May 10th, 2010

Fannish spaces, girls, and the culture of silence.

I've been thinking about this post for months, and there's no easy way to say it. It's born out of a lot of thinky thoughts on women, fandom, rape culture, and basically all the things I've been posting about lately.

In January, I made this post about gay subtext, and I was overwhelmed at the response it had. Then I made another post about women in fandom, and how we can't demand equality in mainstream media when we write out fully half of the population--when we write out ourselves--in our own stories. "You guys, we need to hate ourselves less," it said. Not too reactionary, but true.

That second post got half the response of the first one. And where the first post was full of resounding agreement, the reactions to the second post were 50%, "sorry, but I don't write women because (X)."

Fandom, as I have been a part of it, is a beautiful monster. Let's face it. We have issues. We want gay characters, but not girls. We don't want icky girls getting in the way of our boy slash. This is not news.

But here is a little honesty. I did not write that post on gay subtext so its audience could feel good about leaving out or marginalizing the girls or conveniently pairing them up with people who aren't your main boy/boy OTP. I did not write that post so I could give myself a free pass to only keep writing boys shagging.

eta: This is not to shame anyone for loving slash. *I* love m/m slash. I intend to keep on loving it and writing it often. But I feel like it's time to do so much more than just focus on the guys all the time. And that's what I want. /end eta

Sometimes fandom is a needy, entitled little creature. It wants what it wants and it prioritizes harmful things in order to get it. It is no secret that fandom likes its guy slash. Whether we like to dwell on it or not, fandom quite often likes to prioritize said boyslash at the expense of the women who provide it. I am reading the report at Unfunnybusiness about the banning of a Wincon attendee for disturbing behavior at WinCon 2008, and it's reminding me of how all this ties in to the way we treat girls in fandom--Collapse )

P.S. I don't want to host a debate regarding the nature of what actually did or did not happen at WinCon 2008. There are a dozen other more appropriate places for that, and in the meantime you could be rereading this post until you get it.

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Also on el jay.

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