Lemme just preface this with saying that I am a writer. I have been writing for most of my life. I have taken actual classes about writing and about what fiction can offer you, me, and people as a whole. I have won an award for something that I wrote. I know and love fiction, be it in written form, graphic novels, or film. It is all so good and complex and it’s something I am passionate about. That said, let’s get into this.
A good majority of the discourse that goes on in most of the fandoms I’m in stem from the idea that violence and forbidden sexual acts in fiction will encourage those actions in reality. It is important to know, firstly, that the only time this happens is when a person is immature enough or not mentally healthy enough to distinguish reality from fiction. Growing up, my parents would often stop horror movies (back when I first started watching them) to ask me questions. To be fair, they were pretty shitty people, but in this one aspect, they were so good about making sure I knew this difference. “You know this is just a movie, right? None of the stuff on the tv is real.” They’d assure before continuing the film.
It’s not real.
Now, half of the stuff I read or watched back then was nowhere near pushing boundaries or making me think critically about society or whatever. However, I knew that what I watched wasn’t real. It was images on a screen. If I don’t like what I’m seeing, I can walk away. It doesn’t have to affect me, personally, unless I let it.
Now, lets circle back. School. College. I took a writing class that used this book:
Granted, it was a screenwriting class and most of the chapters were about various script formats, but the beginning chapters focused on why we write and why we make the stories we do.
It had a section in it describing how human needs and desires are met through fiction. It detailed those needs in a list. This list:
Please draw your attention to the ones on the list that say that fictions helps people to:
Be purged of unpleasant emotions
To have vicarious but controlled emotional experiences
To confront, in a controlled situation, the horrible and terrible
To explore taboo subjects without guilt
Just because you personal don’t need various forms of ‘taboo’ media, doesn’t mean that others don’t. Media, in all of its forms, is a way for people to explore things safely. It’s an outlet that doesn’t harm anyone and it offers the creator and viewer/reader a safe way of exploring the complexities of situations (or in some cases relationships) that these people do not want to be involved in irl. Because we can distinguish reality from fiction. Because none of us are going out killing people or getting into abusive relationships or fucking our sibling.
While being critical of the media we consume is important and it is vital to dissect the whys of the media being created, there is a line between creating open discussion about these taboos, about the society and personal experiences that makes one need these outlets, and verbally abusing and harassing strangers.
If you want to create a dialogue about media or a ship you don’t agree with, fine. Talk about it. Dissect it. Really dig deep into the human condition and the psychology behind these outlets, but don’t shame people for them to the point of telling them to kill themselves or telling them they are human garbage or what the fuck ever.
Fiction isn’t always meant to be picturesque. It’s not always going to be SFW. If that isn’t your cup of tea, then great. Stop going into the tags of things that make you feel unhealthy. You do you. Keep yourself safe. Stop continuously exposing yourself to content that you can’t swallow. To keep getting involved, to keep harassing people, to keep abusing strangers shows that you don’t give a damn about the content. You need an excuse to bully someone else and indulge in holier-than-thou circle jerks with other people who also have no sense of what fiction is for.
Seeing all this stuff about the Alex Tizon discourse is making me wanna throw up.
Listen. What they did? It’s slavery. We know. We get it. But it’s not your slavery, it is a product of the broken system which we have been mired in, one which America has been directly complicit in. It’s an unfortunate case, horrifying, not entirely unexpected, but not exactly the norm. The issue here is that foreigners are trying to put words in our mouth and making this discussion about them instead of letting Filipinos process this and have a proper conversation about it without them shutting us down and screaming BUT SLAVERY!!! APOLOGISTS!!! not only that but they’re deliberately misunderstanding our language and honorifics, they are making things out to be something they’re not.
The system is broken. Any Filipino can tell you that. Yelling at us isn’t going to fix it unless you can somehow fix an entire culture with a press of a button and magically remove 400 years of colonialism and oppression, both by foreigners and fellow Filipinos, which has directly contributed to how desperate and helpless our people have become. It just doesn’t work that way.
But what really pisses me off about this? It’s because we’ve already been silenced before. We have been colonized, mistreated, our culture erased and labeled as inferior, our country gutted for resources and labor and this is still happening, just now its happening on more socially acceptable terms.
Context and the underlying culture does matter, especially when our culture has already been so abused and erased that we have no idea what kind of culture or history we would have had if it hadn’t been beaten out of us by colonizers for 400 years, even the name of our country, our very identity. To this day we still struggle with our identity as a people, with the colonial mentality and nation-wide inferiority complex instilled in us by colonizers.
Keep in mind that every time you yell at us about how culture doesn’t matter, you’re all slavery apologists, without taking into consideration our views, our culture and the system which contributes to this, and how people are still working to correct it despite the fact that progress will likely not come for another 20? 30? years maybe even longer. Progress is slow when you live in a country where every system is designed against you. We are seeing people from a country which oppressed us, attempting to once again erase our narrative and tell us they know better, perhaps then you can forgive us for being wary of foreigners dismissing our culture and views to propagate their own.