this idea in fandom that “fangirls” are ruining things is so laughable because invariably male-dominated fandom spaces are the least fun and most irritating
i’m lookin @ u westeros.org
It’s even worse in female-dominated fandoms that “fangirl” is STILL the preferred pejorative for less-than-ideal behavior.
Nah dudes are still worse. They’re the ones who came up with the idea that it’s bad to be a girl and like things. Not gonna blame girls for internalizing it, frustrating as that is.
I like to own the world and reclaim it. I’m a fangirl and it’s fucking awesome.
ETA: That is a typo, where “world” should be “word” but I kinda like it better.
Yeah and “fanwoman” is just mushy in my mouth. I prefer “fangirl” for purely phonetic purposes alone. Also being gushy and excitable and enthusiastic about things is girlish in and of itself and the sort of girlishness I don’t want to lose as I get old and crotchety and gradually turn into an even more of a jaded bohemian artsy type.
“Fangirl” is a fine word for all the reasons you give here.
you know you’re in
Dragon Ageany fandom ever when minor male NPCs that show up for like 1 sidequest get more love and attention from fans than female characters who are actual party members
So very not unique to DA fandom.
Please don’t construe this as me picking on you or anyone else who’s reblogged this post — but what does it matter who other fans like or don’t like? If you feel that your favorite female characters aren’t getting enough attention, then just give them some yourself. Get the conversation started. You never know who else might be interested in these characters, and all it takes is one rock to start an avalanche. I’ve experienced this firsthand — I’ve gotten just as many notes and asks over my posts on Jody Mills or Merrill, for example, as I have for the ones on Dean Winchester or Anders.
Also consider that many online fandoms these days are dominated by heterosexual women. Straight women are curious about and drawn to the actions and emotions of men, just as straight men are curious about and intrigued by the actions and emotions of women. It’s not bad, and certainly not anything to be ashamed about.
Indeed, what I love about Tumblr is that finally, finally, there’s a space online where women can discuss male characters to our hearts’ content, and nobody can successfully drown out our perspective. Every other forum or bulletin board I’ve ever participated in has been dominated by men and male interests — and god, there’s only so many Firefly discussions I can stomach about who’d be the better girlfriend, Kaylee or Inara, you know?
I certainly agree that one of the most awesome things about media fandom (which is practiced in many places besides Tumblr; this is just where fandom is most active at the moment) is that it’s largely about women celebrating what they love, through discussions and creative work, and because of the nature of the media we follow, many of those conversations are going to be about men. I would never tell anyone they were wrong for loving the characters, ‘ships, and/or universes that they love. But a couple of things:
1. I find “write it/draw it/meta about it yourself” not to be a useful response in this sort of discussion. First, it assumes that everyone is a creator. Not everyone writes fic, or creates artwork, or feels comfortable writing up meta. Creators need an audience. It’s true that a lot of fandom operates on an exchange basis — writers and artists creating for each other — but still, without the large and varied community of reviewers and lurkers, fandom would be a lot smaller and less interesting. Also, it assumes that the complainant isn’t already doing it themselves, when very often, they are, and the reason they bring it up is because they feel alone, because they’re missing that audience.
2. My point in reblogging the OP was not to call out any individual person for loving what they love, because see above. We create what we want to create, and overall I think that’s a wonderful thing. What I wish for in fandom is a space where we can really take a step back and do some critical thinking about why. Why are we (general we) drawn to these particular characters, ‘ships, universes? Why do we tend to focus our serious attention on the men and not the women? Why do we tend to erase the female characters, intentionally or unintentionally?
It’s not about calling anyone out or shaming them; it’s about owning our choices and accepting their ramifications, and challenging each other to push out of our comfort zones every so often. Because that, for me, is the other awesome thing about fandom: the way we challenge each other’s assumptions and push the boundaries of our understanding, whether about the source media or the world at large. And if we can do it in a way that celebrates women and female characters, so much the better.
This is the answer I was trying to go for, without the knee-jerk irritation that comes with this topic for me. So yes. This.
Article: Nerds and Male Privilege
This is a very interesting article. What do you think- is it an accurate representation of the nerd world? Follow the links to read the complete article.
I want to tell you a story.
A few years ago, I was dating a girl who was decidedly not nerd curious. She tolerated my geeky interests with a certain bemused air1 but definitely didn’t participate in ‘em… not even setting foot inside a comic store on new comic day. She’d wait outside until I was done… which could be a while, since I was friends with several of the staff.
She came in the store exactly once, after I’d explained that no, it’s a pretty friendly place… well lit, spacious, organized and with helpful – and clearly identified – staff members who were willing to bend over backwards to make sure their customers were satisfied.
