beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
So, racism's been a recent meta topic, does that mean it's time for feminism?

I guess so.  Because I just read two awesome essays on the ugly underbelly of misogyny in slash fandom in general.

Why can't a woman be more like a man? by [livejournal.com profile] bookshop 
On female characters "not being good enough" by [personal profile] tielan 

Go.  Read now.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-22 10:27 pm (UTC)
jedibuttercup: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jedibuttercup
Internalized misogyny is definitely something to be aware of when writing and reading in fandom, just like racism. There's a reason I tend to play in the gen pool; there are lots of slash and het stories that I really like, but there are times when het fandom and slash fandom both are really ugly in their presentation of gender roles.

What gets to me the most, though, is-- how do I phrase this? When a male cast member leaves the show, and gets replaced by a female cast member with an almost identical personality, and the woman gets vilified for simply fulfilling a role the guy used to get lauded for. It happened when Vala Mal Doran joined SG-1, and proceeded to behave a lot like the "promoted to D.C." Jack O'Neill had; and when Tess Fontana joined Eureka, with attitude and dialogue lifted pretty closely from the early portrayal of the deceased Nathan Stark.

I don't read much Vala/Daniel fic, or Tess/Jack fic; and I tend to avoid any Jack/Daniel or Jack/Nathan (unless written by an author I trust) set after the arrival of the aforenamed women for the exact same reasons: the former I've encountered tend to sap all those "too male" strengths out of the women in order to paint them into "proper" feminine romantic objects, and the latter often turn the women into evil predatory shrews. I can't stand that kind of character revisionism, in any story.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-22 10:33 pm (UTC)
imadra_blue: (khr squalo big snarl)
From: [personal profile] imadra_blue
Ick. I hope you're not taking [personal profile] bookshop seriously as actually capturing the slash experience?

I'll show you why you can't. Direct quote:
Our awareness that slash is a progressive act in terms of raising awareness of queer identity has to be balanced out by the knowledge of how problematic that is when most of our fictions are still telling boy's stories at the expense of our own.

Her basic problem is that she's assuming slash is a "progressive" act. Um, slash is slash. And it's not all porn. It doesn't reinforce shit. As a bisexual female, I find her claims of misogyny and "shunting females" aside for the hot male sex0rz disengeuous not only to my experience, but to many of my fellows. Especially since she assumes that slash writers only write slash. Fuck her. I write slash, femmeslash, gen, and het. I write fairly equal amounts of slash and gen. And I don't write that much porn. Look it up. That essay gives me a headache. When you write slash OF COURSE it's about the m/m interaction. Just as when I write het, it's about the m/f interaction, and when I write gen, it's about whatever I'm writing about, and when I write femmeslash, it's about the f/f interaction.

There's a variety of reasons why I post less stories with female sexuality in it, and one of those is that due to my own sexual identity, it does make me uncomfortable. I also have fandoms with different tastes. In Star Trek, I like het, specifically Uhura/Spock and Troi/Riker. In Star Wars, I like A/O slash and O/P het. And so on. It's like she's complaining that horror is filled with horror. While her argument has validity for slash writers that only writes slash, it has no validity for people who write outside slash. And she's also comparing secondary female characters to the equal of main male character. Ginny's placement in canon isn't like Hermione's, you know? Writers have no obligation to "fix" canon. While her argument works for some slashers, it's not all, and I'm actually offended, because it's as if she's expression her own straight privilege throughout that entire essay. No.

And the second essays is asking for a false positive:
Why is it that the primary female character(s) in any canon are never good enough for the main male character?

She assumes that's the thinking. Once again, straight privilege. Note that she's complaining about a lack of HET, rather than femmeslash. Which in of itself speaks of not so much about her so-called "feminism," but her straight privilege. Just because we find a heterosexual relationship in canon unsatisfying doesn't mean that we feel that it's "bad writing" in fic. I simply don't read it for that reason. I do deplore the lack of femmeslash, and I know why I rarely post mine, because that's way too close to me. But I ask why others don't. And we are allowed to like and dislike female characters at our whim, just as I like and dislike male characters at my whim. It can be sexist, but it's not always. And to presume so is an empty, straight-privilege laden argument that makes me want to smash things.

