sexism in fiction

don’t touch cyberpunk if you don’t get it.

don’t act like you’re on some holy crusade when you make a video game with neon and rain and the look of cyberpunk but then throw in stuff like how women’s rights and basic income are the backbone of a dystopia

don’t make a movie with scarlett johansson playing a poor send-up to motoko kusanagi and then lack the spine to even mention the socio-political points of why the character prefers a caucasian chassis in the first place (spoiler alert: it makes incredibly unkind point about western women). especially don’t call it feminist when the themes and narrative are stripped away in favor of a generic revenge tale. don’t retell akira and put it within and about the culture that dropped those nukes in the first place. the teenage edgelord connoisseurs can just go watch these anime and film in the first place

don’t copyright the word ‘cyberpunk’ no matter how noble your intentions are. you have no real way of guaranteeing that your successors at your place of work will share your sentiments.

don’t tell another faux-deep story that cosplays badly as Blade Runner about a hacker or a detective or an android and his manpain 

don’t give me more cool-looking stuff that either lacks the teeth to get political or has the fundamental politics of the genre contorted and perverted so that spoiled Gen X dudes never have to challenge themselves or their way of life. 

just…don’t, okay?

I think one of the more annoying forms of sexism in fiction is when you have a diverse cast, but it just so conveniently matches up that the people having the big confrontations and the big events are dudes.

Because most people will still love these stories, and try and sell it on the “cool female characters” but in reality it’s a bare minimum effort that’s not actually a bare minimum, and woman are just once again relegated to second string, while all the cool arcs are given to dudes.

i saw screenshots of my girl and imo the anime…didn’t really do this scene justice in terms of scripting so i switched it up a bit

Honest question

When did it become fashionable to start hating on happy, healthy relationships? Tumblr spends all day and night complaining about sexism and toxic fictional relationships, but as soon as a genuinely healthy couple that’s rooted in years of trust and affection presents itself, they don’t like it.

Stop demonizing healthy relationships. Love triangles, cheating and mental games are not romantic. It’s creepy.

Your Fave is Problematic Pt. 5: Not that kind of girl

Fair warnng this is critical of Sarah J. Maas’ writing. 

Celaena from Throne of Glass unlike Clary doesn’t entirely reject traditional expressions of femininity.  She is traditionally beautiful and she knows it.  She enjoys frilly dresses, books, and swords alike.  She also has a tendency to behave in an “unladylike” fashion. However, she does not like or trust other women:

“She never had many friends and the ones she had often disappointed her. Sometimes with devastating consequences, as she’d learned that summer with the Silent Assassins of the Red Desert. After that, she’d sworn never to trust girls again, especially girls with agendas and power of their own. Girls who would do anything to get what they wanted.” (Throne of Glass 166)

Adarlan, the Kingdom Celaena finds herself, in is a ruthless place. It’s filled with individuals with agendas and power. Those who inhabit the royal court are people who will go above and beyond to get what they want. Trusting anyone is the castle or the kingdom as a whole could cost a person his or her life. So despite the ways, she may have been hurt in the Red Desert, in this world she has as much to fear from men as women. The current king is responsible for the slaughter of her family.  Her father figure exploited her abilities for years and groomed her to be a killer before she was even an adolescent. During her time in the mines, she witnessed undertakers sexually assault young women enslaved the way she was.  So after a lifetime of trauma and betrayal why isn’t Celaena as weary of the men in this world as the women?

For Celaena, the girls she is pointedly not like are social climbing, boy obsessed, vindictive, empty headed, and for good measure, catty.  “Are all of your royal women like that?” the princess said to Celaena in Eyllwe. “Like Kaltain? Unfortunately, Your Highness.” (Throne of Glass 160)  This conversation takes place between Celaena and Princess Nehemia. Celaena hasn’t been inside the castle longer than Nehemia and being that she is being heavily guarded Celaena has not had the opportunity to interact with every woman and girl in the castle. Yet, after two negative encounters, one in which she calls the mentioned Kaltain Rompier a courtesan for expressing her interest in the prince she’s deduced that every woman in the castle is catty and empty-headed.

