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Apparently, being passionate about sci-fi and/or fantasy makes you a member of a minority.

Is the correct response to this "Being oppressed: ur doing it wrong", or "Appropriation: ur doing it"?

I suppose geeks and fen are statistical minorities, sure. But taking a term that, at least in an American context, is laden with connotations of being historically marginalized, of systematically lacking access to societal privileges; a term that, I would argue, clearly has racial connotations in the US, and using it to argue that you're unfairly marginalized because your favorite fictional characters get killed off? And all this so close on the heels of RaceFail? Not okay. DO NOT WANT.

In other news, I have, gods help me, started writing a fic. It's not fantastic, but it's pretty damn good for someone who hasn't written fiction of any sort in seven years. Can I convince anyone to beta that shit for me once I'm done? What if I bat my eyelashes flirtatiously in your general direction?

Angry Martha is angry. Look!

Date: 2009-07-28 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sonatine.livejournal.com
Correct response is: "Well aren't you all special fucking snowflakes?" or "Help help we're being oppressed! See the kyriarchy present in the system despite the fact that we're (statistically) probably white, straight, and cisgendered!"

Just--cocks, man. I can't even read this without seeing red.

YAY FIC! If you'd like me to beta I would be happy to.

Date: 2009-07-28 03:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
Martha Jones has obviously had enough of this bullshit. As have I. Days like these, I wonder why I still stay in fandom.

Will send you fic when (well, if) I ever manage to get it done. I'm pretty sure it's going to be long and unwieldy. I sat down and wrote about 500 words last night-- and that only covered the opening scenes. But I promise it won't be one of those annoying 80-part perpetual WIPs. I've been in fandom long enough to have Opinions about that sort of thing.

Date: 2009-07-28 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shane-mayhem.livejournal.com
I'll totally beta for you!

But I promise it won't be one of those annoying 80-part perpetual WIPs. I've been in fandom long enough to have Opinions about that sort of thing.

I...um..oh.
Yeah, no, I've NEVER done anything like that. ;)
*hides perpetual WIP in closet*

Date: 2009-07-29 12:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
*laugh* I will not condemn you, as the awesomeness of your icon makes up for a multitude of sins.

Date: 2009-07-29 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shane-mayhem.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I wish the fanvid which this icon references were still available on YouTube, but I haven't seen it in a while. SAD.

But I'm serious about the beta! Don't let my failure as a writer fool you--I'm actually pretty good with teh grammar, and themes and such. :D

Date: 2009-07-29 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
Yay! I'm still working on it (bit by bit-- this whole writing fiction thing intimidates me, so I don't tend to write more than 400-500 words per day), but when it's done, I'll send it your way.

Date: 2009-07-28 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taffimai.livejournal.com
*points at icon*

Date: 2009-07-28 03:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
I know, right? I shouldn't be surprised, but it seems to me that Torchwood fandom, for all its many faults, has been relatively free of racist wank. But I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Date: 2009-07-28 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aldehyde.livejournal.com
*follows [livejournal.com profile] taffimai and points at icon as well*

i'm excited you're writing fic again :D i wouldn't mind beta-ing for you but your writing skills are far more superior than mine. so um, i dunno effective i'd be :P

Date: 2009-07-29 06:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
Aw, you flatter me! =) I don't know if my writing skills are really as good as you claim, though-- I'm pretty confident when it comes to blogging or nonfiction writing, but fiction is a different thing entirely.

I wouldn't mind sending said fic to you for a beta when I'm done. I don't think it's one of your fandoms, though. Is that okay?

Fandom = Minorities? SRSLY?

Date: 2009-07-28 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shane-mayhem.livejournal.com
Wow. Just read that. AMAZING.
But, to be fair, I think the OP was a little bit totally naive and didn't realize how their words were going to sound. (aka, ignorant)
They've been apologizing, so there's that.

Date: 2009-07-28 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
You're right-- the OP was a bit naive, and she is apologizing. Although she hadn't done so when I first posted this-- that came later, after some people posted critiques. I think I am less shocked at the original post than I was at the sheer number of people who uncritically agreed with her.

