i did something
If the shoe fits …
Y’all let’s not pretend there aren’t a lot of adult women in fandom who’s obsession with white m/m shipping is related to racism, sexism, & fetishization and they aren’t capable of being held accountable for it. While there are plenty of queer people, poc, and teens in fandom (and any combo thereof) let’s not ignore that a number of fandom BNFs are white straight adult women who are shipping white m/m & that it’s not benign exploration above criticism. And I mean it’s fine to ship that but there is a huge problem with HOW it has been shipped and there has been for years?
when the fanon white/white ships are the most popular in your fandom and are always making lists and rankings and you gotta act like it don’t bother you
bonus: when the fanon white/white ships are the most popular in your fandom and said fandom wants to play like it’s not about race
THIS » “ ladies telling ladies that they’re allowed is a powerful thing.”
So is no one going to mention the fact that slash fandom is extremely misogynist, biphobic, transphobic, racist, and full of rape and abuse apologism? Young girls, especially young queer girls, aren’t focusing on white cis men in all of their fanfic because they want liberation. They’re focusing on white cis men in all of their fanfic because they’ve been taught their whole lives that white cis men are the only people deserving of their attention.
If you’d asked me when I was fifteen why I wrote slash, I’d have told you that it was because women were annoying and they ruined the romance/sex. Most of my female friends in fandom would have agreed with the statement. I can’t tell you the last time I got into a slash ship and didn’t find character-bashing fics of the canon female love-interest of at least one of the men. If you’d looked at what kind of fic we were reading back then, you’d have seen abuse and rape as far as the eye could see, with a dash of incest here and there. Abuse in same-sex relationships is not a footnote to discussions of slash. It’s one of the first things we need to discuss. I spent YEARS unlearning the self-hatred and the abuse and rape apologism I learned from slash fandom. I need people to take off their rose colored glasses and realize that slash fandom is not a healthy place to learn about your sexuality. It hasn’t been since I entered it ten years ago.
And let’s talk about this focus on “men,” by which you actually mean cis white men. Between 2007 and 2013, I wrote 28 stories which are still available (which is to say that there were once more, but I later removed them because I developed moral objections to their content—none of these fics would have changed the numbers I’m about to present). Do you know how many of them feature PoC as a main character? One. In six years and 28 stories, I have *one* with a PoC protagonist, and it’s 500 words long (which is the shortest thing I wrote back then) and the PoC is not the POV character. I also distinctly remember writing it because I was just becoming aware of racial issues and I felt guilty about how white fics were. In other words, it was a token to soothe my own conscience. Not a single one of them featured a trans protagonist. I don’t think I have *ever* seen a story with a trans protagonist unless I went looking for it. And then there’s the rampant bisexual erasure in fandom. Granted, the white-washing issue doesn’t hold true in anime fandoms, where characters tend to be Japanese, but those have their own issues that I won’t get into because I’ve never been heavily involved with them.
Are young girls fantasizing about being cis white men in relationships with other cis white men (who are, of course, the only people whose love really counts)? Obviously. But this has nothing to do with fantasizing about “equality.” This is a power fantasy. It’s fantasizing about being the oppressor, and that’s why misogyny is so common in these fics. If you can fantasize about being a man in a relationship with another man, you can fantasize about liberation, especially when you have literal magic and/or a revision of most of human history at your disposal.
Feminists really need to move away from the idea that women have achieved liberation when they become like men. That’s not liberation. That’s not even equality. That’s seeing oppression from the other end. There’s nothing feminist about that. It might feel good in short bursts, but that doesn’t make it good in the long-term. (On a related note, young girls learning how to masturbate is great, but it’s still worth scrutinizing if they’re learning how to masturbate to rape and misogyny.)
And last but not least, I really need slash writers to recognize that when they have these “Slash is so feminist!!11” conversations, they are having them at the direct expense of femslash writers, whose work is far more liberating but who get a fraction of the credit for it. In fact, we get vilified for it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen queer women femslash writers get compared to straight men jacking off to lesbian porn. We get told that we’re tools of the patriarchy for daring to create spaces in fandom where queer women exist and are the center of attention, while straight women (I am not saying that all slash writers are straight. I know damn well that they aren’t. I’m a queer slash writer myself.) are held up as feminist icons for encouraging queer-baiting and disproportionate focus on cis white men. We get told that the stories by us, about us, and for us are “male gaze-y” and “objectifying” because apparently there is no reason why we would admit to our own existence except to please men.
Honestly, the difference the in reactions I get on my femslash fics and the reactions I get on my slash fics are stunning. Slash fics? Everyone is happy, yay boy love, boys boys boys. Femslash fics? Let’s reduce them to “friends” repeatedly, call them lesbophobic slurs, and if there was even a hint of an m/m pairing happening anywhere within a mile radius, let’s ignore the f/f pairing that the fic was actually about and demand that the writer focus on the m/m pairing instead. Let’s talk about how “gay” Supernatural and Sherlock and Hannibal are without ever once mentioning the canon lesbians on those shows, but let’s never apply that word to Orange is the New Black. That tells you a Hell of a lot about where fandom’s priorities lie.
