beatrice_otter: Men may move mountains, but ideas move men. (Ideas move men)
tumblr version is here.

I've been in fandom for almost twenty years, and here are some things that are true of pretty much every fandom I've seen: There is a lot more sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, anti-semitism, etc., in fandom than most of us would like to admit, and the vast majority of it is unconscious. People (mostly white, etc.) THINK they're being perfectly unbiased and fair, and they really, really aren't. Their unconscious prejudices are shining through. And it sucks. We, collectively, suck.

But here's something I think most people miss: when we talk about this stuff, the point is not to make people feel bad. It's not about who's a "good," non-racist person, and who is a "bad" racist. It's not about proving who's "pure" and who's not. (Or at least, if that's why you're doing it, you're a really screwed-up self-righteous asshole.) IT'S ABOUT CHANGE. Because the thing is, we are all swimming in a sea of racist, sexist, queerphobic crap all the time. We can't change the larger culture (at least not by ourselves), but we CAN change fandom. I know, because fandom has gotten better about this stuff over the last twenty years. There is still a LOT of room for improvement, but it's better than it was. And it can get better than it is. But not if we ignore the problem or sweep it under the rug or get defensive. The first step in sucking less is to realize that you suck in the first place. The second step is figuring out how to suck less.

This post is about that second step. This post is about how to take the knowledge that, yes, we have some problems, and work to make those problems smaller. This post is about how to work through that, grow as a person, learn to suck less, and still have fun in fandom while you're doing it.

There are a lot of posts out there about how to be a good ally. There are also lots of posts out there about avoiding racist/sexist/ableist/whateverist tropes in fic. And there are a lot of good posts out there pointing out that fandom gets WAAAAAY more interested in able-bodied neurotypical cisgender white men than about any other character. We all know what the problems are, or at least, we should. But I think there's a need for "okay, I want to be more inclusive/suck less, how do I do it" on a broad level before we get to the nitty-gritty of "these are tropes I should avoid or be careful about." Namely, how does one get oneself to be fannish about characters that all one's cultural conditioning is screaming at you to ignore?

First, some basic principles.
1) This is fandom. It is supposed to be fun. This should not be like that terrible assignment from your least favorite teacher in school, fandom should be fun.

2) We've all been marinating in a stew of racism/homophobia/sexism/ableism/antisemitism/islamophobia all our lives. Even if, on a conscious level, you disagree with any given ism, your gut has been conditioned to prioritize white able-bodied cissexual neurotypical men over everything else.

3) Racism and sexism suck, and sucking is bad, and it makes fandom NOT fun for those on the receiving end of it. We should all be trying to suck less, both as a goal in its own right and because we want fandom to be fun for EVERYONE.

4) It is possible to work at sucking less while still enjoying fandom.

5) The higher we are in the kyriarchy, the more damage your sucking causes, and the more we are protected from that damage. So, like, a white person is part of the power structure that causes and benefits from racism; we're less likely to see it, more likely to cause damage to others because of it. BUT we also have a lot more power to change things for the better. It's not up to black people or Latin@s or Asians or Roma or LGBTQ people or people with disabilities or Jews or any other oppressed group to fix things--they're not the problem. The ultimate responsibility is up to Whites to suck less. (This doesn't mean that, say, a Black person can't suck--just that they are WAY less likely to damage others through their suckitude.)

So the question is, how do we as White people have fun in fandom while sucking less? Fear not! It's actually pretty simple, you just have to make that a consistent priority.

Let's define Principle 1. How is fandom fun? Well, for me, fandom is fun because there are shows and movies and books that I love, and I love reading and writing fanfic and meta about them, and squeeing about them with my friends. I find all of those activities fun. I hope you all do, too. I want you to keep on finding those things fun.

BUT there is a problem. We are conditioned by our society to value men more than women, Whites more than any other race, able-bodied neurotypical people more than disabled and/or neurodiverse people, etc., etc., you can all fill in the hierarchies that our society has tried to instill in us (and has probably succeeded in instilling more than you realize). The preference for white men in fandom isn't any worse than in other places in our society. It's true, and I think it's important to remember.

