this is regarding to my response to the post

A Long Overdue Apology

I know that this is far past the point where it should have been done but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and it would be wrong of me to remain silent on the matter.

This is directly addressing the issue that I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with. First off, I’d like to say that I AM sorry for hurting people either directly or indirectly from my actions AND my inaction. I made an off-handed post in response to what I thought to be people misinterpreting my original intention in regards to another separate post made long ago. However, in my flippancy I ended up hurting those who were validly criticizing me while attempting to dismiss what I thought to be invalid.


I understand that within the context of the screenshot I posted that it could perpetuate a negative stereotype against trans women. But what was infinitely more harmful was my dismissal of the possibility that I was wrong. For all of this I am very sorry. 

As people have pointed out, in the past I’ve used slurs against trans people, not in malice but in ignorance. At the time I was saying these slurs, I didn’t know the full ramification of the harm it was perpetuating, and at the time the videos were made I was called out on it too. After I was informed of the wrong I was doing I apologized (and will gladly apologize again now) and did my best to rectify my error. I would like to state that since the last time I used a t-slur a couple years ago I have never said it since because I know NOW what harm it can bring.

I’m not perfect and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I am. But I am always trying to be a better person. I am very sorry that I betrayed the faith of those who previously believed in me and I would like to work towards gaining that trust again. I hope that it goes without saying that I respect everyone’s way of life so long as that does not harm anyone else in the world. I only want to promote goodwill and I hope that we can reconcile this error of mine and move forward towards a better understanding.

I would also like to state that I DO NOT condone the attacking of anyone for their opinion. Just because someone has a different opinion than you doesn’t automatically make them wrong, even if you feel very strongly they are. I’m okay with people not liking me for my content or my actions, but please don’t bully or harass anyone in the name of “Markiplier” or this community. We should strive towards acceptance and empathy and a better world for all, not just those who agree with us. Remember that we’re all part of ONE community and that we need to be there for each other. Always.

Thank you so much for listening,

-Mark

Vegan Resource Master Post

I receive questions every day in regards to veganism - the why, the how, and everything in between. In addition to individual responses, I thought it would be useful to have one single post I can attach a link to with a bunch of my favourite information sources. Please feel free to share this, to add your own favourite resources, to use it to further educate yourself, or to send the link on to others too. 

Here is one great overall summary: 101 reasons to go vegan 

My most popular post on veganism : Does it really make a difference?

More reasons to cut out animal products from your life:

For your health:

For the animals:

For the environment:

Love Life. Live Vegan.
The secrets of food marketing
Wondering about veganism?

Heronstairs

*This post is old but I want to say that it is relevant to all discussions of diversity in my books that is not on-page. If it’s not in the books, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that your headcanon is wrong or it couldn’t happen. But it does mean I feel uncomfortable stating it as a fact because I don’t deserve credit for representation that is not unquestionably present in the text.


About Will and Jem…

Dear Cassie,

 

Thanks again for your response to my question about Tessa! I originally wrote this the day after Heronstairs day, but with CoHF and TBC, I know you’ve been super busy! 

 

I have a question regarding two big players in the Shadowhunter ‘verse: Will and Jem. Yesterday a lot of people were posting about them due to the date (November 10th) and it got me thinking.

 

How are we as readers meant to interpret their relationship? After CP2, you posted about the relationships between  Tessa, Will, and Jem and said “At no point do Will and Jem discuss their need for a chaperon, lest they give in to irresistible temptation and sully the senses out of each other.”

 

Online, however, there is a lot of discussion about it in terms of a relationship including romantic love. They are talked about as the third love story of TID, the third side of the triangle. 

 

Platonic friendship is wonderful and I think their relationship is great no matter what, but I also think there is something inherently different though about how something “could be canon. the evidence is there” with a queer vs hetero relationship. (Harry and Hermione are probably the biggest example I can think of this, with huge numbers of people viewing it as friendship and a very large number seeing romantic love. Their relationship is meant to be seen as friendship, more like family. They even spell it out in the last book!) It’s more of a representation issue. If Harry and Hermione don’t have those feelings, there are still plenty of other straight couples in HP.

 

So, as Will and Jem, are your creations, what are your thoughts on all of this? Are readers meant to understand that Jem and Will are bi of some sort (romantic and or sexual)? Is it part of the goals of writing about a not typically portrayed love triangle? Are the love interests of the protagonist queer? How would you define their relationship? 

 

-K

P.S. I really enjoy all of your posts regarding representation in fiction, as someone who isn’t straight.

 Hi! Thank you first for your kind words about my posts.

When you’re dealing with representation, and reader interpretation, you’re always dealing with tricky business. I incredibly appreciate the imagination of my readers. I also know my word is not the last word on what happens in my books: no book follows every moment in the lives of its characters. What happens in the liminal spaces — the time before Jem and Will met Tessa for instance — very much belongs to the reader.

I feel uncomfortable telling readers what they’re “meant to understand.” I want them to feel like their reads are valid. There are readings I disagree with (like that Will and Jem would have been better off if they’d never met Tessa, that Tessa doesn’t really love Will/doesn’t really love Jem, etc) but that doesn’t mean they’re not meaningful for the readers who interpret the story that way.

Jem and Will have an incredibly intense relationship. They also live in a time/place where friendships and relationships between men were romanticized, and were spoken of in incredibly romantic and flowery language. I think they often speak to and about each other in a way modern readers interpret as romantic because it sounds romantic. The Victorian Romantic Friendship Reader describes the era as a time when “when men could openly express an unashamed, unselfconscious, all-consuming love for members of their own sex.” Tennyson, as far as we know (okay, there’s some debate) was straight, but wrote a long elegy on the death of his friend Arthur Hallam in which he calls him “all I love,” “him I loved, and love / For ever,” and “my lost desire.” (The poem is “In Memoriam", which shows up a lot, not coincidentally, in Clockwork Princess.)

Will and Jem definitely have a romantic friendship, and I do think the love triangle is a true triangle in the sense that Jem and Tessa love each other, Will and Tessa love each other, and Will and Jem love each other. Is their love canonically a sexual love? Here is where this is is a tricky issue because these are two distinct moral goods at play here.

 It’s very important to me that I not be given credit for representation that is not explicit in my books. I believe we are at a time when books can show characters who are not heterosexual, and those books can be published (though of course there are still many obstacles for diverse books and pressure on creators not to create diverse works, which makes it even more clear that we have a responsibility to do so.) Therefore queer coding, or later saying “Of course So-and-So was an LGBTQ character, or of course there are LGBTQ characters in my work but we never heard about them in the work and they never had any relationships and nothing would clue you in on their identity…” is not sufficient. There are gay couples in the Shadowhunters ‘verse where their sexuality is explicit on the page: there is no question with Magnus and Woolsey that they are bi and gay; there is no question in TMI about Alec and Magnus, or Aline and Helen, or any question in the Bane Chronicles that Magnus is bisexual and in relationships with men and women. That’s part of why I, along with Maureen and Sarah, wanted to write the Bane Chronicles so much–to have Magnus front and center. He deserves to be, and LGBTQ readers deserve such a protagonist. But I also think they deserve better than queer coding and hints at sexuality that isn’t hetero — that stuff should be on the page, and if it isn’t — if it’s your “headcanon” as a writer — then that’s great, but that isn’t per se representation.

 That said, I strongly believe readers should have the freedom to interpret works as they will, without a creator looking over their shoulders: There are liminal spaces in my books which are designed for readers’ imaginations to fill in. No two readers ever read quite the same book. I don’t want to take away any possible interpretations from readers: it would feel like robbing them of enjoyment I believe they should have and depriving my work of some layers. The author’s dead, and to an extent I want to be considered dead–as long as nobody comes and pops me off this mortal coil when I’m eating a yoghurt so they can enjoy my books more. I don’t ever want to get in the way of my readers enjoying my work the way they want to. 

