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July’s Summer Chill Playlist

Featuring the best relaxing songs with a hint of joy. Best listened to when taking baths, simmering into the night with rain or simply out and about in the streets. Here are the songs we’ve featured in our July Playlist.

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Let’s talk about Yang and Sun as characters

So, I ain’t touching that shipping discourse with a ten foot pole because it is pointless and dramatic and y’all need to calm your tits, but I do think we need to discuss the differences between Yang and Sun as characters and how they relate to Blake, because I feel like there is some fundamental misunderstandings here that are vastly contributing to the problem.

First and foremost, neither Sun nor Yang should ever be labeled as abusive because they are not. Adam Taurus is abusive. Adam drove Blake to some very dark and scary places in her life because of his abusive behavior. He was obsessed with her in and unhealthy and possessive way and did not care about her well-being. Yang and Sun are both good people who would never hurt Blake on purpose and even when they do incorrect things in regards to how they treat her it always come from a place of concern for her.

Secondly, one of the big arguments I’m hearing lately in regards to the way they each interact with Blake is that if the characters positions were reversed then people would be having the opposite reactions. Like people saying that if Yang had followed Blake everyone would be praising it as romantic and if Sun had been the one to convince Blake to come out to the dance everyone would be calling him pushy or bad. Except here’s the thing that’s wrong with that line of discussion. It operates under the idea that Yang and Sun are the same kind of character personality wise. And they are not. At all.

See, Sun’s character is the kind of person that people think Yang’s character is, and Yang’s character is something else all together.

Sun is loud and friendly and a little clueless. He takes an interest in people and genuinely cares about them, but he looks at everything through his own world view without necessarily taking other people’s feelings into consideration and as a result he can come off as sort of obnoxious. He’s a big stupid sweetheart. Does he want to help? Absolutely. Does he know how best to do that? Absolutely not. This is what makes him a good foil for Blake, in that he absolutely doesn’t get her at all and it results in hilarious misunderstandings that are totally harmless but still drive her a little crazy. Certain people are taking that cluelessness as malicious in some way, and that’s how we’re getting this weird misconception that he is “abusive.” People think he is willfully ignoring Blake’s wishes, when what is actually happening here is that he legitimately doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that Blake might want to go on this personal mission home by herself because his life’s motto is that “You should always get friends involved.” He just sees his friend putting herself in a sad and scary situation alone and wants to support her. He doesn’t understand why she might not want his support because it clashes so much with his personal world-view. He always has Blake’s best interest at heart, but sometimes he goes about helping her in a way that just kind of irritates her.

Yang is a whole other story. Yang is loud and friendly too, but the key difference here is that she is keenly aware of other people’s feelings and behaves accordingly. She recognizes that Blake has limits when it comes to personal interactions and the like, and so she handles her more gently than she might with someone else. She still pushes her outside her comfort zone with things like bear hugs because she’s trying to help her grow, but she does it in little ways rather than pushing her all out at once because she sees that wouldn’t help. She wants to help Blake, but she wants to do it at Blake’s preferred pace. Which is good, and it allows the two of them to grow close gradually. But it’s also means that she can be a bit too cautious sometimes. Yang’s careful observation of other’s behavior does come from her desire to help people, but it also comes from her own fear of rejection. She waits and observes and reacts accordingly because she’s scared that if she pushes too hard people will leave her. Blake recognizes and appreciates that Yang gives her space and let’s her handle things at her own pace, but she doesn’t realize the other reason why she does it. She doesn’t realize that by running away she is hurting Yang, because she’s so wrapped up in her own fears that she can’t recognize Yang’s. And Yang does the same, viewing Blake’s running as a form of rejection due to her own issues, rather than recognizing it as part of Blake’s issues.They are both caring, considerate people who have deeply rooted emotional issues that they need to work through, and that’s why they play off of each other so well. They respect each other’s problems, but are so wrapped up in their own problems that they can’t always help each other.

So now, with all this in mind, let’s go back to the original hypotheticals I addressed there. We’ll go chronologically and start with the Burning the Candle scenes.

The idea here is that if Sun had tried to convince Blake to come out to the dance in the way Yang had, people would view his actions as pushy and inappropriate, instead of sweet and heartfelt as they were with Yang. The problem with that idea is that Sun wouldn’t have tried to help her the way Yang did. He didn’t understand why Blake was upset and thus he couldn’t have talked her through her issues the way Yang did. And if he somehow did understand, he wouldn’t have dealt with it the same way. He wouldn’t have shared a personal experience and tried to use that to help her understand how she was hurting herself. He would have told her that there was no point in worrying about stuff she can’t change and just joked around with her in an attempt to make her feel better. And as a result, it likely wouldn’t have worked.

Then there’s this idea that if Yang had followed Blake onto the boat against her wishes people would think it was sweet and romantic, instead of clueless and mildly irritating as it was with Sun. But again, the problem with this idea is that Yang wouldn’t do that. If Yang had seen Blake leave and had the opportunity to follow her, she wouldn’t have. And it wouldn’t be because she respects Blake’s choice, or because she wanted to give her space to deal with her own issues. She wouldn’t have followed because she would have viewed it as a rejection. Why is Blake leaving? Did I do something wrong? Why would she leave me without saying anything? I must have messed up, because why else would she be running? She wouldn’t have realized that Blake was running because she was scared, because she would have internalized the abandonment immediately and viewed herself as not good enough to be around Blake anymore.

Bottom line: The idea that the fandom would react differently if the roles were reversed is a fallacy, because the roles between Yang and Sun can’t be reversed in any situation. They are fundamentally different characters, and the idea that they would do the same things in the same situations is just nonsense. They serve different purposes in Blake’s life, different purposes in the story. You can’t just flip the script without changing the entire story.

It seems like half the issues from the two sides of this fandom hate seem to stem from the idea that these two characters are interchangeable in some way and that the only difference between them is their gender, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They are completely different people who serve completely different roles in Blake’s story. They are both there to help her grow, but in different ways. To think any differently is honestly disrespectful to all three of them and to the work that has been put into them as characters.

Stop treating Sun like a bad character, stop treating Yang like a bad character, and (to quote a completely different fairy tale) stop treating Blake like she’s a prize to be won in all of this.