The problem comes in when we leave it at that. "Well, it's not my fault, and anyway even if I AM conditioned to pay more attention to whitedude more than anything else, this is fandom so I should be able to just ignore that and go on like always." Aaaaand then you continue to have fun, but you keep sucking, and hurting people in the process.

We have all been conditioned to favor whitedude above everything else. By which I mean, our society privileges stories about able-bodied neurotypical white men above stories about other people. A white man who has super incredible abilities and can do all the things is Batman, a white woman with all the same qualities is a Mary Sue, and is usually depowered to make room for the male hero, to boot. And characters of different ethnicities, or religions, or with disabilities, don't even have it that good. We think stories about white men are interesting because ... those are the stories we've read, watched, listened to the most. We're used to them. We've been taught all our lives that these are the good stories, the stories that matter. And so most of us have learned to prioritize those stories on an unconscious level. And we show that in our choices, which shows we watch, which actors/actresses we think are hot, which characters we write about.

The good news is, that's conditioning. It's not some inborn genetic thing, it's how we've been trained. And we can train ourselves differently!

It starts by being mindful. What we consume shapes us, right? So keep that in mind when you choose what you consume, what movies, what books, what TV shows, what fanfic. I'm not saying "don't watch your favorite show if it's got too many white men." But let's be real: some TV we watch/read because OMG ITS TEH BEST EVAR!!1! and some we watch/read because it's fun and some we watch/read because our friends are and some we watch/read because it's better than other things we could be doing.

When you're making a choice between two shows/movies/books that will probably be about the same level of entertaining, go for the one that's less ALL WHITE MALE. This is the age of the internet, where our choices are much greater than they've ever been before. When you're browsing Netflix on a Tuesday night looking for a fun movie to watch, give higher preference to diverse shows. Not in an "OMG, I can't ever watch anything with white men again, no matter how awesome it is!" way, but rather in a "I've seen so many movies about White Men(tm) in my life--is this one going to just be more of the same? Are there other options I might enjoy?" way. When you've got a variety of options and they would all be enjoyable, go for the ones least likely to reinforce the WHITE STRAIGHT ABLEBODIED NEUROTYPICAL CIS MALE IS THE DEFAULT AND BEST inside your head.

What this can look like in practice: I like Marvel, but I am not a big enough fan to watch all of their shows. I pick and choose and leave myself time for other shows as well. On Netflix there are two Marvel shows I could be watching that are roughly comparable: Daredevil and Luke Cage. Both are about urban superheroes, but Daredevil is white and Luke Cage is black. (Also, Daredevil has some really terrible Yellow Peril stuff.) So I watch Luke Cage. I enjoy it. I'd probably enjoy Daredevil, too, but I don't have time for everything, and so I prioritize. And I don't treat it like I'm taking my medicine and forcing myself to watch something because it's more socially just and not because I like it. I go in expecting to have fun. And you know what? Usually I do.

Another example: back in 2011, I needed something new to be fannish about. I had enough time to be fannish about one television show in addition to the stuff I was already fannish about. There were two shows premiering that fall that looked interesting to me, both rather similar: Grimm, and Once Upon A Time. Both were urban fantasy. One starred a white man, one starred a white woman. I chose the one starring the woman and went in to it prepared to love the show. Not grudgingly, but "ooh, this could be fun." And I loved it. If I hadn't, I would have stopped watching it after a couple of episodes and switched to Grimm. That was always an option; I wasn't watching OUaT to be masochistic about "doing the right thing." I was choosing which of two interesting options to give brain and heart space to, and I was going in to it with a brain and heart open to being pleased. If, despite that, it didn't please me? I'd move on to the next thing. Plenty of other fish in the sea. But I started with the less-whitedude option.

