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jukeboxhound

a slash fan's defense of the women.

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Feb. 26th, 2011 | 05:40 pm
mood: soresore
music: Bush - "Mouth (Stringray Mix)"

I made a pretty clumsy post on the subject of female character-bashing in fandom recently, though I try to tell myself not to get involved in SRS BZNS things online.  It was in response to long-term frustration and sparked by the hate I've been seeing lately.

But obviously I have an issue of not listening to myself, so beware of Thoughts On Yaoi (so to speak), 'they' as a singular pronoun, abuse of various punctuation marks, and 97.3% pretentiousness at eight o'clock.


I'm not going to pretend I have every answer ever to this issue and I still haven't explored every possibility (though to be honest I think anyone who thinks they have Figured It All Out is doing it wrong anyway).  I take this subject seriously both as someone whose online fan identity has long included 'slasher' and for personal RL reasons.  On the other hand, I'm not going to try to explain "why girls think two or more guys fucking is hot" or why slash fans of any gender identity exist - not only does that tread into whole other realms of discussion, but it means making a number of assumptions on the motives of a pretty big population.  Yeah, no thanks.

Anyway.

So, in the many years of my time in fandom (oh geez) I've noticed a widespread trend of bashing female characters in slash fanfiction.  In Harry Potter, it's often Ginny, Hermione, or Pansy; in the Final Fantasy series, Rinoa or Tifa; in Naruto, Sakura and Ino; in Supernatural, it extends to the real-life wives of the starring actors.  Give or take other characters from these examples, the sad fact remains that the female-centric bashing can be found in almost every fandom regardless of the medium, country of origin, or storyline.

What really scares me about this is the appearance that the majority of slash fandom identifies as female.

Note: the question of genderqueer, trans, or other non-normative representation is as much a valid issue worthy of serious discussion.  However, since there are so few of these characters and because most fanfiction assumes the identity of "female" or "woman," I have chosen to focus on the latter.


Gary Stu vs. Mary Sue.

Just in case someone's never come across these terms: a Mary Sue is a female character, often but not always of the fic writer's invention, that is too 'perfect.'  She usually lacks those personality flaws typical of, well, normal people, may be favored over all the other characters by the writer, and great idealized emphasis is put on her beauty, wit, capability, etc.  She can Do No Wrong and may be a wish-fulfilling avatar for the actual author.  By extension, the Gary Stu (or Marty Stu, or a few other permutations thereof) is just a male version of the same thing.  Whatever, right?

No.  It's gotten to the point that almost any female character, canon or invented, can be tarred by the Mary Sue accusation.  A female character dares to beat a favorite male character in a battle of wits or fists?  How dare she.  A female character is in the way of two (or more) male characters' true romantic love in a fic?  Well, obviously she's just catty, vindictive, jealous, homophobic, and/or bitchy.

I really, really wish I was being hyperbolic here.

[ETA: To further clarify, say a female OC, another Gryffindor student, manages to best Harry in a wizard's duel.  Okay.  Now, say this OC bests him every time with relative ease, not a lock of silky hair out of place, is graceful and humble and loved by everyone for it?  That's approaching Mary Sue.  I'm making this distinction to try to show why being able to kick ass doesn't automatically make a strong heroine, that there's more to it than that.]

What makes this tendency even worse is that the same characteristics that incite the Mary Sue accusatory finger are the same characteristics that might be totally okay in male characters.  For a fandom-specific example, Dean Winchester's snarky, slutty, outwardly-confident but inwardly-martyring ways make him an absolute favorite with the fans, but Ruby's snarky, leather-wearing, ass-kicking, outwardly-confident ways makes her the scourge.  On the other end of the spectrum, Lisa's single-mother, home-keeping, patient, and understanding civilian ways make her a pariah.  The rationalizations behind these seem to boil down to the usual, "She's interfering in the relationship between the men," or, "She's trying to change him/imprison him/tame him/etc."  Possibly, "She's not perfect and therefore she's a horrible representation of women and conforms to a stereotype*."

(Yes, Ruby was a demon and turned out to be a traitor all along.  But the hate began even when she first appeared and we didn't know who or what she was.)

To be fair, people keep their own reasons for disliking a character, and sometimes those reasons are just pure clash of personality between the fan and the character.  I do the same; I naturally get along with certain types of people better than others in real life, and the same holds true for fictional ones.  My point here, however, is that certain traits are perfectly acceptable in the male character but not in the female, and even the female that displays more conventional notions of femininity still gets slagged.  There's just no way to win.


*Anything can be called a stereotype.  "She's too strong," "she's too weak," "she's too [insert any number of possible things]."


Defenses.  Any solutions?

As if I could pretend to have any sort of authority in fixing anything, especially something as multi-faceted, complicated, and widespread as fandom misogyny.  And yet here I go.

One of the 'solutions' I've seen is simply ignoring the chosen female character(s) altogether, but I truly believe that this can be just as much a problem.  It's literally reducing the character to non-existence, explicitly saying that her presence is so irrelevant that she may as well have never existed.  A blip on the canon radar.

