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A Song of Sisters, Sansa Stark, & the Importance of Abuse Narratives
I’m rewatching Game of Thrones with my sister. She’s nine years older than I, has been married and divorced once already, and is an insane fantasy buff. Though we’re extremely different now, I do give her credit as being one of my biggest influences throughout my teens. She got me into Lord of the Rings, I made her read Harry Potter; she told me unicorns were real, I told her that dragons would never come back in ASOIAF-universe. I asked her about the weird blonde-man vampire on her wall when I was seven; later when I was 19, I would buy her a Buffy t-shirt and told her that the only person I saw patrolling graveyards was a younger version of her, and that watching the show made me miss her. (With the shirt, I wrapped up a nice stick I found on the ground, too, just for good measure.)
We’re both victims of abuse. We’re both survivors of abuse. We’ve shared abusers just as we’ve shared our fictional universes and it was those fictional universes that gave us a connection when she moved away and married and the nature of our respective abuse situations changed. I’m not an intensely superstitious person, but when it comes to my sister, I certainly am. We shared a womb (albeit at different times) and we’ve been known to feel what the other feels via dreamscapes. And, yes, that sounds incredibly silly, but my sister and I get each other, and whether it’s because of some Supernatural Connection or just because we’re so close, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re there for each other, inexplicably, when we need each other most.
So, I made her watch Game of Thrones. I put the books on her Kindle. We finished s1 quickly and she had fan-favorite syndrome— she loved Daenerys because she wanted to be her, identified with Arya, and loved Tyrion and Jon and the lot of them. She made one comment about Sansa— the one that everyone says in s1— “God, you’re such a brat! That’s your sister.”
I looked at her, just for a minute, and I told her to hush, that Sansa is only eleven years old and extremely naive. I went on my Sansa spiel and avoided spoilers. My sister considered me a moment and that was that.
S2 rolled around and I could tell that she was warming up to Sansa. She was actively cheering Sansa on, would drop her phone for her scenes and not look at it again until it was over. She’d groan when Cersei tormented her. She’d curse Joffrey’s existence. Last Friday she finally shouted, “Please tell me Sansa ends up happy.” I looked at her and laughed, then I frowned, and I told her, “Sansa is Winter. She’ll get through it.”
Yesterday, though, was the first time we both cried while watching a Sansa scene. It was the one where Margaery and Lady Olenna were asking about Joffrey, and Sansa is frantic and is near tears and scared and oscillates between truth and her act and there’s this raw fucking energy and at the same time it got us, and we held hands and cuddled up underneath the blankets on my bed. We both understood, sort of, and while we hadn’t had any enormous Sansa-discussions, we would make comments about “being there”, about understanding, about our mutual love for Sansa-fucking-Stark. We do project ourselves onto Sansa, onto her weaknesses and strength and isolation and intelligence and moments of sassiness.
My sister looked at me and wiped her face a little, sheepish. “I love Sansa. That just made me cry because I’ve been there.” I agreed—the first time I saw the scene I had felt overwhelming pity, but watching it with my sister and feeling that energy-connection between us, that shared understanding, that same context, it really got me. I teared up, too.
After the episode, I told her that everyone hates Sansa, especially guys. I told her that some people think Sansa brought it on herself, that she deserved everything she got. My sister was so taken aback! She couldn’t understand it, but I saw a moment of clarity for her. We had both heard similar things, internal monologues we’d tell ourselves, from the mouths and actions of our abusers. We deserved it. Finally, she shoved the thoughts away and said: “The haters won’t ever understand. They haven’t been there.”
And it kind of hit me there, how important it is to see these narratives, to see them play out and to see a young girl— a woman!— deal with her abuse in the way Sansa does. Because, yeah, that’s all very real stuff and Sansa is a young girl who has grown up far too fast. And it’s heartbreaking to watch it on screen and relive that experience, but at the same time, it’s a bittersweet heartbreak. Because while we watch the abuse on screen, we also see it from Sansa’s point of view as well. We see her deal with it in subtle, internal ways. We see her strength, weakness, we see her raw emotion and we see her trapped in this shitty situation. And, you know, it’s nice, to be there and then to be there. To have this sense of solidarity with a version of you and to feel overwhelming sympathy for her and to feel empowered by her resilience and to see her fight on.