What this does is it gives brainspace to new possibilities. It erodes the assumption your hindbrain makes that white men matter more than other people do. It erodes the assumption your hindbrain makes that white men are more interesting. The more attention you pay to people outside the cultural norm, the more interesting you find their stories. When you do this, you are actively re-training your cultural conditioning about who matters and who is interesting. And you are having fun while you are doing it.

This has two ways that it will erode your suckage in fandom-related ways. First, it increases the number of people likely to be in non-whitedude fandoms, which is a slight counterweight to the overwhelming whitedude nature of fandom in general. One more person reading the fic and (hopefully) commenting. One more person posting about it, whether you do meta/art/fic/gifs/fanmixes/videos/whatever. Second, if you do this consistently over a long period of time, you will find that your instinct to always focus on white male characters will erode. Your background assumption of who is interesting and who isn't will start to shift.

Do this with the fannish content you produce, as well. You have a tumblr? Give preference to reblogging women and people of color. If you see something about white guys that is AWESOME AND SQUEEWORTHY, go ahead and reblog it and enjoy it while you do. But, you know, a lot of times we reblog stuff that's interesting but not full-on capslock squee, right? Stuff where it takes a second to decide if you should reblog or not. Where you could go either way. And in those cases, make a conscious decision in favor of diversity. Stuff about white men? If it's in that "should I reblog this?" category, don't reblog it. Stuff about anyone else? Do reblog it. When figuring out new content to post, do the same thing. AWESOME SQUEEFUL STUFF? Post away! Interesting but not incredible? Give more weight to stuff about women and people of color and queer people and disabled people and neurodiverse people and Jews and Muslims and all the rest. It's not about harshing the squee, or putting your fannish tastes through some kind of quota system. It's about balance. Trust me. The world and fandom both have PLENTY of whitedude stuff, they'll get along just fine without more. But there's a shortage of everything else, so that's where the focus should be.

And you can do the same with fanfic! Again, I'm not saying "never read your favorites!" I'm saying, be mindful. Are you a big Captain America fan? Check out the Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanov and Maria Hill fic in that fandom, and keep your eye out for more. When you do so, consider filtering out Steve/Bucky stuff occasionally. ( After all, presumably you already read a lot of S/B. Your goal isn't to find fics where Sam is in two scenes to get the Whitedude together or help them work out their shit, but fics where Sam gets to really shine. As himself, not just the sidekick to the whitedude. And don't do it grudgingly; do it with open heart and mind, ready to embrace Sam in his awesomeness. This isn't to say you should never read whitedude fic, if that's your thing, but rather that there should be a health(ier) balance. This isn't about forcing you to choke down your bitter fannish medicine; it's about expanding the things you love. It's about creating more opportunities for joy and squee.

And when you read those fics, comment on them! Spread the love! Authors who write about women or people of color tend to get fewer comments on those fics than on stories focused about white male characters, which is discouraging. Share the love; kudos and comment. A comment saying "Good fic" is great, it doesn't have to be long and involved. This holds true for all your fic, by the way, not just the fic where you're consciously diversifying your reading habits. Reading a Steve/Bucky fic and the author wrote Sam well, or Natasha, or Maria, or Rhodey, or Dr. Cho? Tell the author! Point that out specifically. Doesn't have to be elaborate; "I liked Sam" is fine. The point is to reward people for being more inclusive.

When you find a particularly good fic based on a certain woman or character of color, check out the author's page. Chances are, they've got more like it. If they do, and you like their work? Subscribe to them so when they write something, you see it. Again, the goal is to still have fun with awesome fic, but shifting what you consume to be more diverse. Because that will shift your internal default away from the Straight White Neurotypical Ablebodied Man that our society tries to push as the default. And that will affect how you see the world both in fandom and out of it.

