Fandom Misogyny and Racism III

Just in case it is  not being believed that Fandom racism and misogyny is one huge, connected hot mess, here are some more examples, posts and theories. There’s just so much wtf*ery to choose from. All of it springing from the same place.

<Warning: Descriptions/discussions of violence, rape, general acts of racial hatred. If you’re feeling especially vulnerable today, you may want to skip all this.>

*Racism against Finn from Star Wars:

diversehighfantasy jawnbaeyega

blackgirlfly asked:

Given what we know from Finn in the various canon novelizations, do you think his depiction in the film serviced him well? Finn is clearly an intelligent, strong, brave, skilled individual, however that doesn’t seem to be what many took away with. They’ve simply written him off as a sanitation worker or the “new Jar Jar”. Is this purely fandom racism or poor character development and do you think there’s room for improvement?

jawnbaeyega answered:

I think by and large the film serviced him well. We know that he’s intelligent, strong, brave, and skilled because we were shown that in the film. I think there are two major things going into people’s inability to see that Finn is an incredible hero: racism and hyper/toxic masculinity.

As to the racism, it’s been scientifically proven over and over again that white people have significant difficulty empathizing with Black people in real life and on screen. Also given rampant media stereotyping, it’s difficult for people to see Black people outside of basic stereotypical boxes. So even when confronted with a multidimensional and incredible character like Finn, all they see is “comic relief” or “sidekick.”

This is why it’s really important that writers understand that you can’t just write a Black character in the same way as you would a white character. More work has to be done to play up their goodness, heroism, and complexity otherwise people will rely on stereotypes or throw away lines (i.e. how Finn once worked in sanitation when he was a trooper in training and stationed on Starkiller base) to erase all of that. For example, this is why the slow burn relationship build up with Black female characters isn’t successful…folks will just see her as the “strong friend/sidekick who don’t need no man” and won’t see the build up and then will act surprised when it happens. The media needs to spend time just showing Black women being loved and valued and romantic interests and after that settles in the mass consciousness, then we can do the slow burn (or at least both at the same time…bc the will they or won’t they thing alone just isn’t working).

As to the hyper/toxic masculinity, folks aren’t used to male heroes like Finn. Finn is vulnerable, acknowledges his feelings and fears, and is compassionate and empathetic. A lot of men (of all races) I’ve talked to who didn’t like Finn and claimed he was useless kept bringing up “he never won a fight” and “he was unconscious at the end” as “reasons” why he was “useless and weak.” They also always make mention of how Rey, “the girl,” defeated Kylo when Finn “couldn’t” (not taking into account Kylo’s injury, Rey tapping into the Force, and the fact that Finn wielding the saber and injuring Kylo at all w/o consciously using the force is huge). All of that is rooted in the idea that male heroes need to be invulnerable and kill and win all the time and “be better than the girl” by whatever metric they set (note: Finn & Rey are obviously equals and anybody insinuating otherwise has a problem). Finn’s subversion of hyper/toxic masculinity is so important. But that kinda adherence to toxic masculinity keeps people from seeing that Finn is literally the catalyst for the entire film, the reason the plot keeps moving forward, the emotional center of TFA, and obviously on his own hero’s journey.

I mean, it’s a trilogy ffs. Neither Finn nor Rey have reached their full potential. John already told us “Finn ain’t playing no more.” But somehow people think that because Rey’s force sensitivity was made more obvious in the first film that somehow Finn is less important or not a lead or whatever nonsense and it’s all truly ridiculous and rooted in problematic shit that people need to work through.

tl;dr: racism and toxic masculinity are a hellavu drug and white writers don’t understand the extra work they have to do with Black characters to mitigate the effects of those isms on how Black characters are interpreted.

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*Racism against Morgan from The Walking Dead, which parallels the treatment of both Finn and Scott McCall. Find a prominent character of color in the canon and you will find hundreds of fics where theyve been sidelined, erased, and villainized, along with having all their positive character traits ascribed to the fandoms white fave. Again this is not about one person’s personal preference, but something seen across thousands of fanfics, making fanfiction an unsafe space for fans of color who identify with these characters.

diversehighfantasymorganandcarol

morganandcarol:

Here’s a thing – fandom racism is not just about hating a POC character for no apparent reason and wishing to see them dead as soon as possible, it’s not just about hating on an interracial couple and actively anti-shipping it. Yes, all of that IS racism, without doubt, but it should be pretty obvious without saying.

Fandom racism is also when one is completely unable to see a moc character as the main lead of an episode that centers HIS story.