Celaena’s dislike for other women goes far beyond eye rolling. Early in the first book of the series from her balcony, she overhears a group of girls talking about her. One girl clearly jealous of Celaena’s arrival with the much sought-after Prince Dorian calls Celaena a harlot. She responds to this by dropping a flower pot off from her balcony onto them. Now it doesn’t actually hit any of them and it only succeeds in startling them, and this moment was clearly intended to be comical.  It’s likely that many a girl or woman has dreamt of taking a similar course of action against the Regina Georges of the world, but a flower pot to the head could kill or seriously injure a person. And it should be mentioned that Celaena has a very short temper and that being trained for assassinship since the age of 8, with her the threat of violence is not idle as she could easily follow through. However, throughout the course of the book more than one character insults or provokes her, in those instances remembering that her freedom is at stake she manages to restrain herself. Unless it involves another girl.    

Not all the women in the castle are catty and mean. Nehemia Ytger in particular. Nehemia is the crowned princess of Ellywe with a reputation for compassion and bravery. She is a symbol of hope for her people and upon first meeting her Celaena is in awe of her. Nehemia and Celaena at first bond over their mutual dislike of Kaltain Rompier an antagonist, whose story will be further explored in a later chapter, and the fact that Celaena is the only other person in the castle who can fluently speak Ellywe (Nehemia’s native language). Despite issues of dishonesty on both parts Nehemia and Celaena become very good friends. Nehemia and Celaena are two young women who for many reasons have to keep many secrets, yet in each other they find solace.  After years of closing herself off, Celaena shares more of herself with Nehemia than she has allowed herself to share in years and is one of few people whose opinion she values. Their relationship falls into the trope of a heroine befriending a girl who’s been deemed an exception to the female gender.

Ultimately it’s Nehemia’s apparent murder and her devotion to her departed friend’s memory that causes Celaena to promise to see her friend’s kingdom freed. This sacrifice has implications that will be further examined later.  Before her death, Celaena and Nehemia share a heated confrontation over Celaena’s unwillingness to challenge the king. When certain manipulations are brought to light, we get the message that she was in many ways the kind of girl Celaena had sworn not to trust.  

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My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.

And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.

—  Elizabeth Bear - My Least Favorite Trope
How To Write Men In Romance Fiction

I have recently come across one of the most fascinating articles published in the recent 2015, written by a man who doesn’t read romance novels, about – you guessed it – Romance Literature! There’s a saying in Bulgarian, which we started using about 15 years ago (I believe it was used in a sketch by a comedian), and it goes like this: “I laugh in the face of tragedy because what else could I do – cry?”

I believe this article gives meaning to that expression in ways I did not think possible.

Now, gender is a stupid thing to begin with, let’s base our conversation on that. Creating a general picture of manhood or womanhood is ridiculously impossible affair, because not only does it vary by culture, it varies by person, and we end up with the bottom line that we all experience gender in unique unquantifiable ways.

Plus, gender itself is a social construct which isn’t even perceived universally as a binary and often is either viewed on a spectrum or a combination of identities which depend on the circumstances. It is Western-centric to perceive it as the dualistic man-woman, and it is blatantly wrong, considering the idea of man versus woman is a religious indoctrination spread by Christianity. If you don’t believe me, please check with the numerous African, and South and East Asian communities who struggle to retain or fight to remember the identities typical of their culture while they’re being bombarded by Western propaganda in the media and religious indoctrination by supposedly well-wishing ministers.

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Born Sexy Yesterday is about an unbalanced relationship, but it’s also very connected to masculinity. The subtext of the trope is rooted in a deep-seated male insecurity around sex and sexuality. The crux of the trope is a fixation on male superiority, a fixation with holding power of an innocent girl. But in order to make that socially acceptable, science fiction is used to employed to put the mind of that girl into a sexualized adult woman’s body.