Part of the fun of fandom, for many of us, isn't just about consuming content, it's also about creating it. I love writing fanfic. And here's where a lot of peoples' asses start to show, and where they start whining about how they just write what they write and they only get plotbunnies for whitedude. And that may be true, but again, this is something you can actually change. If your brain doesn't come up with plotbunnies for characters of color, or for women, or for lesbians, or for a mixed-race canon couple, or for disabled or neurodivergent people? You can work on coming up with plotbunnies on your own and train your brain in the process!

For example! Say you are a fan of The Flash. For every episode you watch, come up with one plot bunny for a non-white male character. You don't have to write it; that's another step down the road. It doesn't have to be something huge. The first step is getting your brain used to generating plot bunnies for characters you normally wouldn't. If Iris had a big part in that episode, think up a story idea for her. What was she doing while Barry was fighting the villain of the week? How's things going at work for her? If Joe had a big part, think up an idea for him. If there was an Iris/Barry moment, think up a story idea for that pairing. Wally, Cisco, Caitlynn, Lisa Snart, you get the idea. If you're a Supergirl fan, come up with a story idea for Hank or James or Renee Montoya or M'Gann each episode. You don't have to write it, the goal for this part is to get you used to thinking of these characters as people with stories. People you are interested in. I mean, if you get a great idea and want to write it, awesome, but step one is to get your gut and your hindbrain primed to think about these people and care about their stories. You've already been primed to care about and think about white male characters by everything you've seen and read and heard since you were a baby, but there's been precious little priming you for everybody else, so a little extra effort is probably going to be needed.

The next step is similar to the choosing-fandoms step, only for choosing plotbunnies. You will probably have some ideas that just yank you over and demand to be written, so write them. But if you are anything like me, there are also times that you want to write and have a lot of different ideas you could write, you just have to decide which. And in that case, you can probably guess by now, give more weight to the non-whitedude options. If you have four plot bunnies you could write, and two of them are about white male characters and one of them is about a white woman and one is about a character of color? Give more weight to the woman and (especially) the character of color. I'm not saying "you can never write white men again!" I'm saying that in your decision-making process, recognize that the rest of the world is weighted WAY THE FUCK IN FAVOR OF WHITE ABLE-BODIED NEUROTYPICAL CIS MEN, so to provide balance, we should be weighting in favor of everyone else, and giving the most weight to the people that society gives the least weight to.

The things I've outlined in this post don't magically get rid of all that social conditioning overnight, and they don't magically fix everything. What they do is they give you a place to start, and aim you in a direction so that, if you work on it over time, you will suck less while still having fun in fandom and making it more inclusive. And the more people who do stuff like this, the less fandom will suck over time.
beatrice_otter: Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package.  How efficient of you! (Arrogance and Stupidity)
PM I just received from the Pit of Voles*:

I was wondering if you would like to write a Beauty And The Beast fic request for me to celebrate the upcoming the live action Disney film being released in movie theaters next month.
Wow.  Going up to a perfect stranger and asking them to write your fic prompt.  And just a bare request.  From someone who hasn't even bothered to review or comment on the one fic in that fandom I've written.  Wouldn't you know it, it was a guy?

*, for all you baby!fen out there, so named because of the relatively low ratio of good fic to badly-written fic, and the high number of jerks who comment.  While I don't read there unless a fic is specifically recced, because there's so much crap to wade through and very little way to narrow it down, I am a big believer in redundancy.  I want all my fic in as many places as possible so that if one archive goes down, it isn't lost--I've had too many favorite stories go the way of the dodo bird for that very reason.
beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
You've probably already read it, but [ profile] franzeska has some EXCELLENT meta on AO3 about fandom, racism, sexism, shipping, slash/gen/het, fandom history, hypocrisy, and counterproductive activism.  It's long but OH SO GOOD.  With a lot of really important points that get completely missed in most discussions of these issues.  I have a few quibbles and one major problem with the piece, but overall I agree with most of it.

Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint

beatrice_otter: Uhura fights like a girl (Fight like a Girl)
Grace and Frankie, for those who don't know, is a hilarious Netflix show starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as two women whose husbands (Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) announce that they are leaving them because they've been having an affair for the last twenty years and want to get married now that it's legal.