I just went through the entire Morgan tag to see what people have been liveblogging about yesterdays episode, and half of the posts there (aside from blatantly hating Morgan and whining about this “boring, useless” episode) was people caring more about the freaking goat or the random redshirt couple than about Morgan’s story. People acting as if Morgan was some irrelevant sidekick to Eastman, and Eastman’s story.

Don’t get me wrong I love John Carroll Lynch and do agree that he deserves all the awards, but Eastman’s story was there to back up MORGAN’s character development, not vice versa.

I can understand why the grand majority of the fandom hated this episode, I disagree, but I canunderstand this pov…

But here’s a little comparison – despite the fact that the Governor wasn’t the most beloved character of the show (and that episodes featuring him are still the most hated within the fandom), I don’t remember people massively acting as if Lily, Tara, Martinez, or whatever other side characters from his episodes were more important to the narrative [of those episodes] than TG.

YESfandom racismtwdrepresentation in media
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*Racialized violence in fanfiction:
neogenesis85

There is some one really using movies like 12 Years a Slave and the Color Purple to justify their H*dra trash bs because bad stuff happens in those movies to black characters and it’s not racist, so it’s okay to have Sam ganged raped in my fics.

I’m not even going to get into the discourse™ of Hollywood only caring about movies about black folks is when we’re suffering in them somehow (and literally ignoring the hundreds of criticisms that people have had about every single one of the films that were listed and how motherfucking racist they are)

But the audacity to pretty much say those films got a ‘pass’ (which, they really didn’t) in racism so my misery porn should too just blows my mind.

Are those examples supposed to make people change their mind about how absolutely disgusting this part of the fandom is? Because you can piss on my head all you want but I know the difference between that and rain

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Cultural appropriation:
fandomshatepeopleofcolor

Anonymous asked:

It honestly irritates the shit out of me when I see fandoms co-opting Black jokes, Black social movements, and Black slang. Esp. since it’s usually the whitest most anti-Black fandoms in existence (MCU, KPop, Cameron Dallas, 1D)

I literally JUST NOW saw a fanart where they drew their white elf from a popular fandom doing the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose so yeah, I know EXACTLY where you’re coming from right now.

It really pisses me off beyond belief, especially when these fandoms have more empathy for the struggles of celebrities or fictional characters – including drug dealers, killers, fascists, elves, robots, and mutants over black people.

– Mod K

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*Racist rhetoric against Finn from Star Wars and  Scott McCall from Teen Wolf. Incidentally the same things get said about Iris West and Michonne. I picked these two as the best examples because posts on these shows were the easiest to find.

scottmccute:

Fandom racism and hypocrisy are really the same everywhere… like, they pretend to not like a character of colour because his personnality/origin story/storyline are boring, but then they go around and give their asshole white fave all of the characteristics of the aforementioned character of colour… like, what is the truth ?

In the Teen Wolf fandom people go on and on about how boring and uninteresting Scott (a brown latino) is, but in the vast majority of TW fics they give Stiles (your basic white asshole) Scott’s personality and journey. Suddenly Stiles becomes kind, generous, sweet, he’s the Real True Alpha, the glue that sticks the pack together – even though in canon these are Scott’s characteristics. And suddenly when these traits apply to Stiles it isn’t boring at all anymore. You wouldn’t believe the amount of Alpha!Stiles and “pack mom” Stiles (also kudos for forcing heteronormative gender roles on Stiles for the sake of your white ship) fanfics that exist out there.

And now it’s the same thing in the TFA fandom. Racists keep saying that Finn is boring, bland, uninteresting, meanwhile Kylo is tortured!! complex!! dark and gritty!! (even though Finn’s backstory is way darker and more tortured than Kylo’s) And now Kylo stans are starting to take Finn’s characteristics, backstory and journey away from him to give them to Kylo. “What if Kylo were taken from Han and Leia as a baby and raised as a stormtrooper ! And when years later he finds his parents he comes back to the light ! Because even though he was raised in a terrible environment he didn’t become a monster ! Can you imagine that ??”

………..Yes my dude, i can, there’s already a character like this and his name is Finn, but you hate him because you find him “boring”. Suddenly everything that makes Finn “boring” becomes interesting when it’s applied to a white man. Hmmmmm, what’s it called again ? oh yeah, RACISM.

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*I love this particular post. To be honest I had only partially thought of this subject  before, but from a different angle. When there are not enough White men in canon for them to ship, what is the fandom response to that? Create the generic ship, apparently. (Incidentally, the character just described has echoes of any number of romantic comedy duos, with little elements of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.) What I find interesting is this is not an organized thing, or an accident. Thousands of fans have independently decided to create this generic fanon man, in order to have a white male ship, especially in narratives where their only other options are to ship someone with a PoC.

wildehack:

so, here’s a three-am thought.