And I OT3, multiship, and write open relationships like Hell, so I know what happens when you try to let a woman in on the fun that slash fandom had decided is only for men: That bitch. He would never (even if he did in canon). This is an insult. It’s so degrading for him to be touching her. Who would sleep with a woman when they had a willing man? Why is he even pretending that he loves her as much as he loves him? He couldn’t possibly love her as much as he loves him. She’s not a man. Ew! It ruined the fic for me that you had him sleep with her! He needs to just break up with her already so that the two men can be together all on their own. Let’s bash this woman in every fic, on every fandom confession page, and on every blog because our favorite white male soiled himself by touching her. It doesn’t even matter if he was the one who pursued her and if she turned him down. If he fell in love with her, it’s her fault and she’s the slut because she got in the way of our perfect white man slash ship. And if she loved him? That’s even worse. Women have no legitimate feelings, so we’ll make her abusive and evil in hundreds of fics, and we’ll call her useless and dismiss everything she’s ever done that makes her a good female character. We’ll hate her for being rude one time but forgive the man she’s in love with for committing genocide. Especially if she dared to compound the offense by not being white. How dare women of color have feelings? I guess it’s maybe okay sometimes if they have them for men of color, then we’ll just ignore them because we don’t care about men of color anyway, but white men? Only white men deserve white men.
Look, I’m not saying that slash is anti-feminist, because it’s not and this need some people have to divide everything into a strict “feminist” and “anti-feminist” binary is ridiculous, but I also need more feminists (especially white feminists) to stop pretending that slash is inherently feminist and start being honest about the many, many problems in slash culture and the unfortunate things that the prevalence of slash actually says about how modern women view themselves and their own worth.
I know this is old, but it makes the point very well.
This is great and I agree w 95% of it but as a qwoc can I just say that “I also need more feminists (especially white feminists) to stop pretending that slash is inherently feminist and start being honest about the many, many problems in slash culture” can equally apply to femslash bc everything in this post abt racism in dudeslash culture applies there too and I’m tired of white femslashers pretending it doesn’t. A lot of femslash I see is ultimately no more liberating for me to read as a bisexual black woman than the dudeslash I see tbh and it gets frustrating to see white wlw constantly juxtaposing femslash against dudeslash as the morally superior option when I see a lot of the same troubling & hurtful issues at work when it comes to female characters of color
I wish that folk would turn the same critical eye on both spheres
Unblocking IR would probably not help, not just because right now I don’t want to discuss anything with her, but because I don’t feel as though she wanted a discussion when she made her post about mine.
Otherwise she would’ve replied on a reblog of my original post or messaged me on one of the many different avenues that I have made available for people to contact me on (I have asks open, Tumblr’s IM open, replies on for people who don’t follow me, and a contact form on my official website).
Instead of contacting me or even confronting me on my post, she wrote a post that misinterpreted what I was saying and brought in aspects of fandom culture that I wasn’t even talking about and that I honestly don’t think were relevant in the post (both “erotophobia” and fandom’s thing where calling and pinpointing shippers as p*dos casually during discourse is apparently acceptable).
It’s specifically about people using the term “purity wank” to mean “these people talking critically about the things I think are sexy in fandom are really prudes who want to police my sexuality”.
In the “meta that shall not be named” I reference “My Vagina Is A Bigot, Yours is a Saint” the racist Star Wars fandom meta that fandom used to erase WOC from fandom and excuse racist shipping practices.
The author of that meta also wrote a piece of meta where she decided that racism wasn’t at all a reason why Stormpilot (Finn/Poe as a ship) was diminishing in fandom popularity and actually dismissed how size kink as it applies to Black characters (the focus on Black bodies as hulking and dominant as well as the focus on Big Black Cocks at the expense of Black male characters’ who are seen as penises rather than as people) is disgustingly antiblack and racist.
(I didn’t provide context in my original post because I felt that most of my followers know about me coming up against that writer and my complicated feelings towards the Star Wars fandom. I didn’t think to add that context for other people and I will go back and link to it in the original post now.)
Like my argument boils down to:
[…] it’s messed up to respond to criticism by suggesting that it’s a way to put down female sexuality and desire (as “purity wank” dismisses legitimate concerns as the desire to remove sexuality and desire from fandom/fan fiction and positions the criticism as aggressive attacks against them).
And IR’s response was to what?
Position my criticism as a misguided and aggressive attack towards her identity, experiences, and position as another WOC in fandom.
I mean, that’s what that was, not a call for discussion that I could respond to without looking like an even bigger dickwad to her followers.
These followers, by the way, now have this perception of me as someone who is completely okay with censoring fandom and stopping women from liking what they like – with no acknowledgement of the fact that fandom is uncritically into some shit that does perpetuate racism and sexualizes things and people that probably shouldn’t.
It’d be nice if we could talk about it without it being turned into “you want to make other women think like you”/”stop censoring other women and policing their sexuality” shit.
What kind of discussion would come of me unblocking her after all of this?
Probably not a good one, you know?
Because she didn’t want a discussion to begin with and I don’t really want to have one with her now.
Thank you for your ask!
there’s a difference between the ‘enemies-to-lovers’ trope and shipping someone with their abuser
the funniest thing in fanfic and fanart is when you see someone be like “uhuh yeah im not here for your cute gentle baby ships im only here for COMPLICATED, MESSY RELATIONSHIPS” and then all the content they make is the characters shoved into the same boring bullshit whimpering uke and evil seme tropes you see in every yaoiship ever
Remember how “a desire to write grimdark kinkfic” was basically one of the reasons Franzeska (and others) bandied about for Kylux being a bigger and better deal than JediStormPilot?
Because these writers desperately wanted to write their idfic but couldn’t manage to do it in a way that wasn’t terribly racist. So they claimed that was why they moved to a typical white dude slash fic (but it wasn’t at all about race?)
Several people have gone through the Kylux tags here and on AO3 and pointed out how most of the most popular stories for that pairing center quiet domesticity, college or high school AUs, and nothing darker than the current canon.
In fact, they even take the interesting enemy relationship the characters have and reduce them to nothing.
What’s so complicated about that? What’s so dark and id-explory about two white dudes own a cat and aimlessly fuss at each other once in a while?
It’s just so interesting how that excuse of “we want to write messy characters in messy relationships” was used to excuse racist erasure and shipping practices and the preference for a pairing that fandom sanitizes on its own.