ETA: It's been pointed out to me that in cases where one of the male characters is in a marriage or serious relationship, a writer may cut the woman out altogether to avoid the emotional fall-out.  That is, because infidelity squicks a number of people and dealing with the consequences of such a serious break-up with any amount of authenticity can take the story in directions (or to word counts) that the author may not want to go, eliminating the female significant other isn't necessarily misogynistic or even disliking the character herself.  Additionally, some writers in RPF fandoms may simply be uncomfortable portraying people who aren't in the same spotlight as the 'main' ones.  I had been specifically referring to instances of, "[x] is just a bitch and I don't like her and so I'll pretend she was never there," but my response to this entirely valid point is just to emphasize the whole 'judging things on a case by case basis.'  Like everything else.  Particularly as some fandoms may have different motives for eliminating the woman than others, as well as the differences between individual authors.

A common defense of slash is, "Well, when both characters are the same gender/sex, the power dynamic is equal."  Theoretically, it sounds good, but the fact remains that hetero-normative stereotypes get laid over slashed couples as often as it doesn't, rendering the argument rather pointless.  (Japanese shojo-oriented yaoi is a damn good example of this.)  It also idealizes same-sex culture to an unrealistic degree and pretends that the individuals aren't as human, flawed, insecure, and unique as anyone else; after all, abuse, power-tripping, or manipulation never happen in same-sex or queer relationships.  And, what, a heterosexual couple can't have equal partnership?  Does being on the receiving end of penetration, male or female, make you the weaker partner?  If you think that's true, then...well, I don't really have a response right now that isn't just sincere frustration and disbelief that this millennia-old perception still persists.

Another?  "I support slash because I support gays."  Er, no.  These two ideas are not necessarily connected.  See: practically the entirety of this post.  Supporting gays doesn't require hating on women, het or gen fic, or anything other than actual homophobia.

(Of course, sometimes it really is just hot.  Hey, a cigar can be just a cigar, and porn can be just porn, whether guy/guy, girl/girl, guy/girl, or guy/girl/queer/trans/pan.  But this isn't actually a defense of slash itself, so I'll leave it there.)

"It harshes my squee."  So, the women hanging around the male characters brings down your mood and ruins the moment?  Good to know that female presence is inherently negative, and no, I don't think I'm exaggerating here.  This is the implication of the painfully blase, unthinking 'squee-harshing.'

Personally, there are female characters I don't like, but there are also male characters I don't like with equal strength and in equal prevalence.  I try to portray them all as sympathetically and IC as I can in my fanfiction, though of course whether or not I succeed can only be judged by other people.  This is really the only solid way I can think of to fight back against this kind of misogyny, and if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please comment and I'd be happy to discuss it and link to it.


In summary:

1. Women are characters too.
2. Boobs and vaginae are not physical manifestations of evil.  They can, in fact, be quite awesome.
3. Supporting female characters doesn't hurt the slash; if anything, fair and IC treatment of all characters to the best of the writer's ability usually only makes that fanfic richer.
4. Everyone judges to some extent.  Just stop to consider why.


Links.

1. The Unpopular Woman Love Post.
2. The pan-fandom femslash_today  newsletter.
3. The pan-fandom non-slash femgenficathon  community.
4. The Supernatural spnfemmeslashbb  challenge (complete fic with a minimum 10k word length).

For the love of your chosen faith or lack thereof, if you have any more communities, posts, or really anything at all, let me know so I can post them.  There are few femmeslash fic comms, even fewer for gen or het female-oriented fic, and practically no comms for slash fic with good female characterization (specific authors notwithstanding).

ETA: Just to be clear, I don't mean this to be a fandom-specific (i.e. Supernatural, ahaha) post, so feel free to jump in at any point from whatever is your poison of choice.

ETA 2 (4 Mar '11): Link from chofi  - the anime/manga/game fandoms yuri_challenge prompt comm on DW.

ETA 3 (5 Mar '11): A comment by mandy_croyance  in an ontd_spnparty  thread brought up a point about which I'd completely forgotten: "I fucking hate that every female villain ends up using her sexuality as a weapon."  She continues (and quoted without permission from an open post thread):

Why does a woman have to be androgynous, old or frumpy in order for an audience or director to focus on things other than her sexuality. And it's not just her being "male-gaze" sexy, but it's also how thoroughly they buy into the trope that evil women = seductresses. The whole 'women use sex as a weapon against men' thing is overdone and frankly needs to die in a fire.
 
Further clarified in the comments here in this post:

I was talking about how sex is often equated with evil. It's a huge trope in western media that evil women are portrayed as sexy vixens who use their sexuality as a weapon against men -- likely because it's often regarded as the one area in which a woman may have power over a man. But this is an extremely out-moded way of thinking and extremely inappropriate for the character I was referring to, who is old and powerful beyond measure. It frustrates me than a woman can't derive power from her cleverness, her innate strength, her economic prowess, social status or any other of avenues that men do. It's stupid. They would never have depicted Lucifer this way and tempting is what he DOES.