And yeah, it kinda dawned on me that my sister needs it and I need it and we needed it together, because Sansa fucking Stark is a perfect queen and she doesn’t owe you shit.
Beauty and the Beast [and the abuse story lines therein]
i tried going into the beauty and the beast tag to cheer myself up because i worked the B&B stage production all week and it made me want to cry with wonderfulness but that was a bad idea.
hi my name is turdle and i think your reducing the B&B storyline to one about abuse is not nuanced and lacks understanding of the deeper storyline at whole and diminishes stories about actual abuse and photoshopping some bruising onto Belle is grossly offensive like maybe you should have used Gaston if that’s the point you were trying to make?
You know not the spoiled prince with a temper problem whom Belle OUTRIGHT TELLS him is a bully and shouldn’t use such aggressive language and behavior to get what he wants and the Beast learns to say “Please” and “Thank you” and that keeping someone prisoner is NOT how you show or demonstrate care or affection which is why he not only apologizes but lets her go when her father is in danger and finds common ground in that they’re both outcasts because of who they are and if people would only take the time to reach out to them, they could be seen as more than their looks, but as who they are inside
MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE USED THE SEXIST PIG WHO REFUSED TO TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER AND WHO GASLIGHTED BELLE AND CONVINCED THE WHOLE TOWN THAT SHE AND HER FATHER WERE “CRAZY” AND THREATENED TO TAKE HER FATHER AWAY FROM HER BECAUSE SHE WOULDN’T SHUT UP AND MARRY HIM AND HAVE HIS BABIES??? YOU KNOW THE ONE THAT TRIED TO KILL THE MAN/BEAST SHE HAD FALLEN IN LOVE WITH AND MOCKED AND BELITTLED AND DEMEANED HER AND HER FEELINGS AND ALL HER INTERESTS
which the beast was a spoiled brat but he never made fun of Belle for who she was.
There was an abuser in this film, but it was Gaston. In the stage adaption there’s a moment where he raises his hand to smack her because she slapped him (for trying to assault her) and the ONLY reason he doesn’t do it is because the whole town is watching and he knows he can’t get away with physically abusing her in public. But emotionally he’s ALREADY been doing it the whole film AND has been trying to seclude her from the people she cares about and the people who care about her and virtually ANYONE ELSE she could reach out to.
it’s IN THE LYRICS:
[Le Fou:] No one plots like Gaston
[Gaston:] Takes cheap shots like Gaston
[LeFou:] Plans to persecute harmless crackpots like Gaston
YOU MISSED THE ABUSER IN THIS STORY BY A MILE.