She was in there for less than 4 minutes before one mouth-breathing troglodyte began alternately staring at her boobs – evidently hoping that x-ray vision could develop spontaneously – and berating her for daring to comment on the skimpy nature of the costumes – in this case, Lady Death and Witchblade. She fled the premises, never to return.
When both the manager and I explained to him in no uncertain terms as to what he did wrong he shrugged his shoulders. “Hey, I was just trying to help you guys! She couldn’t understand that chicks can be tough and sexy! Not my fault she’s a chauvinist,” he said.
And that was when I shot him, your honor.
So with that example in mind, let’s talk about a subject I’ve touched on before: Male Privilege and how it applies to geeks and – more importantly – geek girls.
Male Privilege: What Is It, Exactly?
I don’t think I’m breaking any news or blowing minds when I point out that geek culture as a whole is predominantly male. Not to say that women aren’t making huge inroads in science fiction/fantasy fandom, gaming, anime and comics… but it’s still a very male culture. As such, it caters to the predominantly male audience that makes it up. This, in turn leads to the phenomenon known as male privilege: the idea that men – most often straight, white men – as a whole, get certain privileges and status because of their gender.
(Obvious disclaimer: I’m a straight white man.)
In geek culture, this manifests in a number of ways. The most obvious is in the portrayal of female characters in comics, video games and movies. Batman: Arkham City provides an excellent example.
To start with, we have three of the male characters of Arkham City:
Then we have three of the female characters:
Notice how the differences in how they’re portrayed and costumed? The men are fully clothed and deadly serious. They are clearly defined: the mighty hero, the ominous villains.
The women are all about sex, sex, sexy sextimes. With maybe a little villainy thrown in for flavor. They may be characters, but they’re also sexual objects to be consumed.
I will pause now for the traditional arguments from my readers: these characters are all femme fatales in the comics, all of the characters in the Arkham games are over-the-top, the men are just as exaggerated/sexualized/objectified as the women. Got all of that out of your systems? Good.
Because that reaction is exactly what I’m talking about.
Article continues here
Mary Sue, what are you? or why the concept of Sue is sexist
Looks like this essay was needed, so I went ahead and did it. Not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I tried.
So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly. They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.
God, what a Mary Sue.
I just described Batman.
Wish fulfillment characters have been around since the beginning of time. The good guys tend to win, get the girl and have everything fall into place for them. It’s only when women started doing it that it became a problem.
TV Tropes on the origin of Mary Sue:
Notice the strange emphasis on female here. TV Tropes goes on to say that is took a long time for the male counterpart “Marty Stu” to be used. “Most fanfic writers are girls” is given as the reason. So when women dominate a genre, that means people are on close watch, ready to scorn any wish fulfillment they may engage in. This term could only originate if the default was female.
In fact, one of the CONTROVERSIES listed on the TV Tropes page is if a male sue is even possible. That’s right, it’s impossible to have an idealizied male character. Men are already the ideal.
In our culture, male tends to be the default. Women take on the distaff parts. “Him” and “mankind” are what humanity are, “her” and “womankind” are secondary. Yet this isn’t true for Mary Sue as a term. That name was created first. It was a Star Trek fic that coined it and the female desigination was likely a big reason it caught on. This female is name the default to use when describing idealized characters. Marty Stu and Gary Stu are only to be used if you’re discussing men specifically. Heck, there isn’t even an agreed upon term for them. So the only time female can be default is when discussing a badly written character, someone who is more powerful or important or liked than they should be allowed to be, someone the plot focuses on more than you would like, someone you don’t want to read about. Hmmm.
What’s really wrong with a thirteen year old girl having a power fantasy, even if it’s badly written? Who is it hurting? Men have baldly admitted to writing power fantasies and self inserts since the beginning of time. How many nerdy, schlubby guys suddenly become badasses and have hot girls chasing after them in fiction? See: Spiderman- blatant everyman who happens to stumble across amazing powers and catch the eye of a supermodel. Mary Sue is considered the worst insult to throw at a character as it renders them worthless. But since when are idealized characters automatically worthless? Aren’t all heroes idealized in some way? Don’t all heroes represent the author in some way? Aren’t these characters supposed to be people we look up to, people who represent human potential, the goodness that we strive for? Fantasy by nature is idealized, even the tragic ones.