 


Stamp made by giruveganus on dA.

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Comments {65}

kassidy62

(no subject)

from: kassidy62
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
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You're a brave woman to address this. I agree pretty much across the board, though I admit the idea of a long-term relationship with women for Sam and Dean, I just really don't want. I truly don't believe it's an anti-woman thing - it's more that Sam and Dean are OTP for me.

Even though I didn't like the idea of Lisa at first (I still don't find it particularly plausible that Dean was in love with her as a result of a single sexathon weekend), I've found myself liking her on the whole, esp. how *adult* she is in the last episode.

I am mystified by some of the vehement hatred for the women on SPN. I'll note that I enjoy the female guest stars in later seasons better - I remember thinking in the first season that if I see another glossy-lipped chick with curly hair I'm going to go crazy, but that was a reaction to the (in my opinion) Kripke intrusion, the insertion of what I felt were Kripke's Perfect Female Fantasy in the story, which WAS offensive to me. I did like Jessica, though, because the actress overcame the gloss:)

I like Ruby, too. Katie Cassidy was wonderful, and I liked Genevieve, too, though her acting, IMO, is way less than stellar. Oddly, I think her acting is better when she DOESN'T speak. Sounds like a true insult, but what I'm trying to say is that her facial expressions read true to me (even last night's appearance) while her DELIVERY leaves something to be desired.

Anyway - the point that's important to include is that in a male-dominated show, sometimes the parts written for women are for the purpose of sexual objects or victims, and they're written as flat and one-dimensional on top of all that, so it's understandable if the characters aren't liked.

I've had a discussion or two with fans in the past as to why a certain female character(s)/the way the character is written was apparently offensive to them and not at all to me. In fact the only thing that was offensive to me as a woman was the argument used by the fan! Though it wasn't intended that way, I'm quite sure. Anyway, that was a digression, and I'm rambling. Just wanted to chime in:)

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Jukebox Hound

(no subject)

from: jukeboxhound
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
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Ha, Sam/Dean is also my OTP, and I fully agree that Dean's relationship with Lisa based on a weekend of flexible yoga sex is sketchy. But as for Lisa herself, I thought she was as understanding as a civilian can be of an emotionally fucked-up hunter, and that she didn't let Dean get away with shoving Ben (regardless of extenuating circumstances of impending vampirism).

I honestly wish we'd gotten more Jess, but then again, I'm happy to go LALALA and revel in awesome!fandom!Jess instead. But I don't mean to say that criticism of actresses or female characters is AUTOMATICALLY SEXIST OMG HOW DARE YOU - that alone is still sexism, if of a different sort. It's more like the J2 tinhats that hate on the actors' wives, insult them, etc.

...I'm not sure you should call me brave so much as stupid. I'm anticipating dogpiling on some inadvertent fuck-up of mine somewhere, oh man. And I don't think you're rambling at all. <3

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Jukebox Hound

(no subject)

from: jukeboxhound
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
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Your OTP comment made me think. I don't mean to imply that slash is inherently sexist - if it were, then posts like this would be just as much superficial rationalizing as some of the defenses I mentioned above, and I don't think they are. You can hardcore ship a slash pairing and still be pro-women.

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Graw

(no subject)

from: boreal_forest
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
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<3 !!

I remember when I first found slah/yaoi - I was in dismay, really. Oh, hells - I'm a dominant bisexual male-brained female, mated to both a male and a female, a mother and I'm even pagan! Gods, you can't surprise me. >.>

However, yaoi did. And, female-bashing did. And, all those kinks. *LOL*

Right. My point - I thought I was pretty non-judgemental, but it turns out I'm goddamn good at judging _stupidity_.

I love females and males; I can't stand anyone being bitchy. I actually really like some characters and others don't even get irritation from me. But, I do know a lot of straight yaoi-loving gals that are fervent yuri-haters. I don't get that, but okay...

*shrugs*

I like your points. I like your brain. *snickers* I like the way you write your characters and if any goddamn female-hating-girl attacks you, send them my way.

I eat those for breakfast.

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Jukebox Hound

(no subject)

from: jukeboxhound
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
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I remember when I first found yaoi/slash; I was young enough I didn't know a boy could love another boy, or a girl another girl. Aah, the days before my own gender orientation and preference confusion.

I like to think I have a tough-enough skin to handle such attacks, but in all honesty I probably don't, so I appreciate the offer. On the other hand, flames are best responded to with cat macros and random gifs before being forgotten. <3

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hsifeng

(no subject)

from: hsifeng
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
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Yes, yes, yes to everything you wrote here. But you are not shocked to hear me say this, I am sure.

People can dislike female characters based on the way they are presented in the context of the show/story. This is totally understandable to me. Everyone has behavioral pet peeves that are going to show up in these characterizations now and then and it is going to make them nuts.