RIGHT TIME FOR CAPSLOCK RECAP SORRY ALL
HANNIBAL’S BLATANT MANIPULATION IS BOTH HORRENDOUS AND A THING OF BEAUTY, IT’S LIKE WATCHING A NATURE DOCUMENTARY WHERE YOU KNOW THAT SLIGHTLY LIGHTER PATCH OF LEAVES IS A SNAKE BUT THE LITTLE MOUSE MOVING EVER CLOSER HAS NO IDEA
“Psychic driving fails because it is too obvious… if force is used, the subject will only surrender temporarily… the subject mustn’t be aware of any influence.” YOU’RE UTTERLY DISGUSTING I LOVE YOU
“He even tied little bows with some of them!” THE SCIENCE TRIO HAVE SEEN SO MUCH BY NOW THAT THEY’VE GONE WELL PAST GALLOWS HUMOR AND INTO THIS BITTER DARK AMUSEMENT AT THE SHIT THEY’RE FACED WITH— IT’S BOTH A SELF-AWARE PARODY OF THE TROPE IN CRIME DRAMA AND AN INVOCATION OF AN ARCHETYPE; THINK THE GRAVEDIGGERS IN HAMLET
THAT SCENE OF WILL WRITHING AROUND IN BED WITH THE WAVES WAS LIKE DIVINE ECSTASY MEETS NIGHTMARE MEETS ORGASM AND ISN’T THAT REALLY JUST THE SHOW IN A NUTSHELL
(this was such a sweaty episode did they have to fucking oil Dancy up between takes)
(also petition to stop Eddie Izzard from doing American accents IT’S WEIRD)
FREDDIE LOUNDS, INTREPID REPORTER, UNFLINCHING IN THE FACE OF MUTILATION
“The Chesapeake Ripper once removed a man’s tongue and used it as a bookmark for his Bible.” YEAH HE DID CANON REFERENCE AHOY
HOW THE FUCK IS CHILTON SUPPOSED TO GO BACK TO WORKING IN THE FIELD OF PSYCHIATRY AFTER UNDERGOING THAT, JESUS
“Please don’t lie to me!” I THINK MY HEART BROKE
HANNIBAL TOUCHING WILL CONSTANTLY TO CONFIRM HIMSELF AS A PHYSICAL GROUNDING POINT. ASKING WILL TO SMILE, OFFERING AFFECTION AND REASSURANCE SO WILL ASSOCIATES HIM WITH COMFORT AND STABILITY— HE’S BEEN DOING THIS ALL ALONG BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME REALLY THAT TOUCH HAS COME INTO PLAY, THAT WILL HAS YIELDED UP CONTROL SO MUCH THAT HANNIBAL IS ABLE TO TOUCH HIM. HELL, IN THIS EPISODE HANNIBAL WAS ABLE TO GIVE HIM PHYSICAL COMMANDS (“raise your arms”) THAT WILL OBEYED IMMEDIATELY AND WITHOUT QUESTION. GOD YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE DOING YOU HORRENDOUS PIECE OF SHIT
(IT SHOULD BE ALANA, ALANA NEEDS TO BE THE ONE TO GROUND WILL— SHE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO BOTH HAS WILL’S BEST INTERESTS AT HEART AND IS ALLOWED INTO HIS SPACE. HER HOLDING HIS HAND IN THE HOSPITAL GAVE ME A LITTLE BIT OF HOPE THAT WILL HAS SOMEONE OTHER THAN HANNIBAL FUCKING LECTER AS A TOUCHSTONE)
AND THAT LITTLE BIT OF THEATRE WITH HANNIBAL PUTTING ON THE COAT AND LEAVING THE GUN AND KEYS ON THE TABLE, THE EASE WITH WHICH HE PUSHED WILL AND GIDEON INTO DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTED
HE’S SO SURE OF HIMSELF THAT HE DOESN’T EVEN NEED TO GO ALONG AND OBSERVE, HE KNOWS THAT WILL WILL KILL GIDEON BEFORE HE CAN HARM ALANA, HE’S WATCHED THE CHAIN OF THE CAUSE AND EFFECT PLAY OUT IN HIS HEAD ALREADY. HANNIBAL SIMULTANEOUSLY TAKES OUT HIS IMPOSTOR, PRESERVES THE LIFE OF AN ACQUAINTANCE WHOSE COMPANY HE ENJOYS, AND PUSHES WILL EVEN FURTHER INTO SELF-DOUBT, ALL FROM THE COMFORT OF HIS OWN HOME. THE FUCKER.
