We COULD touch on the antiblack, colonialist dynamic of inserting Tony as a parental figure in Shuri’s life despite her having parents because she needs to be “civilized” in a way, or fandom feeling entitled to black character’s labor (Wakandan tech) buuuuut hating those black characters are canonically smarter than Tony despite that you were happy to have them give out new toys but are offended too because “Tony is smarter!1” so now u add him “teaching” Shuri science to the clusterfuck of mess

I talked about the weird infantilization fandom likes to do to characters of color in “Bodhi Rook – Looks Like A Cinnamon Roll…” (there, i focus on MOC but it still applies). Fandom has this thing where it likes to be like “here, white couple… have this person of color as a child” and it’s beyond obnoxious. 

With the “Tony adopts Shuri” thing in particular, there’s also that whole thing Brian Michael Bendis started with Riri (and to a lesser extent, Miles) where a young Black hero’s family isn’t supportive enough and so they must turn to a white hero as a mentor. 

Seriously, I blame Bendis for kind of canonizing fandom’s weird shit where they think Tony is just gagging to like adopt all the “unloved” Black kids. 

Oh and that’s the kicker, for Tony to be Shuri’s anything, fandom has to remove her from her actual support and family. They have to take her out of Wakanda, remove her family from her side, make sure Nakia and Okoye aren’t anywhere near, and then they have to basically take away her rightful distrust of white people as colonizers. 

By the end of the day, they’re not writing Shuri. They’re writing a Brown Paper Doll with her name (shout out to @thecheshirecass – i think – for coming up with this term in the context of the Dragon Age fandom. It fits here too, I think.)

They claim to love Shuri so much, but then the character they want Tony to love, adore, and adopt… isn’t her. 

Not once has fandom had this fixation with Asgard or it’s technology. No sugar daddy Thor, nothing. Their entitlement to Wakanda is 100% rooted in ingrained antiblack racism. They’ll gush over it having the sweetest tech but then say Tony could easily improve it or do better like???? What’s the truth? You want Wakanda as a new playground buuuuut also wanna demean it? NBPOC do this too, like that Filipino tony stan vilifying T’Challa but loving a Filipino Wakanda

You have hit the nail on the dang head. 

Seriously!

In the same way that folks in fandom that suddenly had problems with the existence of Wakanda but like… nothing to say about Asgard three movies in (even after Ragnarok which was pretty damn explicit about the FACT that Asgard was a colonizing power that thrived on homogeneity and keeping their power to themselves), folks in fandom aren’t well… colonizing Asgard in the same way that they’re taking Wakanda for themselves.

(Also, quick sidebar to say that there’s no problem with being a NBPOC inspired by Black Panther and imagining your own culture pre-colonialism and how similar concepts to afrofuturism would would to create that sort of culture… and spelling it out properly.

However, folks are out here basically cutting and pasting afrofuturism atop whatever culture that they can imagine which ignores how much of afrofuturism as a concept is inspired by specific things that ARE absolutely unique to the descendants of the people enslaved during TransAtlantic/triangular slave trade. Taking elements of the genre/theory to slap across other cultures – especially but not limited to white European cultures – is frankly unacceptable because folks need to do the work. 

And in the case of that one walnut, they’re taking these concepts from a movie about a Black character they don’t even respect considering they used the strawmanniest of arguments to say that “T’challa is as bad as Tony” with that one post you’re referencing.)

Anyway, it’s really obnoxious how many folks in fandom are kind of doing the same thing that the out and out racists have been saying (problematizing Wakanda or specific Wakandans) while then like grabbing for the concept like it’s absolutely an everyman situation. 

(Also the few times I remember seeing sugar daddy Thor stories from when I was really in that section of fandom they definitely weren’t in the context of “now he takes care of the other avengers as is his duty as a wealthy king of an foreign land with resources/great science”. Definitely not.)

They think Shuri is just gonna be handing out Wakandan tech to whites who don’t even need it? Isn’t that Tony’s job lol to “supply the toys with little appreciation “as they claim? And i hate these “Shuri is taking care of Bucky!1” posts because it reduces her to a maid.

I’ve BEEN ready to fight over the fact that fandom legitimately seems to think of Wakanda as a warehouse of tech for their white boys.

