sohotrightnow: the top of a swimming young woman's torso. ([atla] after me comes the flood)
There is immense silent agony in the world, and the task of man is to be a voice for the plundered poor, to prevent the desecration of the soul and the violation of our dream of honesty.

The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the Prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.

Abraham Joshua Heschel; emphasis mine
So there was a post making the rounds in fandom this week, about how someone is sick of the ~PC Brigade~ and their bullying, and shouldn't we all be focusing on real problems?

IDK. I've taken a few steps back from fandom recently, because it just took so much out of me. But I kept starting posts and then they would turn into me responding to that one, so what the hell.

Here we go. Contains not only what others have called 'reductio ad absurdum', but also arguably 'reductio ad Hitlerum'. )

Microaggressions are not nothing. They are not less-important or unimportant versions of macroaggressions; rather, micro- and macroaggressions are both symptoms of the same problems. Taking notice of and talking about the subtle, everyday ways we hurt each other is not nothing. And I have never seen evidence that an increased capacity to notice the subtle everyday injustices inevitably leads to a decreased capacity to devote energy to the blatant, violent, and large-scale injustices. Just the opposite: the greater one's capacity to notice and appreciate and be troubled by the ways we hurt each other and perpetuate unjust systems, the greater, in my experience, one's capacity to be appalled and outraged by the blatant, violent, large-scale, and inevitable conclusions of those perpetuations.

TL;DR: this is from Mishkan T'filah, a Reform Jewish siddur and the one that my temple uses. Between that and the Heschel quote, I think you can get the gist.
We oughtn't pray for what we've never known,
and humanity has never known
unbroken peace,
unmixed blessing.
Better to pray for pity,
for indignation,
the will to see and touch,
the power to do good and make new.

Baruch atah, Adonai, ham'vareich et amo Yisrael bashalom.
IDK. I'm not sure I'm up for a big extensive discussion, but comments are on, including anonymous ones, with the caveat that I'm not sure I'll have the time or energy to do a whole lot of debating.

ETA: A few people have asked -- linking is absolutely fine, and I'm honored that people have found it useful as a response.
sohotrightnow: The Eleventh Doctor holding out an ID badge whose picture is of the First Doctor. ([dw] show some ID)
In addition to the 500-word ficlet and 1500-word fic, I also got the nod from [ profile] sotto_voice to do the same thing she's doing and offer a cookie-ficlet combination. A dozen cookies (taking into account your tastes as well as allergies/sensitivities) and a ficlet of at least 200 words. Bidding starts at $10, and I'll be doing three sets, so the three highest bidders will each get a set.

I watched more S1 Who last night and am currently about halfway through the Dalek arc. Here are my reactions! )

So, hey.

Aug. 20th, 2010 03:02 pm
sohotrightnow: the top of a swimming young woman's torso. ([stock] above the world)
I go back and forth on how I feel about offering fanworks for charity donations, but at the end of the day the important thing is that the aid gets there, and I won't have a lot of money for it until my next paycheck, so I signed up over at [ profile] help_pakistan. At the moment I'm offering a 500-word fic and a 1500-word one (those are both minimum counts), but I may throw in another couple of 500-worders, too.
sohotrightnow: the top of a swimming young woman's torso. ([buffy] the power of a locomotive)
There's been some backlash against [ profile] rawles's post of the other day, it looks like! [personal profile] redbrickrose and I had a decent discussion about this, where she pointed out that for her, the fact that fandom was so focused on queering characters and texts made her very protective of M/M, because it makes fandom a place where her experience (at least in theory; fannish takes on the queer experience can be problematic) is finally represented. Which I can see.

Maybe it's partly because I am extremely reluctant to embrace the label of "queer", and to identify as a member of that community that I have trouble with the queering argument. I guess I feel like my experience as a bisexual has been denied and erased from outside of the queer community and from within it -- I'm not a "real" queer, I'm "just" an experimenting straight girl (yes, I'm still furious over the handling of Buffy/Satsu in S8, why do you ask?), or I'm "actually" a lesbian who's in denial. When the queer community has made it obvious that it has no particular regard for me and doesn't want me, I don't feel particularly inclined to spend my leisure time queering my entertainment; straight or gay, it's still something where I will be invisible. Whether the party is a het one or a queer one, I'm not invited and if I show up there and try to pass myself off as a party animal, most of the people there are going to regard me with confusion and ask each other "who invited her?"