So I hope you understand when I say: I can’t entirely answer that question. Do I mind Heronstairs? Not at all. I am totally 100% behind those who ship it. (Ship and let ship, I say.) Do I think Heronstairs makes total sense within the framework of the narrative of Infernal Devices? Yes, it does. Nothing contradicts it. Do I think Will and Jem are bisexual representation? No, and I shouldn’t get any credit for them being so. Does that mean they’re not bi? No. Does that mean they are bi? No. It means you get to decide now.

(Hopefully we can all agree they are adorable?)

hella rushed sketch cause I needed to get it out of my system

AU where Scar never got to Nina and Shou. Shou was put on trial and imprisoned/executed as planned. Ed begged and begged the military not to lock Nina up, and did everything in his power to make sure she wouldn’t live in a lab for the rest of her life. Finally, he offered to take responsibility of her himself. After filing all necessary reports in regards to the case and registering Nina as military property (much to Ed’s dismay), the military finally allows him to take custody of her.

The Elric brothers take very good care of her. They help her learn to speak and function on her own again and they take her on all of their adventures. Although she can never return to her former selves, they never consider Nina less than human. And part of them always holds on to the hope that there may be some way to reverse what her father did to her.

Understanding Rhysand (and Tamlin): A Post-ACOMAF Reconciliation of Rhys’s Actions Under the Mountain in a Culture of Defeat

In other words, the sequel post to my “Rhysand Defense Post.”

This post is in response to the lovely nonnie who left this message in my inbox. Beware, this is long (but honestly, who is surprised? Not me. And probably not the nonnie haha).

Here was the question: 

Hello, Nonnie!

Aw, yes, this does come up quite a bit, and it can be difficult to reconcile Rhys’s actions in ACOTAR with the version of him in ACOMAF.  I have actually made several posts regarding this if you’d like to check them out (though they were made before ACOMAF came out). The two that immediately come to mind are my “Rhysand Defense Post” and “The Difference between Tamlin and Rhysand: The Man on the Throne and the Man in the Arena - ACOTAR and ACOMAF Excerpt Analysis”

In essence, when examining Rhys’s treatment of Feyre in ACOTAR, I think it’s crucial to remember that Rhys was acting as a trapped leader stuck between a rock and a hard place; he was working within a culture of defeat and was trying to not only survive, but protect both Feyre and his people.  Both Tamlin and Rhys are faced with what to do once Amarantha takes over, and they respond very differently: Tamlin with inaction/paralysis, and Rhys with action. Both of these responses are legitimate and entirely realistic in terms of how war leaders have historically responded to war and defeat. (I actually took an entire course in college that focused on the culture of defeat in times of war, particularly focusing on the Franco-Prussian War, the American Civil War, WWI, and WWII–and trust me, it is amazing how people–and especially leaders–act during these times. It can be ugly, and oftentimes a leader’s choices are very limited in what they can do to help their people.)

Keeping this in mind, we can see that Sarah doesn’t pull her punches in showing the sheer ugliness of war and–even more importantly–what comes after war. What happens when your people are defeated. What happens when a sadistic tyrant rules and displays her torture methods as a way to cow any potential rebels, to sew a culture of fear.

We see the ugliness of a culture of defeat, and how different people react. We see what happens to those who rebel (the High Lords who were killed); we see how conquered people are tormented and treated as animals (the hundreds of fae trapped in the caverns beneath the mountain to hunt each other in the dark); and we see the awful, terrible, horrendous choices that people in power must make.

Because they must make a choice, and there are no good choices.

You either act and hopefully begin a chain of events that could one day lead to your people’s freedom or you do nothing at all. When you do not act in the face of evil, you in turn perpetuate that evil. To not act is to be complicit in evil–and that is part of the reason why Feyre was so upset with Tamlin in ACOMAF when she speaks to the fact that he did not fight for her UtM. Because although he was trying to protect her by being stoic, he wasn’t really protecting her at all. She would have died, and he would have done nothing to stop it. (History doesn’t look kindly upon inaction in these situations–for example, think about how countries who were silent in the face of the Holocaust are viewed though they knew what was happening. Think about the countries who were not only silent, but did nothing as hundreds of thousands of their citizens were forcefully deported to their deaths. Think of the not-directly-affected countries who knew what was happening but did nothing–and yes, there were more that knew early on what was happening than we’d like to acknowledge. Silence–inaction–is truly its own choice, and Sarah is showing in ACOTAR that inaction is its own type of evil, really. We watch as the world goes to hell, thinking that by not acting at all we can at least protect our own people, protect ourselves–but then the wolf comes to your door and it’s too late to act. You have no allies, because everyone else has already been eaten, and in the end your people still die anyway, and all you can do is watch.

That is why Tamlin is so haunted after UtM. He had to watch as Feyre died. He could do nothing because his earlier inaction sealed his doom, and his people’s doom, and Feyre’s doom. This is also why his actions are so extreme in ACOMAF. He is trying to make up for how little he did UtM, but in doing so he smothers Feyre; he takes away her choices, her agency. Granted his power once more, he becomes the extreme protector. Tamlin can’t find a middle ground, but is bouncing between extremes. This is why he has his nightmares; why he is overbearing; why he focuses so much on what he can do to protect Feyre; why he watches in the night in beast form, ready to attack. He is haunted by his choice to not act, but now that he does act in ACOMAF, he goes too far.

Through Tamlin we see that not acting has its own horrors, its own traumas, its own hauntings.

Sarah shows us this: that inaction cannot save Prythian, just as it does not save people in real life. But she takes it one step further: she shows us the horror of what action brings as well.  Because although we would like to say that we should keep the moral high ground in times of war and defeat–that it is more important to do so then than at any other time–sometimes survival and the moral high ground can’t exist hand-in-hand. Leaders in war can have very limited options, and many times they try to choose what they believe is the lesser of two evils. They can’t always consult someone else; it is not always safe to do so. They play a dangerous game, and they try to save as many people as they can.

This is what Sarah shows us through Rhys’s character.

Rhys, whose actions are not savory and are very morally gray. Rhys who is neither the villain nor the hero in ACOTAR, but rather some complex character in between (which, let me tell you, is very realistic. No war commander or leader in history was a saint–they made choices that cost lives and agency and destruction. Such is the ugliness of war and defeat.). Rhys is a realistic war leader, even if the exact situation the fae are trapped in isn’t typical of a true war.

But Rhys is the man in the arena and he knows he is the only one standing between his people and destruction. Half of one of his courts is killed by Amarantha immediately upon her ascension, and time and again he is faced with hard choices that he must make–as he tells Feyre in ACOMAF–very quickly.  He sacrifices the majority of his remaining power to protect Velaris and his people, leaving him very little power to fend off Amarantha.  He sacrifices his body and his mental health by becoming his tormentor’s whore. He is raped and tortured and tormented to the point that the only thing keeping him going is the fact that he is the only one stopping Amarantha from finding his family and his people. He faces public ridicule and hatred; he must pretend that he enjoys his position by wearing the mask of an enemy (which is a tactic that past leaders and heroes have done. E.g., Oskar Schindler, who wore the uniform of a Nazi but saved hundreds of Jewish lives in WWII). But he tries to show mercy when he can (as with the summer fae, Tarquin’s friend who was staging a rebellion). He tries to keep going for 50 years, tries to lure Amarantha into making a fatal decision, tries to lure her into the woods where the Weaver waits. He has tried and tried and tried, and he is about to lose hope.

And then Feyre comes.