If you look at the TV Tropes page for Mary Sue, it’s ridiculous. You can be a sue for having too many flaws, or not enough, for fixing things or messing things up, for being a hero or a villain. And of course, this is specifically pointed out as a trope related to the Princess and Magical Girl genres- genres aimed towards women are naturally full of Mary Sues. Magical girls are powerful and heroic and actually flaunt femininity as a good thing. They are a power fantasy designed for girls. So of course, a girl using traditionally feminine traits to dominate and triumph means she’s a sickeningly pure Mary Sue who makes everything go their way. Feminine traits are disdained and look down on, so when the positive feminine traits are prominent, the reader has an aversive reaction. How can a character be so feminine and triumph? She must be unrealistic, she must be badly written, because everyone knows it is impossible to be feminine and powerful.
Let’s look at what kinds of Mary Sues people will point to. People will claim a female character is a Mary Sue if she is a love interest. Put a female character within a foot of a male character, and people will scream “Mary Sue!” Why does someone falling in love with her make her a Mary Sue? Well, she hasn’t “earned” this awesome dude character’s love. What has she done to show she’s worthy of him? Fans miss the irony that this line of logic makes the male character seem more like the Sue in Question, as he’s apparently so perfect one has work for his coveted love and praise.
The idea that woman has to “earn” any power, praise, love, or plot prominence is central to Mary Sue. Men do not have to do this, they are naturally assumed to be powerful, central and loveable. That’s why it’s the first thing thrown at a female character- what has she done to be given the same consideration as a male character? Why is she suddenly usurping a male role? “Mary Sue” is the easiest way to dismiss a character. It sounds bad to say “I don’t like this female character. I don’t like that this woman is powerful. I don’t like it when the plot focuses on her. I don’t like that a character I like has affections for her.” But “Mary Sue” is a way to say these things without really saying them. It gives you legitimacy.
If a character is badly written, there’s generally something much more problematic than idealization going on. The plot will be dull and the character will perpetuate harmful stereotypes while other characters act oddly. For instance, Bella Swan is one of the only characters I’d even begin to classify as a Mary Sue, yet it’s not really her supposed Mary Sue traits that bother me. I don’t mind that she gets what she wants and everyone loves her, that she’s Meyer’s power fantasy. What I actually mind is that Stephenie Meyer has her perpetuate harmful anti-woman stereotypes- women need to be protected, women are shallow, women’s worth rests in desirability. That’s what’s actually harmful about her and worth discussing. I would criticize that rather than even get to the fact Bella got to be “too perfect and powerful”- that’s just a tiny, insignificant thing not worth mentioning in a huge pile of problems.
And that’s why I don’t call characters Mary Sue anymore. There’s really nothing bad about a power fantasy or wish fulfillment. It’s what’s fiction’s about. If one of my characters is called a Sue, I’ll proudly say “yep”, because that must mean that she broke out of that box a female character is supposed to be in. So I’ll go and say it: I love me some Mary Sues.
Reblogging for great truth.
It doesn’t make you racist or sexist to mod a game.
The fuck. NO.
Not all modders are racist or sexist, that is true, but some of the mods end up being like that anyway. Whitesabela has already been pointed out under a different branch of this, so I’ll just state All The Feels I have about the issue.
Whiting up a character’s skin—when there are very few non-whatever-Theodosian-counts-as-white characters as is—counts as racism. It takes away from what is already a small pool and pushes it back towards a ‘pale is beautiful, anything that’s not is ugly’ aesthetic.
And if all your team ladies are going around in gold slave bikinis when there really aren’t any in game, and it’s not part of the character to do such things, that’s sexist too. Some player just went out of the way to strip away (pun not intended) what makes the character unique and objectify them. Sure, they’re a mage or a warrior or they will save the world. But first and foremost they are here to titillate me with this slave bikini.
Maybe a modder’s not out to discriminate. Maybe they’re just fulfilling a demand. But when the demand is to pull a character back to some arbitrary standard of what makes a pretty, to erase non-whiteness, to turn a kossith into a human because they’re fugly or to turn all the elves into humans because ugh, elves, they make me uncomfortable, they have aided the racism(or in this case, speciesism) in such a demand—whether the people making the demand is conscious of it or no.
Aiding diversity of representation is not an -ism. Taking away from it is.
Bolding for the most important parts, oh yes.
Beautifully put. Modding on its own is not inherently discriminatory. It’s the way we mod, the types of changes we feel compelled to make, that can veer into uncomfortable territory. Do you know what one of the number one mods on the Nexus is right now? The one that dumps all the female characters—including Meredith—into sexy bikinis and fetish boots. It implies the women in this game are here strictly for exploitative purposes, to say nothing of the fact that this is one of the few games where women are powerful authority figures who can be forces for good or ill, who serve all the same roles men do. It cheapens their roles. Maybe not intentionally, but you know what…unintentional discrimination is just as bad as intentional bigotry.
Reblogging for truth.