Further, for me, I guess the problem is that we talk a lot about that aspect of M/M, and how it's empowering in that regard, how we're imposing our own experiences onto texts that don't acknowledge them. And I do agree that it's an incredibly powerful and empowering action. But then we're completely content to just ignore the women, or worse, we find excuses not to write them. We don't queer things by writing F/F nearly as often as we do by writing M/M. We don't write gen about women. Instead, we say "oh, wow, Uhura's fierce! Yeah, she's awesome. Maybe I'll write about her one day, when I've got time, but I do think I can squeeze in thirty Kirk/Spock stories", or we don't even bother paying lip service, we just say "oh, Ginny's so boring, Draco is written in way more depth, let's talk about how JK Rowling is a genius but only when it comes to Draco". We say that the way Supernatural treats women is appalling...until the ~wonderful brotherly bonding moment~ of Ruby's death, at which point there are comments about how all of the people are pointing out the problematic aspects of a scene where the reunion of two men is illustrated by one of them holding a woman in place while the other stabs her are just examples of fandom being impossible to please.

And I don't think it's one or the other here, either we're being empowering by queering characters/texts or we're continuing a sexist tradition by only writing stories about men (because most slash is M/M) -- obviously it's a lot more complicated than that, and I think it's probably a bit of both, and a lot of other things as well, both empowering and problematic.

I guess where I have trouble is that yes, there is definitely something to be said for the queer experience being represented, finally, and for carving out your own space and making people hear your voice and changing things that frustrate you for the better -- but I think it's extremely disingenuous to sidestep the fact that it's generally the white able-bodied cis male queer experience that's being represented by slash. And that's not to say that the majority of het doesn't focus on white able-bodied cis characters -- there's plenty of fail on ability, transgender, and race issues amongst het readers and writers, and lots of sexism, too. There's also plenty of fail on those counts amongst gen writers and readers, and amongst F/F ones, and amongst pretty much every crowd of fans you can find, because everyone has their blind spots. That's the magic of kyriarchy, basically.

My conclusion, I suppose, is that while I absolutely think it's completely fallacious to say that if you write M/M you must by default hate women because why else would you be writing about men, I also think it's completely fallacious to say that if you write M/M you can't possibly fail on any other issues, because you're being empowering on this one. I don't feel like anyone has said either of these things, but often, iterations of this debate will devolve into a false dichotomy along those lines, and I think it's worth noting that said dichotomy is false.
sohotrightnow: the top of a swimming young woman's torso. ([etc] morally illiterate)
So there have been some posts on my reading lists that basically say, of the whole discussion going on in SPN fandom (although I think it's expanded by now), something along the lines of "it was two years ago so it's not worth talking about" or "you weren't personally there so you shouldn't be talking about it because you don't know". These are kind of irritating me a lot! IDK, call me crazy, but in general I kind of feel like it is not a bad thing to be talking about what we can do to make fandom -- and the world -- a place where consent can be given and will be respected!

Also, it starts to look a whole lot like the ever-popular "you're just being oversensitive"/"you just enjoy being offended"/"don't you have more important things to worry about" derailing tactics. I'm just putting that out there.

I understand that it can be pretty exhausting to read. And maybe the difference is that since I subscribe to the theory of the rape culture I do believe that this is connected to the shit that's happened to me, because I believe that my abuse and what happened at the con both spring from the same fundamental disregard for the right to say "no" and disrespect for women as more than bodies even if one is a more extreme example than the other. But the bottom line is that I do see a connection, and I find that connection worth remarking upon. And even more worth remarking upon is the way this has been handled and the reactions of the people who've been called on bad behavior, and that is a current issue -- as, since it was very recent, is [ profile] thenyxie's banning from this year's convention, which is one of the things that set this whole discussion off -- so even leaving aside that in general I find the question of "what can we do to not be such huge dicks about women" a good one to ask, I think it's really disingenuous to claim that this is such an old issue that we're all just dragging up now. Because it's not -- the effects are happening right now, and the discussion itself is something to discuss in terms of the relative safety of fandom, and that is definitely happening right now.

Again, yeah, I understand that endless discussions about srs bzns are exhausting and may kill the escapism factor of fandom for you. But honestly -- I don't know, this is where I am going to be kind of an asshole, maybe. Honestly, if you're not a survivor and you're saying "this doesn't matter, this isn't relevant", and a lot of survivors are telling you that this does matter and it is relevant, maybe instead of trying to silence them, you should you should listen to them, or at least just scroll on by if you don't want to hear about it.

Or defriend, because frankly if you're going to try and tell me, as a survivor, how I should feel or talk about an incident that sets off a lot of alarm bells -- if you're going to belittle and trivialize something that affects real people's health, mine included, by referring to it as "wank" -- then I really don't think I want you reading my locked entries to begin with.