This girl, whom he has dreamed of for months, who has given him hope. The girl whom he suspects from their very first meeting is his mate. The girl whom he tries to protect from Amarantha’s claws by trying to scare her away–both by warning her to leave this place (the Spring Court) and by putting on a show that would convince Tamlin to let her go.  But then she shows up UtM anyway, and Rhys is horrified because she is almost certainly doomed. He is going to have to watch as this girl–the girl who might be his mate–will be killed in front of him and he can do nothing to stop it.

But then she proves that she is just as clever as he is, and she strike a bargain with Amarantha. And in that moment–this very important moment–we see the decision that Rhys makes: “I decided, then and there, that I was going to fight. And I would fight dirty, and kill and torture and manipulate, but I was going to fight. If there was a shot of freeing us from Amarantha, you were it.  I thought…I thought the Cauldron had been sending me these dreams to tell me that you would be the one to save us. Save my people.”

Rhys will do whatever it takes to save his people and Feyre, and it is this resolve that culminates in his actions UtM during Feyre’s trials. As I’ve discussed in my Defense Post, Rhys plays a role–he wears a mask–in order to arrange the chess pieces on the board in such a way that he can take out the queen–but he must do all of this without raising suspicion.  

As for his actions concerning Feyre and the dancing, Rhys believed that this was his best option he had in the situation–and in reality, we can see that it killed not only two birds with one stone, but really more like 7 or 8. Not only does this allow him to be near his mate, but it gets him a legitimate reason to both get Feyre out of her cell (where her isolation was wrecking her mind) and to show Amarantha that Feyre is suffering sufficiently to not be given any other torturous variations of her “chores.” The dancing also diverts people from entertaining the possibility that they could be working together against Amarantha. If Rhys is casting Feyre as his harlot, it reaffirms Amarantha’s idea that humans are nothing more than lowly trash–not a possible threat. At the same time, Rhys and Feyre’s relationship appears antagonistic at best. With his actions, Rhys is assuring that no one could possibly guess that they are, in fact, mates. If anyone had found out that bit of information, then everything would have fallen apart.

(On a related note, and as has been discussed on a related post, Rhys also uses this situation to stand up to his abuser. He presents Feyre before Amarantha and her court with a crown on her head, thereby showing his support for her and his belief that she will win. On a more subtle level, it shows his deeper belief that Feyre is his equal: she wears a crown imbued with the symbolism of his court and psychological healing. He does not see Feyre as someone lower than him, even though he pretends he does. To everyone else, the image of Feyre in a crown and the sheer dress is a mockery, but in reality it is a subversion of this exact idea. Feyre is mortal, and is looked down upon–seen as an animal–but just as in the First Trial, Rhys is betting on her. He plays to Amarantha’s tune even as he subverts it.)

Although this decision to have Feyre dance and drink is morally gray, Rhys used the wine as a kindness. It helps Feyre forget the ordeal, which I’m sure he didn’t want to put his mate through in the first place. At the same time, Feyre doesn’t have to maintain a front (which she would not be nearly as good at as Rhys in the current state she was in - she could have given them away). The wine sweeps her away, so it’s easier for her to dance and let go (which she comes to welcome). And Rhys, being protective of her, makes sure she stays with him the majority of the night (or within view). She dances with him or sits on his lap, and those swirls of ink both allow him to know that no one has touched her or taken advantage of her and lets her know the next day that she was safe. It also lets her know that Rhys never took advantage of her either.

Of course, there is also the question of why Rhys didn’t simply ask Feyre to take part in this plan; it would have affirmed her agency. Honestly, this is a great question, especially since we saw how much Rhys values Feyre’s agency in ACOMAF–and we see then that she could play the part quite well (see: the scene in the Court of Nightmares when Feyre plays the harlot).

While I think we can all agree that we would have preferred Feyre knowing Rhys’s plan from the beginning, in terms of plot, suspense, and character arcs this decision might have unhinged the story.  

Let’s take a look.

What were some of the main motivations that Rhys would have to keep Feyre out of the loop?

1) She’s human, and thus her mind is as easy to crack as an eggshell. It is very easy to invade a human mind as a daemati–Rhys explains how Feyre’s thoughts were practically screaming to him because of the lack of barriers around her mind. Unfortunately, Rhys is most likely not the only daemati UtM. If Feyre knew Rhys’s plan to overthrow Amarantha–especially in her vulnerable mental state–it would be a very simple matter for one of Amarantha’s spies or lackeys to find out that Amarantha’s whore isn’t quite as obedient as she thought. Take Rhys out of the equation and Feyre wouldn’t stand a chance–it would be game over for everyone. This in turn ties in with reason #2.

2) Rhys must maintain a front and not raise (even more) suspicion.  He has already raised suspicion multiple times: he made a bargain with Feyre, he stopped her chores, he healed her arm, he disobeyed Amarantha’s order to shatter the summer fae’s mind, and he bet on Feyre in the first task. On top of that, Rhys’s family sided with the humans in the war against Hybern.  Rhys has to tread very carefully with this plan, as everyone is watching him. Even Feyre notices how his actions can spur suspicion; she says as much in his room UtM during the lentils scene. So Rhys must make sure he wears his mask at all times. He can’t risk Feyre seeing beneath it, even when he visits her cell, because if she knows, then others can find out from her. Or someone can overhear, or Feyre could give them away through her reactions to him (he can’t know how good of an actor she really is; he barely knows her, so he must play it safe).

This is why Rhys must play the villain, despite the fact that he feels that bond with her, that he is falling in love with her and thinks she may be his mate.  Just as Tamlin chooses inaction to try to save her, Rhys chooses to wear the villain’s mask to protect her as she completes her challenges. He fights with her from the shadows; he is her ally and on a deeper level, she begins to realize that, even though she can only catch glimpses of his true intentions.

3) Rhys must act like a villain to keep suspicion away, but also to motivate Feyre. This is very important. Feyre acknowledges both in ACOTAR and ACOMAF that Rhys understands her psychologically; he knows what will motivate her.  In ACOMAF, he knows that riling her up by thinking about flirting or sex will make her react/get her mind off of her trauma, but in ACOTAR he knew flirting wouldn’t be enough/be the proper motivation (though he does use that tactic occasionally). Instead, he uses her other key motivator: anger. (In ACOMAF, before the Weaver scene, we have this line from Feyre, acknowledging this tactic: “Anger, this…flirtation, annoyance…He knew those were my crutches.”) It would be anger that she could harness–the only thing that could keep her fear and the rising insanity at bay. Her anger toward him empowered her; it focused her; it is what stopped her from shattering. He could not give her hope through a plan, so he gave her the other major emotion that can motivate a human through hard times: hatred. Between that and her love for Tamlin, Feyre is able to keep herself together. Thus, we can see that Rhys’s actions not only serve to divert suspicion and move the chess pieces on the board, but they also serve to focus Feyre during the months she’s sequestered away in the dark cells UtM, where night and day she can hear the screams of the tortured in that deep darkness.

It is only near the end, the night before the Third Task, that Rhys is able to start taking off that mask. He is able to talk to Feyre as himself, and she realizes that the glimpses she’s seen beyond that mask are real: that Rhys is lonely and tormented as well, and that he has been her ally all along.  Rhys acknowledges that Feyre could turn him in–end at all–but he was just raped by Amarantha after that kiss in the hallway and he needed someone to talk to. He’s been alone, dealt with this all alone for so long, and he just wants to be with his mate: to be without his mask with her for a few minutes.