With all due respect, the fact that you seem to agree with these essays want to throw my hands up in the air. It does not capture what slash is or why it's written. People have too many reasons. And pointing the finger at some slashers (especially those who are straight, under the misimpression that writing gay porn makes them sexually progressive, and only write slash), only serves to undermine an entire genre of fanfiction that is not being written for those reasons. I'm sorry, I'm just that offended by those essays. I'm not specifically angry at you for linking them, but I do think you need to think about things a little more deeply rather than to assume these writers have any specific clear window into slash. Because, for one, they don't capture my experience.

Sorry if I'm coming off to strong. But those essays just made me mad, like the arguments over straight privilege in slash have made me angry. Because there's too many people laboring under some serious misimpressions about slash.


ETA: Edited out a reference to you. While I am very disappointed that an intelligent person such as yourself linked those essays, it is those essays, in particular, that anger me, not you. However, the fact that you are not a slasher and so far as I know straight (but I accept if you're asexual or nonsexual, or anything else, because you've never said, only implied), does limit your ability to understand slash. And I think you should consider that before automatically agreeing with essays that rest heavily on straight privilege and assume that the slasher experience is exclusive, when I know so many slashers, like myself, who also write gen, het, femmeslash, and even genderbend characters. When you write slash, you write slash, and when you write het, you write het. Sometimes you even combine them! Remember that the experience is not as those two essayists said for everyone. Only some. Specifically, probably them and their circle of friends.
Edited Date: 2010-01-22 10:49 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-23 07:38 am (UTC)
imadra_blue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] imadra_blue
No. I actively chose not to respond to those essayists for two prime reasons. One, the first essayist, bookshop, is a well-known wanker. I do not debate with wankers. It never ends well. Two, I do not have the energy to waste my time on either individual. I simply don't have the spoons for it. I chose to rant about it to you because I respect you, fwiw.

And I agree this internalized misogyny does exist in slash. More than I would like it to, certainly. But not all. And these essays frequently lead to ugly generalizations about the entire genre. I was not aware that you read any slash at all, so it felt very much like an outsider coming in, going by a couple people's highly debatable views, and making judgments on the group. I apologize for leaping to conclusions without evidence. Some debates about slash, particularly that of straight privilege, have been really hitting home for me. Especially when people, like bookshop, seem to think writing gay porn somehow makes them progressive. I think that's what sent me off into a tizzy, and I'm sorry for that.

As for those unfortunate issues in slash, such as shunting aside or character bashing females, assigning gay couples heterosexual gender roles, MPreg (and yes, I think MPreg is an issue), and the rest, well. I agree they exist. I've seen them, too. And I also find the amount of slash puzzling in comparison to het vs. femmeslash vs. gen. I mean, I know why I don't like to write females in sexual situations, but that certainly can't be the experience for someone more comfortable with their sexuality (which is most people). I will never deny these issues exist. I think it's because these essays do not qualify by admitting that slash has a significant portion of non-heterosexual female writers, they reduce the entire genre to something sexist. And that angers me, because once again, straight privilege renders non-heterosexuals invisible. Am I guilty of not always being the biggest fan of certain female characters? Sure, but I tend to have equal dislike for certain male characters. They reduce any dislike or disinterest in female characters to some misogynistic stereotype, and I refuse to believe that's the case for all slashers, though I will admit it seems to be the case for too many.

I am sorry for snapping. I've been having discussiong with similar people on this vein, and it's just so personal to me that I get very angry. Angry to the point that I can't deal with people like the ssayists directly. If it's not someone I know, it would just lead to drama I cannot handle right now. I do apologize for flipping out, but it's mainly the lack of qualification that bugged me. It's the lack of qualifications that always bug me, and in this case, it struck a nerve. I'm sorry you had to get caught in it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-23 12:27 am (UTC)
revdorothyl: missmurchsion made this (Default)
From: [personal profile] revdorothyl
Thanks for these links -- I enjoyed both those essays quite a lot, and they provided some good food for thought!

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