortable for their sensibilities, rather than try to identify with the characters as they are. They are so used to PoC not being the center of their own narratives, that they do what Hollywood has always classically done, which is marginalize PoC in their own stories.

Black fans keep having to explain that it is Luke Cage’s story and Jessica Jones doesn’t need to be in this one. She has her own show. It is Black Panther’s story and none of their White faves have any place in it. It is not necessary for Black Widow, Bucky Barnes, or Steve Rogers to be in Black Panther’s movie. If Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America (outside of Civil War) are allowed to have their own stories told about them, without the aid of other members of the MCU, then Luke and T’Challa should be granted the same privilege.

reverseracismtheprettyfeminist

theprettyfeminist:

There’s a particularly disturbing narrative that has been rearing its ugly head in Tumblr fandom discourse over the past year or so. Whenever a fandom that largely consists of people of color who are passionate about defending their favorite character from racism, white fans go out of their way to paint that fandom as “toxic” or “unfriendly.” A few examples:

  • The Westallen fandom – has been defending Iris West and Candice Patton for the past 3 years from racist and sexist attacks from angry white fanboys who are angry that a black actress is portraying the iconic comic book character, and from entitled white fangirls who are secretly offended by the idea that the good-looking white male hero would consider a black woman the love of his life. Candice Patton has been called the n-word, has been accused of sleeping with the producers to get the role of Iris West, has had her face photoshopped onto pornographic images, accused of bullying her co-starts, called an affirmative action hire,  has had her skin whitewashed in multiple photos to make her look white and completely sidelined and ignored by a large portion of the fandom, despite being the female lead. But whenever Westallen fans try to call people out on their racist behavior, they’re labelled bullies and are seen as “toxic.”
  • The Bamon fandom – has spent years defending Bonnie Bennett from racist attacks from Delena shippers who saw Bonnie as a threat to their ship from episode one. Again, whenever Bamon shippers try to address the racism that their favorite character has received, Delena fans call them angry and argue that their ship is invalid because the only people who ship it are angry black women – an argument that has been used against the Westallen fandom as well.
  • The Richonne fandom – constantly defending Michonne from racist white men who see Michonne as unattractive and white faux feminists who argue that Michonne is a “strong black woman” who should remain single. But again, whenever Richonne shippers try to fight back against these racist arguments, people label them as angry and rude.

This is literally a classic case of “being labelled a racist is worse than actual racism.” These people are more enraged by the concerns of fans of color than the actual racist treatment they’ve received. It’s like watching a Fox News anchor try to argue that Black Lives Matter is just as bad as the KKK. Because to them, any time a person of color speaks out against racism, it’s seen as hate speech. It’s sad to see this kind of argument pop up on Tumblr. Especially when the people here love to pride themselves on being progressive.

I wrote this after seeing a post about how “toxic” a particular fandom of color was, but all the examples they used were of fans tweeting the actors about their concerns about how people of color were being treated on the show. But in the eyes of the OP, those tweets were somehow on the same level as being called the n-word and having a black actor’s face photoshopped in the middle of a lynching.

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Then there’s the sloppy thinking and pseudo-intellectualism of people trying to justify all of the above:

stitchmediamix stitchomancy

stitchomancy:

It makes me seethe how fandom likes to wrap their dislike and distrust of people of color up in pseudo-intellectual dribble that’s supposed to read like a cohesive and academic film analysis.

Hello!

Your use of coded academic language to basically state that you don’t trust men of color near your precious white superhero booties is played out and we can see you for what you are. If you can apply reason and logic to things like “parent assassination would keep superhero from joining the group that killed them” but not “black man would not join neo-nazi hate group because of his race but also the fact that the character isn’t like that”, there’s something wrong with you.

Full stop.

Just like there’s something wrong with everyone that attacks the actions and motivations of men of color in the MCU (because so far, there aren’t any WOC as far as I can tell in the MCU Proper) when they wouldn’t (and don’t) dare to do the same with the white heroes, villains, and sidecharacters in the series.

There’s something wrong with people who write fics, headcanons, and meta revolving around how shitty Rhodey is to Tony. How shitty a friend he is. How abusive he is. How he is less important to the narrative that Tony’s got than Bruce Banner of all the freaking people.

There’s something wrong with how there are only mere handfuls of fic that cast MCU Nick Fury as someone that isn’t a manipulative, scary, stereotype of a villain.

And there’s definitely something wrong with people trying to pretend that they are ~serious critics~ as they try to theorize that Sam Wilson could be a secret Hydra agent based on the fact that the directors/writers of Cap 2 didn’t want to have this movie feel like a multi-series comic crossover by not having Tony appear to snark where no Stark-snark was needed.

Go read a book damnit.

Maybe an actual comic book about these said MOC in comics or a book about race in film not written by a white person because this whole thing about “coded/hidden racist language presented as unbiased headcanon/exploration esp when slash ships are involved” is bullshit and people will come for you to make sure you know how wrong you are.