I enjoyed season one, and although not particularly fannish about it I was looking forward to season 2, which will be out in May.

I was reminded of this because [community profile] fancake's current theme is "older characters," and as I was choosing fics to rec I thought I should check out the Grace and Frankie fic and see if there might be something there, both for me and to rec.  I wasn't expecting huge amounts of fic, but I thought it was worth checking out.

I found four fics.  Disappointing, but eh, it's a Netflix show about older people with no SF/F elements, so not terribly surprising.

Of those four fics, three are about the main characters' husands.  One is about their kids.  Not a single fic is about the actual main characters of the show.

beatrice_otter: Uhura fights like a girl (Fight like a Girl)
Hey, [personal profile] tielan, I read this article and thought about you. The Tyranny of "Do it yourself!" Nothing you haven't said many times, but it's true and nice to know that other people experience the same things.

As discussions about representation in media continue to grow and gain traction around the Internets and through different corners of fandom, we start seeing a lot of repetition: the same unhelpful arguments being made again and again. One of the responses I see a lot, and that I find among the most tiresome, boils down to this: "Stop complaining that other people aren't making the media you want, and just do it yourself!"

I first encountered this response in media fandom, as a pushback against people who wanted to see more content for an unusual pairing, and/or more diversity in romantic pairings (more femslash, more pairings involving people of color, etc.). It was frustrating there, but it's even more pervasive in the wider SF/F fandom, and follows many of the same patterns. And although I don't want to say that this is the very worst response to calls for diversity -- there are a lot of contenders for that title -- it's certainly up there.

I think there are a few reasons that this response is so unhelpful:

And then I saw an article about how Even Mothra, Queen of the Kaiju, has to lean in sometimes, and it is frustrating but not surprising to learn that sexism/misogyny doesn't just affect human-shaped females, it affects even female-coded monsters. Ugh.

If your plan to escape patriarchy involved eating a lot of radiation or surgically grafting frightening animal parts to yourself, just remember: even female-coded flying monsters are expected to sacrifice themselves so men can grow and become more fully realized and achieve self-actualization.

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Oh, boy, has this been a fun couple of weeks to be disabled* in fandom.  Not!  And fortunately, other people have reported on it, so I don't have to, I can just point to their responses.

So, first up, we have the ongoing clusterfuck of WorldFantasyCon 2016.  Background: in past years, they technically were accessible, in that they passed the minimum requirements for ADA, but not actually accessible, in that they had a panelist in a wheelchair (author and blogger Mari Ness) and provided no way (ramp, lift, etc) for her to get on to the stage with the other panelists.  This is, apparently, not the first time this or similar things have happened.  Previous disabled panelists and con-goers report other similar problems at previous World Fantasy Cons.  (Thank you, File 770, for a writeup and for links to other commentary on the piss-poor quality of World Fantasy Con 2015's harassment policies, or lack thereof.)  (Further background: a writeup of all the harassment at World Fantasy Con 2013 and the 2013 concom's problems doing anything about it.)

For obvious reasons, various disabled people did not want to register for this year's Con until they had an accessibility policy stated, so that they would know whether or not it was worth it to go.  I mean, if you're deaf/hard of hearing and they don't have sign language interpreters, that means the panels aren't worth going to, for example; and if you can't get to where you need to go in a wheelchair, well, again, not much point going.  And they had been repeatedly requesting clarification and, in fact, any response at all, and getting bupkiss from the con organizers, when the early-bird discount expired on February 1, leading to a significant rate hike.  Then Jason Sanford got (and posted) screencaps from the con's organizing Facebook Page where the concom mocked the very idea of needing any sort of accessibility or harassment policy.  (Yeah, inaccessibility and harassment have only been major ongoing problems at World Fantasy Cons for years, so why should the concom care about the whiny jerks who want to actually be able to participate?)  Cue uproar.  The Concom tried to cover their ass and attack their attackers, and got justly taken apart for it.  (And a more general look at why accessibility is such a big issue at cons, sparked by this whole thing but not directly about it.)