Also, I think there's something to be said about the insularity of Torchwood fandom. It seems to me that debates about racism and appropriation of oppressed people's experiences have been raging throughout most of the fandoms, but the fact that this discussion is even taking place says to me that this fandom has trudged on largely unaware of the bigger discussions.

Date: 2009-07-28 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shane-mayhem.livejournal.com
I agree. Though I don't tend to get involved in fandom, mostly because of those kinds of reasons, as well as the Crazyx10 that happened after CoE (threatening the writers, etc), I feel that this fandom (possibly because it's newer) has a lot of issues. It's also one of the few fandoms where the main characters are not necessarily heterosexual, without being a "gay genre" show. I think that this makes a lot of fans feel that they have a sort of carte blanche as far as being "PC" goes, since, hey, they totally support this clearly-stated non-heterosexual theme.

Sadly, the majority of TW fans are straight women, and while that's not necessarily the bad part, I always find it interesting how privilege gets transferred when we operate in a mostly-(hetero)-female space. In a more comfortable, non-male dominated space, straight women seem to naturally exercise their own privilege without thinking about it.

This isn't coming out all that great; I'm really not trying to be as generalized as I sound here. It's just that this, combined with my recent experience at the Trans and Women's Action Camp, has made me think about these things.

Date: 2009-07-29 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
I feel that this fandom (possibly because it's newer) has a lot of issues.

I don't know if that's really unique to Torchwood fandom. I was involved in Harry Potter fandom before I got into Torchwood, and I remember that there were some seriously heated and angry discussions after the sixth and seventh books came out. After Ianto died, I was more struck by how Torchwood fandom was rehashing the same old debate that a million fandoms have had before, than I was by the unique hostility of this particular fandom.

If there is a difference in tone, it may be because of RTD's particular personality. I think that every time something like this happens, where the author does something the fans don't like, there's a big tug-of-war about who canon belongs to, and to what extent the author owes it to the fans to keep their desires in mind. And, of course, the author always tries to shore up their own authority. But similar conflicts in HP fandom had a slightly different tone because I think that JK Rowling at least felt like she needed to address fandom with a certain level of decorum. I get the impression that the writing and production team of Torchwood didn't necessarily realize what a fannish minefield they were walking into when they created the show, and so were not prepared for the response.

It's also one of the few fandoms where the main characters are not necessarily heterosexual, without being a "gay genre" show. I think that this makes a lot of fans feel that they have a sort of carte blanche as far as being "PC" goes, since, hey, they totally support this clearly-stated non-heterosexual theme.

Yeah, you're right. I like to call it the "I'm not homophobic, some of my favorite fictional characters are gay!" argument. But, of course, watching TV and writing fanfic are not activism, and there's an extensive history of people with privileged identities writing about marginalized people with a fair amount of cluelessness and bias.

(I would argue, though, that "gay genre" shows are not immune to this. You should have seen me the day I discovered Queer As Folk fandom. As far as I can tell, QaF fandom is like Torchwood, except about a bajillion times worse.)

Sadly, the majority of TW fans are straight women, and while that's not necessarily the bad part, I always find it interesting how privilege gets transferred when we operate in a mostly-(hetero)-female space. In a more comfortable, non-male dominated space, straight women seem to naturally exercise their own privilege without thinking about it.

Heh. When I first read this, I thought that it was a fabulous punchline to the question, "What do fandom and feminism have in common?" But yeah, if you're a person whose identity is marginalized in some respects and privileged in others, it's ridiculously easy to focus on the marginalized parts of yourself and ignore the ways in which you have privilege. Or to assume that the fact that you are marginalized in some ways completely negates the fact that you have certain kinds of privilege.

It's funny-- I entered fandom mostly through femslash communities, most of which were operated by queer women who, I think, were largely using fic to work through their identities and troubleshoot some of the effects of marginalization. Somewhere along the line, I started predominantly reading m/m slash, and got a horribly rude awakening when I finally realized that most people in fandom are straight women who aren't particlularly interested in the political potential of slash-- who just want to make the boys kiss (fuck, get married, get pregnant-- god, I hate mpreg). I've never quite recovered from that revelation.

It's just that this, combined with my recent experience at the Trans and Women's Action Camp, has made me think about these things.