TL;DR I'm sorry you never learned how to scroll. :(

In less srs bzns news, I wrote Clay/Aisha earlier! Hooray hooray, that movie.
sohotrightnow: the top of a swimming young woman's torso. ([buffy] the power of a locomotive)
Here is an actual conversation that took place during a discussion of victim-blaming. It was several years ago now, but I guess you will be able to see why it's kind of stuck with me. (I talked in this post about what happened to me and my experience with mental illness especially as it relates to my history of sexual abuse; be warned that it is pretty graphic and may well be triggery.)
Me: (sarcastically) So when I was nine, and my coach was raping me every now and then, that was my fault because I didn't say anything?
Them: (in seriousness) After the first time? Yes, it was. I'm sorry for what happened to you, but if you didn't tell anybody, you have no one to blame but yourself.
[personal profile] impertinence has talked about why people might not go to the police. Let me talk a little about why someone might not go to anyone. No -- that's disingenuous. Let me talk a little about why I didn't tell anyone what happened to me until I was an adult.Triggery. )

The fannish community can be incredibly warm and positive and loving. But it is not a monolith (which, often, is one of the things we love about it, after all -- the variety of opinions and experiences means that everyone brings something unique to the table), and as a lot of people were more than happy to point out during last year's AbilityFail, it is not a safe space. It can also be a place where women are viewed in less-than-great ways -- last year, after all, the most popular character in fandom was the one who throws gendered slurs around every chance he gets, the one who said a few weeks ago that "on a good day, you get to kill a whore"...and the Final Four consisted of the guy who tried to rape the heroine of his source text, the guy who makes jokes about his boss's breasts every chance he gets, and the guy who, by his own admission, "actually sold a woman". Fangirls have accused me of lying about my experiences, have called my issues "bullshit", have told me I am to blame for what happened with me. Sometimes this was to my face, sometimes it was behind my back. People can be jerks, and no one lives in a vacuum, and fandom is made up of people, and an awful lot of us are products of a rape culture.

Look at the responses that [ profile] thenyxie and her friends have made, the accusations they've thrown about -- and those are "just" words on the Internet. Look at the fact that last year, fandom collectively decided that an attempted rapist was one of its favorite characters of all time. I honestly can't say that I blame anyone for not feeling comfortable about speaking up about the situation except under cover of anonymity.

We've discussed (but not, I would say, established, because after all, we're still having the discussion and people are still arguing otherwise) that silence before the event is not consent to the event. I feel it's at least as important that we establish -- or at least, if that's too much to hope for, discuss -- that silence after the event is not an admission of guilt or an indicator of dishonesty.
sohotrightnow: the top of a swimming young woman's torso. ([tv] footage not found)
Oh lord I can't believe I'm posting this. Okay, so I thought I was done talking about this, but then I read [ profile] lcsbanana's post here and hit the phrase "victim privilege" in her collection of quotes and holy shit, holy shit.

[ profile] queenofhell has an excellent, excellent post here on how classic derailing techniques are being used to shut down this discussion ("it's your responsibility to educate me", "my friend is also a member of Group X and she wasn't offended, so you shouldn't be either", "you're the one with the privilege in this conversation because you're demanding special treatment"). Like I say, as soon as I hit the phrase "victim privilege" I was pretty much done for awhile, but I've been rambling in a Notepad file for awhile and I think I may have come up with something coherent at this point. So here goes.

Behind the cut, a herd of possibly-triggery teal deer is grazing. )

In conclusion: yes, I think that the term "privilege" applies here, not to authors or readers but to people who have or haven't experienced any kind of mental illness with triggers (regardless of whether said illness springs from any kind of past trauma).3 Yes, I also believe that being able to say your ~art~ is more important than another person's psychological illness is a sign of privilege. And finally, yes, I believe that we have a responsibility to warn which springs from our responsibility to be polite -- even decent or compassionate -- human beings, and I believe that the majority of arguments used against warning are coming across as classic derailment tactics, ones that come from a place of privilege: that of psychological health vs. psychological illness. I refer again to [ profile] queenofhell's excellent post.

1. I use those last, rather unwieldy epithets after seeing posts like this one, which argued that not all abuse survivors have triggers as a result, and from the fact -- which I feel it's at least as important to mention -- that plenty of people with triggers simply have them as a result of illness, not because of any past trauma.

2. I'm not here differentiating among people who are mentally ill but seeing specialists, mentally ill but on medications, mentally ill but seeking other forms of treatment, who were dealing with mental illness in the past, or who are mentally ill but not pursuing any treatment at all (I am the latter, because I am not currently earning enough to afford insurance, and treatment is too expensive without insurance). I am referring only to people who are or were in the past dealing with mental illness, particularly accompanied by triggers.

3. I especially believe this in the case of rape/abuse, because I believe that abuse stems from certain systemic structures that make people who have been raped part of a non-privileged class, but this post is tl;dr enough already that I will not go into that.

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