In which I rant profusely

I’m sorry, dear readers, but I have to post this here. I have to. Warning: what follows is extremely long and contains terrible language, anger… and… oh, I can’t even explain it. Go ahead if you want…

(crossposted from my personal blog)

my fangirl brethren, if you don’t want to start your new day seething at the mouth, then don’t read this article. it’s clearly written by someone who has no idea what they are talking about, and seems determined to provoke uncontrollable rage in fans everywhere.

(it’s an article about fan fiction from a radical feminist blog community, fyi.)

it got my hackles up right at the very beginning, because radical feminist always engage my innate desire to kill stupid people. because everyone knows the best way to undo problems of sexism in society is to just hate men. i mean, that’s not sexist at all, am i right?

*sighs*

god save us all. i’ve barely even started to read it, and i’m already deeply, deeply enraged. hold on, i’ll continue trudging through this mofo…

here’s some gold from this monstrosity:

“in fact fan culture is highly conservative, and bolsters and propagates male supremacist ideas”.

i don’t even need to say anything about this sentence. i refuse to acknowledge such stupidity.

“Fanfiction is a conservative and worshipful genre of writing…”

i love when people write about things they have never read. yeah. does this writer even know what “conservative” means? fanfiction is liberal and free-wheeling to the extreme, if it’s anything. i don’t know many conservatives who enjoy them some quality BDSM stories (at least, not publicly *wink*). because queer characters, mpregs, AUs, crack!fics, and the like are utterly NOT CONSERVATIVE in any way, shape, or form.

and i’m only up to the 3 para… prepare for more ranting and frothing to come… *goes back to reading*

“Fanfic writers pride themselves on their respect for and fidelity to their original source material, and in their writing they rarely, if ever, do anything that questions or contradicts the ideologies underwriting the original texts. As, in most cases, these original texts are steeped in patriarchal ideologies, this means that fanfiction, likewise, is strongly patriarchal and almost always woman-hating, despite the fact that women are now the main authors of fanfiction.”

i think i’m still in the introduction, too. wow. if fanfic writers were steeped in patriarchal ideologies, then slash wouldn’t exist. if fanfic writers don’t question or contradict the original texts, then slash wouldn’t exist. because i’m quite sure the creators of supernatural didn’t intend for us to write filthy, dirty mansex about the two BROTHERS in that show. nor did they intend vidders to make works like “women’s work” or “origin stories“, which carefully and thoughtfully pick apart the source material and expose the deficiencies in characterizations and the exploitations of characters of colour and women. do some fucking research, asshat.

i can understand where she’s coming from with her argument on how, in a patriarchal and male-dominated society, that men would only view friendships with other men as valuable. this is actually an interesting idea that i never considered, but this person refuses to acknowledge homophobia on the part of heterosexual men in any form, apparently. she’s making it sound like all straight men do is have homosocial friendships together and then head out for some women-bashing or rape parties. i’m beginning to wonder if she lives on the moon, or some other strange planet where this is the case…

“To say they are drawing out a ‘gay subtext,’ and to attempt to attach revolutionary potential to this act is highly inaccurate, since homosocialism is one of the foundation stones of male supremacy, and fanfic authors who endorse and strengthen the homosocial relationships of male fictional characters by portraying them as homosexual are committing an act in support of patriarchy, not against it.”

i can almost see the logic in this argument, almost. but again, i think that fear of appearing homosexual is an extremely important factor in machismo and most men (in this person’s warped and twisted version of earth) will go out of their way to avoid appearing as such by “proving” their masculinity. slash writers remove this entire argument (except in issue fics, of course) and posit a more idealized and libertarian version of earth in which homophobia doesn’t exist. which is what i had thought most feminists were aiming for – equality and acceptance. apparently, not so much.

*deep breath* back to reading. (you’re getting a blow-by-blow of my reactions to this article, btw.)