GOD THIS SHOW
(PS ABIGAIL HOBBS NEXT WEEK MY BEAUTIFUL DESPERATE WOLF-IN-LAMB’S CLOTHING IF ANYONE GETS OUT OF THIS ALIVE BABY I HOPE IT’S YOU)
i know a lot of people are rightfully protesting against the romanticizing of hannibal and will’s relationship when hannibal is obviously a horrible person and is manipulating will for his own selfish gain
but i have to disagree when it’s said that hannibal does not care about will because i think he does care for will. he’s manipulating will for his own selfish gain and he is the exact opposite of what a friend should be to will, but he does genuinely care for will much in the same way that abusers may love the people they abuse. this is not okay, but i think it’s worth acknowledging that hannibal lecter does care for will graham and want him in his life. he just wants him in his life in a way that he can control.
Megatron is the villain. If he didn’t do evil things, he wouldn’t be the villain and no one would have a problem with him. Surely that’s the point? No one is taking Megatron’s side. We all know he’s a massive dick. The way he treats Starscream/his soldiers is a way that Optimus Prime NEVER would; that’s the contrast between the Autobot and Decepticon regimes. That’s why Megatron is the bad guy and Optimus isn’t. Surely?
I AM NOT ON MEGATRON’S SIDE I AM WELL AWARE THAT EVERYTHING HE DOES IS WRONG. HE DOES WRONG SHIT BECAUSE HE’S MEANT TO BE EVIL. If he never did anything bad, the whole series would be completely redundant. He’s meant to be a terrifying, brutal figure, because he’s essentially a dictator who rules with an iron fist. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN I’M TAKING HIS SIDE. THAT DUDE IS SERIOUSLY MESSED UP. BUT THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF HIS CHARACTER.
(Making a new post because I don’t want to hijack the other one)
The thing is though that there ARE people taking Megatron’s side. There are LOTS of people taking his side,actually, and it’s disturbing as fuck.
Also, as ghostanswers pointed out, the text treats Starscream’s abuse as comedic. And when it’s not comedic, it’s portrayed with the attitude of “well he’s just getting what he deserves”.
Nobody deserves abuse. Ever.
Starscream is not seen as sympathetic, even though he has been nothing but loyal to Megatron. Oh, and do not even try to pull the whole ‘he tried to kill Megatron’ BS.
To quote the amazing ghostanswers yet again: ”It is not treachery to try to kill someone who will otherwise murder or torture you, and who has threatened your physical safety in the past repeatedly.”
Starscream has the entire universe against him and is a complete nervous wreck as a result, and all the fandom has to say in response is “He deserves it” and “well Megatron’s evil, what do you expect?”
I EXPECT THE WRITERS TO SHOW ABUSE AS THE HORRIBLE THING THAT IT IS.
I EXPECT MEGATRON TO BE A DECENT FUCKING LEADER AND USE MILITARY PUNISHMENT RATHER THAN ABUSE.
BUT MOST OF ALL I EXPECT PEOPLE TO STOP JUSTIFYING ALL THE ABUSE STARSCREAM FACES.
NOBODY DESERVES TO BE ABUSED. EVER.
And if anyone reading this disagrees with that last sentence, then kindly get the fuck off my blog. You are not welcome here.
I hope you and the rest of the Tumblr-feminazi primitives realize that every man who stumbles upon your idiotic digital menstruations just becomes more of a misogynist because of you. The wife-beaters who read your painfully stupid, proudly bigoted, enthusiastically sexist, utterly juvenile and pitifully angry spewings probably beat their wives a little harder afterward thanks to you. Congrats, cunt.
sleep didn’t go very well last night
i kept panicking that i was going to somehow run into [bad person] because that is one of my greatest fears in this world, because it is impossible for me to not do what he wants when i am near him. people make jokes about being addicted to people, but it really is like that. and it’s HORRIBLE because he’s a very bad person in at least 1000 different abusive and illegal ways, so an inability to make my own decisions and control myself around him is very bad.
i’m very far away from him and the odds of me running into him are so small as to be near impossible but i still worry
and last night i kept falling asleep and dreaming that i ran into him and it never mattered that ben was right there with me because even after all of these years it feels like i’m still not me, i’m just a grossly broken extension of him
i don’t know, i hate that this is happening right now because i have important stuff that i need to do and i am all busted up inside
While I agree that Gaston needs a lot more criticizing than the Beast, the overall storyline is still one of "you can tame a wild man's heart if only you try hard enough!" which is super problematic. Maybe it wouldn't be if it were the /only/ story of its kind out there, but that narrative is so common that, yeah, its a problem.