It’s a fantasy based on fear. Fear of women who are men’s equal in sexual experience and romantic history, and fear of losing the intellectual upper-hand to women.

—  Jonathan McIntosh, on the trope he named Born Sexy Yesterday
this scene was perfect, intentional, and very telling

[x]

I read one fan’s comment last week on whether this is genuinely Ward being sexist, or if Ward was simply trying to emotionally manipulate Hill and going for what he intuited to be a sore spot, hoping to goad the most reaction from her.  (lol, fail there.)

This question stuck in my brain all week, and I’ve finally settled on my interpretation:

Yeah, Ward is a sexist saggy dickbag.

Okay, so why?  I mean, the theory that’s it’s all bluster to hurt Hill’s feelings seems like a plausible one. Of course he’d want to upset her, right?  But I don’t think we should let him off the hook.

First, let’s look at the matter of them as spies. Shield is gone, Hydra is on the move, and everyone is, essentially, their own masters. They are free to choose the sides they want to be on, and everyone can let their teeth show for real.

At this point in the narrative, we are finally seeing Ward as who he really is. We’ve seen more of him as a person in 2 episodes than we have all season 1.  He’s back with his mentor, he’s being honest with his feelings for Skye, he’s finally getting to tell off Shield people like Hill: this is Grant Ward essentially set to neutral.  Obviously spies never show all their feelings, but the audience has no reason to doubt Ward’s derision and arrogance in this scene (and he’s always been arrogant, this is just him releasing the full brunt of it.) Likewise, Maria Hill is also her own master at this point, free to likewise give Grant her real opinion.  The professional veneer is stripped back, and they take pot-shots at each other.

Now to the gritty part: how you tell an asshole is not by measuring the quantity of insults he says, but by the types of insults he chooses.  Both agents have the same goal in this scene:  insult their opponent, try to throw ‘em off kilter with personal comments, and bluff through the conversation to hopefully get what they want.

Agent Hill claims she never liked Ward, and digs into him about being a traitor.  This is a genderless comment, it would mean the exact same thing regardless if Ward was male or female.

Agent Ward responds by attacking Hill for her gender, using familiar sexist language that would be typical of a military environment.  It’s presented as an opinion he’s held onto for a while and is now happy to throw in her face. For extra dickbaggery, the “us” he uses when he says “a lot of us lost faith” is designed to position himself in the norm and Maria as abnormal: the outsider, the unqualified person who only got her job bc of superficial feminity.  It’s pretty ballsy for Ward, who just freaking BETRAYED the entire “us”, to then turn around and use that normative grouping to exclude Hill, who remained loyal.  Ward feels comfortable doing that verbal maneuvering bc sexist saggy dickbags always think that they can call on the will of all Men to knock down an Uppity Woman, regardless of any other differences the men might have. “Sure, I might have betrayed my fellow dudes, but we can all agree that in this case, the bitch had it coming. Can’t fault me there, right guys?”

So, what if it’s all a front? What if he doesn’t feel any of this and just wants to hurt Hill’s feelings?

That’s what privelege is, and that decision right there is what makes Ward a dickbag.  He could have chosen literally any insult in the whole of their professional or personal sphere, and he went straight for the sexist comment.  Hell, talking about her personal job perfomance might have been even more effective at cutting down her confidence, since obviously the sexism didn’t phase her.  So why go right to the sexist comments?

Because it’s easy. Because it’s right there every time he looks at her and sees eye candy instead of a professional.  Because sexism is the simplest, most convenient way for a guy to throw shade at any woman without thinking too hard or putting much effort in.  Why should he hold back? He doesn’t care what she thinks of him.  For men like him, the sexist insult is the first insult to come to mind when looking at a woman he resents.

And that, kids, is why Ward is a sexist saggy bag of shitdicks.