What happened at the Trans and Women's Action Camp?

Date: 2009-07-29 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shane-mayhem.livejournal.com
Interesting about QaF...though I suppose I'm not surprised. XD I actually can't stand shows like that...hated The L Word, etc...because to me it's just the same old shit, with added gayness, as though that makes it "edgier" or "better" or "more thought-provoking." However, never having seen QaF, I can't make that judgement on that show in particular!

I know I have to force myself sometimes to take a step back and look at my own privilege, although, having been raised with the "you're damned lucky and you should know it" line of thinking, it's not completely against my nature. XD It took me a while to realize that I face a lot of issues as a queer trans person, because I tend to float through life thinking I could never possibly be oppressed, for some reason. Even being feminist, I often felt I was somehow fighting someone else's fight, in that this oppression didn't particularly apply to me. I've discovered otherwise through the years, and it is hard, once you've got that bitter taste, to realize the areas in your life in which you are very privileged and fortunate.

((P.S. WTH IS UP WITH MPREG?? WHAT IS THE POINT??))

Nothing bad happened at TWAC, it was just interesting. I was the only male-identified person there, and the queer female-identified folks were definitely in the majority. I just noticed how it was more their space than mine, or even the other genderqueer folks'. Through no conscious intent of their own, the cisgendered female people, I felt, sort of co-opted a lot of the event. It didn't really bother me all that much, but I just found it amusing and interesting when things happened like:
"Oh, let's sing this song we all know. It's Ani DiFranco." And I was like, "uhhhhhhhh....no clue."

I think I was also one of the only people there (perhaps THE only one) who had not arrived at this point in my life through some form of female lesbianism. I bypassed that pretty much entirely except for maybe a couple months wherein I discovered that that wasn't me.

There was also a highly awkward instance in which one person who preferred any pronoun except "she" was consistently, in a space of fifteen minutes, being called "she" by one of the cisgendered folk there, who would sort of brush it off with an "oops, sorry," and then immediately do it again. And this cisgendered person was certainly a very politically-aware feminist. So it was odd.

Anyway, I could probably talk forever about all of the interesting permutations of gender interaction at TWAC, but yeah...that's what I noticed. XD

Date: 2009-07-29 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
I have a bizarre relationship with those gay genre shows. I really love the British version of QaF (or, well, the first season)-- in my opinion, it's among RTD's best work. I have a much more fraught relationship with American QaF. I find it highly misogynistic, ridiculously invested in gender stereotypes, dismissive of bi and trans people (there is one minor character known as "Kiki the waitress, formerly known as Kenny the waiter"-- which of course breaks the first rule of trans etiquette-- who almost never appears but is always talked about by the cisgendered characters-- and the one time she appears, it's obvious that the writers don't know the difference between a trans woman and a drag queen), racist, and unable to deal with class issues responsibly. And yet I can't stop watching it, because I get a perverse kick out of sitting in front of the screen TV and yelling, "You're doing it wrong!"

(British QaF is mostly about white cisgendered men, too, but unlike American QaF, it never claims to be a comprehensive show about queer life in the UK. American QaF does make that claim, so everything they don't represent, or represent inaccurately, becomes offensive.)

I used to joke that The L-Word was like binge drinking: it's okay to do it with your friends, but if you do it alone, you have a problem. I watched it for a while because I had friends did, and I enjoyed the camaraderie much more than I did the show. For the most part, I found the show vapid and problematic, and disappointing even from the perspective of being eye candy. Those were NOT the kinds of women I like to look at. Seriously, would it have killed them to have a butch dyke character? Or even an actual femme? Lipstick lesbians are not femmes, TYVM.

Grrrr. Rant over. Anyway.

You bring up an interesting point, re: TWAC. I think there is an assumption in queer women's communities that most trans guys identified as dykes and/or spent a certain amount of time in dyke communities before transitioning. Which, on the one hand, it's good that dyke communities no longer kick out former members to make the transition, but it can lead to a sense of alienation for the guys whose identities didn't evolve that way, and/or a sense among the guys with that background that they're not really being taken seriously as men. Plus, it seems to me that in a lot of those queer women/trans spaces, there are still very few trans women who feel welcome, and I think there hasn't been much of a dialogue on why that is.

