stitchmediamix:

I don’t care that this is supposed to be sassy and satirical. I’m annoyed by the fact that this dude-free recut of The Last Jedi is doing what transformative fandom and supposedly progressive feminist spaces always do: cut down (or out) people of color to center on white characters and push a sort of super performative progressiveness.

If you cut out Poe and Finn, the two men of color with recurring scenes in The Last Jedi, and cut out Rose, the only woman of color to recur in the film, what exactly is left? Who exactly are left?

A whole lot of white women doing stuff in space without those pesky people of color getting in the way and a few fish nuns played for jokes.

Intersectionality Fail: Star Wars The Last Jedi Without Men

I don’t care that this is supposed to be sassy and satirical. I’m annoyed by the fact that this dude-free recut of The Last Jedi is doing what transformative fandom and supposedly progressive feminist spaces always do: cut down (or out) people of color to center on white characters and push a sort of super performative progressiveness.

If you cut out Poe and Finn, the two men of color with recurring scenes in The Last Jedi, and cut out Rose, the only woman of color to recur in the film, what exactly is left? Who exactly are left?

A whole lot of white women doing stuff in space without those pesky people of color getting in the way and a few fish nuns played for jokes.

Intersectionality Fail: Star Wars The Last Jedi Without Men

We are supposed to be the most progressive and transformative community in pop-culture.

nyxelestia:

nyxelestia:

We who…

  • Hyper-focus on white, male characters
  • Contort these male characters into heteronormativity 
  • Marginalize and erase characters of color
  • Write out women and replace them with men, especially in shipping
  • Attack women for “getting in the way” of our preferred ships
  • Hold female characters to higher standards than male characters
  • Hold characters of color to higher standards than white characters
  • Latch onto any single excuse to marginalize female characters
  • Utilize any single excuse to demonize characters of color
  • Put women on pedestals and act as if we’re doing them a favor
  • Justify white and male abuses or dismiss them as “mistakes”
  • Use actual mistakes to denigrate female and non-white characters
  • Romanticize white, male pain and mental illness
  • Expect female characters to perform all the emotional labor
  • Expect characters of color to be perfectly mentally healthy forever
  • Expect everyone to subsume their own mental health for the white males’
  • Dismiss the traumas and experiences of characters of color
  • Minimize the achievements of female characters

And then we wonder why mainstream media is so regressive, especially compared to us. We all talk as if mainstream media creators are behind the times.

They’re not.

Fandom likes to imagine itself as being progressive because of all the slash – a mechanism of progress which conveniently boils down to extra attention on overwhelmingly male (and overwhelmingly white) characters. This form of progress is one which takes a minor deviation from the social norm (homosexuality), only to end up ultimately supporting or even amplifying the status quo, by virtue of over-focusing on male characters (and over-representing white ones in the process).

Strip back that gay window dressing, though, and you’ll see that at best, fandom is just as socially stagnant as mainstream media and mainstream culture – or even worse, by virtue of engaging in media that overwhelmingly sidelines several other marginalized groups in order to prop up one.

Professional women have long known the old adage, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought of half as good.” What no one seems to realize is that fandom is still doing exactly the same thing.

We expect female characters to be twice as good for half the acclaim, we expect characters of color to be three times as good for a third of the acclaim, and we let white, male characters be only a quarter as good for four times the acclaim.

Mainstream media is keeping up with the times and with social progress just fine, it’s us who’ve deluded ourselves into believing that we, as a community, are more progressive than we actually are.

It’s been a while, but since this post just got a bunch of notes recently, I figure this is as good a time as any to add on some more thoughts.

Comparative Progressivism

Historically speaking, fandom has been progressive when compared to mainstream media. What most people don’t realize is just how little that’s really saying. When mainstream media is built on white male heteronormative power fantasy, it’s easy for any “alternative” depiction to come off as progressive.

A world where most of the women are fag-hags is certainly progressive compared to a world where most of the women are walking sex toys. That does not mean we should settle for this as a good depiction of women, or the marginalization of female characters.

Same goes for race. A character of color who is not a stereotype while supporting a white character is certainly better than a world where characters of color are stereotypes who are subsumed by white characters. That does not mean we should accept these as good representation of POC, or settle for their marginalization – or ignore their demonization as racism rears its ugly head, anew, in fandom.

And quite frankly, for a community where the overwhelming majority of our stories are based on mlm relationships, it speaks a lot to our internal attitudes and belifs that we still, even after decades of existence, continune to write gay relationships as straight relationships with different genitals. The subtle heteronormativity that permeates the gay relationship tropes of fandom are astounding, and sometimes reek of internalized misogyny.

We Are All Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon was once considered tremendously feminist, and hailed as a paragon and idol of feminism in mainstream media. But contemporary analysis of his works shows that feminism was often a shroud covering some serious fetishization and occasional bursts of downright misogyny – and somewhat more disconcerting is the fact that more and more, his current works demonstrate that he hasn’t progressed forward from this much, if at all.

Fandom is the same.

We have long prided ourselves upon a history of progressivism and being transformative. It certainly was, back in era of Star Trek slash in an era where homosexuality was still illegal in many parts of America and the world. Fandom was truly transgressive when it wrote content that challenged such a deeply entrenched status quo. Even the most misogynistic and heteronormative portrayal of a gay relationship was transgressive against the staunch heteronormativity of mid-20th century mainstream media.

“Was.”

Because we’re still writing a lot of our fics on that model. Take a look at how many people debate hotly on who in a gay pairing is “the top” and “the bottom”. They are rarely ever discussing the hypotheticals of which male finds a certain sex position/act physically pleasurable. They’re asking, which one is the penetrative and active partner, and which is the receptive and passive partner. They’re asking which one is the “dominant” and which one is the “submissive” partner (with terms like ‘power bottom’ still relying on those baselines). They’re asking, “which one is the man and which one is the woman”.

Meanwhile, actual female characters are rarely more than props to the men’s emotional health and personal narrative. A lot of them are written as little more than a fag hag or a “Straight BFF”.

We’ve gone from characters of color being walking stereotypes in the white characters’ narrative, to characters of color being either obstacles or non-existent in the white characters’ narratives. We don’t expect characters of color to literally serve the white characters while saying “yes, massa” all the time, now – but we still expect characters of color to to subsume themselves to white characters, with white characters’ feelings coming ahead of their own mental and physical health, their safety, and sometimes even their lives. Characters of color who have the audacity to act with a fraction of the self-absorption that is routine for white characters are castigated for being irresponsible and selfish.

This is if they’re even included at all. Ranging from marginalization to outright demonization, fandom constantly sidelines characters of color. Some fandoms have the unique anti-honor of being more racist – more sociall conservative, more prejudiced, and sometimes even more bigoted – than the mainstream media source material. Think about that for a minute. Mainstream media is finally moving forward and fandom is staying right where it.

Fandom Wants the 1960s Back

Fandom can talk about feminism and progressivism all it wants. The reality of the true desires of fandom as a collective and as a community are expressed in its fanworks – not only in what is created in the first place, but which works become popular and get attention…and which ones don’t.

Fandom wants a world where white men are still front and center of everyone’s attention, where women are kickass but their stories aren’t that interesting, and where POC don’t need any care or attention.

Peel back the white mlm fetishization, and fandom hasn’t budged more than an inch since the first slashy Star Trek zines. Joss Whedon’s got nothing on us.