I think that (one of) the reasons I don’t love kylux as a ship (despite, obviously, weeping real tears over Children Wake Up every Thursday night), is because hux is a character created almost entirely out of wholecloth by fanon. He is remarkably consistent from fic-to-fic, but the thing you recognize him as is that-hux-from-that-other-fic, not hux-in-canon, because literally all Hux in canon does is look mad + offer terse pieces of exposition + fire the weapon that one time.

and the thing is? fanon hux was familiar the very first time I saw him, even before having other fic to compare him to.

because fanon hux? is fanon arthur from inception.

another character created almost entirely from fandom wholecloth, since his actual part in the movie was like five minutes long.

like. they’re SO MUCH the same? with the combination kinky/prudishness (prudish til you get him in bed, whereupon he is The Most Kinky), the charmingly repressed rage, the Love of Research and Order, the way lust/interest/affection is coded into irritation at The Neat and Tidy World being All Roughed Up by the hot mess of the other half of the ship? I would bet actual money that you could C&P “hux” for “arthur” in a baker’s dozen of inception AUs and the character is like…pretty much the same?

and, well. I’m pretty sure that arthur isn’t the first time I met this guy, this crowdsourced tight-lipped furious perfectionist with his neat clothes and his scowling defensiveness and his biting sarcasm and his embarrassed desire to have a dude who is both sweaty and emotional take him apart. I know I’ve seen him before, in lots of different places, wearing lots of different hats, most often slipping into characters that barely take up space in the canon at all, or revising canon characters years in the future, etc. (Draco, in all those fics where he grew up into someone eerily like Hux and Arthur and Erestor and Carlos in all those fics written before Dylan Marron was cast. For one.)

and without shitting on kylux OR arthur/eames at all–because I’ve read and enjoyed both of them, and also the heart wants what the heart wants, and I get that–I think it’s maybe worth. I don’t know. considering why it is that we gravitate towards This One Crowdsourced Dude. The familiar fanon ghost who leaves one shell behind and drifts into another, like a poltergeist. Or, like, a copy of a copy of a copy, dragged from harddrive to harddrive. a familiar ghost we drag around to install in fresh new bodies.

I think it’s especially worth considering why we’ve collectively/subconsciously resurrected this dude in a fandom mostly lacking in white guy/white guy ships. because he wasn’t THERE. I just rewatched TFA yesterday, and I can confirm: fanon hux is not in the building. a lot of loving effort went into imbuing canon hux with fanon hux. thinking about why we a) established that effort, and b) why we gravitate back to him, Our Fanon Guy, when there are other objectively more developed and interesting canon characters to fall in love with?

He’s usually something like this:

-very tidy/a neat freak
-pays a great deal of attention to his personal presentation (ie: is his uniform wrinkled? Is his hair mussed? Is he blushing? Has he lost his hat, or his leather gloves, has he got blood on his coat? Are his cufflinks okay? Is his suit endangered? All of these things would make him unhappy and definitely happen to him as a direct result of making out with his troublingly messy love interest)
-just wants the galaxy/con/workplace to be Well-Ordered
-is super competent/a genius/good at his job
-very loyal to one or two friends, who are probably also his colleagues, because work is all he truly cares about
-definitely a perfectionist
-is often hilariously bitchy, and definitely big with the sarcasm
-often described as cool/cold/chilly (actually maybe he’s the fandom cousin of the Frigid Workaholic Romcom Heroine who desperately needs a dude to mess up her life and teach her to relax?)
-burns with fury at seeing people be inefficient and/or unprofessional
-speaks in a slightly elevated register that has room for cursing but never for phrases like kid or buddy or cute boyfriend
-emotionally repressed; expresses feelings through workplace shouting and biting comments and maybe whiskey but that is all
-probably hiding childhood trauma
-is very prim about sex until he is having it, at which point he is revealed to be The Kinkiest
-”hates” his love interest, who is sweaty and bloody and emotional and is gonna Mess Up his overly clean life
-but obviously only in a Doth Benedick Loathe Beatrice So Entirely kind of way
-tight-lipped with rage
-embarrassed by how much he is into Inappropriately Messy Guy/embarrassed BY Inappropriately Messy Guy
-scowls defensively
-the idea of control is a big part of his sex life–either exerting or relinquishing it

what I’m interested in is actually the more specific thing of fandom picking up a very minor character and filling him up with ALL of these traits.

It’s not the character himself–the character qua the character can be and has been written really wonderfully–it’s the fact that we resurrect him in the shells of minor characters at all.

Hux–a very minor character who barely appears in the movie
Arthur–a MUCH smaller character than fandom would suggest
Erestor–literally had like two lines
Draco–was canonically a child, but all the fic was about him as an adult, some ten to fifteen years in the future, when he grew up into This Very Particular Character.