This leads to 4) Rhys didn’t tell Feyre because he has been used to working alone. He could never rely on others to help him because if they were caught, he’d be compromised as well. For 50 years, he has had no one to confide in; he could not see his family or his friends, and the only people UtM were members from his dark court: the Court of Nightmares. (With the seeming exception of Feyre’s handmaidens, Nuala and Cerridwen.) Used to making decisions unilaterally and in secret, it is no wonder that Rhys is slow to reveal his plans to others, even to Feyre. Feyre is a human, a human that hates him and fears him for the most part; it would be suicide to let her know early on in the plan.

Importantly, we see that this learned behavior of his doesn’t go away immediately in ACOMAF. Because Rhys was used to making plans on his own for so long, there are several times in ACOMAF that he does things without talking to Feyre first (e.g. using Feyre as bait to lure in the Attor). Rightfully so, Feyre is furious with him and hands it to him. And afterwards, we see that he realizes he was wrong for doing what he did–that he deserved Feyre’s anger. He apologizes, and you know what? He learns and he stops doing it.  Unlike Tamlin, who apologizes to Feyre for taking away her agency but continues to do so, Rhys recognizes when he overstepped his boundaries and stops doing it.  He respects Feyre as his equal, and while he makes mistakes, he apologizes for them and tries to change his actions.

He apologizes for UtM as well (e.g., during a training scene: “I’m sorry I didn’t find a way to spare you from what happened Under the Mountain. […] From dying. From wanting to die.”), and tries to explain to Feyre why he did what he did. Some of his reasons are good, and some of them are not–though we can understand why those motivations were there. (For example, while some of what he did was to motivate Tamlin’s anger to strike out at Amarantha, Rhys also admits that it was partially to get back at him for killing Rhys’s mother and sister. Likewise, the kiss in the hallway had multiple motivations, including protecting Feyre from Amarantha [who would have had a bloody field day if she’d discovered Feyre’d been with Tamlin] and his jealousy that Tamlin was not only with Rhys’s (potential) mate, but had also not used that one opportunity to get Feyre out.)

As I’ve discussed in my other analyses, all of this culminates in the final battle with Amarantha, where we see that Rhysand is not the enemy, but the friend. (Not Rhysand, but Rhys.) And this is yet another reason why Rhys’s characterization and decisions over the course of ACOTAR are so important: because it sets up this wonderful reveal–the unmasking. This is where the heart of this tale–Beauty and the Beast–truly comes into play.

Because it is not only Tamlin who wears the mask, but also Rhys. We are not only supposed to look beyond the mask of our obvious romantic interest/beast; we are also supposed to apply that lesson to our complex villain/anti-hero figure as well–because he is the true beast.  While Tamlin’s unmasking and character evolution in ACOMAF reveals that the beauty Feyre expects behind the mask hides a corruption/trauma-induced abusive characteristics beneath (which in turn provides a brilliant depiction of how abusive relationships develop: i.e., the person sees the abuser in a romantic light at first, until they slowly realize how much power has been taken from them), Rhys’s unmasking shows the compassionate man beneath the villain’s mask.  Told in Feyre’s 1st person narrative, we see Tamlin and Rhys through her point of view, and as she slowly realizes the truths behind their characters–as she strips away those masks–we do as well. Those realizations are meant to be slow; they are meant to encourage us to truly look at the world around us and to not make those snap judgments, because character motivations may be much more complex than we realize.

If Rhys had revealed his plans to Feyre early on, we would not have had a story that truly played with the idea of masks: masked faces, masked intentions, masked personalities, masked truths. The story would not be about this slow evolution of understanding that Feyre (and we) undergo, but rather a less-complex story about a heroic love interest helping Feyre defeat Amarantha. We would’ve lost several layers of meaning, including the entire dialogue about war leaders operating within a culture of defeat where every option is a bad option. (It’s much like an awful game of “would you rather.”) By keeping Rhys’s intentions hidden for most of the story, by telling it from Feyre’s 1st person pov, and by seeing the terrible choices he must make, we are asked to read this story more maturely and use the themes and lens of Beauty and the Beast to analyze these characters.

Using this lens, we can see that the characters in ACOTAR and ACOMAF are not black and white villains and heroes. They are complex characters–and this includes both Rhysand and Tamlin–with complex motivations that are entirely human, realistic, and–importantly–understandable. Whether it is Rhys’s actions in ACOTAR or Tamlin’s now in ACOMAF, we can see where these characters are coming from, and while we may not approve of those actions, we cannot deny that their characterizations and decisions shed light on the human condition: both during war and afterwards–but especially afterwards.  Whether under the rule of a tyrant or during the aftermath of freedom, facing the trauma of one’s choices and the effects of psychological, physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse is never easy. We see how these experiences and traumas force/enable characters to grow and change–sometimes for the better, but not always.

So no, Rhys’s actions UtM–and Tamlin’s actions more recently in ACOMAF–are not always pretty, nor are they always right.  But to address Nonnie’s initial question more succinctly, I believe that Rhys’s actions in ACOTAR were meant to help as many people as he could. I believe his intentions were good, that his choices were not great, and that if we look closely at his potential options, he chose the best option he could in his circumstances and tried to mitigate the negative effects of those choices.  He took away Clare Beddor’s pain, he gave Feyre wine, and he killed the summer fae rather than shatter his mind; he stopped Feyre’s chores and gave her an alternative that put her less at risk while keeping her with him–which was the safest place she could be; he gave reason for Feyre to hate him: to focus her, to save her (despite the fact that his mate might hate him forever).  He gave her music–hope–when she had nothing else. He fought for her at every turn, before UtM, during it, and afterwards. He never gave up on her, even when she was ready to give up on herself. He gave her choices when he could, and he regrets when he couldn’t.  He was willing to let his mate go, to let her choose another male, because that’s what he believed she wanted. Rhys isn’t selfish. All he wants is for Feyre to be happy; to be able to make her own choices; to be able to be the strongest, happiest version of herself.  So yes, while Rhys isn’t perfect, he tries his best with what he’s given–and he is deeply sorry for the pain he wasn’t able to spare Feyre (or others) UtM.

Such is the cost of action; such is the cost of being a leader.

For Rhys is a leader, which means that no matter his actions, they will affect others. He is the leader that acts; he is the man in the arena, and it is easy to label his actions as not good enough, to label him as an abuser or a villain (which I don’t see him as). It is harder to try to understand him, but that is what Sarah and literature as a whole encourage us to do: to understand the other and see how his or her story relates to ours–and to the human condition more generally. Rhys’s and Feyre’s and Tamlin’s stories (and the other characters’ stories in ACOTAR/ACOMAF, honestly) brilliantly speak to humanity and its variations, and this (in many, many words) is how I feel about Rhys’s depiction and character arc in ACOTAR, especially in relation to the new information we have in ACOMAF.  

Please bear in mind:
There’s a real person who dedicated time/effort/love into all of the artworks you see online. If they don’t want you to repost their work, don’t repost their work. If they don’t want you editing their work, don’t do it. Don’t get angry or ask them why – no one is obligated to explain or justify their feelings regarding how their work is shared/used. It’s called being respectful. It’s called being a decent person. If you don’t like their attitude on the subject, if you think it’s arrogant and selfish for them to want to be recognised for their work, block them. Ignore them. Blacklist their name. Get on with your life and let them get on with theirs. Don’t send hate and/or (threaten to) mutilate their work. Don’t tell them to “just be grateful” that anyone likes their work at all. I can guarantee you that every single artist would rather have a small group of admirers who respect them as human beings, than a massive number of “fans” who treat them like a mindless, lifeless, art-dispensing machine.
Reasons why Bi People of Color often do not participate in spaces created for them.

Q: “Why don’t we hear more from bi people of color?”