(Sigh. Talking about all this makes me miss Portland.)

As far as privilege goes: at least during those years when you didn't feel like you could possibly be oppressed, you saw the worth in fighting someone else's fight. Which puts you ahead of the curve. I teach college students, and by and large, they seem to come in two camps: either "I'm the most oppressed person in the world and I don't have to think about my privilege," or "I don't feel oppressed, so obviously no one else has any reason to feel that way, either." Drives me bonkers.

P.S. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE APPEAL OF MPREG IS. IT IS BASICALLY THE DUMBEST FANFIC GENRE EVER. AND IT'S A FUCKING EPIDEMIC IN TORCHWOOD FANDOM!

My friends Alice and Cat and I used to joke that we were going to start a rock band called OTP and the Ass Babies. For some reason (probably because we're lazy) we never quite got around to it.

Date: 2009-07-29 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shane-mayhem.livejournal.com
TWAC *was* good in that there were quite a few transwomen who showed up. It was interesting having their take, as well, since I think they sort of brought a lot of grounded-ness to the queer women's side of things. It's hard to describe what I mean, just that they were obviously of a different flavor...more practical, maybe? Less easily offended? I wonder if that's partly because some of them came to it through the gay men's scene in which they were really, in some ways, thrown to the wolves so much younger and so much more than many of the dykes there.

Also, the organizers of TWAC did a really brilliant job in making sure that dialogue on all of these issues continued through the week, in and amongst the other workshops. (the event was focused on transpeople and women in the radical environmentalist scene, so most of the folks there were Earth Firsters, Rising Tiders, or allies)

btw, my kudos to you for teaching college students, whom I still in my less charitable moments see as some of the most horrendous beings on earth. XD

AND YOU SHOULD START THAT BAND!

I'm actually now, in my head, thinking about "what if someone wrote an MPreg fic specifically for the purpose of focusing on gender/sex roles and stereotypes? Really, how much of how women are idealized/oppressed has to do with their biological function? (need to be protected, weaker sex, blah blah blah...) What if both sexes bore the biological responsibility of child-bearing? HMMM. I bet arguments over abortion would look a helluva lot different, for one...

Anyway. I'm actually maybe gonna write one, maybe not that "thinky" but cracky and having to do with aliens. XD
Which is weird, considering that I absolutely hate MPreg stories.

Date: 2009-07-29 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starstealingirl.livejournal.com
As a beginning aside, I first read "Earth Firsters" as "Earth Fisters." I wonder where my brain is.

If you don't mind my asking, what brought you to the queer radical environmentalist scene? And how does that dovetail with your experience in the (did I get it right?) National Guard? Do those two aspects of your life fit together, or is there a certain level of cognitive dissonance that has to be maintained? I'm not trying to be judgmental, I'm just curious.

I both love and hate teaching college students. It is a bit difficult at times-- I went into academia in part because I wanted to teach, but I wanted to teach adults who wanted to be in school, who were aware that they didn't have to be. What I have learned since starting grad school is that adolescence is much longer than I remembered it being, and that the bulk of my students are children of relatively affluent families who are in college because their parents told them they had to be. And yet, I find it oddly fun and rewarding-- sometimes more so than the research I do.

There is a pretty fantastic crack mpreg fic out there in which it is revealed that Janet is a staple of the Hub because Jack gave birth to her, and he can't stand to let her go and wreak havoc on society at large. Other than that-- I think in some way the bulk of mpreg may have to do with focusing on gender/sex roles, albeit not necessarily in a thinky, critical way. It may be an exploration of gender roles in a superficial "battle of the sexes" way-- let's make male characters get pregnant; that'll teach them to have compassion about what women go through. Or it may just be trying to fit romantic relationships between men into a heterosexist framework-- the assumption that two people in love get married and have kids because that's just what you do, and the assumption that it's more genuine and intimate if you make kids the "natural" way, imposed on relationships that don't necessarily exist in that framework.

But I think a more "thinky," possibly cracky mpreg fic might be interesting. I'd be interested to see what you did with that prompt. In fact, I dare you to try it. =)

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