This isn’t fandom picking up on opposites attracting within the canon.

This is fandom CREATING a specific character to be opposite someone else.

What interests me about the fandom ghost isn’t that he is an archetype, or that many characters are very similar to each other. What interests me is that this is a character type that fandom periodically yanks out of the drawer and dresses up in the clothes of a minor character.

That’s a very specific thing to do. It’s not something we are inheriting from any canon. It’s something we are doing, collectively, as the great migratory fandom thing we are.

We (collective fandom we) have imbued minor characters with these traits so often that I can trace it as a type the same way that I can trace Sherlock Holmes as a type. That is a) VERY interesting to me, from a nerdy Henry Jenkins-style crowdsourced-story “the people talk back to the culture” way, and b) EVEN MORE INTERESTING GIVEN THAT THIS GUY IS HERE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY TO GIVE US A WHITE GUY SHIP WHEN THE CANON DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH WHITE GUY SHIPS READY MADE FOR US. When we talk back to the culture, sometimes we speak bullshit.

Again, I don’t think any individual person is Wrong or Bad for liking or writing the ghost (I have liked the ghost! he can be very likeable!) but I think the fact that we keep resurrecting him and resurrecting him and resurrecting him IN FANDOMS THAT DO NOT HAVE HIM AS A PRE-EXISTING CHARACTER tells us something about what we as Fandom want. It’s a symptom that tells us something about the state of Fandom, the way a bechdel test fail does not tell us whether a movie is good or even feminist, but DOES tell us something about the state of hollywood.

TFA isn’t an incredibly diverse movie, but unless you pump up the empty balloon of Hux’s character with the ghost, the only other white guys to pair Kylo Ren with are his blood relatives and Supreme Commander Gollum.

This is in a movie where he and Poe snark at each other with Poe on his knees; where he ties Poe up to a table and digs into Poe’s brain, where he looks at Finn from across a crowded massacre and Feels A Literal Magical Tug, where he and Rey basically mindfuck each other for agonizingly long minutes. There are Other Opportunities here, is what I’m saying.

Kylux is the most popular pairing in TFA fandom. Expanding Hux’s character is a choice that fandom made. Kylux is a choice that fandom made. The fact that Fanon Hux came canned and prepackaged for us–our ready made mayo sandwich–is SOMETHING TO PAY ATTENTION TO.

It’s not the character of the ghost, or his origins, or the canon characters that bear a family resemblance to him that really matter, imo. It’s the fact that WE, FANDOM, keep resurrecting him when we aren’t seeing a familiar enough white guy ship in the canon cast. That’s a canary collapsing in a mine, is what I’m saying.

(via starfleet-drop-out)

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Hollywood Racism: A Tale as Old as the Movies

https://storify.com/rukminipande/fans-of-colour-are-not-to-blame-for-fandom-s-erasu

*And this one is really important for fanfiction writers to read:

A themed summary of RaceFail ‘09 in large friendly letters for those who think race discussions are hard

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*These are just a few of the examples of fandom racism and misogyny I’ve found. As was said, this is a tendency seen across thousands of fanfics. (No one is attacking your personal fave.) Its not just about fanfiction, or about  white men whining about racebending. This is also all of piece with the racialized sexism aimed at Leslie Jones, for the audacity of starring in a movie, or rape threats sent to Zendaya, because she doesn’t have red hair, or photo-shopped pornography being sent to Candice Patton, for not being White.
When you follow a tag on Tumblr, innocently expecting to find someone gushing over some movie or TV show, that has you geeking out, and find instead, racist thinkpieces and meta that are against characters of color, the villainization, or erasure of characters of color, by willfully misinterpreting the canon narrative, because they just don’t like that particular ship, then fandom has a race problem. 
PoC come into these fandoms with the same expectations as White fans, to have fun, discuss faves, and generally have a good time, and instead,  find marginalized people being disrespected and disdained, by people who like to tell everyone they’re being progressive.
When fans of color, can’t  find safe spaces against racial aggression, even in fantasy, even in a hobby that White people take for granted, then fandom has a race problem.

And this is not limited to movies and TV shows. Its also part of the publishing industry. Below are links to the Fireside Fiction, industry wide, report on racism in Scifi and Fantasy, with links to more articles. 
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https://medium.com/fireside-fiction-company/antiblack-racism-in-speculative-fiction-7e30eff97008#.xn0vwq9zl
https://medium.com/fireside-fiction-company/blackspecfic-571c00033717#.mmrrd1nz8
*And finally, a small ray of hope for the future:
http://weneeddiversebooks.org/
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