After getting hit with all kinds of well-deserved crap for their attitude and (lack of) policy, they posted one.  Sort of.  It's ... better than nothing?  And still no word on whether people who didn't register because of the lack of policy will get the early-registration price break.

And then, when the dust was still settling from that, came a far more (to me, personally, as an autistic) infuriating thing: the horrifyingly ableist piece on SFSignals' "Special Needs In Strange Worlds" blog, "We Are All Disabled" (since taken down).  Folks, this is about the pinnacle of well-meaning Nice Lady attack on disabled people.  You can probably guess from the title what it was like, but I'll summarize.  The author talked about how everyone has something that makes getting through life a little bit harder, so therefore everyone is disabled!  (No.)  Her "disability" is that she's too "empathetic."  (Note that this "empathy" didn't lead her to do ANY BASIC RESEARCH ABOUT THE PEOPLE SHE WAS WRITING ABOUT.)  What followed was inspiration-porn tripe DRIPPING with just about every stereotype and ableist slur you can imagine, much of it specifically aimed at autistics.  And using pseudo-Christian "everything happens for a reason so you must be disabled to learn something from it" platitudes as well.  Some responses by tilisokolov, India Valentin, Lev Mirov, Kayla Whaley, David G, and Jim Hines.  SF Signal took the post down and apologized, and the author gave a sort of mealy-mouthed half-apology of her own, but good God, people.  That they would put up such an article in the first place shows an APPALLING lack of knowledge about the very thing (disability) they claim to be writing about.  That post was horrifying on so many different levels that anyone with even a basic knowledge about ANY kind of disability should have been able to go "wait a minute ..."  And SF Signal's first response (which I didn't see personally before it got replaced with a better one) was apparently to go "well, it's a guest writer, so Not Our Fault."  Yeah, but it's your blog!  You have a responsibility for the content on your own blog!
beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
Over on tumblr, things are shaking up--tumblr is changing how people track tags and search for tags, and also they've taken away (mostly) the ability to reply to a post. [ profile] madamehardy hits the nail on the head as to why:
"When you consider the latest highly annoying changes to Tumblr, never forget that they aren’t meant for you. Yahoo, Tumblr’s owner, is under a lot of pressure to make some money. That means that Tumblr has to either pull its weight or be shut down. In the Web-ancient adage, “If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.” That is, if you aren’t directly paying for any Website, then the Website is selling you, in the form of advertising. Tumblr desperately needs to monetize you. To monetize you, they need to know your personal demographics, so that they can sell groups of similar users to advertisers."

“If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.”

Let me repeat that again: “If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product.”

This is why I really, really don’t like websites where advertising is part of the revenue stream.  I would rather pay up front–in donations or user fees–and be the CUSTOMER who is catered to instead of the PRODUCT that the website is SELLING to its advertisers.

What Tumblr is doing now?  That’s what LJ used to do, back when LJ was the fandom hub.  The great advantage of DW over LJ is that DW’s users are its CUSTOMER base, because DW organized their finances from the very beginning so that they didn’t need ads.  User revenues–paid accounts, merchandise from the store, extra icons, etc–pay the bills.  DW is never going to be a huge goliath of money-making, but it doesn’t have to be because it is financially self-sustaining and makes a decent income for the owners.  (And they manage it on a freemium basis, where basic accounts are free, and you get more features if you pay but you don’t have to to use the site.)  DW has other issues, but we are not the commodity we are the customers.

AO3 is similar.  The whole POINT of AO3 was that a big enough segment of fans got fed up with being the commodity and not the customers, and wanted to own the servers that fannish work was on.  AO3 has problems–huge problems–but at that they are quite successful.  We own the servers.  Our donations fund a service designed by, for, and about US.