But I am sometimes shocked by how often the excuse of 'squee-harshing' gets used as a viable reason to blast female characters for actions that are totally logical/reasonable for their time/place/relationship to male characters in the context of a storyline.

It encourages writers to create cardboard cut-out women just so they can push them around and mistreat them to forward a storyline. I tend to think of this as lazy writing.

And when this attitude crosses over into fans bashing the actual actresses (or wives)? DNW. *shakes head* Seriously, it comes across to me as some sort of indulgent belief that these actresses/women are somehow interfering in a non-existent private relationship between the fan and the men in the story (or the men and other men they work with on the show).

It's great to be passionate about your fandom, but gender-bashing is crap. No matter what the excuse.

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kassidy62

(no subject)

from: kassidy62
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
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Seriously, it comes across to me as some sort of indulgent belief that these actresses/women are somehow interfering in a non-existent private relationship between the fan and the men in the story (or the men and other men they work with on the show).


that's uncomfortable to think about, but it makes sense.

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jeza_red

(no subject)

from: jeza_red
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
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Aw, that is so true>_>

I think it's got to do with age group we're talking about too. I am a slasher (ghod, it sounds so violentXD) for a looong while now and from just watching fandoms I moved trough in my time, I can say that the younger they are, the more radical those girls seem to be.

When I discovered yaoi/slash for the first time I was a teenager and females were kind of "in the way" for me. It wasn't hating, but I was reading slash to read about the guys, so didn't want any boobs in thereXD

Though it DID surprise me that in 90% Inuyasha slash ficks Kagome is a witch from hell. Or that hate towards TifaO_o (okay, she annoys me, because creators made her so inconsistent and clingy, but hell the fans hate herO_o).

Now I just tend to go for good stories with good balance - with both male and female characters that are realistic and well written. And my friends (same age group) tend to do the same. I think you have to grow up to the point of understanding that world is not black/white and people are just people. That gay relationships are not perfect little gems in any way just because they're gay=__=

Now I have a tendency for squeezing as many female characters into my slash fics/stories as I can get away withXD And my readers never complained that all of them can kick canon's male's asses and have big boobsXD Because, let's face it, big boobs are the bestXD

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Jukebox Hound

(no subject)

from: jukeboxhound
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I think there may be a higher occurrence of this among younger teens, especially those relatively new to fandom. But I hesitate to equate age with maturity, particularly as some of the people I've seen doing the bashing are in their twenties, thirties, forties, and higher, single and married, raising children or childless, employed or not.

Fic writers should also be careful of overcompensating. It's as damaging to bash or marginalize male characters just for being male.

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zeffy_amethyst

Disjointed but have my thoughts on yaoi!

from: zeffy_amethyst
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for posting this. I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I too used to be a fanbrat who hated the womenz in their slash, and then I realised that actually, those women are kickarse and I think I'd like to be them.

I liked Ruby. I thought the idea of this woman just rocking up and pwning the boy's arse so casually and baffling them was brilliant. Just as I adored Bella, and Jo and Ellen for much the same reason. That said, the issue I have with women in Dean and Sam's life is that ultimately, I don't think they're gonna live all that long. Also, they're so insular that it's hard to see them devoting themselves to someone outside their little circle.

Of course the way the show's treated females isn't much better than the way fandom treats females. Fridging is way too common in SPN, in my opinion at least. This is all said with the caveat that I haven't watched the latest season.

What annoys me more is the casual misogynism the fandom indulges in and then turns around and claims to be feminists. This is a problem most obvious in the Bleach fandom.

But sometimes I have a problem trying to seperate people disliking a character for their personality, or for their gender. I find the best way is to ask myself, if this had been a guy/girl instead would it have been an issue? And if the answer is 'no' I backtrack pretty damn quick.

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hsifeng

Re: Disjointed but have my thoughts on yaoi!

from: hsifeng
date: Feb. 26th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
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"That said, the issue I have with women in Dean and Sam's life is that ultimately, I don't think they're gonna live all that long. Also, they're so insular that it's hard to see them devoting themselves to someone outside their little circle."

See, I agree with this. It isn't 'women' in Sam and Dean's life, it's really almost *anyone* in their life. My take on their upbringing is that they were taught to lie to, avoid and con other people - to not form relationships with anyone outside of family.

I see Jess fitting into this formula as a part of Sam's overall rebellion against his upbringing - he was going to form a relationship that wasn't Winchester approved, consequences be damned. To me, this is why he snapped back into the Hunter mold so quickly when she died; her death was proof that his upbringing was somehow 'right', even if he didn't want to admit that he thought so.

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Aiko Namika

(no subject)

from: aikonamika
date: Feb. 27th, 2011 09:19 am (UTC)
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Two words: Relena-bashing.

*sighs* I remember when I gleefully indulged in it. Hell, I remember searching out Relena Finds Out fics that did it in as traumatic a way as possible. The Kill Relena Lists. The Kill Relena Game (on the Heero Is Not Toast site).