Okay I new I was gonna want to make this post last time I ran through smuggler, so here it is. Corso Vs Rona, and why I dont like Corso

Okay so Corso and Rona’s interactions always pissed me off. We already know Corso is weird about women and contextualizes them as defenseless and in need of protection (compare his reaction to female smuggler rejecting his gun and male smugglers - female it’s “it doesn’t feel right to let a lady go into danger” male its “your gun is trash no offense” and female smuggler asking if she wants something more aka marriage he says “someone to protect you” in addition to all the other things he does)

but i think his patronizingness comes into play most here so lets get started (i’ll be posting all images in addition to image transcriptioning, in case for some reason is like “you just made that up”

[image: dialogue from Corso Reading “Rona was kind of our family rebel. We used to have a blast together. She liked me to run interference so her father never caught her on dates with offworlders.” end image]

Okay so here we have Corso just talking about Rona. He likes her. My hypothesis is he likes the idea of her and that she needed him. This is important because Corso never tells Rona he doesn’t like her being in the black sun because it’s a criminal organization and he’s worried about her hurting people. instead it seems like he likes rona when she benefits from his help and dislikes her when she doesn’t need him

[image: dialogue from Corso. He says “he’s a street doctor in Coruscant. Kind of a shady character, but that’s who Rona always drifted to. …. If it was you all alone out there, wouldn’t you want to know your only family was looking for you?”

Then “Doctor Hope” (his name is actually in quotation marks) says “I’m Doctor Hope. I like to think of myself as a messenger of mercy, caring for the por, forsaken citizens of the underlevels. … Right. So I’ve got some, ah, life-saving medicaitons that need delivering.”

Corso says “This was always Rona’s kind of thing. Breaking hte law to do good uner the nose of a corrupt authority.” end image]

I just posted these so people who haven’t played smuggler in a while or ever can know the context: Rona is Corso’s cousin, she’s in cahoots with Dr Hope, he thinks its for good, and he wants to help.

He and Oriah (my smuggler) go to coruscant to get some “life saving medicine” (spice) surgically implanted in him to smuggle it across republic security. When they get it out and they finally figure out it’s spice Corso gets upset

[image: Corso says “Did she say… “spice”? Oriah asks “YOu thought we were smuggling cough syrup?” end image]

I guess Oriah has the same thought as I did (link).

I seriously have no idea why Corso joins up with smuggler but has an objection to smuggling, but okay

[image: Corso says “You used us. If you weren’t a lady, you’d – I gotta go have a word with your boss.” end image]

I find this line very creepy. Talking about how you’d totally beat someone up but just their Weak Feeble Lady Gender stops you isn’t chivarlous, or whatever Corso thinks it is. It’s a threat to beat someone up.

anyway, so now that Corso knows the truth we see Rona

[image: dialogue between Corso and Rona. Rona says “Course, I’m a little more bit-time now than ma and pa ever would have allowed.”

Corso says “Rona, what… what happened to you? What are you doing here?”

Rona says “I’m the underboss for the black Suns on this part of Coruscant! NOt bad considering five years ago, I was shoveling ronto dung.”

Corso says “Captain! what are you doing? We can’t just leave her here like this! We obviously came just in time. Come on, Rona. We’re getting you out of here.”

Rona says “Poor, chivalrous little Corso… don’t you get it? I don’t need to be rescued. I chose this life.” end image]

Beginning of commentary again:

okay, so here is the issue

Corso talks to his adult cousin like she’s a child.

He doesn’t even care what she wants, he acts like it was some big bad guy that got her in here and now he’s got to rescue her.