A: Thanks for raising this question regarding Bisexual People of Color and hearing our voices on various forms of media. My take is:

1) Writing our story is not a priority, survival is. [Many]BiPOC are already struggling with physical and mental health conditions so just breathing and staying alive is top on the list.
[Writing down our stories and submitting it to a platform to be published requires a certain type of access and privilege such as: a)the needs for shelter, food and clothes are met, b)internal sense of safety and confidence in one’s bisexual identity, c) access to an electronic or physical writing implement, d) support to cope with the aftermath of sharing one’s story = the writer’s partner(s) may trigger domestic violence if they lack compassion and good anger management coping skills for insecurity and jealousy, online sexual harassment, loss of friendships or family, increased exposure to online or offline biphobia, and other forms of emotional and physical harm, and e) having a secure means of generating income since being a publicly visible bisexual can lead to work discrimination and job loss. For BiPOC who write their stories anonymously they still have to face the possibility of receiving harmful messages about their bisexual content and need support with surrounding this.]

2) Many BiPOC are closeted in the Lesbian and Gay community. Writing or posting videos using the words [word]“Bisexual” would require them to go through a lot of emotional obstacles and many of [us]them don’t want to and/or don’t have the support to do so.
[Read more about Bi folks in the Lesbian closet: http://biwoc.tumblr.com/post/105606474207/poetry-wsw-m-by-jan-steckel-biscuit

2a) I found BiPOC writing under the terms “Queer” but that still doesn’t clearly state how many genders they find romantic/sexually attractive.
[Queer can apply to people who have multi gender attractions/non-monosexuals (bi, pan, fluid) and monosexuals (lesbian/gay). This umbrella term can often make bisexuals and their unique experiences and needs less visible.]

3) Many BiPOC don’t KNOW that a emotionally safe and supportive bisexual community exists - they don’t have the access or emotional resources to find it. [Many are unaware of offline bisexual community in their local area; a space that is geared towards platonic community relationships. Since many BiPOC are survivors of sexual assault and some have internalized biphobia, some bi people of color presume that bi support groups and community spaces offer bisexual fetishization and casual sexual hookups. In order for the bisexuals who are healing from internalized biphobia to participate in BiPOC offline and online safe spaces they would also have to build trust in the platonic nature of the words ‘bisexual support group’.]

4) Academic education [can be]is a barrier and using academic terms such as GGGG [this is not an academic term and was coined by activist Shiri Eisner], monosexism, disparities, polyamory, leverage, ableism, intersectionality [coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, JD in 1989] , [transmisogyny coined by Dr. Julia Serano] etc… scares POC who are less [academic or self] educated. That language speaks to a certain segment of BiPOC. I spent the past year encouraging the women in BIWOC to share their stories so I can post it on our blog even if its anonymous. They [Many] just can’t. Even those with degrees are hesitant to do so [for various reasons].  

[5) Bi people of color who are self identified “BiPOC Bisexual Activists” also may have difficulty participating in spaces that are created for them or by them. Since they are viewed by the community as leader, this reality puts them at a sociological distance from their constituents even if they choose not to have this divide. The reality is that community members connect with their Activists (online or in person) to receive support, resources, guidance, and safe space. The BiPOC Bisexual Activist who continually bears their vulnerabilities (their own bisexual realities) to their constituents need to be aware and accept that their own community members may not be in a position to give the BiPOC Bisexual Activist consistent emotional support - this reality is extremely isolating for the BiPOC Activist and is the cause for many successful suicides and suicide attempts in the Bisexual Activist community. For the new BiPOC Bisexual Activist I highly recommend meeting (offline/ face to face) with 1 or 2 bisexual people of color who live in your local area who can take initiative and provide *you* with consistent emotional support. If that is not an option, seek support in a bi competent therapist, your self-care plan, and in your spiritual practice or connection with ecology (if that is applicable).] 

What do we need so our experiences can be expressed?

The basics: ASK US/THEM QUESTIONS.

Reach out on an individual level and ask them directly:

1) “What do you need?”

2) “What type of support can I give you?”

3) [“Tell me more of your story? I’m here to listen without judgement”]

— It is a ton of grassroots work but in my opinion that is what BiPOC need regardless of their education, class and ethnicity.

[Last edited June 24th, 2015Note: Edits to the original post are in brackets []. The question and original answer was previously posted on a facebook LGBTQ support group September, 2014 ]

GWENDOLYN HENRY, EdM, MSLIS is writer, librarian, archivist, mental health advocate, and vegan personal chef. She is the founder and director of Bisexual Women of Color (BIWOC), an online and in-person support and discussion group based in Boston, MA.

The Zodiacs in my experience (I'm a scorpio)

Aries: Kind and open minded. They may not always crack up the best jokes, but when they do it’s a moment of pure, raw laughter that lasts for several minutes. They are dedicated people that know their shit and are usually very talented at whatever their hobbies are. Very good friends and are usually responsible. Don’t get on their bad side, though. They are fierce and can tear you down to bits with their facts regarding how much of a piece of shit you are.

Taurus: Very nice and sweet, are always open to new ideas though it may be difficult for them to grasp them at first. Have a nice sense of humor. They are sTUBBORN AS SHIT but they almost always have the best of intentions. Can be annoying at times, but they are still very loyal friends that will be with you through thick and thin. Whatever you do, don’t piss them off. They will rant a very long time about how much of a shit you are and you’ll just have to sit through it.

Gemini: Ultra sweet, very quirky, but can also be shy at times. Always up for something new to learn and will usually judge with their brains instead of their hearts. They will always try to help you out or go on hangouts with you because they’re just amazing friends. Tbh I’ve never pissed a gemini off so I can’t say much about their bad side. This zodiac is the shit and everyone should have a gemini in their life.

Cancer: ily so much my babies ugh <3 Though they can be awkward at first, all cancers I’ve met have ended up being best friends with me. They are quirky, funny, kind, and are up for whatever challenge faces them if they know there won’t be terrible consequences later on. They are creative and talented, honest and loyal, thoughtful and caring. They are also very forgiving, so if you get in some deep shit with them they know how to handle it and let you vent, then they’ll proceed to guilt trip you/forgive you.

Leo: I honestly don’t know how you guys manage to be in your level of awesomeness ugh. They are rad, nice, open minded, and are always up for wild adventures. Talented and creative, they are usually very good people to ask advice for because they have a good balance between judging both emotionally and rationally. They are loyal friends that put a lot of work into whatever is their passion and all I can say is I think they’re stunning individuals. But please for the love of everything holy do nOT BE RUDE, I REPEAT DO NOT. bE. rUDE. They will screw you over big time and basically that’s just their warning of “don’t mess with me again imma fuck u up”

Virgo: Kind and compassionate, mature beyond their years. Their sense of humor is gold and usually clean. They are classy, quiet irl, loud on the internet, and clever. Though I’ve encountered many virgos across my life, our friendships didn’t last long because we would cut off communication, but they are still very good friends while the relationship lasts. Their bad side isn’t so bad because they are tolerant of your bullshit, which imo makes them very admirable and good role models.

Libra: Adorable and extremely sweet. They are passionate but are sometimes lazy, which pulls them back from what they want to dedicate themselves to. They know how to lighten up a mood and they know when to do so which is what makes them so likable and admirable. Don’t get on their bad side, please. They might forgive, but it’s hard for them to move on, and deep down they will most likely have a grudge against you even if they don’t know it (But they know. Oh boy, do they know.)