And then I grew up and realized that hey, Relena's actually a pretty awesome character if you look at things realistically. A fifteen-year-old girl that's been pampered and coddled her whole life and who has enough self-awareness to start to realize how shallow she is, and then her father's assassinated in front of her by her own government, and then there are terrorists running around who seem to be better than said government, and there's this really cute boy who's unlike anyone she's ever met in that he seems to have this drive, this purpose, instead of being yet another sycophant sucking up to her. Oh yeah, and her father isn't her father, and she's the princess of a nearly-destroyed country whose ruling family was assassinated, and she also has a brother who's the star of the military of said government that killed her father (both fathers, really), and then said brother "frees" her country and the girl who was expected to rule little more than her own social circle is put in charge of a whole country. And that's not getting into the whole Rommafeller and Queen Relena thing. Yeah, she makes mistakes that seem really stupid, but come on! She's fifteen years old!

This comment brought to you by stomach aches and being awake at 4:20 a.m. and being an occasional Relena cosplayer.

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Aiko Namika

(no subject)

from: aikonamika
date: Feb. 27th, 2011 09:31 am (UTC)
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OH! I've also seen a growing number of female characters turned into "The In-Character Yaoi/Slash Fan" as an attempt to make them "more acceptable." This can actually work out well depending on how crazy the author gets - for example, in FFVII, I've seen Tifa make a great "straight friend." Though I doubt Cloud will ever be her "sassy gay friend." Plain ol' "gay friend," yes, but sassy? I'm not entirely sure how well Cloud could do sassy.

Oh god. Now I'm imagining Cloud doing the Sassy Gay Friend thing to Aeris when she runs off to get shishkebobbed by Sephiroth.

"What are you doing?! What, what, what are you doing?!"

"I have to do this in order to save the Planet-"

"I don't think so!"

I have no idea how it would go from there, but I am now giggling like an idiot, oh god.

This comment brought to you by sleepiness, pain meds kicking in, and Sassy Gay Friends.

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RosaLui

(no subject)

from: rosalui
date: Feb. 27th, 2011 09:46 am (UTC)
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I love you. I love you for this post.

I remember trying to stand up for Sakura on a Naruto forum some years back, and hell, I could practically FEEL the spears of fangirl hate piercing my skin. o_O

Having also recently - and I meed a couple weeks ago - gotten into SPN, the seeming... misogyny? of the female fans? kind of freaks me out. (I loved Ellen and Jo. ;_; Ellen reminded me of my mom, only slightly less badass. And Bela, Jesus God did I feel bad for her in the end. I loved Lisa not taking Dean's shit and always putting her kid first, and I loved that random girl from the bar where Sam worked for five seconds, who'd been sober for 3 years.)

In the words of the wise Misha Collins, when asked why Castiel worked when all the other new characters hadn't (and I'm sure you already know this, but): "I'm not female."

It pisses me off, quite frankly.

I mean, I despised Relena from GW as much as the next person, but that was because she honest-to-God annoyed me. >.>;

It's why I like manga like FMA. The women are tough, they're in your face, they'll kick your ass, and they ain't goin' nowhere.

The first time I ever heard of yaoi... I was like ten, and I remember that it freaked me out. Not so much in an EW GAY way (my mommy raised me better), but in a... NO THAT'S NOT HOW THE STORY IS SUPPOSED TO GO kind of way. Like, I reacted to the idea of Sirius/Lupin and Hermione/Harry in kind of the same way. Just with a welling up of tears and a great BUT THIS IS NOT CANONNNNNNNNNNNNN.

Even now, there needs to be some sort of... innuendo or something for me to get yaoi. Like, Inuyasha, I ain't seeing it. Saiyuki, it hits you in the face.

Blah. I've blabbed for far too long. I shall sum up:

I love you.

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Jukebox Hound

(no subject)

from: jukeboxhound
date: Mar. 5th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
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Re: Misha Collins - I've heard something similar with Neil Gaiman. "How do you write such good female characters?" "I write people" - which points out the apparent assumption that you write either good characters or good female characters, as though the women have to be in their own sub-category.

(Ellen and Jo are amazing.)

I love you too, darling.

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Shiri Matakami

Confessions from a Former Female Basher part 1

from: shiri_matakami
date: Feb. 28th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
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First I want to say that this has taken me a few days to write or even think about writing and it is most likely still full of many errors or jumps in logic. I apologize ahead of time.

Second is that I no longer sneer at a character unless they act or behave and a way that I disagree with morally or intellectually. And those characters can have both vaginas and penises. It is the Stupid that I hate them for now.

Third is that if I bash any girls or guys in here it is because I did at one point in my life and I no longer believe that it is alright. I have come to terms with what I used to do and I do not condone it in any way, shape or form today.


I just wanted to explain what was going on that allowed me to completely hate and despise girls in anything. Movies, shows, anime, writing, fanfiction, anything that allowed me to think of them as "not real" or un-human like. As soon as a girl got put behind a screen or got drawn I had an automatic uneasiness about her.