T’challa being a friend/friendly to Steve and Bucky and getting them in shape to fight Thanos is so different from what fandom wants. Fandom wants to put Wakanda/ns to work making new suits for Tony, a new suit for Peter, probably some new shrinking tech for Ant-Man despite the fact that he has a guy for that too. 

Fandom seems to think of T’challa and the other Wakandans as like… a one-stop shop and it’s ridiculous that they do this crap while also swearing up and down that they really really love him. Well the Star Wars fandom swears they love Finn and Lando but like… have y’all seen what their definition of love looks like?

Ugh.

And those posts (so many posts) that turn Shuri into Bucky’s babysitter/Mammy/repair-person are so obnoxious. I think the easiest way to spot the difference is to compare how these headcanons talk about Shuri versus how Fullmetal Alchemist treated Winry as fandom thinks they’re treating Shuri like that manga treated Winry.

Winry is a pretty fleshed out character in the manga and she gets her own arc, her own interests, and grows up throughout the series.

Fanon!Shuri isn’t a person in many of the headcanons I’ve seen floating around. She’s a mechanic-nanny who only exists to fix Bucky’s arm or build a new shield/suit/etc for any number of white guys she’s never met before. Even when the headcanons give her a love interest (usually in Peter Parker but I’ve seen some weirdly… problematic HCs with Zendaya’s MJ), it’s not about her.

Like if folks aren’t written Wakandans as people… They need to stop writing them.

(Because they didn’t do this with Thor. Despite the fact Asgard is just as advanced as Wakanda and folks have/had just as much access to asgardian tech, I’ve never once in my life seen any Asgardians dehumanized for tech/plot purposes in fanfiction. And we know why that is…)

Fandom simultaneously hates Shuri for daring be smarter than Tony yet wants to enforce this false narrative he’ll adopt her or be a big brother, despite her already having a mother and brother. They… Wanna defang her almost or “justify” her accomplishments by inserting this yt dude. They claim Tony wouldn’t mind her being smarter because he is a “feminist futurist” lol but are seething that Shuri is smarter canonically

It’s like they’re torn between the different racist scripts:

  1. They see her as a threat because she’s smarter than their white fave so she needs to be torn down/put in her place
  2. While wanting to infanitlize her (in order to diminish her accomplishments or have one of several white guys adopt her into their dysfunctional families) so that these white guys can claim that they’re the reason for her success (like you said) 
  3. And use her existence to prop these white guys up (usually Tony, but I’ve seen Some Shit for Steve and Bucky as well as Bruce and Peter) as super progressive which kind of becomes an equivalent of “these characters can’t be problematic/racist/misogynists because they have a Shuri”
  4. But the whole time, as you’ve pointed out, they’re coming from a place that’s just not even cool with Shuri being that smart and so they’re centering white dudes her life  to a) make themselves feel better and b) take control of Shuri’s fictional future in a way that isn’t even about her

It’s so frustrating because it’s so transparent. It’s that fake as heck “oh, I genuinely love this black character” even as all of their headcanons about said black character center… white dudes and their needs/pain. Especially if they can give them pain that Black characters caused and/or now need to fix.

(I saw someone say that Shuri had more privilege than Tony because she has access to Vibranium the other day and I just about lost my shit on them…)

Many people left that theater after they dropped $10 or more on Black Panther going “how can I make this about white dudes” and it’s weird because like no one in Wakanda would fawn over the white avengers the way that fandom thinks they would.

Like I made a tweet thread about this actually, how non-Black people keep needing to put Shuri and the other characters in Black Panther into relation with their white faves because they literally can’t enjoy BP without whiteness present.

(Like they’re not inserting Daisy Johnson, Yo Yo, or Colleen Wing into Black Panther headcanons. They’re not inserting male characters of color into Black Panther. Not even the Black ones… It’s literally just the white folks.)

I can’t recall off the top of my head, but in the Dark Hunter series (I know, bare with me) were there any female Dark Hunters at all? If not, that seems… Off given Artemis is a woman and protector of women in mythology. There might’ve been a few but that’s miniscule compared to all the men (who all seem to be white too)

Sorry for taking
forever and a day to get back to you on this, but I’ve actually got answers for
you because I’m working on a “Dear Author” letter on Sherrilyn Kenyon
that’s set to call out the endless amounts of awfulness in her work. So I’ve
got so many thoughts on the amount of female Dark Hunters and how they’re
portrayed.