Scorpio: (ironically I can’t stand scorpios though I am one soooo) Fierce, loyal, masterminds. They are downright sarcastic and hilarious which makes them very popular among large crowds. Extremely talented, extremely intelligent, and to top it off, extremely sensual. Everybody loves them, but secretly most scorpios detest each other (and that’s not just me, that’s every other scorpio I’ve asked this). They may be hard to befriend, but once you do, you’ll have a friend for life. Call them at any hour, they will make sure to get back at you ASAP. bUT PLEASE WHATEVER YOU DO JUST DO NOT TRY TO HAVE AN ARGUMENT WITH THEM THEY WILL TURN IT INTO SOMETHING PERSONAL AND GO TO YOUR VERY CORE AND DEMOLISH IT. These fuckers are great with analyzing your every gesture, word, and they will turn it against you. They have the ultimate grudges so please watch what you say behind their backs or they wiLL FIND YOU. (I just want to note that scorpios are great we just don’t like each other but plz don’t be afraid of us we’re super sweet and fun to hang out with ^~^)

Sagittarius: Super sweet, super compassionate, all around adorable and they are complete cuties. Lovely jokes that are usually puns. They are super shy when you first meet them but they will be open with who they are once they take a liking to you. They are talented but they don’t like to show it off, it’s their secret that they’re better at whatever you do by 10x. I’ve never gotten on a their bad side, but I do know that they are super forgiving (the kind of people that will say sorry for even the smallest of their clumsy actions).

Capricorn: Chill and really nice. They are the most open minded of them all and are not afraid to try something new (as long as it doesn’t get them killed). They are creative and quirky, and are very good friends. They may not say much from time to time, but when they do you’re guaranteed to have a great conversation with them. Don’t underestimate their chill and easygoing nature, though. They know how to screw you up big time if you dare defy their awesomeness.

Aquarius: Very kind and attractive personalities. They know how to light up a room and their sense of humor is bound to get at least a chuckle out of you. They are deep, sentimental people and they know how to communicate their feelings with ease for their friends but not their love interests. They can sometimes be conflicted, but they usually know better than to hurt themselves or others in the process, and can resolve their issues by themselves. They are fierce and competitive and if they feel like you are attacking them in any way, they will be quick to react and will usually call you a piece of shit and that almost always guarantees their victories in arguments.

Pisces: Cuties, adorable, sweetie pies, just plain lovelies. They are very bubbly and love a good happy ending. They are talented and very open to criticism. Also, I find them to be the funniest of the zodiacs. Genuine human beings that are never afraid of the truth. They are very good at picking their fights, however I’ve never actually gotten in trouble with one so I can’t say if they are nightmares.

Call for Submissions: Asexuality in YA Series

During the Asexuality in YA series we want to use our space on GayYA to support ace spectrum voices. Last year, we decided to host Awareness Week Series over the various LGBTQIA+ Awareness Weeks throughout the year. Though we hope to include everyone on the site at all times, we wanted to dedicate a concentrated space to people from a specific community to talk about how they’re represented in YA. The response from the community was phenomenal– we got to feature many fantastic and thought-provoking posts, and watched as the community fostered some nuanced discussions via our identity-centric Twit Chats. I personally remember feeling amazed as I read the posts that were sent in and scrolled through the Twit Chat hashtag. I realized I wasn’t alone in my feelings of discontent regarding the representation of my identities, or my hopes for what that representation could look like in the future. I got to meet and connect with so many smart and passionate people.

So of course, we had to do the Awareness Week Series again this year.

Unfortunately, the dates for this year’s Asexual Awareness Week (Oct 23rd-29th) ended up never getting on our calendar. We’re so SO sorry for this mishap! We ran across this year’s dates two days ago. We debated trying to pull something together last minute, but since these weeks are driven by guest posts, we didn’t want to ask people to rush their work. We also have a number of resources we’re developing for libraries & bookstores, and want to take the time to get them done right! So we decided instead to reschedule and take the time to truly make a dedicated and purposeful space for an Asexuality in YA Series. So! Our Asexuality in YA series will be held December 5th-10th.

During the 2016 Asexuality in YA series, we’ll feature 5-7 posts from various ace-spec contributors over the course of the week, and dedicate a space to talk about ace representation in YA.

Interested in contributing? Here are the details:

  • Posts should be between 800-2500 words, and somehow tie into ace representation in YA. Your posts may go through light edits or a collaborative workshopping process.
  • Send your post as a Word or Google doc to vee@gayya.org. Please include a 2-5 sentence bio about yourself including links to your blog, Twitter, website, or tumblr. Any links you’d like to use should be included as hyperlinks in the post. If you’d like to include a headshot or other images please attach them to the email– do not embed images in the document!
  • We do not offer monetary compensation of any sort, but are usually happy to help you out in other ways if we can. Just ask!
  • The deadline for submitting a post is November 28th.

A Few Words of Advice:

We will consider any topic that is related to LGBTQIA+ YA, however please be aware that we try to avoid repeating similar takes on identical topics. The more specific you can be, the more likely we are to accept your submission. If you have a few topic ideas and want feedback on which would work best, email us you ideas and we’ll work together to find the best fit!

Lastly… we are EXTREMELY interested in post submissions from teens & young adults. Your voice is the most important in discussions about representation in YA, and we want to hear from you. With that said, all are encouraged to send pieces in! :)

Email vee@gayya.org with any questions. We look forward to reading your submissions!

ardatli replied to your post: “Since I know a lot of people aren’t going to read my post on The…”:

Had a conversation with one of my students in class the other day about similar sorts of things and she looked at me in stunned exasperation and said “but that means EVERYTHING is relative!” Ayup.

I’ve actually received the same horrified response from colleagues more than once.

This was in regard to the cultural perception of human difference, and the way we define disability, among other things. As in, our (dominant) cultural model for viewing human difference is to measure against the concept of a “default” human being.

Adding or subtracting certain traits that our society has decided are “important” is what creates “difference”. And because we see “different” as “different than the default/ideal human”, we are seen as losing humanity “points”. Each difference a person has is a lost “point”. Hence, oppression and social inequality.

I pointed out that you could actually just compare any two humans to each other rather than against a “default” idea that no one really fits, but that serves to privilege certain individuals over others, for being closer to the “default” or “ideal”. After all, neither system is inherently more accurate than the other.

It was if this concept explodes brains. I’ve been told that would be “too complicated”, “doesn’t work” and a host of other things that don’t make much sense to me.

Reframing the way we view human difference and moving it outside dichotomies can open up a lot of doors to more nuanced critical thinking, and less “all or nothing” analysis.

debateslut has blocked me because she can’t handle how stupid she is.

Since you won’t let me reply to your response on my own post and now you’re asking about Planned Parenthood, what is the organisation doing regarding the elephant in the room that is the father’s decision on wanting a child or not?  Surely, his decision is just as valid as the mother’s when it comes to the fate of his own offspring.

In Which I Keep Talking

Thursday evening an editor at Vice.com invited me to share comments with her regarding the discussion of sexism in Andrew Smith’s comments in their interview. She sent me a few questions and I answered them. Just now, she posted her article with comments from myself and a few other interested parties. 

“Andrew Smith’s VICE Interview Pissed Off a Bunch of YA Writers” by Jennifer Schaffer

I think it’s a good write-up, though it barely touches on the dangerous meat of the conversation, and focuses on the more conciliatory sides of my own comments. Here is everything I sent in response to her questions, in full:


- Do you think sexism in YA fiction and in the world of YA writers is a problem? If so, could you elaborate on where you see the main sources of the issue?

It is, because sexism is a pervasive system of prejudice based on sex and gender that considers women and femininity to be less than men and masculinity. It’s built into our culture – you can’t grow up in the USA without the system affecting you. In YA we’re in the business of telling stories for and about the next generation, and so it’s a place where we should be fighting sexism even harder. 

There’s enough evidence to count as proof that sexism is alive and well in the world of YA. For example: Kelly Jensen’s analysis of the NYT bestseller list by gender. The VIDA count for children’s literature and Roxanne Gay’s VIDA-like count for women of color. Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s amazing analysis of male privilege. 