“slash fanfiction is a conservative genre written by women who conform to patriarchal ways of thinking, and which is characterized by lesbophobia, homophobia, woman-hatred and severe phallocentricity, both in terms of its erotic content and intellectual ideas.”

utterly, utterly wrong. clearly, this person has never heard of femmeslash, which is enjoyed by many slash readers/writers (myself included). and how is slash homophobic? anyone? this just makes the author seem like an idiot, imho. women-hatred? okay, sure female characters are usually inserted as a “threat” to the pairing in question, but slash in no way could be characterized as “women-hating” – i like to think about the lack of women in terms of removing the entire issue of gender relations and sexism straightaway, as a method for writers to create a place that’s devoid of these issues (most of the time) and move straight into fantasy, play, and female pleasures. also, i don’t know of any gay porn that’s not phallocentric. this is again just retarded – stories about male-male sexual relations would be really fucked up if they suddenly started talking about vaginas, don’t you think???

here’s a long one filled with idiocy:
“Sex is generally portrayed pornographically, with an emphasis on penetration, force and pain, and the overwhelming/uncontrollable need the masculine character has for the feminine character, and the feminine character’s need to be needed by the masculine character in order to have a legitimate identity. Descriptions of sex tend to focus only on the physical side of the encounter, using an excess of violent imagery, and with characters often reduced to a collection of sexualized body parts devoid of emotions or humanity. Furthermore, the same-sex male relationships portrayed in most slash stories have a use-by date: sooner or later most of the characters ‘turn’ heterosexual and get married, it apparently being beyond the ability of most slash writers to imagine anyone actually choosing a non-heterosexual identity permanently. It is evidence of in-built lesbophobia and homophobia, since this use-by date mentality means that same sex relationships in slash are generally portrayed as being illegitimate, transient, unstable, and not able to last. Only heterosexual relationships are capable of doing that, apparently. (As evidenced in the real world by 50% divorce statistics).”

wrong, wrong, wrong. unlike most male-directed pornography, slash is much more focused on the sensual/erotic side of sex. all the theorists who write about slash take pains to point out that it has much more in common with romance novels than pornography because there is more focus on romantic issues, confessions of love, non-sexual intimacy, etc. etc. (see Bury 2005, Jenkins 1992, and a thousand others i can’t remember right now). yes, there are some violent fics, but all BDSM fanfic i have ever read pertains to consenting adults. and again, the focus on emotional connection and intimacy remains. (the exception i can think of it yami or x/99, but these focus on the trauma and damage done by rape and usually lead the characters toward a properly loving and fulfilling relationship to move forward.)

also, i can’t think of a single slash fic that ends with the slash pairing ending and one or both of the characters getting married in a hetero relationship. seriously, not one. this statement of the author’s is just patently false. if anything, the stories usually posit long-term & seriously homosexual partnerships between the characters.

“Women’s sexual desires are never mentioned, and presumably do not exist. No hint of lesbianism is ever permitted.”

wrong again. (apparently, i’m on a crusade to systematically debunk this entire article.) women’s sexual desires are never mentioned because the entirety of slash fic is a tribute to women’s sexual desires. AHHHH SO ANGRY. again, what do straight women find attractive sexually? male bodies. (duh.) what does slash do? depict in loving and eloquent detail the male body, from a women’s perspective. focus on eyes, facial features, hair, but also on hips, backs, shoulders, etc. why? because chicks think they are hot. i certainly do. *urge to kill rising* and i already mentioned femmeslash, which apparently doesn’t exist for this author.

and apparently, joss whedon is one of those authors “whose primary goal is to bolster patriarchy and male supremacy in all its ugly forms”.

WHAAAATT????? the man who brought us one of the most complex, well-drawn, and kick-ass women on television? the idol for teenage girls everywhere as an emblem of girl power? (that would be buffy, of course.) and also his characters on his other works continue to be some of the greatest female characters on television – because everyone knows that zoe, inara, and kaylee on firefly are examples of male supremacy in television, right? FUCKING GOD! i mean, whedon’s mother was a noted feminist who passed on all her ideals to her son, and he’s won AWARDS from “equality now” for his feminist work— see this video for his speech at the acceptance.

