Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint (Franzeska) | AO3

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This really interesting meta is about shipping, gender, race, fandom dynamics, fandom data, and stompilot (so does this shorter stormpilot meta by the same author).  Also about the history of AO3 and the perceived femslash gap, and why writing non-white characters may often be harder than creating other fanworks for them (but also includes some useful examples from vidding).  And about how to effectively make changes in fandom. 

You will unfortunately need an AO3 account to read it.  A few quotes below the cut (bolding is mine), along with a few brief responses (more later, I hope) – quoted with the author’s permission.

Keep reading

Let me also add that I DON’T mean to imply that we should all stop discussing race or gender or how they intersect with fandom. Or that we should all quietly accept the status quo re representation and stop questioning anything. Hell, no. More conversation is something I am basically always in favor of, and I really appreciate and have learned a lot from hearing other fans’ perspectives & experiences on these topics. Nor do I think that all discussions of the lack of diversity in fic or brainstorms about how to improve that are joyless demands for duty fic.

The percent of people I experience being bullying or haranguing each other in these discussions is fortunately pretty low. But I do witness some real knee-jerk condemnation and nastiness toward some groups of fans in the notes to some of my stats posts, with a few fans being quite awful to one another. And I don’t think that lack of kindness or nuance is good or an effective way to change others’ minds. Which is probably not news to anyone who’s been following me long. 🙂

Anyway, keep talking, and I’ll keep listening and providing relevant data where I can. ❤🍞🔥📊📈

I have um… Thoughts about this.

Especially when you add in that the author of the storm pilot meta OP links to is basically “I don’t think fandom racism is as big an issue as fans say and here is proof”

It’s a dismissive and reductive post that takes legitimate comments about racism and racist tropes that are present in every fandom and dismisses them as kink shaming with the addition of “proof” to make their point. Black people in fandom (especially queer black women) have been vocal about how that meta felt dismissive and how it’s not something that they feel okay with people sharing uncritically. Several of them bring it up on reblogs of the OP’s original stats post.

And here we have the OP sharing another meta from the same author and like… How can Black fans trust this author who has already dismissed comments about fandom racism as an unlikely reason for stories shipping the main trio? How can we even trust the OP here who’s giving them a stage and validating what they’re saying?

I can’t even bring myself to click the link because I don’t know what I’m going to read and I know I can’t handle another nonblack fan continuing to make excuses for fandom’s racism.

But I read the quotes that the OP copied and Oh boy am I not feeling this. Because the author continues to dismiss the valid feelings of fans of color and the realities of what it’s like to exist in fandom when the people around you come up with excuse after excuse about how the ONE character that looks like you is the one fandom can’t bring themselves to ship. And the OPs responses to those quotes make me so uncomfortable…

I don’t even know how to parse this as someone who has written extensively and angrily about fandom’s race problem and their issues with how it’s not an issue with dudeslash (because many of us slash critical folks ship dudeslash ships of all kinds!!) but with fandom as an institution jumping hoops to focus on white dudes all the damn time and saying that we’re policing them for pointing out the racism inherent in erasing or decentering characters of color from their own narratives so they can focus on two white dudes fucking.

And okay OPs comments do not help like… There are so many things that are not okay with the shipping discourse around Star Wars and this is one of them. Because the post and the meta writer linked to up there? It’s something that fans of color talk about and have explained time and time again why that mentality is harmful and renders fandom spaces even more unsafe than they already are.

Hi.  I’m really sorry to hear that this rubbed you so much the wrong way.  :-/  Thanks so much for sharing your reservations.  A few thoughts:  

And here we have the OP sharing another meta from the same author and like… How can Black fans trust this author who has already dismissed comments about fandom racism as an unlikely reason for stories shipping the main trio? How can we even trust the OP here who’s giving them a stage and validating what they’re saying?

I don’t think I should be trusted.  I don’t think anyone should; I don’t think that’s how meta should work.  Even decent people can say really thoughtless or ill-informed things sometimes, and nobody can be trusted to be safe.  People should let me know when I am saying something they disagree with, or I’ve gathered my data wrong or analyzed it in a biased way (that’s why I try to be as clear as possible about my methods and share my data).   

A lot of the time I consider just not saying anything about any topics that anyone might disagree with me about, because I really hate confrontation and making people unhappy with me.  But then I generally tell myself to toughen up and participate in public discourse, because sharing my thoughts and getting feedback is the best way I know of to grow.  And then when I say things that others think are dumb or offensive, I listen to the response, and I try to learn from it.  Thanks for speaking up.

Keep reading

Sorry about the late response but I was falling asleep when
I saw the notification that you reblogged my response to your post. I have a
lot to say, but first of all I’m really glad to see that you’re open to
learning and listening here.

Now here’s something about being a fan of color that you
wouldn’t know: sometimes we designate people as “safe”. Someone (like
you) who many people would hold up as reputable and knowledgeable, stops being
“safe” for us when you
share and essentially uplift posts basically saying that people of color are
too sensitive and blaming us for fandom’s racism.

Anyone can fuck up in fandom though. I’ve messed up loads of
times and I’ve had people put me back on the right path with only minimal
whining (on my part and in private) because it’s not about me or my intent.
It’s about the impact it has. And that seems to be something that you’re aware
of which is awesome.

Now, with F’s meta: It’s bad. It’s very bad. I don’t know if F is a fan of color. I don’t know
anything about her aside from the fact that this is not a person I would want
to interact with because of how they reduce legitimate complaints to kink
shaming, blame people of color for racism they/characters of color face in
fandom, and use the word bullies to describe us.