Those links barely touch on the ways that women writers are policed by readers and the world for how they dress and talk and how much they weigh. Spend 10 minutes Googling to find countless examples of such from women authors. (Try Ann Aguirre, Seanan McGuire, Sarah Rees Brennan for starters.) 

- Did you find Andrew Smith’s statements to be offensive? Why or why not?

No. If I was personally offended every time I noticed sexism I’d never be able to leave my house, watch movies or TV, or engage with the world. What offends me is when sexism is purposefully used as a weapon, and I do not believe Smith was doing that, or even necessarily aware that his comments reflected a sexist idea. My purpose in talking about his comments was to point out how normalized that sexist attitude is, regardless of how it was intended. The only way to breakdown normalized sexism is to call it out, to attempt to explain why some language and attitudes are problematic. 

- What are some concrete steps you’d like to see the YA community make, with regards to gender representation and equality? 

I think as a whole the YA community is trying to take significant strides with regards to representation – the We Need Diverse Books movement is evidence of this, and we need to remember that sexism is just one of the many kinds of prejudices. We must examine our own privileges, especially white writers of all genders, because the system of prejudice is an interconnected, many-layered web. 

I’d like everyone in the community – writers, editors, agents, publicists, booksellers, librarians, bloggers – to pay attention to the choices we make about representation, and be aware that we’re all culpable because of our wide range of positions regarding privilege and prejudice. We need to make purposeful choices about who is being given the spotlight, who is being asked or allowed to speak for oppressed groups, and to listen to each other. The worst thing we can do is pretend sexism has an easy solution, or that it’s isolated from racism, ablism, homophobia, transphobia, etc etc. Nobody is the villain here, nobody is the hero. 

- What has your own experience been as a YA writer, when crafting characters of the opposite gender? Have you had any difficult experiences as a woman writer in the YA world? 

Until this week, I hadn’t encountered many of the challenging experiences specific to women writers, such as receiving threats via social media. I could’ve done without it, but I knew it was a possibility when I chose to publicly engage in this conversation. 

I approach my characters from the ground up, because I write starting with world and world building, and the gender of my characters is only part of what makes them. Sometimes it’s more important that my character is a berserker or poor or Black or bisexual than that he identifies male, other times identifying as female is the most important thing a character can do/be. Gender of characters does not exist in isolation, just like sexism does not exist in isolation. 

- Any other thoughts? 

I think one of the prerequisites of being a successful writer is that you be a thoughtful, empathetic person. I consider myself to be, and I am positive Andrew Smith is, too. We all, especially those of us in positions of privilege, make mistakes, make off-hand comments, jokes, or explicit choices that are also sexist, racist, or otherwise prejudiced. I am so sorry that Smith has been denigrated – I only meant to point out that the comments themselves reflect cultural sexism. 

Confronting our ingrained prejudices is hard, and sometimes we choose not to because we can if we have that privilege. I’ve done it – my first two books are appallingly white-washed. I could offer reasons why that happened (my personal experiences, my understanding of setting, my laziness) and those reasons would be true, but they’d also be racist. At best, those reasons would be reflections of my own internalized racism. It’s my duty to listen to criticism and talk about it, and then work to change myself, to be aware of what I say and how I represent myself and my work. That’s what I think all people, but writers especially, should do.

***


The TL;DR version is: this is complicated and treacherous territory that’s not just important to talk about, examine, and challenge, but necessary to being compassionate, thinking human beings. If we don’t, is anything we do worth passing on to the teens we write about and for?

I’ve gotten anonymous threats wishing I lose something dear to me, people disparaging my choices, my feminism, my voice. I’ve reached a pleasant accord with the block button on Twitter. I’ve laughed, I’ve been stunned, sad, disappointed, appalled. 

I regret nothing I’ve said or done in the past week.

I will not stop talking. 

I am not afraid.

Hoomans!

The time has come for me to make a new post regarding all the new information on the zine. I’m surprised/thankful for your positive response and also very grateful for the artists and writers that decided to collaborate (which I will tag in this post). As you know, the general topics the zine will contain are:

  • Feminism/intersectionality
  • Latinx experience/culture
  • Environmentalism/veganism

We have decided that the first issue (to be published on the first week of october) will talk about the importance of being involved in social transformation and informed on the conflicts of the world and your community besides the regular topics mentioned above. In my submission box there are guidelines to orient you if you wish to collaborate. The due date for all collaborations is august 27th! 

We have recieved questions like: 

1) Will the zine be distributed physically or online?

Both ways, the zine will have hand-made art in each copy, which will be scanned and then published online besides the physical distributing.

2) What should my piece be about?

For us, the more unique, the better. Try sending something about an opinion or experience that YOU have on any of these topics. The art and writing can be explicit, abstract, poetic, informative, argumentative, the sky is the limit! 

3) Who is we?

The zine’s coordinators are all young, feminist latinas (and friends); we are: cocoamoxoa​ (Em), preirene (Irene), and me alienbull (Pau)!

4) Do you have an email we can contact you through?

We do! It’s pithaya.p@gmail.com

5) Do you have a blog?

We have a brand new blog we are working on, we accept suggestions! The URL is: pitahaya-z 

6) Does the zine have a name?

Yes! The zine’s name is ‘Pitahaya’, which is part of the Pitahaya Project.

And now, for the list of people who will be featured in the first issue:

My email will be sent to whomever needs it to communicate with me. We are very passionate about this project and we’re sure the final product with all of your collaborations will be fantastic (:

Response

Hello everyone,

This post is a response to Mallius’ post regarding my Aokise merchandise. Back in November of last year, I designed small sticker sheets based off of 007’s Aokise mug design which consisted of several designs of Aomine and Kise. I admired 007’s work for a long time and wanted to start making my own merchandise. I sold a few stickers before Mallius approached me. Once she did, I understood the situation, and immediately halted distribution.

The mugs mallius mentioned on my instagram were for personal use. I have never planned on selling or distributing them. At the time I was testing mug printing so I used previous designs to test quality. My instagram is my personal blogging platform with lots of works-in-progress and by no means an accurate catalogue of merchandise I sell online or at conventions. 

I have already formally apologized to 007 in writing. As an artist, it just burns me up inside to have knowingly copied another artist’s ideas. Since I did break a previous promise and the trust of many, I do not expect forgiveness. I had made a terrible mistake that I am heartbroken to admit. I have not been selling stickers with those designs since last year and I will not be selling them at Anime Expo. That was a time I was heavily influenced by an artist I admire, and I promise that this kind of conduct will not be repeated in the future. I deeply apologize for disappointing or offending my followers. I will work hard and make things right.  If anyone wishes to unfollow me, I would completely understand as everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

Thank you for reading.

Edit: I would like to advise people not add fuel to the fire by taking sides. Though you may have good intentions, it’s best to let others formulate their own opinions based on what mallius and I have presented. Thank you for doing so. 

Meta Index 2

My previous index of Teen Wolf meta is here. I’m starting a new meta index, because the old one is so big it’s getting unwieldy.

Note: I’m anti hate speech, no matter what your fandom preferences are. You’re welcome to message me if you’re receiving threats or other forms of hate speech and don’t know what to do. 


Teen Wolf meta

I think the only really important Teen Wolf meta posts I haven’t linked in the old index are below. If I’ve missed anything you want to be able to find easily, let me know and I’ll add it.