*And finally, on fans who are against Social Justice:

*Here’s Chescaleigh weighing on the topic of anti- SJWs, when asked, by a white fan, that such people should be shown a certain level of empathy, and that both sides need to calm down and listen to each other. The kind of people Chescaleigh is talking about, are not the kind of people who can ever be reached by showing compassion, or  dispassionately explaining things to them, nor are they the kind of people I’m trying to reach. Anti-SJWs are people who make no secret of the fact that they are against “Social Justice”, and seem quite loud and proud of it.

The people who can be reached are the ones who are  asking questions because they’re at least capable of hearing an answer. Anti-SJWs can’t hear anything outside of the angry buzzing in their heads. They don’t want answers. The want to make assertions. Basically the kind of fans who are sending vicious emails (to Zendaya), splicing black celebrities  into pornographic images (Candice Patton/Leslie Jones) and then sending it to them, making rape threats, and angry videos about Anita Sarkeesian, are not the kind of people I’m talking to. 

For the record, I don’t actually consider such people to be fans. A fan is someone who loves something and wants to share that love with other people. They want to increase the fandom for the things they love. I know such people like certain books, movies and television shows, but when they do things  like harass the stars of the show, and other fans , I have no idea how to classify such people, except to say they’re not fans.

Her response is:

Source:
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5 thoughts on “Fandom Misogyny and Racism 

  1. So essentially, we’re now getting mad that white fandomers are doing the bare minimum to be diverse?
    What a load of sticking our noses in other people’s business. Let them ship who they ship, fangirl over who they fangirl over, or enjoy who they enjoy.
    On the other hand, lovely collection of Tumblr posts.

    Like

    1. Well normally we would, except these people are not tagging their stuff properly and fans of color, who just want to enjoy a good story, keep wandering into fanfiction stories where characters of color are disrespected, villified, villainized , or entirely erased from the narrative in support of their white male ships. It’s galling to keep coming across stories where the PoC exist only to serve the white male ship.

      For example you have people shipping Natasha with Black Panther so that they can write stories where she is the queen of wakanda, which is a slap in the face to fans of Black Panther who know his history and who canonically only gets with black women, erasing any black women from the narrative. Or casting Black Panther as the avengers rich sugar daddy. There’s even a story written where his all female bodyguards (the Dora Milaje) were cast in the Mammy role of being Bucky’s protectors. Basically the fandom keeps reproducing the same tired stereotypes of black people and we keep stumbling into these stories, thinking we’re just going to get a regular story.

      All we’re doing is noting the and tendency o do those things in fanfiction and why people might be doing this in such overwhelming numbers.

      It’s also not limited to fanfiction. This is everywhere in all the fandoms. This involves more than shipping. This is across the entire industry of books, tv shows and movies, and involves more than just the fans, but the creators as well. And all of it is connected. Fanfiction is not disconnected from any other types of fandom. All of the misogyny,stereotyping, racism, erasure, and whitewashing springs from the same place.

      Like

      1. I can certainly see your point. But ultimately, fanfiction and fan art are based on what the fans want. What gives you the right to judge someone for wanting a fanficiton where Natasha is queen of Wakanda? It may not be what you want, but that’s what that fan wanted. No one would (or should) judge you for making fanfiction the way you want it, with as much lack of misogyny, stereotyping, racism, erasure and whitewashing as you want. If an artist or author prefers the opposite, that’s their particular preference.
        I do understand your frustration. But when it comes to things like this, it really is up to the individual fan. We can’t force our opinions on them. It’s their fantasy.

        Like

      2. My problem isn’t that someone wrote a fanfiction of Natasha as Queen of Wakanda. My problem is that doing so is a symptom of a greater problem. People writing fanfictions I don’t like isn’t the problem. The problem is that it is symptomatic of racism across all of fandom, not just people who like to write fanfiction. If I write a problematic fanfiction and send it out into the world for people to read it I expect it to be judged. Its called a critique.

        But that’s not my issue here.

        1 white woman writing a problematic racist fanfiction isn’t the issue here. Its when you have 2000 fanfictions erasing the existence of the characters of color from their own narratives, centering their white faves, making them the sidekicks in support of a white male relationship, and the vilification of and erasure of all women, white and black, in support of their white male faves, and then the writers making the claim that they are progressive people.

        It is people writing think pieces vilifying poc who are clearly not the villains in the narrative. Its people calling for the death of poc characters so as to get them out of the way of their fave white ships, and sending death threats and pornography to the poc actors and actresses for daring to be a white person’s love interest. But then I already outlined my reasons for this in the post. You just wanna focus on people writing whatever they want but that’s not the problem I’ve been talking about.

        It is a trend across all of fandom, not just fanfiction. Its just that fanfiction is much easier to track and use as an example.

        I will not tolerate people coming onto my blog and telling me what I can and cannot be mad about, and you are out of line. This aint got shit to do with artistic preferences. If you write and support racist narratives then it makes you a racist. I can pass judgement on it because I live in this world, and the writers put those words out into the world for the very purposes of judgement. I judge and question everything I consume. Its called critiquing. And its the very purpose of this blog.

        Now you done pissed me off.

        You’re not gonna come on MY blog and tell me I can’t be mad abut something that effects my life, whether I’m reading it or not. I will not tolerate tone policing here and you don’t get to decide what I’m going to critique, or how I’m going to critique it.

        Unfollow me and see your way out before you get blocked.

        Like

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