I mean, he ignores everything she says and talks about her (we can’t leave her likes this) and only responds to her out of context, in response to his idealized version of rona (amusing she needs his protection and rescuing)

furthermore, given that corso has been involved in smuggling before, so part of me Conant help but wonder if this isn’t a “Don’t do crime” but a “ladies shouldn’t do crime”

which is what i was saying earlier, at the top of this post, about my idea on why corso liked rona earlier, that he liked the idea of taking care of her.

now that she doesn’t need him, he’s mad at her.

corso disapproves of spice and probably the black sun but his reasoning for wanting rona out of the black suns isn’t moral at all. it ties into his perceptions about female helplessness and his “chivalrous” protection.

and that’s just… not cute. it’s gross. it’s why i can’t stand him.

Listen, I LOVE Michael Crichton and he is my second all-time favourite sci-fi novelist, and he has many well represented women as main characters. But I still feel acutely aware of how his main characters who are men are described by credentials first and appearance second, and his women main characters are described appearance first and credentials second. Men are described as brilliant, enigmatic, and geniuses in their fields and also happen to be tall and strong and handsome. Women are described as being thin and lean with luscious long hair and big beautiful eyes, and also good at their field of study.

It’s not just Michael Crichton. It happens in almost every novel, sci-fi and every other genre. Not even just novels, but every type of media. The way male authors describe women characters should be evidence enough of the deeply ingrained sexism and misogyny that exists in our society.

The only reason someone would think this kind of casual enforcement of sexism doesn’t matters is because they’re too closed minded to understand the cultural implications, or because they fully know it to be true but denying it enforces their power.

A Phone Call

“I’m going to switch language now,” I say into my headphones. “I want to explain this properly.”

If I had a bluetooth headset I’d be using that, but I don’t, so I’m speaking into the bit of plastic where my headphones come together into one white cable and hoping that no one walking past realises that the person I am supposedly talking to as I hurry to meet them is actually the Falsettos revival cast recording.

The looks I get from the people who take a moment to realise that I’m on the phone are better than the looks I get for being young and female and walking home alone after dark.

I tell my headphones all about my weekend. At one point, a man on the other side of the empty street crosses the road on an intercept course.

“I can see you,” I say, loudly, in his language. “Look, I’m over here!” I stop and wave at a distant figure outside a well-lit bar. “I’m two minutes away, I can see you.”

The man changes course almost imperceptibly and joins the pavement in front of me. I keep an eye on him as I start walking again, still talking.

“What do you want me to do, wait here while you turn the car round? No, I don’t mind. I can cross over, if that’s easier. Who else is with you?”

I keep it up until I am well past the bar. The man – probably innocent – Turned down a side street before we reached it. A few minutes later, a man cycles past and hisses.

They do that here. Hiss, or catcall, or occasionally whistle. It shouldn’t be normal but it is, and I don’t react quickly enough. I watch him go without seeming to. Making sure he doesn’t double back.

I am nearly home and I cross the road and keep walking. I walk this way every day but I do not trust it. Not at night.

Almost home, and a man – the same man, a different man – cycles past, close enough to touch, and hisses.

I react half a second later – fear and disgust and adrenaline – but he is long gone.

They do that here, and I never know what to say.

“I’m going to say this in my language,” I say into my headphones. I am nearly home now, and I don’t care if they hear me speaking like this.

I wish I knew how to respond to the hissing. I tried not to let it bother me at first, but it does, and I know it bothers the other girls too.

I want to tell them to fuck off. Like that, fast and immediate, but I never expect it so my reactions are slow. And I’m scared of them retaliating. Because then it would be my fault, for provoking them. I know all that. I know it intimately, because I have lived it. And I want to tell them to fuck off but the words aren’t there on the tip of my tongue, I have to fumble for them, and they come with an accent, with my accent, announcing my foreignness to the world.

“And I can’t tell them to fuck off in my language,” I say into my headphones. “Because that would give them power over me. That would be worse.”

I practice. Fuck off. Fuck off.

Foreign. Accented. Tinged with embarrassment.

I take off my headphones.

