Hey everyone. So, I mulled over the possibility of recording this as a Kirblog topic, but I decided that since it’s an issue that’s specifically relates to things that have happened here on tumblr, that I would keep it to just being a tumblr post. Hopefully that’s alright and that I can lend some assistance to the situation.
Very recently I received a number of different messages (from folks who I will keep the names of anonymous) regarding some controversy between TOME fans on the Terrain of Magical Expertise tumblr tag. From what I understand, there are fights breaking out between people drawing certain types of fanart and those who consider those pieces of art to be inappropriate. As I stated before in my initial post about this, I’ve been very lucky in that the fandom for this show is small enough that I’ve been able to keep a close eye on it and the interactions between people regarding it. That said, I have no intention of controlling what any of the fans do, especially in how they choose to express themselves. However, my intention IS to prevent as much negativity spreading between folks as possible. So, I’m going to offer my own opinions and suggestions and hope that they might provide some perspective on the matter.
When I was younger, I used to scoff at lot of shipping-related fanart that I didn’t get. It used to be stuff as simple as “Those two characters haven’t even interacted before!! Why would they be together!?” to now much more serious instances in comparison. While I have a much greater understanding of why people get enjoyment out of shipping different characters, formulating headcanons and how they choose to express themselves by way of art, I will admit, I myself have reservations about that type of enjoyment. For any number of reasons, people ship characters who have no connection to each other in the source material, people ship characters with villains who would be considered unhealthy partners, and yes, people ship characters of disproportionate ages. These choices, ESPECIALLY the last one, baffle me…and at times, disgust me. Going a step further, there’s also become a trend of artists choosing to visually (or descriptively) re-interpret characters in their age, bodytype, skin color, sexual preference, etc. based on either their own desires, or simply their own choice of interpretation.
Now, in the case of TOME, obviously there are the very few “canon” relationships between characters, as well as certain ones I either intentionally left vague or chose to execute within the writing and animation with subtext. Even if there’s cases where I don’t personally agree with a fan’s choice of how they interpret a character or a relationship they envision them to have with another character by way of fanart or fanfiction, I would NOT shoot them down…and more specifically, I would NEVER scold them, or worse, harass them for what they’ve done.
Which brings me to my actual thoughts on the matter. You cannot do anything to stop people from drawing what they want, no matter how much it bothers you. Harassing or bullying them is NOT the solution. Why? Because one, in all likelihood it won’t actually stop them from drawing whatever they want anyway…and two, because even if you DID stop them, then that choice of action to take wasn’t a good one. At all. I understand this completely. For me, when I see explicit artwork or inappropriate relationships that I personally have a moral issue with, I get totally grossed out and I have my judgements of that person’s art. For some people it’s legitimately a lot worse, because for them it can be triggering and send them into a full-on panic attack or emotional breakdown. I sympathize with this, and I hate to see that happen…but again, the reality is, they’re not going to stop, and you fighting against them is NOT the right solution.
So what IS the solution? Unfortunately, there isn’t one black-and-white thing that can be done, but this is my own personal suggestion: ignore it. Expel it from your life. Remove it from your feeds. Use tag-blockers, or flat-out block the artist so their work won’t show up on your feed. Do whatever you have to do so that it is NOT in your line of sight…but however you choose to do this, DO NOT harass them or bully them. Nothing you say is going to change how they feel, and using harsh words and threats to forcibly change how they feel is not the right thing to do, because it then creates the problem of making you into a bully. Then, we have TWO different problems of people drawing inappropriate stuff that makes others uncomfortable, and people being hateful and aggressive towards others for not doing what they say. Nothing like this on the internet can hurt you if you be strong and don’t let it. Do whatever you NEED to do to keep yourself feeling safe, comfortable and welcome, as long as it’s not hurting others, because hurting others in return for something they’ve done to hurt you, only creates more hatred and anger between people who all collectively have an affinity for the same thing.
I realize that this suggestion won’t be the end-all be-all statement that fixes everything, and I apologize for that, because while I can’t (and don’t want to) control what people within TOME’s fandom do, I also have a responsibility to you all with the story and characters I’ve created and my wish is to spread as much positivity to you all as I possibly can. Do what you have to do to protect yourselves and continue to feel free to express yourselves, but save your energy and pick your battles. Choose love, peace and acceptance. Be good to each other to the best of your abilities.
I hope that this helps, even just a little bit. I leave the rest in all of your hands.