The problem here is that:
- The late Baroque/Rococo style of the setting of B&B doesn’t fit the origin of the “Wild Man” theme at all. There ARE themes/stories of women “taming the wild man” that originate from the Middle Ages and these are not dissimilar but still not the tale of Beauty and the Beast.
- So conflating them (especially if you’re only examining your surface knowledge of those stories) is troublesome to begin with. It is problematic to be told that Women should just “tame” bad men. But taming “wild men” was often about men who had strayed away from good Christian behaviors and had lost their manners. Wild people often represented “madness”, “blood lust”, and even “simple people living closer to nature”. So Wild Men =/= Beast necessarily because the context is different, the tropes are different, Wild Men are neither fully animal nor fully human, and the Beast is largely supposed to be the Beast. Or an anthropomorphized animal with the soul of a man.
- Which okay you’re talking contemporary interpretations where people would have little background knowledge. Okay! But teaching manners and respect is not the same as “taming a wild beast”. Belle told the Beast how she should be treated respectfully, and then he did that. That isn’t problematic! You should ALWAYS tell people if how they treat you is poorly or makes you feel bad or if they are trying to bully you how to act better and people who care about you will listen to what you have to say and change their shitty behavior!!!
- Given the original Beauty and the Beast tale, the Beast was never actually violent. “ The merchant [Belle’s Father], upon arriving home, tried to hide the secret from Belle, but she pried it from him and willingly went to the Beast’s castle. The Beast received her graciously and informed her that she was mistress of the castle, and he was her servant. He gave her lavish clothing and food and carried on lengthy conversations with her.” The idea that the Beast was violent because he LOOKED like a Beast was propagated by Belle’s sisters, who were jealous of her life in riches, and hoped that by convincing Belle to stay home the Beast would come and eat her and they could take her place at his side.
- Even in the Disney adaption Belle STILL willingly chose to save her father and be with the Beast and after Beast’s initial tantrums and her telling him he was being rude/a bully he began to treat her with kindness and respect and as the lady of the castle.
Spinning this all into some kind of narrative that if you tell people they should be polite and they correct their bad behavior you’re in an unhealthy relationship automatically when abusers don’t listen and don’t change is I think, grossly misleading and misses the point.
why the fuck should bela be empathetic toward others if she has never known any kindness from this world
“you wouldn’t understand; no one did”
NO ONE DID. do you get what that means. SHE TRIED TELLING PEOPLE, SHE TRIED GETTING SUPPORT AND HELP AND EVERYONE TURNED AWAY FROM HER. considering the fucked up world we live in, and the shit abuse/rape victims have to deal with, imagine what she had gone through when she tried opening up—
why the hell i ask you should she not be a self-assured arrogant asshole who cares about herself
Hey ! I quite don't understand why Hannibal didn't tell Will about his disease ! For an experimentation or...? I don't really know ! ><
I wrote a recap on it, but generally I think that
- he wants to form Will in his image, so it’s an experiment how far he can push him
- by giving him the real diagnosis Will would gain clarity and be able to counteract his symptoms properly, thus gaining agency, which Hannibal doesn’t want. Will is Hannibal’s personal plaything, because he is interesting and can climb up those walls unlike other people that bore and annoy him for the most part. He sees himself in Will on some level.
- He “loves” him (as confirmed by the actor) and it’s in a very dark obsessive way and not actual love in what we understand of love, it’s Hannibals’s understanding of it (mainly an imitation) but he wouldn’t hesitate to kill him the second Will poses a threat, so it’s kind of like keeping him close and seeing how Will’s illness will affect him.
oh my god fandom
Please get it straight:
The following types of relationships are not “ROMANTIC”:
- Person A forces themselves on Person B, sexually or otherwise
- Person A uses threats or emotional manipulation against Person B
- Person A does not allow Person B to interact with others due to jealousy/yandere/etc.