I have read so many arguments, essays and other conversations about authors and fans bashing or completely humiliating a character because she happened to be canonly involved with one or more of the guys in a certain pairing. Throughout the almost ten years that I have been reading slash my feelings about those arguments have changed drastically and this is one of the only times where I have felt comfortable talking about it.

For me it all started with Gundam Wing when it was on Toonami weekday nights. I feel so completely in love with all the guys in that show that it was only a small step in my mind (or a few clicks on the internet) for me to find slash with one or more of the pilots getting down and dirty with each other. My own female bashing started when I realized that Relena Peacecraft was a pacifist through and through. Back then I personally didn't understand a lot of the things she thought or did, and even today to some extent I still don't understand. So in my mind she became 'stupid' or 'useless' because I couldn't see anything that she did as important or relevant. And it made me seethe and rage that she loved Heero so much and that he actually kinda gave a shit about her.

How could this awesome guy like such a stupid girl like her?

From there on I started to dislike any kind of girl that would show up, Tifa in Final Fantasy VII, Rinoa in VIII, any female heroine in movies or a damsel in distress.

My hate certainly didn't end there, but I need to explain what I was feeling at that point in my life to actually make this comment worth anything. Maybe to try to show people one reason why girls can bash girls, not matter how stupid people might think it is. It is the reason that I gave my friends and now it is the one I am showing the internet.

I had such a hatred and disgust in myself when I was going through grade school and the beginning of high school that I couldn't stand to look myself in the ear. I thought I was fat, stupid and that no one would ever be able to love me. My sister had such a cynical look on the world that she started to just hate people in general, and I took a lot from that. To escape our household and the world she turned to anime and school while I turned to the internet.

From when I got home from school until I went to bed I would be on the family computer (until I convinced my parents to let me get my own) reading. Fanfiction, original fiction, stupid little drabbles. All of that. I have explained the last chunk of my life by telling people I didn't have friends, I had fanfiction.

The characters in the games that I played and the animes I watched became the only people that could make me happy because I felt like there was something wrong with me. In my school people didn't play video games and the mothers would all talk about how many sports there kids were playing and everyone knew everyone else's business. That is what comes with growing up in a small rural town and going to an even smaller school.

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Shiri Matakami

Confessions from a Former Female Basher part 2

from: shiri_matakami
date: Feb. 28th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
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There was no one around me that even knew what anime was besides that only 30 year old guys who live in their moms basement are able to enjoy it and watch it. Or, after one eventful day at recess where I tried to explain what Fruit Baskets was to a fellow classmate, I had only gotten to the part where it was an anime that I watched the other day when they looked horrified and asked me what kind of porn it was. Because anime obviously = hentai which equals something exciting to ten year olds.

From then on my brother and I became weird because we played video games and watched anime. It wasn't until I was in high school that I actually met another person who actually played playstation and xbox. So from the age of ten to fifteen I was avoided at school because I was different for my likes, and then as soon as I walk into this bigger school I find out that there were other people like me who enjoyed getting sucked into a pixelated screen.

But even after I found people who played video games it was still another six years until I could find another human being who knew what fanfiction was. So even with my video game friends I became the joke because I read fanfiction about the games that I played. It was something they looked down on and thought was weird.

So I have basically spent the last ten years of my life (from age ten to age twenty) where fanfiction and video games were something to be kept secret. They basically were the reason I got up in the morning and there was no way for me to explain that to me friends so I just laughed with them and kept myself silent. So even with having gamer friends I still couldn't comfortable with myself. As a person, as a student or even as a girl.

So why would I want to read about girls or women that were so much better then myself? Why make myself depressed or even angry when a girl gets asked to dance when she goes to prom or that she gets to share her first kiss when at nineteen I still haven't held hands with anyone?

I was so envious of everyone around me but I couldn't intelligently do anything about it, so I just took control of the things I read. I only read stories that were either gen and didn't have girl main characters or just plain slash because it was the only thing that made me happy. Reading about two guys falling in love with each other was the only thing that made me happy for a long long time.

But over the past year my disgust with myself and my inability to read anything with a female character without feeling sick to my stomach or depressing the fuck out of me finally made me snap. I spent a whole week in my room because I didn't understand what I was doing wrong, and after really talking to my friends and going to see someone I have become comfortable with myself and everything that I am.

I haven't been able to be happy with myself since, like, the second grade. So the past few months have been so hard but I am the happiest I have ever been.

Just the other day I got myself to read a huge story about a Seph/Cloud/Zack/Aeris pairing and I didn't start crying when Aeris was thrown in. I was uncomfortable with it, because a decade of acting one way is hard to change. But I was able to finish the story and enjoy it so much.

This has been super long and I am sorry if I whined or bored the fuck out of everyone. I just wanted to explain how I was able to hate girl characters.