Pinboard is also user-supported.  That fee you pay?  That means that we are the customer, not the commodity.  Which means that while Pinboard may eventually close down, it won’t do like Delicious did and make itself unusable for us while making itself more attractive to its advertisers.

I know tumblr has a lot of great features.  But maybe that shouldn’t be the number one thing we as fandom look for in a website.  Because what do the features matter if they get yanked out from under us every time they’re not profitable enough?
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I've recced this before, but with the movie in theaters I thought I should point this out again.  John Lennard is an Oxford grad who's taught at Cambridge, and who is also a fanfic author (bracketyjack ).  He's written a very thoughtful essay on just why Fifty Shades is problmatic by explaining all the various and sundry ways the author is trampling all over fanfic, feminism, and bdsm while profiting from them.  It's both readable and well-researched, and you can pick it up for a couple of bucks at Amazon, or read it for free if you have Amazon Prime.
beatrice_otter: Honor Harrington with exploding spaceships (Honor Ashes of Victory)
[profile] akzseinga is having a fest celebrating unpopular women running from this Friday (9/9) to next Friday (9/16).

Fandoms of any size are encouraged, any female character you've seen hate against (even if it's just from a few people) is eligible. You can write meta or fic, make graphics, share fanmixes, or basically anything else that's celebrating the female character you've claimed. There is a limit of three claims per language per character (so, three people could create for a character in English, and three more in Spanish, and three more in Russian, etc.).  There are a lot of women characters out there who get hated for some pretty misogynistic reasons.  Let's spread some love!

I will be doing Honor Harrington, because she was my favorite fictional character when I was a teen and very important to me, and I just recently (not for the first time) heard her dismissed as a caricature and a man with boobs.
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
Yuletide nominations are open!

If you've got a book/movie/tv show/commercial/poem/whatever that you love, and would like fic of, but there exists little/none anywhere on the web?  Yuletide is the ficathon for you!  It's all about sharing the love for the fandoms that get lost in the shuffle.  It's also a lot of awesome fun.

Me, I'm excited because they've dropped the rule that small subfandoms of major fandoms are ineligible.  So, for example, in the past Birds of Prey and Batman Beyond were ineligible because they were part of the larger Batman fandom, even though neither Birds of Prey nor BB gets hardly any fic at all, and there's very little character/situation overlap.  And now they're eligible again!  Yay!

So, Batman Beyond, definitely going to nominate it.  And I usually don't bother to nominate, because usually I look at the list of fandoms once it's compiled and then have problems narrowing down what I want to request.  However, this year I already have two desires that struck me out of the blue: one is 16th Century Protestant Reformation RPF, and one is for Donovan's Reef, a cheesy John Wayne 1960s romantic comedy ... that also has some quite pointed things to say about prejudice and racism (okay, there's still a lot of fail, but when you remember that it was the 1960's, it's amazing).

And someone has, predictably, nominated Harry Potter.  Which is idiotic, because if you want HP fic you can go anywhere, and the mods weed out fandoms which are too big and while somethings that are borderline might slip through, I can guarantee you that Harry Potter ain't gonna be one of them.

Also, Yuletide is being run through the AO3 archive again, of course (hardly surprising as the deterioration of the old Yuletide archive was one of the main driving forces behind the shaping of AO3 and the timing of its debut).  If you would like an AO3 invite, I have a couple; just let me know.  I love AO3; I have such fun tag-surfing.  In the mood for new mpreg stories?  I can search by tag!  (Which I may or may not have been doing this evening before choir.)
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
[personal profile] quinfirefrorefiddle is running a multifandom Virgin-By-Choice Fic Challenge in her journal.
Why did I want to start this challenge? Because modern media has turned the word "virgin" into an insult, almost a bad word. It is time to take that word back. Being a virgin isn't a bad thing in itself, and there are a number of reasons why an adult might be a virgin by their own choice.