- Person A intentionally humiliates or verbally degrades Person B regularly
- Person A openly expresses a wish to see Person B hurt/degraded, physically or emotionally.
- Person A says their controlling/abusive behavior towards Person B is for their own good/because they love them/etc.
I get it. I really do. We have this beautiful thing called fiction that allows us to examine even the darkest pits of the human condition from a safe distance, and from this vantage point fucked up relationships can be damn fascinating. I ship Kirei with practically every Emiya out there. I really, honestly get it.
But don’t call a fucked up relationship healthy or romantic or anything remotely close to that. I don’t entirely prescribe to the idea that fiction directly and immediately informs reality, but the fact of the matter is that by condoning abusive behavior in any form, one further distorts the idea of what constitutes abuse, something that we really, really do not need to do any further.
Embrace that shit is cray. Recognize that the behaviors are unhealthy in a real life context. Don’t apologize for having an interest in fictional pathos. And most of all don’t reframe abusive behavior as “romantic.”
looking at your post about lyckham - thank GOODNESS there are other people who find the past episodes unsettling, because i know when i do in my library, i have all these emotions but at the same time, they're mainly lydia and what in god's name wickham might do to break her and it just worries me perusing the lydia vlog tag where all those sexy gifs, but the thing is, i think they know that the lyckham ship is unhealthy and gross but they ~want~ him to be redeemed and they want to see why he
[should be redeemed or whatnot. :/ but i’ll make sure if i ever come across any gifs that i might reblog to tag them as cw and all that other stuff that is triggering]
Tagging is much appreciated.
But yeah, holy shiiiiit I don’t even know what to do with the unironic shippers. Wickham is hitting every goddamn item on the likely abuser checklist and I’m so scared that getting Lydia on camera kissing him and “admitting” they’re dating is his insurance for later, either against her or against others.
isolating her, holding privileged info against her, insinuating himself as her only connection, being physically aggressive, getting record of her saying certain things, pressuring her into a relationship— NONE OF THIS IS ROMANTIC, JESUS CHRIST.
fandom did you forget that time sebastian vael told a former slave there must’ve been some higher purpose in his suffering
did you forget when he suggested a young boy was abused and tortured and killed so that fenris could escape, and that was maker’s will
or all the times he tried to force his beliefs down everyone else’s throats
the times he’s been condescending to people of other cultures
that time he promised to start a war after what anders did even though that way even more innocent people would get hurt
i really don’t understand fandom’s incessant need to absolve their favourite (male) characters of all their flaws
sebastian has a fuckton of flaws
that’s what makes him interesting
you have to understand that the reason people react negatively to him is because they’ve seen this character a thousand, if not more, times, including real life
the most amazing thing about sebastian though is that the narrative is not expecting us to side with him
he is an incredibly privileged character in a narrative about oppression (and i really don’t understand why he is only a dlc character)
taking away his flaws because of this is incomprehensible to me
you don’t have to do that to stan sebastian if he’s your favourite
he is written with such nuance and skill, and there’s definitely a discussion to be had as to how good a person he really is, but don’t excuse his shitty behaviour
in fact if you deny his negative qualities, you’re effectively rendering him absolutely bland
say after me kids
- it is okay to like an abusive ship
- it is okay to write fanfiction about an abusive ship
- it is okay to draw fanart of an abusive ship
- it is okay to at any point focus on the nicer parts of the ship dynamic instead of the harmful parts
- it is not okay to insist that an abusive ship is ^-^ moe uguu kawaii desu ne
- it is not okay to attack people for not liking an abusive ship on the grounds that abuse makes them uncomfortable
- basically it is not okay to be a greasy smegma covered cockhead about this