such_heights: a woman, sitting, holds a standing woman's hand (stock: make a stand [mignolagraphics])
Amy ([personal profile] such_heights) wrote2010-06-16 07:44 pm

Activism, solidarity, and My Stuff

This is related to but not directly about recent fandom conversations about a racist AU and problematic approaches to hurt/comfort fic

And, as always when particular conversations come up in fandom, the same few reactions start to appear. 'Mob mentality', 'K, bored now', etc. Which has been addressed far more eloquently than I could hope for by ephemere.  I also like what furiosity had to say. The following is based on comments I've seen around, not made by people that I know personally.  

Here's the thing. Sometimes, there's stuff in fandom that infringes upon My Stuff. My identities, the things that shape my life offline and cause me to experience particular kinds of prejudice and disadvantage. And, you know, having misogyny and ablism and homophobia turn up in the middle of the things I do for fun is less than ideal. So, sometimes I talk about it, in the hope that it makes it less likely to happen again. Sometimes (more often) I decide it's not worth the emotional energy/spoons, and I leave it, or rant over email or something. And no one else, not even other people with equal and valid and totally different experiences of My Stuff, gets to decide what's worth my time/energy/spoons for me. (What, of course, you always get to do is call me out when I'm being offensive or faily, and i'm thankful to all that have done so.) 

Why is it that when it comes to anti-oppression issues that people suddenly get grumpy about things being all over their flist? I don't complain when my reading list is full of nothing but pictures of people's cats. (Disclaimer: I love looking at pictures of people's cats, it's a hypothetical example.)

When something comes up in fandom that affects me, I am always very grateful that there are other people who can give my feelings voice where I can't. And I'm also grateful to the people who signal boost, who linkspam, who chime in their agreement that what's happening is wrong, or call out problems in the framing of the discussion. The support is directly felt and directly impacts my experience of fandom. 

As other people talk about the problematic potential of some kinds of h/c, for example, I feel less alone. (I totally believe disability and abuse issues can be written respectfully even when one is 'writing the other'. I also know that it was very jolting to see a bunch of My Stuff in a list which initially had no real context or dialogue around it. /2 pence.)

And thus, it seems only fair play to offer the same support on other issues that don't have a personal impact on me. Not to mention that I think it's important to take advantage of the wealth of material that members if fandom provide in the interests of self-education. So, no, I don't believe that I'm contributing to a 'mob' when I post about the hot *ism/fail topic of the moment. Sometimes it's important for me to speak, sometimes it's important for me to listen and point towards where others are speaking. (Emphasis on the *for me*) 

Also, a note: there is a big difference between not engaging for whatever reason - there are many reasons why people don't engage with these issues, and that's valid and understandable - and acts of silencing and attempting to shut down conversation. It's kind of a jerk move in a lot of contexts - in conversations like these, it's even more of a problem.

Or, more simply put, I post because I want to do better. I'd like fandom to do better. This little journal here is a spanner in my toolkit, and I'll continue to make use of it.   
verasteine: Steve (Arthur looking down)

[personal profile] verasteine 2010-06-16 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
You know what's the difference between this and the cat photos (and I'm with you on the loving cat photos)? The people who are doing the complaining are complaining not because their finger hurts from all the scrolling, but because they feel uncomfortable about *isms and being called *ist. Because they could be. Because I could be. They like their privilege, and the internet is the ultimate level playing ground, in that here, they can't automatically dismiss someone in their head for being x, looking y, or speaking z. Because they can't see them.

I found the dialogue (don't know how many comments you read on the posts on this topic) quite intriguing because it consistently referred to 'dreamwidthers', as if they are an interest group, who had 'a different agenda'. And I can see why DW is the one place to migrate to if you are less used to privilege swinging in your favour. The level of paranoia that these people exhibit ("there's nowhere in fandom you can just write what you want anymore -- they're taking over!" *wail*) is the same paranoia of establishment happy, privileged people.

And they need to learn that it has no place in fandom, because fandom is a level playing ground and they may just find themselves outnumbered.