I hate that being a virgin is something that mass media tells me I'm supposed to be embarrassed about. (For this particular topic, fandom is quite definitely part of mass media.) Something I'm supposed to be ashamed of- especially at my age. I hate that mass media, when portraying someone who remains a virgin for this long, consistently makes them an extremely conservative religious type of some sort- and you ever notice they tend to be sweet girls with long hair who wear long flowy flowery skirts and don't wear makeup? No guys, no women who dress otherwise. Virgins are prudes, virgins are afraid of sex, virgins are incomplete, virgins don't take risks, virgins are most likely to end up as homemakers- and oh yes, virgins are always always always women- or fourteen year old pimply boys. And often enough, virgins don't have a choice in the matter- they are oppressed by the system they are in, by their parents. They never have any power over their own life- because hey, if they did, they'd be having sex, right?

I want to see biker virgins. I want to see kickass military virgins. I want to see religious virgins who are in control of their own damn lives and make their own decisions, thank you! (And if some of them happened to be clergy, well, hey, that'd be cool as well.) I want to see thirty year old male virgins- who do not live in their parents' basement. I want to see historical character virgins who seriously can't wait for their wedding night. I want to see extreme sports virgins. I want to see people who are virgins for strictly practical reasons- fear of STDs and pregnancy. I want to see people who are virgins because being that physically vulnerable with someone freaks them the hell out. I want to see virgins who just haven't met the right one yet, and will be damned if they settle for less than who they want. I'm looking for people who don't have giant dramatic/traumatic pasts that act as "excuses" for their virginity.

I think it's kind of ridiculous how much the word itself freaks us out. You ever notice how people tend to drop their voice a bit when they say it out loud? I kind of want to go around working "virgin" into as many conversations as possible for a few days- except I really can't have my coworkers wondering why. But maybe if we use it a lot some of the stigma will go away. Virgin. Virgin virgin virgin. Virgin virgin.
Go check it out, and maybe write some fic!
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
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 [ profile] bookshop 
On female characters "not being good enough" by [personal profile] tielan 

Go.  Read now.

beatrice_otter: Babylon 5--Vir waving (Vir's wave)
... okay, [personal profile] hradzka, I never noticed that until you pointed it out, and now it won't get out of my head.  Darn you!

At any rate, I now have an account at An Archive Of Our Own, (also known as AOOO or AO3)and am slowly but surely loading my fic onto it.

But that's a lot of work, so why do it, you may ask?

First, because fandom owns the servers.  That means if people send nasty letters to try and get things removed (either for copyright or because they can't tell the difference between fanfic and someone going up to kids in parks and asking if they want candy), we don't have to depend on the goodwill of non-fans.  Now, because of my general style and subject choice I probably wouldn't have to worry about the latter scenario, but all fen who write should be at least a little wary of the first, which makes AO3 A Good Idea.

Second, because I believe that all fan authors should have a website or multifandom archive where they place all of their stuff, everything easily findable, preferably something that's not dependent on their staying active in fandom or their fandom staying active.  I hate, hate, hate it when I fall in love with a story and want to read more of that author's works (or rec them) and have to chase them over all creation.  (Some people have reasons not to want their stuff easily findable, but for most authors it's more a matter of chance and fandom migration patterns.) has always been the biggie; I don't read fic on the Pit of Voles unless it's been recced to me, but I upload all my fics there because it's large, it's persistent, it's easily findable.  Unlike other archives, it's not going to disappear into the wind any time soon.  I'll still upload new fics there, because backups are good, but now it's a secondary backup, not the main thing.

Third, AO3 has some cool features.  Like being able to add character tags if the character you want isn't a character already.  Like having a wide-ranging and flexible tag system where you add the tags you want to your fic, and if there's a tag out there that means the same thing the people behind the scenes will match the two up so that someone who reads your fic, decides they want to read more fics like it, can click the tag and the results for both will come up.  And the ability to "orphan" your work if you want to dissociate yourself from a story but don't want to delete it.


beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

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