Filmic convention teaches that a woman’s eyes staying open as she kisses are a sure sign of imminent betrayal; even as she lies in the arms of this one man, she is allying herself with some other object or allowing it to enter. The eyes are both entrance and exit; they have been called “windows of the soul.” When eyes are closed, all possible horrors are obliterated.
— 

Klaus Theweleit, discussing sexism in cinematography, Male Fantasies Vol. 2

“Women’s eyes must be closed if they are to be associated with ‘brightness, warmth, love.’ If they are open, they are dark. The open eye of a woman seems to evoke the devouring abyss; beneath its lashes, the teeth of the vagina dentata glisten.”

youtube

An eagle-eyed Tumblr user noticed that Pixar uses distinctive facial features for different male characters, but not so much for females.  

(This was our first Tumblr-to-Video story and we hope to do more of these for posts like these in the future!)

anonymous asked:

Oh, and a second broader question, also on the Nat in AoU issue: a lot of the criticism felt reactionary and symptomatic of an internet culture to get hits by staking out absolutist positions. But on the other hand, sometimes I wonder if it's too easy to dismiss critique as just "people whining," especially when they aren't able to articulate their points as clearly as you have. Not everyone has the advantage of academic training. So I guess the question is, what standard do we hold outrage to?

Outrage is dangerous. It’s addictive. I think people often enjoy feeling wronged in a twisted way because it makes them feel that they’re in the right, or ‘righteous’. I’ve been guilty of this myself.

We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking this is an exclusively Tumblr phenomenon, but there is a lot of black-and-white thinking on this site that I don’t like. From blacklists to ‘burn the TERFs’ to ‘this guy is clearly an unredeemable misogynist because he said something slutshame-y in an interview four years ago’… we need to take a step back. Not because these issues don’t matter but because they do—and because approaching them with the intention of sorting everybody into a false dichotomy of good vs evil, problematic vs non-problematic is literally poison to discourse in that it a) leaves no room for complexity or for asking questions, which is essential to understanding political and social issues, and b) forces people to prove their allegiance by repeating what they’re told instead of encouraging them to learn through active engagement.

Now. That being said. There’s a big difference between that kind of moral absolutism and venting online about your anger/disappointment/resentment at seeing yet more sexism in a work of fiction you’re deeply invested in. Anger can be challenging and mobilizing, and social media critique is starting to become a powerful tool, from forcing news outlets to cover Ferguson to driving the writers of Star Trek and Agent Carter to improve their representation. Social media also gives a platform to voices that are omitted from the ‘official’ debate, esp. women and minorities.

And yes, as you rightly point out, not everyone has academic training, which often gives a person’s voice authority. But when a woman, with all her years of living as a woman surrounded by sexist media, experiences a violently negative reaction to what she perceives as a misogynist film… I think that’s all she needs to give her voice validity.

My old English teacher used to say that in textual analysis, ‘there are no correct interpretations, only valid ones’. Meaning that what I try to do in my metas is show not that my emotional interpretation of a work is the correct one but that it is valid and reasonable. Then I present my reasons.

Outrage is an absolute judgement, which closes the discussion. Anger is a valid reaction, which opens the discussion, and sometimes even enriches it.

Gay Discrimination Over Racism: Speculative Setting

Anonymous asked: Hiyah! I’m planning a novel with a mainly POC cast, but I’m wondering how I should handle race within the narrative. It takes place in an Edwardian-roaring-20s-like city but the setting itself is meant to be more speculative than realistic. The conflict involves a caste system of those guilty of sex crimes and their descendants, being partially linked to the dated stigmatization of same-sex relationships. Would it be a cop-out if I made race-relations more PC despite notable lgbtqia plot points?

We sometimes speak of having racism influence your story and how much in our fantasy tag. You could look through there for an answer. Personally, I’d think it’d be weird if racism was left out in such a setting.

Racism has had and still has such a vast influence on our world and how it has been shaped. Since it is speculative though, if your world-building permits it, you don’t have to have racism be center stage and have it be more… PC. 