(So, this got lengthy, soz.)
damned_colonial: Convicts in Sydney, being spoken to by a guard/soldier (Default)

[personal profile] damned_colonial 2010-06-16 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Interesting... were these comments about "dreamwidthers" coming from DW people or non-DW people? I didn't see/notice them, so I'm not clear on whether it was "we here on DW have a different agenda" or "those people over there have a different agenda".
verasteine: Steve (Default)

[personal profile] verasteine 2010-06-16 07:52 pm (UTC)(link)
It was very definitely, 'those people over there have a different agenda.' I saw it yesterday, I think on the anon meme and maybe on the author's journal, as well as in one of the posts such_heights linked to. Most of them are anon.
damned_colonial: A hand with a quill writing the word "dreamwidth" (dreamwidth)

[personal profile] damned_colonial 2010-06-16 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, I'm actually glad to hear that... because I've been thinking for a while that it seemed that many/most of "that type" had moved over here, and I was really pleased by the resulting conversations that go on over here. And I wondered whether I was just doing some kind of self-congratulatory back-patting, but if outsiders see it too, then that says something.
torachan: (Default)

[personal profile] torachan 2010-06-16 10:33 pm (UTC)(link)
There was some really bizarre and out-of-left-field DW hate in the comments to this post. That's the only place I've seen it, but apparently it's a theme? The evil DWers in their ivory tower, not really part of fandom, just looking for a chance to ruin everyone's fun...
contrarywise: Glowing green trees along a road (Default)

[personal profile] contrarywise 2010-06-16 10:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, that's where I saw it too. Good to know that you can still count on anonymous coward trolls to bring the WTF. *eyeroll*
verasteine: Steve (Default)

[personal profile] verasteine 2010-06-17 03:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm pretty sure I also saw it in places on the spn anon meme. I hopped around a lot of posts, so I may remember wrong, but I've definitely seen it in more than one place.
wembley: Revamped version of my very first LJ icon. It's of Wembley Fraggle. (mohinder bandage)

[personal profile] wembley 2010-06-18 02:23 am (UTC)(link)
I was seeing some of that on the spnpermanon thread... like, this idea that SPN fans... decided SPN was misogynist... so they left... Livejournal? And now hang out on DW wanting to ruin all SPN fans' fun. Or something. Because I know when a show lets me down, I move journalling services. Fuck you, Joss Whedon, I'm moving to Blogger. That'll show 'im.
verasteine: Steve (Default)

[personal profile] verasteine 2010-06-17 03:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, the conspiracy thing made me LOL, too. Although, at the same time, I got uncomfortable because it suggests a sort of, 'the black people are conspiring against us' feeling from the "white" side of fandom. When all they're doing is trying create a level footing rather than a skewed one.
gorgeousnerd: #GN written in the red font from my layout on a black background. (Default)

[personal profile] gorgeousnerd 2010-06-16 08:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I feel more uncomfortable posting about topics like this than seeing them pop up on my flist/reading lists, so I don't entirely know why casual people or people who don't get involved have difficulties. Usually, people cut for length or content, so I can decide if I have the spoons to cope. If I post about it myself, I take on the responsibility of expressing myself - often on a very difficult topic - and what feels like the responsibility of responding to commenters. I posted about the J2 RaceFail yesterday, and just the few comments I received took more out of me than the rest of my day combined.

When something comes up in fandom that affects me, I am always very grateful that there are other people who can give my feelings voice where I can't. And I'm also grateful to the people who signal boost, who linkspam, who chime in their agreement that what's happening is wrong, or call out problems in the framing of the discussion. The support is directly felt and directly impacts my experience of fandom.

This is me exactly. I feel like I'm still at the 101 level in some of the conversational topics, which means I can handle the basics that other people are tired of taking care of (and that's probably a good thing), but what I really want to say often escapes me, which is why I'm really glad others can say it. And it's so nice, when I'm personally affected by the topic at hand, to see how many people will even just leave a quick link in their journal and say, "Not cool." Especially considering how many people around me in-person don't even begin to get it.
gorgeousnerd: #GN written in the red font from my layout on a black background. (One of those days.)

[personal profile] gorgeousnerd 2010-06-18 08:52 am (UTC)(link)
I've been getting a lot of people Not Getting It in-person lately, and while I'm learning to speak up online, I still can't muster the courage to speak to people I've known for my entire life and/or with whom I have to deal with frequently. (And if I called out people just for ableist language in real life, like I wish I could, I'd never stop.) I love that I have a space where I can express myself, even if not everyone agrees.
heathershaped: (Default)

[personal profile] heathershaped 2010-06-16 08:52 pm (UTC)(link)
This.
glass_icarus: (merlin: gwen)

[personal profile] glass_icarus 2010-06-16 08:52 pm (UTC)(link)
&hearts

(Thanks for the link to the h/c thing, btw, I somehow hadn't caught up with that.)
crooked: (Default)

[personal profile] crooked 2010-06-16 09:10 pm (UTC)(link)
very well put, m'dear. ♥

i love the signal boosting. it brings things to my attention that i might have otherwise not seen. like the h/c thing. *clicks*!
tielan: (race)

[personal profile] tielan 2010-06-16 10:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Found you on my network.