as for the psychology of slash, the author writes:
“There are thousands of women, all over the world, who, thanks to our wonderful friend male supremacy, cannot relate to themselves as women. They can only relate to men, because only men are considered to be fully human. So they fall in love with the heroes of film and literature, and the ‘geniuses’ who create these texts, and they fool themselves into believing that these men speak universal truths, that they are speaking to everybody and about everybody, women included, when of course they are not, they are only speaking to men in the language of male supremacy that is death and poison to women.”

what about the massive communities of slashers? huge global networks that exist online with a primarily female membership, who regularly support, assist, and care for each other through the internet? see also: my previous comments about women’s desire for male bodies. it would seem a bit more strange indeed if hetero women all over the world were spending their time writing about lesbian sexuality, don’t you think? of course straight women will desire males! i think this author is undermining women’s pleasure and desire altogether, denigrating who they choose to find pleasurable and enjoyable. wait a minute – aren’t radical feminists supposed to support women’s rights to choose their own sexuality? all the women i know would certainly not be pleased if they were told that what they find sexually pleasing is “no good”. and in no way are slashers and fanficcers “duped” by the media – most fanfic and vids purposefully and thoughtfully critique and analyze the media for their white heteronormative narratives. (yeah, social theory background!)

“Slash comes about because women under patriarchy cannot recognise their own sexual desires…”

my god, i’m repeating myself now. see the above rant. i can’t handle how retarded this is.

“Despite writing about gay men, and sometimes claiming to be ‘for gay rights’ (whatever that means), most women involved in slash communities would choke in horror if they were ever to be mistaken for, or tainted as, lesbian…..but they are not in the least turned on by the idea of two women together….Yet what do we have with slash fanfiction? Hundreds and hundreds of heterosexual women writing erotic stories for each other in order to turn one another on…is it just me, or is that starting to sound a bit lesbian?” [ellipsis added]

wrong wrong wrong WRONG WRONG WRONG again. the slash community contains many lesbians, bisexuals, and other queer identifications. in fact, usually more than the general society (my friend david’s masters’ thesis on yaoi fangirls demonstrates this statistically). slashers are the most accepting group of people i know on the internet – i can’t think of any slashers who would be afraid to be mistakenly identified as lesbian, can you? and where is her evidence of this? i troll LJ every day for several hours as i research vidding communities, and i have not seen a single suggestion or hint at what she is talking about here. also, entire communities of het women writing stories to turn each other on? isn’t that what romance fiction writers do? and no one ever accuses them of being lesbians, do they? oh yeah, and again ignoring the audience for femmeslash and the fact that many slashers like both. seriously.

“… I think its [slash’s] very appeal to different women across these divides is further evidence of its ultimately conservative nature.”

this doesn’t even make sense. just people lots of people watch american idol doesn’t mean that they are all conservative, does it? what about heroes? or lost? just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s conservative. again, this author has no evidence. why don’t we turn to look at those scholars who have actually survey slash communities? let’s see…. Bury (2005) notes the higher presence of queer self-identification in the Due South slash community, as does Jenkins in his essay in “Theorizing Fandom” (I think 1992). as does david in his master’s thesis. and as did i in my fieldwork in the yaoi fandom. people in all of this research also self-identified as feminist, as believers in gender equality, and as liberal. i don’t know a single conservative slasher (although they certainly exist, i don’t know if any personally). this author LIES and MAKES FACTS UP.

the comments in for this essay also cause me to froth at the mouth in anger. I CANNOT STAND feminists who basically say, “as women, you can make whatever choices you want to, as long as we think they are appropriately feminist. also, we get to decide what constitutes ‘appropriately feminist’. also, we suck.”

wow, what a way to end my day at the office…… i feel like punching someone in the face now. someone save me from this stupidity.

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2 responses to “In which I rant profusely

  1. Slash is a capable of containing homophobia. Female slashers/yaoi fan girls often overstep their boundaries and end up bashing females and gays as well as appropriating gay male lives.

    • I do agree with you on this: I think many scholars have been quick to claim slash as automatically subversive and positive when in fact there’s several complex issues to tease out. So much slash contains that “But they’re not gay, they just love each other” message, which I think contains some implicit homophobia.

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