~ Mod Alice

Erasing racism completely in a setting where people are discriminated for same-sex relationships feels like erasure. People of Color are discriminated for being both gay and POC. One doesn’t negate the other but only adds more layers to the BS they have to go through. So for racism to not be a thing anymore comes off as an offensive lack of intersectionality, despite intention.

Even “softening” it to make LGBTQA+ discrimination more prominent feels uncomfortable to me, but as I don’t fall under the spectrum, I’d invite POC who do to share their opinion!

But as Alice says, racism doesn’t have to be center stage in your story’s events, despite it having influence on the world. I suggest developing why race-relations are how they are. What is different in your world that makes racism less of a thing? What about sexism; how is that dealt with and is it also better? Why?

I think this plot could work; just avoid downplaying other discrimination as if it can’t (and doesn’t) exist all at once.

~Mod Colette

When authors create works where one facet of discrimination is “solved,” it seems to buy into the idea that you can gain equality in some arenas but not others. But I’m not sure I believe that.

The people who often benefit most from women’s rights activism are white straight women. The people who often benefit most from gay rights movements tend to be white gay men. Even in our “equality” movements, we still maintain patriarchal heteronormative white supremacy.

We grant the most authority to people who match the current power-holders (straight, cis, white, male, able-bodied, Christian). So I am always very skeptical when authors when they “solve” one area on discrimination completely to focus on another. I bet some authors handle it really well, but as said, it looks like erasure.

~Mod Stella

Do You Know What It Feels Like For a Girl? (Thoughts of Supernatural's 200th)

So I, like pretty much everyone, absolutely adored Fan Fiction. I loved all of the in jokes and call backs, not just for the fans but for the cast and crew. For example, “kick it in the ass” was a bit of a catch phrase for the late, great Kim Manners who headed the production on the show in Vancouver for the first three seasons and even into the fourth before he got too sick to work. I loved that at least two of the actresses in the play were queer, let alone that they were playing Dean and Cas since often women and girls who cosplay Dean and Cas for cons are couples. I love the visual reference to Rent. I love the Galaxy Quest vibe of the whole thing. I love this episode.

But what I may actually love the most is that it’s a teenage girl, Marie, who is the embodiment of the fandom and all of the enthusiastic love that that entails. How often is “teenage girl” used as an insult, not just in the world at large but in geek spaces and fandom? Someone raises an issues about gender or anything else in a work of fiction, pfft don’t have to listen to her, she’s just a girl. It’s not like her feelings or view point has any value at all. I bet she only listens to One Direction and dots all of her Is with hearts and loves Twilight and doesn’t even know what Call of Duty is. You know, stuff like that. This gets even clearer when bringing up slash. So many male fans freak the hell out over it like it’s actively ruining their lives or treat it as only a joke, which is what Supernatural did in the past.

Now, I don’t have a problem with Becky, not really. (I’ll just pretend Season 7, Time for a Wedding didn’t happen.) I’ve known a Becky or two in my life to be sure and I’ve even had my Becky moments in my younger years so I don’t think she’s a wildly off base idea of female fandom. However, she’s only ever a joke. Her point of view and interpretation of the story is never considered to be valid or even good, really. In Fan Fiction, that’s not the case at all. Dean, the show’s biggest critic, is encouraging at the end. It’s not my thing, but it’s yours and it makes you happy so keep doing it. It doesn’t matter if it has robots or whatever other crack, your story is just as good as ours. And what really tops this episode off with giving its audience, and the character of Marie and all she represents, a big sloppy kiss is having the embodiment of the show’s creative staff, Chuck, show up to give his seal of approval.

The CW PR might have fuck all of an idea of who watches Supernatural, but Carver knows it’s women who watch and he knows why and he gets it in a way that Kripke never did. It’s not for the beautiful men or the all of the fap material we can create of imagining them all banging each other. It’s because the story means something to us and what it inspires us to do.

If only for this moment for this episode, being a girl in fandom feels a little bit easier.