Thanks for this. You've said a lot of things that really resonate for me when I post about these issue on my own journals - and why I do so.

I'll be linking to this.
ontology: (when your heart feels undone)

[personal profile] ontology 2010-06-16 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, I just wanted to say that I am so glad that I have you on my flist, and over the years I have deeply, deeply appreciated your "social justice" (for lack of a better term) posts. You've given me insight into a lot of mindsets and ideas and cultures I might not have seen otherwise, and I really love and admire your passion for justice and for people in general. I love that the internet has given me so many worlds to look into, so that I am able to have so much more understanding compassion towards people whose experiences are so different from mine -- and that I can be concerned and watchful on behalf of their concerns as well. ♥
contrarywise: Glowing green trees along a road (Green road)

[personal profile] contrarywise 2010-06-17 12:33 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you take the time and effort to post about such issues when they arise in fandom (and elsewhere). Most of the time, I don't have the energy to enter the fray when *fail raises its ugly, ugly head (and sometimes not even enough to read the comments), so I am grateful to those who do participate in these discussions since they are an important part of a civil and open fandom, IMO. Hopefully, fans and fandom will fail better and less often as a result of these dialogues.
used_songs: (Default)

[personal profile] used_songs 2010-06-17 04:24 am (UTC)(link)
I agree with you. I've seen some "bored with this" comments and I don't understand. I'm on an email listserv for a teaching group and this woman made a homophobic joke to the list. I was the only person who called her out. No one else said anything and no one responded to me directly. I felt so alone and, honestly, as if I couldn't trust anyone on the list. When people on my flist/d-circle post on an issue of importance that I care about it makes me feel as if I'm in the right community. Plus, I like to see the range of views and experiences - I always learn something.
surpassingly: (ai: a black river blossoming)

Here via network

[personal profile] surpassingly 2010-06-17 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
When something comes up in fandom that affects me, I am always very grateful that there are other people who can give my feelings voice where I can't. And I'm also grateful to the people who signal boost, who linkspam, who chime in their agreement that what's happening is wrong, or call out problems in the framing of the discussion. The support is directly felt and directly impacts my experience of fandom.

...

Sometimes it's important for me to speak, sometimes it's important for me to listen and point towards where others are speaking.


Yes! Exactly. Thank you so much for this post, and for the link.

[personal profile] miss_haitch 2010-06-17 07:42 am (UTC)(link)
This post is awesome. Thank you.
reddwarfer: Rimmer art (Flagg: The Walking Dude)

[personal profile] reddwarfer 2010-06-18 03:48 pm (UTC)(link)
For me, personally, the tiring of people posting is more to do with the source. I'm tired of people needing to post because there's fail in the first place. I'm tired of the fail which causes the resulting backlash. I'm tired of knowing my friends, me, random people I don't even know are being hurt again because of stupidly offensive people that only want to be as offensive as they please without anyone saying anything about it and bursting their privilege bubbles.

I'm tired of seeing these posts because it means, yet again, someone isn't able to enjoy fandom because of someone else's fail. I think, truly, that if people stopped heaping their fail on others, if people stopped being racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, they could still have fun. Unlike what happens when people are all those things and only they have fun and a bunch of marginalized people and their allies are stuck feeling hurt, abused, necessitating posts that say, hey, that's not fucking cool.

amazonziti: gina torres looking gorgeous (Default)

[personal profile] amazonziti 2010-06-19 06:37 am (UTC)(link)
Hi! I am managing a signal boost/link round-up post for the J2 fail here, and I have included this post on my list. If you would prefer I not link to you, just let me know.
spiletta42: yeti crab with caption reading IDIC (Default)

[personal profile] spiletta42 2010-06-19 04:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Good post. I'm very tired of being told I'm "just rubbernecking" simply because I'm not in SPN fandom. The discussion stopped being about SPN pretty fast. I'm also grateful for the link about the h/c thing, because I saw a bingo card floating around last week and it made me uncomfortable, but I couldn't articulate why, and I've seen mention of it since, but not an actual discussion, so I'm off to read now. Thanks!