I hoped this help some people. It certainly helped me. : )

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Sofia

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Hormel's new miracle meat in a can...

from: chofi
date: Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC)
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Yuri Challenge @ Dreamwidth! Celebrating f/f pairings in anime, manga, manhua, manhwa, and video game fandoms


Open for prompts until March 4.

I'm going to fill a prompt, myself, once they're revealed. Anyone else in?

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Jukebox Hound

Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Hormel's new miracle meat in a can...

from: jukeboxhound
date: Mar. 5th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
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.o/

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Another 2 cents worth..

from: whitewitchdark
date: Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
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I read slash, femslash and het. In general the pairing doesn't bother me, although some like Harry/Draco, I find boring and predictable.

I have very rarely found a book, film, TV show etc where both genders were well written and didn’t reply on stereotype shortcuts and Mary/Gary-Stus. To change my example from Harry Potter, all the female characters in Gundam Wing AC are, in a word, stupid. Not the characters themselves, their characterizations. They are all stereotypes and cheap ones at that (mind you, so are the boys, but at least they get more development time – Anime issue anyone?). Relena’s sole moment of development is when she lets Heero go and she is the primary heroine in it.

I write fanfiction because a) I like the fandom and b) I’m too lazy to develop my own characters. If I have to sit down and pretty much rewrite a character from scratch to develop them into something I feel I can use, it defeats one of the main point of writing fanfiction for me. Back to my last paragraph, usually all the well done characters will be the same gender, hence slash. Further, books and TV shows with good male characters and central male characters probably sell better, particularly if aimed at children, thus increasing the number of badly done and underdeveloped female characters, Ginny Weasley being an example.

Next problem, as I see it, is the over-cutifying of female dominated stories. I’ve seen one episode of Sailor Moon and I needed brain bleach afterwards.

Just my two cents worth… For the record, I despise Ginny Weasley, though I have read some Slytherin versions of her used to good effect.

Whitewitchdark

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Jukebox Hound

Re: Another 2 cents worth..

from: jukeboxhound
date: Mar. 5th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
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I think the negative portrayal of women in canon is what gives fanfiction such potential. I've been converted from hating certain characters - for example, Relena - by being able to find well-written stories in which the character makes sense. I may still dislike a character on some level, but I can now understand her motives and circumstances and suddenly fandom has given her a third dimension.

Re: Sailor Moon - I agree. Since middle school I've been arguing that fighting in short skirts, stilettos, and transforming in a cloud of bubbles and sparkles isn't just stupid but so incredibly wrong.

Further, books and TV shows with good male characters and central male characters probably sell better
I wouldn't be at all surprised, but I wonder how much of it is because of the apparent difficulty in writing female characters or if it's the target market that led to their decrease in quality. Correlation or causation. I just wish this issue was brought up more often, and by more people than just 'feminists' dismissed as 'being angry about everything anyway.' When feminism was brought up in a discussion here among other students in the UK, the immediate reaction of the English girls was, "Oh, I'm not a feminist - I'm not angry or a lesbian." Which honestly shocked me.

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Amanda

(no subject)

from: mandy_croyance
date: Mar. 6th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
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I first got into slash a few years ago after spending a substantial amount of time in the het arenas of fandom, and I was honestly blindsided by way female characters were treated by many slashers.

A prime example is the vehement hatred of Ginny Weasley expressed by most of the Harry/Draco shippers I've encountered. In the Harry Potter fandom, I started off shipping mostly canonical het pairings and I loved Ginny. It really didn't even compute for me when I started to explore slash ships and suddenly she was portrayed as either a huge bitch, railed against for being a huge slut, or written off as a Mary-Sue.

The canonical premise for he being a bitch of any kind is absolutely lacking. The portrayal of her as a slut for having three boyfriends over the course of 2-3 years is a) absolutely ridiculous and b) a disgusting example of slut-shaming. And as for her being a Mary-Sue... Like you said, I don't think people actually understand what that term was created to address. Just because a woman is strong-willed, charismatic or good at something that doesn't make her overly-perfect. (Actually, if anyone was close to being a Mary-Sue in HP, it was Hermione who almost always had the right answers to any problem. But you rarely see anyone throw that label at her because she's rarely in the way significant slash ships.)

The only valid argument you could perhaps make is that the romance wasn't earned; and yes that's perfectly true. It's true of a lot of canonical romances. Writers have a bad habit of just throwing people together. It was my problem with Lisa and Dean, for example. I've never had any problem with Lisa herself. I was steadfastly neutral towards her for a long time because how was I supposed to make judgments of someone I hardly knew? My only problem was that Dean hardly knew her either. It makes no sense to me that any slasher would be threatened by her. How easy it would be to show how they may have loved the idea of one another but not actually loved the other person. Maybe that takes a few more paragraphs than just making her into a raging bitch but it's better story writing too.