Supernatural meta

Mad Max: Fury Road

Fandom and miscellaneous meta

“Autocomplete offers predicted searches to help you more quickly find what you’re looking for. These predicted searches are produced automatically based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms, so they may change over time.” -A “Google Spokesperson”, responding to my request for an official statement regarding Googles auto-complete block of the word “bisexual” My response: There have been many stories published about Google’s “bisexual block” over the past five years. The Advocate has written about this. Pink News has written about this. Pasadena Star News has written about this. Faith Cheltenham, president of BiNet USA has written about this on her blog many times. The story has been reported more than once on The Huffington Post.  The reason why this is such an important issue to the bisexual community is that the internet is the bi communities primary resource. Bisexual community rarely exists outside of websites, blog spheres, Tumblr, etc. Young bisexuals are being told by society that their identities are invalid, and it is outrageous that when a person types “bisexual” into the worlds leading search engine, they are faced with a blank screen. Google says that popularity of a search term is a contributing factor to producing autocomplete predicted searches. There are almost 50 million results on Google for the word “bisexual”. The term “pansexual” has less than one million results, and yet it produces autocomplete predicted searches. Demisexual only has a quarter million, and yet it produces autocomplete predicted searches. The suffix of “sexual” is not the issue. The “popularity of the search term” is not the issue.  In the past it has been said that the problem is a high correlation to pornography. A Google search for “bisexual porn” yields 49 million results. However, a Google search for “gay porn” yields 256 million results. "Gay porn" is more than five times more likely to be searched for than “bisexual porn”, and yet the term “gay” produces autocomplete predicted searches. A high correlation to pornography is not the issue.  The search term “bisexual” isn’t unpopular; bisexuals are unpopular. A search for “bisexual” does not yield a high level or pornography; bisexuals are over-sexualized and generally associated with promiscuity. The real issue is prejudice.  This morning, the change.org petition to unblock the word “bisexual” hit 10,000 signatures. This is the fifth time the petition has reached its goal, been delivered to Google, and been ignored. What will it take to end this senseless block?
Thank you

Hey, all you cool people, thank you so much for your responses and encouraging words regarding my last post about Newlyn Hills. It looks like most people would prefer shells, so I think I will go with that. Real life continues to be busy as heck (last weekend was a total bust - and I guess clubs were broken anyway?) but I might have some time this weekend. I know I said that last weekend, and that didn’t work out, so I can’t make any promises, but I’m going to try my darnedest to get something uploaded. 

First I will have to finish the park, because it’s not really a shell, and I can’t just leave an assortment of items and blotches of terrain paint on the lot. XD I also have some more monkeying around to do with the clubs that I have set up in town. If I can at least get those two things finished, I can upload Newlyn Hills/Lynport as is. Then I will upload completed versions of the shell lots as I finish them. I have some time off around Christmas, so maybe that’ll be a good time to wrap things up. 

Whew. Thanks again to everyone for being so patient! I am behind on Tumblr so I have been missing everyone’s lovely posts, but I hope you’re having fun. :)

All the haters cry fanservice 24 hours a day in regards to Captain Swan, and yet someone tweeted at Adam:  "Sorry but I won’t sit through CS scenes" as if they somehow expect that his response will be “Okay, well I guess we need to shoot the entire episode over again and cut out this timeless love story that we’ve wanted to tell since the beginning because a few asshole fans don’t want to watch that.”  Here’s some not-so-friendly advice…leave the writers the fuck alone and either stop watching the show or suck it up and deal with the fact that you can’t always get what you want and that Captain Swan is happening because that’s Adam and Eddy’s vision for the show and the characters.  I don’t care which choice you make, but I hope that no matter what, you finally find the decency not to harrass Adam and the cast about it on Twitter.

Gasoline and C-4: Why TPTB's Ship War Wank and S4 Daryl Dixon are Terrible For Women
So, it had to happen. Meta from me specifically regarding the shipping mess that S4 brought forth upon us like a gross giant destructive tsunami, sucking away everything good in its wake and leaving behind an enormous swath of decimation and devastation. (Okay, maybe that was a touch dramatic, but only a touch.) In any case, what follows this paragraph is a read more break. What is behind the read more break is my blunt, in-your-face, full-out-feminist opinion regarding what’s happening on TWD with Carol, Daryl, and Beth. If you are a fan of Beth and Daryl as a pairing or of S4 Daryl as a character, you are not going to want to keep reading. And if you choose to keep reading and then respond to this post in any way that is not 100% respectful, I will ignore your response and block you faster than Theo James’s voice makes me horny. (Spoiler alert: Theo James’s voice makes me horny at the speed of light.) Okay then. That’s all clear.

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i wanted to make a post regarding the anon troll saying that i dress as weird as possible for attention and to feel special. my initial response was brief/not articulate as i wrote it during my work lunch break.
usually i dont wanna fuel the troll flame too much but i really need to say somethings because the idea that the reason people are weird or look weird is for attention, or to feel unique and to stand out is inherently a really fucked way of looking at human behavior and individuality.
let me explain,
as a young child i was very different to most other children i was around - not through any choice but merely due to who i naturally was as a person. i was different in my behavior, the things i liked, the way i played etc etc and instead of adults responding by thinking ‘what a creative kid’ and putting me in environments where i could explore my creativity, i had family members and family friends say stuff the following to my mum “arn’t you worried that something is wrong with your child” and “you need to send your kid to therapy” which stems from the idea that “weird”/different is wrong and is something that is intentional and therefor not natural and can be fixable. when i was a child i was also bullied alot for being weird and instead of adults responding by thinking ‘that kid must have a really amazing strong sense of self to continue to be who they are despite their peers giving them a hard time for it’ and supporting me as an individual i was instead bullied and picked on by adults because of the idea that i was being weird for attention and therefor how i was treated as a result of that, and as if it was my fault.
as a teen i was still bullied alot for being different and especially for looking different and again instead of receiving support for being true to myself and opportunities to grow i was literally told the following things by family, both in regards to coming out as gay, “your always looking for ways to be different so i’m not surprised you are doing this“, “why do you have to do this, your poor brother is going to be made fun of for having a lesbian sister, he already has enough hard things to deal with”. both of these responses stem from the idea that being weird is a conscious choice that is for attention - which is deemed as a selfish motivator.
now as an adult i still have people treat me badly as a result to the whole idea that being weird and especially looking weird = intentional choice, that it is for attention = weak + insecure + selfish, that it is to stand out = superficial + done for other people. strangers think its ok to harass me and comment on my appearance because im “doing it for attention”, lots of people think im really superficial because i “must only care about looks and fashion”, lots of people dont take me serious as a person and dont see my interests as genuine because im “trying to be weird and different”, and that i must be “really  insecure and self doubting” because i need others to make me feel special. im not trying “show off” and “make a statement”, im just trying to live MY life.

now i cant really talk for anyone else but for me having tattoos and coloured hair is really essential to how i feel about my body and my life as a trans person. there are so many things i do not like about my body, that cause me discomfort everyday, that i something feel genuinely disturbed by and that cause alot of heart ache for me. so to have to ability to have control over my body (something that i feel i was born without) and have it become something that is mine, something that i can change and begin to own is VERY important to my wellbeing as a person.

so to everyone who thinks i have tattoos to be “quirky” or “get attention” i have nothing nicer to say than fuck you. when i got my first tattoo (the bandaid) it was at a time when terms like “female bodied” were considered the pc term in queer communities for transmen’s bodies and when i got that tattoo i remember thinking to myself “now theres part of my body that doesn’t have to be female”. to everyone who thinks that i dress the way i do to feel special all i have to say is “LOL” cause i dress in what interests me and i know that im special and it has nothing to do with looks. and if theres any loser out there who thinks i take hormones (to which facial hair is one of the side effects) to be freaky or make a statement , like all i can say is “ew, bye bye 2 you”.

im sure there are some people in this world have dressed weird on purpose or for attention hahaha, but seriously, no no no to that being a blanket way to interpenetrate weirdness.