i CAN believe y’all made me write this
Hi everyone. I decided to make a more detailed amendment to an earlier meta post I made because there were some deep flaws in what I wrote and I don’t feel that it succeeded in communicating what I originally intended.
I wanted to start off by saying I’m deeply sorry for one of its core failings. I failed to consider the emotional investiture of those who identify with fictional narratives. I used my personal viewpoint on fictional narratives and created a post that assumed it was ideal and was feasible or even desirable. Further segregation of fanworks does not ensure that they are only consumed by intended audiences, and puts a huge onus on anyone to develop a certain level of media literacy in order to just participate in fandom space. By advocating only one kind of media critical approach to fanwork, I alienated many people and in many cases, revictimized people by using the ideology of their oppressors. I further contributed to a dismissive environment that refused to acknowledge a growing push for change.
While I do think that media literacy is becoming an increasingly essential skill, and I do think the good representation vs bad representation argument is too frequently simplified to an idealized portrayal vs anything else argument; my original meta assumed these were foundational absolutes and were not presented in a way that invited discussion but instead were paternalistic.
It’s really very ironic because my original intent was to
argue that the way and means of arguing against mlm fetishization have been
paternalistic and not sufficiently intersectional. Many people have interpreted my post to say
that criticism isn’t allowed and I don’t entirely blame them because the post
ended up becoming an argument from tradition and concluding that slash tropes
are inviolable by the virtue of the slash fandom’s history in being an outlet
that women could transform their own experiences of misogyny into fantasy. I literally just restated the argument of the
current fandom status quo.
I never actually wrote down my real concern, which was that a large amount of the current slash fandom still only approaches fictional mlm through the lens of slash conventions. For them, slash is a vice. They may have completely progressive and fulfilling relationships with mlm in their real lives but slash is equivalent to porn for them. The issue with dealing with a vice is that such products don’t follow conventional psychological, social, or economic models. One of the few universal tactics against vice is stigmatizing that behavior. I’m kind of uncomfortable with that implication. None of the arguments or meta I had come across offered solutions for those who now cannot engage in sexualized fantasy without social consequences. All you then do is move the problem underground.
I was considering going through my original post line-by-line but I’m sure you’re exhausted enough. Ultimately I share the same goal as many of you and that’s an increasing awareness and production of works that take mlm’s lived experiences into account. I was overly reactionary in my initial foray into this discussion but, like for you, it’s an important topic for me.