Okay, I've ranted enough about specific examples but I just want to take a couple of minutes to address the "It harshes my squee" argument. I used to think it utterly ridiculous too but having lived in an RPF fandom for a number of years (not J2, lol) I understand it a lot better now, even if it isn't my favourite modus operandi. Infidelity squicks a lot of people and writing break-ups with emotional authenticity can seriously weigh down your story. Divorce, for example, is usually a long and messy affair. If you want your two characters to get together at a specific canonical event but one of them is married, taking them through the whole process of separating from their wife and recovering sufficiently that they'd be in a reasonable spot to pursue a healthy relationship with someone else is... well, a lot to put them through even if most of it occurs off-screen. So serious girlfriends and wives get written out. Additionally, especially in RPF, many writers are uncomfortable with portraying non-public figures in their fiction. So no, I don't think all of the people who write women completely out of the story are doing it for misogynistic reasons. Some may be though and it's still a point of concern, definitely.

Okay, and finally while I agree with what you said about sexuality liberated women =/= whores, it's not precisely what I was saying in that spn_party post, lol. I was talking about how sex is often equated with evil. It's a huge trope in western media that evil women are portrayed as sexy vixens who use their sexuality as a weapon against men -- likely because it's often regarded as the one area in which a woman may have power over a man. But this is an extremely out-moded way of thinking and extremely inappropriate for the character I was referring to, who is old and powerful beyond measure. It frustrates me than a woman can't derive power from her cleverness, her innate strength, her economic prowess, social status or any other of avenues that men do. It's stupid. They would never have depicted Lucifer this way and tempting is what he DOES.



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Jukebox Hound

(no subject)

from: jukeboxhound
date: Mar. 7th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
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When I was still in HP fandom I loved Ginny as well, though I shipped slash pairings. I was sorely disappointed by the change in her characterization in...er, whichever book had her finally getting together with Harry, and like most of the relationships in that time period it felt like they were being forced, as though Rowling suddenly went SHIT SOME OF MY CHARACTERS ARE STILL SINGLE. I'm a little leery of your use of the word 'earned,' though I'm assuming you just meant that it wasn't plausibly developed? In which case I fully agree. I'd interpreted Lisa and Dean's relationship as an 'in love with what the other represents' sort of thing rather than a true love born of a years-ago weekend of kinky sex. We already know that Lisa had a thing for 'bad boys' and that Lisa was both Normal Home and Promise Made To Sam, and while it's entirely possible that they could've later come to love another for themselves, I don't think canon thus far really supports that. Why Lisa should bear the brunt of so many accusations I have no idea.

After posting I was rethinking my position on the 'eliminating the woman entirely' bit. I don't read RPF and my few fandoms have little in the way of canon het pairings, so when I've seen this done it was usually for reasons of just not wanting to deal with the character herself rather than for the reasons you described (avoiding the bitterness of divorce, etc). I think it comes down to be being a case-by-case judgment in the context of the fandom - and to be fair, that could be said for any fic, but arguably this kind in particular. By squee-harshing I meant more the idea that having the girls around ruins the story just by dint of being there and all girly.

Pfff, sorry, I think I did mishandle your comment. I would love to have a female villain that didn't use sex or sexuality as a weapon, even if in this case it's just because something like that wouldn't likely occur to a creature so old, powerful, and disdainful of humans. No, female sexuality isn't evil. What I was going off on was the more general trope, I guess, given that Eve is both sexual while looking 'virginal.' Or, alternately, Raphael's new female vessel; Raphael himself did nothing overt but Balthazar was immediately ready with "darling," "honey," and the like, which I don't remember him using for male characters despite his camp attitude.

But see, we had dental hygienist!Lilith to do the seducing for Lucifer. ...Although I suppose that since the main characters are all portrayed as straight, his seduction would've been more effective in a female form anyway. Bah.

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chibipinkbunny

What about Aerith?

from: chibipinkbunny
date: Mar. 27th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
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I've noticed more Aerith bashing/hating in FF 7 slash fics then I've noticed Tifa bashing. I don't know, maybe they're equal XD Perhaps it's because I read a lot of Zack/Cloud slash. It always amuses me how they deal with the Zack/Aerith situation. If you're writing a canon story in the Crisis Core timeline she's going to show up at some point. I suppose the best way to deal with it would be to make her a close friend if you want Zack and Cloud together. A lot of people just don't include her in Zack/Cloud slash story. I suppose it's easier to ignore her than to make her a bitch.

Meh. . . I'm not fond of any kind of character bashing and don't participate in it myself :/ There are quite a few FF 7 characters I'm not fond of, but I still try my best to write them in character. On another note the Clerith's tend to bash Tifa and the Cloti's tend to bash Aerith and it's really ridiculous. Well, I just don't read those sorts of fics. They just make me upset >_

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All's Fair in Love and War...

Re: What about Aerith?

from: artimusdin
date: Mar. 27th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
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The Tifa bashing was far, far more prevalent in the days of the first FF7 game fandom. The wars that would occur over Cloud/Tifa and Cloud/Aeris were epic. They also would turn Shera into a bitch in order to fuel their Cid/Vincent/Cid fics.

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