First, Sherrilyn Kenyon
made Artemis into a villain for her fans to loathe. While we didn’t know the
details of her “relationship” with Acheron or the fact that she’s
been raping and essentially enslaving him for millennia until Acheron came
out in 2009, at no point has Artemis been framed as anything other than an
awful goddess. Acheron just explained
some of the reactions other characters had to her (such as the Simi calling her
a bitch goddess at every single opportunity even BEFORE Acheron came out).

And that’s nothing like
the actual goddess (who isn’t perfect, but still) has ever been. Yes, the Greek
pantheon has a couple of gods that don’t know the meaning of the word consent,
but Artemis was never one of them.

But I digress –

Your question was about
female Dark Hunters and well, there are quite a few.

Problem is that most of
them are white and straight, and since the series is really mainly focused on
the male supernatural heroes finding a woman that will accept them despite
their flaws, they don’t even get a ton of focus.

Out of 30 Dark Hunter
books (all of which are heterosexual m/f pairings with even the hint of
queerness shot down), I think only 2 have a female Dark Hunter get her happily
ever after. (Those DHs would be Sam and Danger.) And since this is a romance series, if they’re not getting love,
they’re not seen as important enough to get a narrative focus.

Also most male Dark Hunters are damn near
guaranteed to get a love interest in some format (short story, novella, novel)
and to show up in the future of the series. But not so much the ladies.

So you could have a
character like Zoe – a lesbian Amazon warrior that hates men ugh – introduced
in 2006 who you basically never see again and who never gets a focus in the
plot. Despite the fact that queer fans have been asking for her to get her own
book since she showed up in Dark Side of
the Moon
with dialogue.

Which sucks.

Because we never get to
learn about the female dark hunters’ backstories beyond “oh yeah they were
betrayed by a man or had their children killed” while male dark hunters
are all about that revenge arc and get to be fleshed out beyond their pain when
it’s brought up.

I read about how, in the Anita Blake series, she sleeps with a literal teemager at some point and I’m still disgusted years later

So the book in question (Skin Trade) came out in 2009 and Anita’s relationship with Cynric is STILL creepy as hell almost seven years later.

In Skin Trade, Anita is between her mid twenties and mid thirties at the very least. Even though she doesn’t look her age (thanks to her metaphysical connections with multiple vampires and shape-shifters) and supposedly looks like she’s in her early twenties, she’s still CLEARLY too old to be having sex with someone who was sixteen when they were first forced to have sex.

And okay, LKH gives Anita (and her readers) an out where they were both “mind-rolled” and couldn’t consent in Skin Trade, but like… Anita metaphysically bonds with Cynric as a result and once he turns seventeen (which is apparently the age of consent in St. Louis), is shipped to Anita in order to serve as one of her lovers.

So she’s older than me and sleeping with a kid who’s not only going through his senior year of high school in at least one of the books he’s in, but who has Anita and Jean Claude (his lover and their mutual master, respectively) serving as parental figures and going to PTA meetings as his guardians.

I guess LKH wanted to make Anita all sexy and edgy in a way she hadn’t before. I mean, she made Anita a rapist – I mean, succubus – and shacked her up with multiple shape shifters who she fucks in their part-shifted forms, and writes her indulging in incredibly violent sex that we’re told is sexy and that she enjoys even as she literally says otherwise in the text of the books. 

I mean… I actually expected that she’d hook up with someone too young to vote before the series was done. I just wasn’t expecting her to then take the kid in her home and like… half-assedly raise him while sleeping with him. 

(In the newest book Crimson Death, it looks like LKH retconned the second part where Cyn was 17 when he joined Anita’s merry band of mind-wiped sycophants, but aging him up to 18 at their second meeting REALLY doesn’t erase the weird and gross relationship that Anita has with him considering the age gap and how Anita uses her powers against him and the other tiger-shifters she owns.)

I was going to like… paste in the description of Cyn in that book just so y’all could see how he’s written in this gross gaze but I felt like giving y’all a break and not traumatize y’all with LKH’s objectifying description of that teenager. 