In the start of F’s StormPilot meta, she dismisses the fact
that racism is the big issue keeping fandom from writing StormPilot. She puts
her list of three points with racism at the top, kink shaming at number two,
and then “too much boring fic” as number three. And then she says
that she thinks that racism is probably not the reason for the lack of
StormPilot stories as much as 2/3 are.

Except that’s wrong and there’s a whole lot of racism at play here.

There’s the racism that fans (of all kinds) receive in
response to their stories centering Finn and Poe (“this would’ve been
better if you focused on [white character] instead”).

There’s the racism fans of color are faced with when they go
to read a stormpilot story and are confronted with stories where finn having a
big ole black cock and performing stereotypes of black masculinity in a galaxy
far far away is the norm. (Something that F kind of brushes off as kinkshaming
because ~people like size kink~ when John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are the same
freaking height.)

And there’s also the racism of fans like F whose response to
“fandom is racist” is “let me tell you why you’re wrong with an
essay made to paint detractors as defensive sjw bullies”. Their response
was wrong and it was short sighted and it absolutely intended to portray people
who say that the fandom’s lack of/waning interest in StormPilot is due to how
white fans’ racism are wrong and that what it really is related to, is how the
ships happen to be boring or white fans are so worried that they’ll be yelled
at for writing characters of color wrong.

(Note that this is what fandom does: whenever a character of color shows up, the entire institution
basically leaps to make excuses for the erasure the characters go through. The
whole “I’m afraid that I’ll be yelled at” is an excuse because anyone can be yelled at for screwing up characters
of color. You learn from it though because if you really care about respecting
people and giving them positive representation, you’ll want to fix the way you look at characters of color).

Read the comments on that essay
from people calling it out. Look at what they’re saying because whenever
someone says “this thing is not about race,” it’s even more likely
that it is. (And in my
anger last night, I admit that I  made a
post about this because it is honestly ALWAYS about race when fandom goes ham
for these reductive posts about how it’s just a kink or its just shipping. Just
because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean that it is  not there.)

The silencing aspect isn’t
necessarily the data, but how its wielded against
people. Because the data isn’t the be all and end all of this thing because
you’re dealing with actual people’s lived experiences with racism. Data doesn’t
trump that. It doesn’t mean that what we experience and see and receive in our
inboxes isn’t real.

It’s so dismissive and upsetting
that F comes in with dictionary definitions and positions herself as this
person pushing back against the co-opting of social justice rhetoric like… Let’s
be real here: queer women of color created so much of that language and now
we’re being told that we’re coopting it? (Because let’s be very clear here:
many/most of the people who call attention to racism in fandom are queer women
of color and we get so much shit for it.) Things like intersectional feminism
or womanism or colorism aren’t buzzwords. They don’t just exist on the
internet.

There’s also the issue of
tone-policing. The focus you and F have on being ~nice~ in fandom and how F
keeps using the word bullies as if we need to be kind to people invested on
erasing and minimizing us in favor of white dudes. The whole “SJWs are
bullies” thing gets trotted out to explain why people don’t care about
characters of color but that’s not even remotely true. They weren’t creating
content about/for us in the first place.

Ask any person of color in fandom
how they started out nice and were ignored. Fandom ignores us until they can’t
anymore and then they blame us for the racism they were perpetuating in the
first place.

Fandom as an institution has a huge race problem. Characters of color
are erased. Fans of color are mistreated. @queerhawkeye has a
really great post about how people who are super capable at identifying
misogyny in fandom/media usually wind up going “well, I never saw
this” when fans of color talk about their experiences with racism and
racist erasure
.

Fans of color are constantly
talking about what they face and how they see both racism and misogyny
perpetuated because “we can’t police other women for what they like”.

Look, internalized misogyny and
racism inform a lot of why fandom goes and focuses solely on white dude slash
ships over every thing else in the universe. Anyone who claims otherwise is
being purposefully ignorant and needs to spend some time looking at what fans
of color are saying.

I don’t feel comfortable saying “go follow these WOC
who talk about racism” as many of those WOC I follow are friends blogging
from their personal sites and there isn’t supposed to be a teaching/learning
component to it. If you go to any blogs I reblog from or link to and you’re
like “oh hey, they’re cool and know more about this stuff than I do”
that’s different and awesome.

Go on the “fandom racism” tumblr tag.
Google “racism and fandom” or “racism and slash shipping”
and read the posts that are angry at fandom and look at why we feel this way.

Note: My blog and website talk a lot about fandom racism and
it’s in theory supposed to be a resource. I have a fandom tag and a fandom racism tag.
I’ve written about fandom’s
race problem
(there was supposed to be an essay series but I got into grad
school and had no time for it) and about the
focus on white dude slash shipping and internalized misogyny
. My blog’s entire fandom category
is full of posts about racism (but so is my actual site so I’d just suggest…
reading the whole thing.)

I’m not particularly nice about talking about any of it, but
then, I shouldn’t have to be nice about talking about the erasure people that
look like me face or how fandom likes to shout that they don’t have an
internalized misogyny problem while shitting on women of color in and out of their
shows/films/comics. (Or even white women considering how in the real world, the
actress who plays Sharon Carter and the woman who Sebastian Stan is dating both
receive horrible messages and comments from fandom because breaking up a
noncanon white dude slash ship or dating one of the actors whose character is
in said noncanon ship is apparently the worst thing in the world).

I hope this stuff is helpful and that you maybe can
understand why F’s meta really misses a lot of notes and makes a lot of fans of
color feel uncomfortable and even angry.

Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint (Franzeska) | AO3

Author: Zeenah

Zeenah writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.