I’ll be talking about sexual assault in the Anita Blake series (and how Anita always gets away with rape by virtue of not being in control) in the next Urban Fantasy 101 series (because I kinda put a pause on the monomyth installment) but then when I eventually make it to Skin Trade and Kiss the Dead in my Great Big Anita Blake Reread, I’ll talk more in detail about Cynric and how his whole character arc is a hot, problematic mess caused by LKH kinda not knowing when too much is enough.

Racist fangirls are a trip because they’ll outright admit that they don’t like nonwhite male characters because they don’t find them attractive so they can quit with that whole “These white mlm pairings are progressive” spiel, they just love seeing conventionally attractive white dudes bone

What always cracks me up is that no one ever asks for that information.
No one ever goes “why do you ship these white guys” because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. But racists in fandom, when faced with even the slightest chance that they may be called out or that fandom isn’t approving of their single-minded focus on white masculinity, call themselves out all while trying to appear as though they’re truly subversive because they write and read certain kinds of fan fiction. 

Like I personally don’t care why you ship a thing. That’s so none of my business and not only am I not entitled to an explanation, I don’t want one.

But do you know how many people, back when my first slash-critical posts were first going around, felt like they needed to explain why they shipped Spock/Kirk or why they liked Steve/Tony to me as if that mattered. And their excuses erased people of color all the time. 

They didn’t see how Uhura could be a good partner for Spock or read Rhodey/Tony as platonic or even abusive on Rhodey’s part. There were excuses after excuses that put the weight of representation on characters of color as shippers claimed their (valid) right to queer representation.

And I’m so tired of that shit.

I think I prefer it when people in fandom drop the coded language and just say outright that it’s impossible for them to see people of color as attractive so that I can straight up block, mock, and avoid. Because while I’m certain that some shippers do believe that they’re making a difference with what they’re writing and reading, the fact is that with most things in fandom, there are others out there who are just in it for the instant personal gratification. 

Which is fine. Personal gratification isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

But I need these people to stop telling anyone that their interest comes specifically from a place that wants to help queer men get representation or that they’re really here for queering characters against a heterocentric canon and world when the only queer men they care about getting their happily ever afters are the white ones who’ve probably rarely had a positive conversation in their canon.

From what I recall (since I haven’t read Dresden Files in a minute) there’s also poor representation of Native/Indigenous peoples, the only Native character I can recall is Injun Joe/Joseph Listens-to-Wind

I’m also pretty sure that he’s the only Native character and he’s a bundle of stereotypes smushed into a single character. He’s the mystical Native figure who always has something wise for Dresden and he’s got magic that the white folks don’t (and while I am here for diverse magic systems and cultures in urban fantasy, it’s not done well here).

Honestly, Jim Butcher has like a handful of characters of color in the Dresden Files and they tend to be poorly written and slip into stereotypes more often than not. I hate his whitewashed Chicago like few other things, but seeing how he writes other characters of color when they do show up in his work… 

I’m glad he didn’t realize that he could put more than one black person in Chicago at any given time. 

I’ll admit I’ve only read one Dark Hunters book and one Chronicles of Nick book, but that doesn’t explain why this series is so confusing like… Nick himself, who I actually liked way back when. So, he’s a demon okay cool, and… he has god powers, from drinking god blood I think like a vampire? Acheron is an Atlantean god but also a Chthonian too AND a Source god… and Jared or whoever, Apollymi is Braith apparently too

Another thing regarding Dark Hunters: Apparently, Apollymi is THE most powerful god in her Pantheon yet, they could imprison her?

Okay so I’ve read all but the last three Dark Hunter books (because there’s a character in one of them who gets a female mate that I headcanoned as queer for about a decade and I refuse to let that dude go since SK’s concept of mating is ridiculously heterocentric) and I’ve read like… two of her Chronicles of Nick books so I’m… largely up to date on what’s going on unless she’s introduced yet another world-breaking megagiant of a character who doesn’t need to be a thing.

What kills me is that she made her worldbuilding confusing. She could’ve kept the “the Greek gods are Dicks, the Atlantean gods are dicks, and occasionally demons show up” stuff without basically trying to connect everything to everyone and bring in different pantheons. At this point, if she were to do like a character wall, she’d end up with a ball of string wrapped around her hands because it’s so messy. The first like eight books were great, the characters were interesting and not super overpowered. Their weaknesses made sense.

And then, she definitely started writing some of these characters as super OP and then has to deprive them of that power when writing their stories because they’re otherwise indestructible (with Acheron, his weaknesses are especially annoying because he could literally destroy the world with a sneeze so her failsafe is a ridiculous one). She’s clearly from the Joss Whedon style of “this character is the most powerful unless I need to break them down to make them human” school of thought. 

What sucks is that doing the same thing with Nick who was just a “normal” Dark-Hunter and then come to find out he’s like Sephiroth. (Basically and possibly literally.) and he’s more powerful than Acheron and blah blah blah.

I can’t wait to see what mess of torture porn and homophobic stereotypes she writes into his traumatic backstory once she gives him his own adult book in the distant future.

(And don’t get me started on Apollymi. Nothing about her life or imprisonment makes sense. Kenyon SERIOUSLY dropped the ball on her character while also refusing to let the character go so we’re stuck with bits and pieces that make no sense and have no actual meaning to the narrative aside from “hey this is the lady the Daimons worship and she happens to be Ash’s mom”. ARGH!)

So, mobster Steve can be this nationwide kingpin who’s virtually untouchable and in no danger of getting brought to justice, AND has a double identity as a beloved teacher with a knack for connecting with troubled teens by day. Meanwhile, characters of color who are in the same line of work are a joke + sloppy in their work, are cannon fodder. They’re cardboard and flat. Probably referred to as scum or a plague and unredeemable monsters, while white mobsters are complex with motivation

And by no means is this me
trying to like, defend real life black gang culture because that is a real,
deadly issue steeped in rape culture, sexism, misogyny, homophobia,
transphobia, etc. But the treatment in fanfiction of black organized crime
members is glaringly different. Steve is “protecting his loved ones”
and most definitely killing, torturing, exploiting people including
marginalized groups + profiting off then but it’s okay because he was a scrawny
Irish kid growing up who was bullied 

I can’t remember the last time that there was a good MCU AU
starring any Black character in a similar
position to “mobster Steve” where they were treated well. Remember
that one of the ways used to villainize Sam was to bring up his (since
retconned afaik) history as a member of a gang or whatever. Like that was used as a reason
why fandom shouldn’t like Sam anymore and why he was problematic as a
character.

Meanwhile,
you can’t swing a cat on AO3 without landing on a handful of mafia AUs that
romanticize the reality of organized crime – but somehow always manage to act
like white organized crime isn’t built upon some of the same horrible things
that Black organized crime is. (Like I have absolutely read multiple stories
back in the Winter Soldier days where Sam’s history gets brought up as a
negative but the idea of Steve and/or Bucky belonging to a gang in the 40s is
like romanticized and put across as a good
thing.)

And okay
with the Steve thing: I am so annoyed at how fandom ignores his characterization
to do this shit. Because even if you can’t wrap your head around the wrongness
of serial killer, cannibal, and mafia AUs starring him as it relates to how
white crime is treated – his actual characterization and history is like as far
from that as you can get. Yeah, they can position him as this fantastic person
who helps troubled (and usually marginalized) teens by day to tie it back, but at
the end of the day these AUs just make Steve into the kind of bully that he’d
hate. What’s so sexy about that?

And okay,
can we just look at how fandom reacted to the Punisher who was literally
torturing and murdering marginalized people but because they were “really
bad” criminals, and he had a sad backstory, we’re supposed to ignore what
he did to that Latino gang like are you kidding me? Instead of going “wow,
maybe this guy went a bit overboard,” fandom is ready to toss panties at
him because he’s dangerous and damaged.

Because
I know that we’re going to be reminded of this once September 30 rolls around
and fandom proceeds to show their collective ass about Luke Cage.

Suddenly,
all of the things that fandom has managed to ignore from their favorite (white)
villains and the things that they attach to their heroes in fan fiction AUs
will become forbidden if Luke Cage even
considers
flirting with them. We’re going to get so many thinkpieces
and meta posts about how monstrous the villains are in Luke Cage while fandom pretends that they care so much about
“black on black crime” and violence against POC like fans weren’t
collectively ready to hop on Kilgrave’s dick despite EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM AND
WHAT HE DID TO THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM.