I See A Lot Of Posts Going Around (Suppressing Women's Sexuality)

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Title: I See A Lot Of Posts Going Around (Suppressing Women's Sexuality) (title here on Fanlore)
Creator: buckyballbearing
Date(s): August 15, 2016
Medium: Tumblr post
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I See A Lot Of Posts Going Around (Suppressing Women's Sexuality) is a Tumblr post by buckyballbearing.

As of August 31, 2016, it had over 10,000 notes. The original post ("OP") is now deleted.

The post was one of many in 2015 and 2016 focusing on the suitability of dark themes in fan fiction and whether, and under what circumstances, such fan fiction should continue to be published and consumed in the fandom world.

Similar posts made around the same time include "Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint" (2016), "Fandom is not your safe space" (2015), and "I think the general mindset and culture of Tumblr is effecting what people choose to write about in fic" (2015).

Due to the difficulty of tracking and following tumblr posts and discussions, only a representative sampling of the vigorous debate stirred by the essay can be offered below. The majority of the selections are offered without commentary in order to better recreate the flow of the conversation as it happened. The responses are divided into rough, sometimes simplistic, topic headings and many selections may cover multiple points.

Context

The context surrounding the original post was never explicitly discussed, but buckyballbearing and several of the early participants were members of the Marvel Universe fandom. They may have been influenced by the criticisms of an Agents of Shield fan writer who found herself the focus of fans who felt that fiction addressing sexual abuse was not an appropriate topic for fan fiction. The criticism stretched over a year period starting in 2014 and continuing through 2015.

As one fan explained in August 2016:

"Recently we’ve been looking at problematic fanfiction - should it be written? Should it be read? Should it be criticized? Should those criticizing it be criticized? Should we tag? What should we tag? Is tagging harmful? Is talking about tagging censorship? The list is endless and recursive.

So here is some context from 1 year ago. A fan writes a story about rape. She tags it with the pairing name and also warns for rape. Canonically, the pairing has a twisted and unhealthy relationship on screen. But many fans find it romantic. The writer does not. In fact, the writer sees her fic as way of exploring some dark things in her own life. And the fic also expresses her own vision of the onscreen relationship.

What follows may be the basis for some of the fandom policing meta posts you may have seen on tumblr over the past year. And warning: it is disturbing and awful and yes, there is talk of rape and there is victimizing victims of rape."[1]

The Original Post

I see a lot of posts going around talking about the need to be critical of fanfic, and how we gotta watch out for the messages we’re sending

Well, here’s one thing I’m gonna need us to be critical about:

Every statistic I’ve ever seen says fanfic authors are heavily female (or nb)

And Tumblr, which is a fairly US-centric cross-section of fandom, is filled with this discourse about fanfic writers who create pornography

I need us to stop and think about why we’ve decided that fictional sex is the most damaging thing anyone could ever find on the internet

I need us to think about the culture we live in, which encourages us to be sexually available (to straight men) but punishes us if we (sluts) enjoy it

Because here’s the thing: fanfic is not coming from a position of power and prestige in our society

It is a niche genre primarily written by women, for women, for free

And it is a place where many of us do find power in exploring our own sexuality (or asexuality)

Even when that exploration takes us to gritty, horrifying (or cathartic) places

I’m going to need us to think long and hard about why we’re prioritizing fictional characters over the needs of real women

And I’m going to need it to stop [2]

Reactions to the Post

Is This About Controlling Women's Sexuality?

[itsbuckybitch]:

Fandom purity wank is absolutely about control over women and women’s sexuality. There’s nothing ambiguous about it.

Just think about the hot-button issues in the fannish community, the topics that consistently and reliably get people worked up into a lather, the themes that provoke the nastiest conflicts and inspire the most dedicated resistance movements. Think about the fights that are most likely to spill out over their cyber boundaries and start affecting people in the real world - in public harassment at cons, in doxxing and ‘outing’ to family and employers, in malicious legal allegations.

It’s about sex. It’s always about sex.

From the constant tantrums over ‘problematic’ shipping to the righteous doxxing of ‘pedophiles’ (which in current tumblr parlance means anyone who draws or writes canonically underage characters in romantic or erotic scenarios), fandom’s big efforts at moral reform always seem to revolve around restricting and controlling the sexual expression of the majority-women community. You won’t meet many people who stay up past their bedtime to scream at strangers on the internet about unethical portrayals of non-sexual violence - unless, of course, they suspect the women involved in its creation are getting off on it. You’ll struggle to find an anti blog dedicated to the insidious social ills of torture whump fic, or goopy hurt-comfort where all manner of human suffering is put on display for the viewer’s enjoyment. The purity crew dress up their agenda as a desire for collective self-improvement and raised moral standards, but they don’t seem too worried about aspects of public morality that don’t somehow tie back into sex. What they’re upset about is the same thing conservative minds have been upset about since basically the dawn of time - there are women out there in the world doing icky sex things without the permission of their communities.

And these people, these moral guardians, they’ve gotten really good at couching their fundamentalist views in progressive language. They don’t say ‘you’re to blame if you provoke men to rape’ - they say ‘your fic normalises sexual violence and contributes to rape culture’. They don’t say ‘women ought to be chaste’ - they say ‘your fantasies are socially harmful and you owe it to the world to be more self-critical’. The messages are the same and the desired outcomes are literally identical.

The core assumption underlying all of it - an assumption that I’m sure our puritan forebears would find deeply comforting - is that women’s sexual expression is a matter of public concern, and that women are directly responsible for upholding the moral standards of their communities by restricting themselves to a narrow repertoire of publicly controlled, socially condoned sexual outlets. Anything beyond that repertoire is a grave moral breach.

To anyone who’s reading this - and there’s always a few - thinking, “this is just deflection! [X hot-button topic] is really bad and harmful!’, I’d like to encourage you to sit back for just a moment and think about why it is, exactly, that you feel the best and most important place to wage your war against moral corruption is in one of the only pockets of popular media that women unequivocally control. Of all the spaces in the world where you could be fighting for your view of a better society, you’ve chosen a place where women come together to share the fantasies that mainstream culture refuses to let them indulge. Why? [3]

One of the early responses to itsbuckybitch's post came from lokislacefront who argued that raising the question of suppressing women's sexuality was an attempt to avoid accountability by those writing harmful fiction:

[lokislacefront in response to itsbuckybitch]: Just because something is written by women/nonbinary people doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be mindful of the harm it may perpetuate across other axes of oppression. Most of us criticizing it sit at the intersections of multiple axes of oppression and ARE fighting these problems in mainstream media. It’s actually possible to care about the problems in fanfiction while caring about other things.

Please stop trying to act like calls to be critical of fanfiction are coming mostly from a place of patriarchal attempts to control women’s sexuality when the vast majority come from marginalized people trying to get writers to fucking think before creating content that is just as racist, classist, ableist, sexist, whorephobic, etc. as the stuff that’s being created by rich, able-bodied, neurotypical, straight cis white men. This is one of the most ridiculous, transparent attempts to avoid accountability I’ve ever seen. [4]

itsbuckybitch responded by pointing out that women's sexuality is under constant attack, and that fandom activism that adopts similar tactics is indistinguishable from suppression:

[itsbuckybitch in response to lokislacefront]: here are some pretty major claims here – ‘most people are also fighting in other spheres’, ‘the vast majority of antis are marginalised people fighting X-ism’ – that ring utterly untrue to my own experience of would-be fandom censors. You’re also leaving out a lot of power differentials that define your crusade against ‘immoral’ fanfic.

There is the issue of lopsidedness – that fanfiction is not exerting a cultural influence ‘just as racist, classist, ableist, sexist, whorephobic, etc.’ as mainstream fiction. You can’t tell me that you believe an amateur author writing shonky free erotica about other people’s fictional characters, for an audience of maybe a few thousand on average, is causing the same kind of harm as a rich white man producing blockbuster movies or prime time TV shows.

There is the fact that making vicious blog posts ‘calling out’ problematic content – which is what I assume you mean by ‘fighting problems in mainstream media’ – has a very different human impact on fan authors than it does on real authors. You’re not ‘punching up’ when you attack fanfic. You’re attacking your own peer group, who are vulnerable to your attacks in ways that mainstream producers simply are not.

And there is the point I made above, which I’ll repeat again: ‘fandom critics’ direct a truly disproportionate amount of their effort towards fandom sexual content. You can’t walk into a room full of women, start berating them about sexual morality, and then act confused and indignant that they’re equating you with all the other strangers berating them about sexual morality. You, random tumblr stranger, do not occupy a unique position of moral authority in the world. You’re one of many, many, many people bombarding women like me with the message that our fantasies are corrupt and wrong. It’s not my job to differentiate you from all those others whose cause you don’t support. Your tactics are the same.

If your ‘activism’ is literally indistinguishable from the behaviour of patriarchal assholes, that’s on you. Shouting at me for ‘misconstruing’ your intentions won’t change anything. [5]

lokislacefront, in turn argued, that fanfiction authors are hold a privileged position over their readers and bad fan writers contribute to oppression and are therefore never above critique:

[lokislacefront in response to itsbuckybitch]:

You don’t get to “explore your sexuality” at the expense of marginalized people and pretend you’re not causing harm. Being a woman doesn’t change that. Not being paid for your writing doesn’t change that. The fact that other creators reach more people and can cause more widespread harm doesn’t change the fact that YOU ARE ALSO CAUSING HARM and does not exonerate you of your responsibility to give a shit about people other than yourself.

Every single person I’ve seen discussing the need to be critical of fanfiction has been someone effected by the oppressions perpetuated in fanfic. And every one also calls for the same accountability in popular media. I’d really like to see the examples people are claiming are some kind of sexual repression enforcement. I’d bet money that’s not what’s happening at all.

Fanfiction authors aren’t a marginalized group. They have power to harm people they have privilege over. Their work reaches other people and influences them as well. I’m not punching down as a disabled, neurodivergent, sex working, nonbinary queer person discussing fanfiction that perpetuates oppressive attitudes toward myself and others like me or people even further marginalized than myself. It’s not punching down for readers of color to bring up fanfic’s MAJOR problem with racism. It’s the definition of punching up. You don’t have to be a rich white male movie producer to be oppressive with your work.

Oh, and another thing: shitty, oppressive shit in your work MAKES YOUR WORK SHITTY. It ruins what could’ve been really good work. If I had a dollar for every time I bailed on an otherwise well-written fic because the author decided to compare a character’s skin color to food, or use a slur, or whatever other aggression they thought was cool to do, I’d have enough for a down payment on a car.

Y'all can do better. Good writers listen to criticism. It’s how you get better. I can think of several people to whom I’ve said something like, “Hey, this thing in your story is harmful,” who responded with apologies and corrections. They didn’t pitch a hissy fit and whine because they care and because they’re good writers whose work doesn’t rely on shitty tropes for “edge.” If you can’t successfully explore the themes you’re writing about without being an oppressive shit, guess what? YOU’RE A BAD WRITER.

Edited to add: Receiving critique is a part of making art. If you can’t handle good-faith critique of your work, feel free to keep your work private. [6]

cyberdyke-industries, after reading the exchange above, felt obligated to point out that the original post was discussing writers who explored "dark themes" and not problematic tropes which should be critiqued. She then stated that shaming writers was an attempt to intimidate them:

[cyberdyke-industries in response to both lokislacefront and itsbuckybitch]:

Just so we’re clear on this, OP is probably speaking about sexual darkfic in particular, rather than things such as offhanded slurs and skin color/food comparisons, which are admittedly more often the result of lazy writing. Darkfic writers choose to portray terrible things, that’s the definition of the genre. And OP is not talking about good faith critiques, they’re talking about the active harassment which darkfic authors receive, regardless of how painstakingly they tag their work for any indecency their characters commit.

“You’re garbage, your stories are garbage” is not meant to critique. It’s an (ineffective, toothless) attempt to silence.

Talking about “calls to accountability” is pointless and meaningless, as you know, since in your next sentence you talk about the implausibility of sexual repression enforcement. Accountability to who, and under what standards? We have no hold over each other, and have no shared community that’s cohesive enough to form a useful consensus on what is or isn’t decent, and no means to enforce those standards anyway. You can say “Subatomic narrative particle X is oppressive” and someone else can say “well I disagree” and then that’s just…a stalemate. Actually, it’s the same stalemate that we find ourselves in right now! You’re critical of me, I’m critical of you, I can’t make you shut up, and you can’t make me shut up. I can make my friends angry at you, and you can make your friends angry at me, and maybe send each other unpleasant words, but that’s it.

I have no interest in being accountable to you or anyone like you. The only thing you can do is try to convince me that I’m a Bad person, and that I should obey you in order to become Good. You’re trying to exert power over me by shaming me morally. You, a rude stranger on the Internet. I resent that. [7]

glorious-spoon agreed with cyberdyke-industries and argued that criticizing the writer instead of criticizing the writer could have the effect of erasing people from the fandom community:

[glorious-spoon in response to cyberdyke-industries]:

There’s a difference between criticizing fic and flaming it, this is literally fucking fandom 101.

“Yo, comparing X character’s skin color to chocolate is overdone and kinda racist, maybe find another metaphor” is a criticism. It’s specific and actionable.

“You’re worthless scum for writing this pairing, you need to STOP WRITING THIS PAIRING” is a flame. It is not specific, and the only way to act on it is by literally disappearing.

This isn’t rocket science.

Also, all the people who are SO UPSET that ficcers are writing about rape can come back and talk to me when they show some evidence of giving a fuck about the horrifically inaccurate portrayals of, for example, war and war violence in fic. Any takers? No? I wonder why that is. [8]

bi-bookrobin disagreed with glorious-spoon and felt that critique of fiction that romanticize dark themes should not be controversial:

[bi-bookrobin in response to glorious-spoon]: I’ve been raped but I haven’t been to war so you know. I choose my battles carefully I guess.

Anyway, it shouldn’t be this controversial to say “romanticizing rape and abuse is bad, romanticized pedophilia is bad, sometimes fanfic needs to be criticized.”

Also there was nothing in OP’s post to make the distinction you later try to make for them.

You can’t say you want to be empowered women and then go “don’t criticize my work bc I’m a women and i should be allowed to fetishize gay men and rape and abuse without being called out on it bc I find it sexy.” [9]

glorious-spoon then attempted to bring some badly needed context by referring to incidents in the Marvel Universe fandom community where women were harassed for writing about sexual violence, while women who wrote about torture were left alone:

[glorious-spoon in response to bi-bookrobin]: "It shouldn’t be controversial to say ‘harassing and doxxing people because of fictional stories they write on the internet is bad,’ but hey, apparently that needs to be said too."

The OP’s post is in the context of a trend in MCU in particular of criticizing, flaming, and outright harassing women for writing explicit fics about rape and other forms of sexual violence. It’s in the context of people who are openly, happily fans of movies like, say, the Captain America franchise – which depicts a brutal sequence of torture, brainwashing, and dehumanization – who shit on women who write much the same thing with a sexual element to the abuse. It’s not about people being critiqued for writing rape badly but about people being criticized (and worse) for writing about rape at all. Maybe you weren’t familiar with that context; now you know.

It’s not about choosing your battles. Choosing your battles is saying ‘yes, I think both of these things are bad, but I can only focus my energy on this one right now because it’s the one that hits me where I live.’ It is not saying ‘I’m fine with finding catharsis and entertainment in fictional depictions of brutal violence as long as it isn’t sexual because I understand the difference between portraying something and endorsing it, but people who find catharsis and entertainment in fictional depictions of sexual violence are directly responsible for perpetuating rape culture.’

tl;dr, there’s a long distance between ‘huh, have you noticed that the bulk of the ire for depicting Bad Things in fiction falls squarely on the heads of a primarily female group writing non-normative depictions of sexual violence, maybe we should talk about why that is’ and ‘waahh i should never be criticized ever’ [10]

Recasting Certain Types of Fan Fiction As Sinning, and Fan Writers as Sinners

[norcumi in response to zefram-cockring]:

THIS is why the current trend to refer to smut in fanfic as “sin” is quite so worrying. Sex is not wrong. Enjoying pleasure and feeling good are not things to be ashamed of. If you don’t enjoy them, if you are asexual or aromantic or have a low to nonexistent libido, that is all just as fine as enjoying them, or reading or writing about them. Some defaults are more common than others; that doesn’t make any of them unnatural. There is no One True approach.

Western history has a tend of being terrified of women enjoying their bodies, their relationships, their experiences. If we “sin” in doing so, people can point to it and say it is wrong, there is some higher power – holy or societal – that disapproves. Please don’t fall into this mental trap, even in jest or sarcasm. Normalizing “sexual things as bad” is just continuing this problem. [11]

[onceuponamirrorin response to norcumi]:

I agree with protecting female spaces for expression, but I also think that calling anyone with a problem with, say, dub-con/non-con or sexual violence, a bible-thumping puritan is seriously trivializing the issue, particularly when it triggers memories or situations that relate to domestic abuse.

Some points in this post make me feel like they’re arguing there’s shame in being triggered or wanting to talk about representation. How can someone say that discussing a “hot button issue” (as it was put) is the same as saying all women “ought to be chaste”? That’s a huge exaggeration. The outcome isn’t identical at all—critically looking at a “hot button issue” like sexual violence in no way means saying no sex for women.

That’s not to say that I would advocate for people to start going into inboxes and policing things they don’t agree with; a lot of points in this post are right because much of the perception of fanfiction is that it’s weird horny girls with self-insertion fantasies, which in and of itself already directly shames girls for being horny and having sexualities. It’s also true that a lot of issues in fandom do revolve around sex, and in a lot of ways, very negatively.

But western society (can’t speak to the others, as I’m not a part of them) DOES normalize sexual violence, especially in media, which DOES effect women in legitimately abusive real world situations, and I think as women, we have more than the right to discuss those representations in our space.

I’m not asking for an individual list of justification from anyone who writes about that “hot button issue.” I don’t read or seek out what I know will directly trigger me. But I am allowed, in my space, on my blog, in my fandom, to be critical of things that I think, for example, normalize abuse, be they ships, storylines, or fics, because that effects my life as a woman.

I like smut in fics. I think fandom does a good job at encouraging girls to be openly interested in sex. But at the same time, in spaces largely controlled by women, there should be room for women to safely criticize/discuss the themes presented in media that directly effect us.

And this is just one element. What about racism in fics? Ableism? Transphobia? Sexualizing children? The precedent here sets someone up for a free pass fetishize anything harmful?

If you’ve been called out for writing something hurtful it’s on you to decide if you value the opinion of the other women you’re supposedly trying to protect from being marginalized. #fandom#fanfiction#feminism [12]

The Conversation Widens To Encompass More Than Sexuality: Racism and Trans/Homophobia

[suspendedsafinations in response to zefra cockring]:

"I would agree with this in almost all cases and those are the cases where it’s not about sex it’s about race. ..In those cases I will keep fucking complaining because being a woman doesn’t magically mean you’re entitled to a safe place to engage in the kind of behaviour that damages other minorities. Intersectionality abd supporting each other against the mainstream is super important.

But most of the time this yes all of this. You can take your moral outrage abd shove it up your arse you don’t have to read it and the worst and darkest of fix might be the thing that helps someone going through terrible things to compare their life to what they’re seeing and go “Wait reality check”.

95 percent of the time we deserve our space for this fantasy without being shamed or silenced [13]

[thedeadflag in response to zefram-cockring]:

I understand the argument here, but friendly reminder:

Writing works that fetishize entire social groups is horrendously wrong and violent, and is entirely worthy of any and all backlash sent in response. And it has nothing to do with policing women’s sexuality and a form of media women tend to have power in, it’s simply because harm is caused. And if we can stop harm by communicating, then that’s always a good thing.

Because, for instance, non-trans women writing content that fetishizes trans women is and will always be harmful. And trans women…being women in fandom…have every right to make a call to arms and try to keep non trans women from committing the same violence we face in all other areas of society and media. And yes, that’s a very important reason to ‘wage war’. Because non trans women writing about fetishized trans women is not a fantasy that mainstream culture refuses to let anyone indulge in. it’s the same violently transmisogynistic shit we put up with from cis men, wielded by non trans women in fandom, and we deserve so much better.

So yeah, good points on a bunch of this stuff, but yeah, there’s a limit. There are exceptions. Art will always have room for criticism, and don’t be naive…there is power wielded within fandom. Women can and do wield power. Intersectionality exists.

And the views expressed about trans women in fanfic reproduce harm against us in real life, and I’ve known trans women who have been victimized by them. We’re already vulnerable, we don’t need people who should be able to understand throwing us under the ‘creative freedoms’ bus. [14]
[amara1783]:

"But we also need to remember in this discussion that not all criticism is created equal. We need to listen to trans women and WoC when they criticise fandom and fic for being transmisogynist and racist. Which it all too often is.

Certain tropes are actively harming vulnerable people in our community, and while for the authors and readers they may be ways of processing harm inflicted by wider society in all its patriarchal/kyriarchal ghastliness, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to cause harm in turn.

I have certainly seen criticism in fandom that is about shaming women as described by OP. But criticism that points out harm by the people being harmed. We need to listen to that and do better to make fandom inclusive and welcoming for all, not just some of us.[15]

Sudden Shift In The Conversation Towards Pedophilia

One of the difficulties in following conversations on tumblr, is that posters are often responding to comments further up thread or possibly to comments not even in the thread. For example, at one point olderthannetfic wrote:

[olderthannetfic in response to esteefee's post below about the history of women's sexuality]:

Agreed. Women are shamed for exploring dark themes everywhere else. Fandom does not need to be a safe haven for people who never want to hear about that: the entire rest of the world is a safe haven for anti-kink, anti-sex, anti-woman feelings.

Ship and let ship, don’t like don’t read, and your kink is not my kink and that’s okay: these are the maxims that make fandom a welcoming, creative space [16]

Inexplicably, this seemingly generic comment led the tributary of the conversation towards pedophilia:

[thispainshallpassaway in response to olderthannetfic]:

"The way this conversation is being phrased regarding pedophilia is revolting, “Oh those Tumblr nuts, considering people pedophiles for creating sexual depictions of minors”. The fact that you’re shoveling the simulated child porn under the category of “a kink women have a right to explore” is disgusting. You can make your point about the hyper-critical nature of how society interacts with women without trying to defend child porn in cartoon/fanfiction. It’s not okay to take the issue of society controlling women’s sexuality and use it to endorse sexual depictions of minors. [17]

[acedickscourse responds to olderthannetfic]: "My mind is completely fucking blown at the reach here and I cannot believe you actually tried spin this to make everyone else the bad guy here

If you’re doing something problematic then you deserve to be criticized and it has nothing to do with being anti-woman. You don’t get a free pass to be gross because you’re a woman.

-stop sexualizing children

-stop making children’s shows fandoms unsafe for children

-stop writing fic that presents abusive and unhealthy relationships as ideal and romantic (not “stop writing them altogether” just stop acting like its romantic)

-stop fetishizing gay men holy shit straight women are the worst offenders of this and I absolutely will call out a woman fetishizing gay men the same as I’d call out a man fetishizing lesbians your awful fan fiction that does not in any way represent gay men is hurting gay men and I do not give a single shit if you think that’s oppressing your sexuality to say so or “prioritizing the needs of men over women” (more like prioritizing the needs of straight people over LGBT ew)

-stop acting like legitimate criticisms are “policing women’s sexuality” holy fucking shit I cannOT [18]

[gonesherlocking in response to olderthannetfic and esteefee]: "i can’t believe these people are trying to spin underage boys and girls asking for people to stop treating pedophilia as a normal/good/kinky thing (and doing messed up shit like fancasting real child actors in fics that involve adults raping children) as people “oppressing women’s sexuality”

i don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, if you’re making publicly available media that romanticizes harming and raping children, you’re being a piece of shit. you can make that shit private to your specific community if you insist on posing it online. you can tag it so people don’t just stumble upon it. you can put disclaimers before the actual fic to remind people this shit is not good and harms real people, even if it’s romanticized in the text (and yeah any kind of violent fanfic/fanart should probably be doing the same stuff but, let’s be real, abuse and violence isn’t romanticised in fanfic as much as underage sex, and it’s a lot easier to tell that someone kidnapping you and beating you up is a bad thing than it is to tell that that 40 year old who’s telling that 12 year old that they love them and want to protect them while using them for sex is a bad thing)

if you actually gave a shit about women who’s sexualities are oppressed in the context fandom why don’t you show some support for LBTQAIP+ women who are told that shipping a non-canon sex-gender couple is “fetishizing gay people” or women who are literally arrested in their own countries for writing NSFW fanfiction that involves same sex couples or black women who are constantly being hyper-sexualized (e.g. treated as a “dark, amoral seductress”) while being systematically erased from their own stories?

fuck spending literally any energy defending pedophilia or equating enjoying “kinky” sex between two concenting adults and adults abusing children tbh [19]

One commentator pointed out that in her years of reading darkfic online, she had only come across two instances of fan fiction that felt like it was written by and for pedophile:

[chelonianmobile]:

"I can recall two instances of fanfic written by presumably-cis attracted-to-women male writers which came across as huge red flags. (”Hogwarts Exposed[20] and “Head of Black”,[21] I can rant for hours on how creepy those were.) Two in fifteen years of online fanfic reading and ten years specifically seeking out dark material."[22]

But Is It Pedophilia To Write Or Read Underage FanFiction?

[itsbuckybitch wrote in response to avoidcats tags]: #like i agree about criticisms and about the need to crack down on problematic things that aren’t just shipping #(tho i see a lot of talking about racism and trans/homophobia in fandom) #but writing about children fucking is literally pedophilia

It “literally” is not.

Molesting and abusing children is literally pedophilia. Grooming children for molestation and abuse is literally pedophilia. Viewing and disseminating actual child porn is literally pedophilia.

Teenage shippy fanfiction is not literally pedophilia. It’s not even figuratively pedophilia, and I don’t buy for one split second that any of the people trying to derail this post with ~but think of the children~ actually believe that the entire Harry Potter fandom is a malicious network of predators. It is so, so incredibly belittling of CSA survivors to equate their actual real-world suffering with the benign hobbies of fucking Katniss/Peeta shippers. It is so, so cynical and disrespectful to use real live vulnerable children as a weapon in your goddamn ship wars.

Pedophilia is not a joke. It’s not an accusation to sling at anyone who pisses you off on the internet. It’s an incredibly real, incredibly serious issue and I am so, so tired of seeing it trivialised. [23]
[vastderp wrote in response to scartissuesoul]:

"i don’t like shitty stories that portray those things as positive or romantic either. i think some people are dicks and write shitty things. somehow, i’ve managed to not trigger any sexual abuse survivors by calling them pedophiles, especially as an accident. i try not to throw the P word around because of how bad it can be when it hits the wrong person, and how much i hate seeing it used as nothing more than a synonym for “person who made me upset”. if you don’t like getting the same reaction from three separate people, i have some suggestions:

*nix the random use of “pedophile” for your opponent. it has a meaning. stop diluting that.

  • do not allow the word “if” into an apology for accidentally calling someone a pedophile. if, in an apology, is actually an acronym. it’s short for “Insincere Flounce!”

*do not follow up an apology for accidentally calling someone a pedophile with a joke about how you didn’t realize they were in NAMBLA, aka the north american man-boy love association, aka politically active pedophiles. maybe you thought your joke was funny, but i don’t.....

...let me ask you this: how are you able to tell the difference between a coping survivor and an abuser just by reading their story? please answer this, even if you ignore the rest. it’s important because i feel like the random accusations of child molestation have dragged us away from the point of the entire conversation (another reason why it’s a bad idea to throw around the P word) and muddled the debate.

to reiterate: how are you able to tell the difference between a coping survivor and an abuser writing for abusers? because from here, it looks like you’re making assumptions first, apologizing later, re-opening the original accusation, and victimizing people who maybe shouldn’t be expected to tell hostile internet strangers about the worst memories of their lives to make the cries of “you are a child molester for writing these things, please commit suicide immediately” go away.

it is not a survivor’s job to make you comfortable, or to earn your approval, with their writing. it is not a survivor’s job to reassure you that their pain keeps them from having any fun at all examining dark subject matter. it is not fair to presume that this kind of disclosure is owed to you. whether you mean to or not, putting writers on the spot for their subject matter and telling them you’re protecting survivors from them is demanding disclosure.

but if you are sincerely against abuse, it is your job to find the line between being critical of scary/triggering media and outright interrogating a creator for having those ideas in their dirty little head."[24]

The Existence of Slash Fiction Is Also Seen As Harmful

[nicolas-benedetto]:

"....And lash-fic is written primarily by women - especially STRAIGHT women - and it is JUST AS HARMFUL AND TOXIC in the way it bleeds outside of fandom as lesbian porn is with straight men. It fetishizes them and dehumanizes them. Do you have any idea how many women [I’ve personally known who would] stare at men and make explicit jokes at them about wanting them to kiss/fuck? Are you aware that many slash-fans really truly will spew vile accusations and filth at someone who doesn’t agree with their gay ship - even if the person who doesn’t agree is LGBT+ and they are not?...

....When we say that this stuff should be viewed more critically and people should really be more careful and wonder exactly WHY they’re expressing themselves with these harmful things- We aren’t trying to protect the fictional characters involved. We’re trying to protect the real-life people who will be affected by people thinking this is okay. We’re trying to help out the people who HAVE been affected by fanfiction telling these people that it’s okay."

#i mean i can understand if you think this stuff is localized to just the internet #but please learn that it's NOT #i'm talking from my real life experiences here. off the internet. #people who read this shit and then romanticized it and pulled it outside #and they aren't just a small localized group #please understand that the more this stuff comes about #the more it will leave the internet and bleed into everyday life #and really truly hurt innocent people#so please just... don't #agh but ALSO#i meant to add... #maybe there's stuff that i just haven't seen and i'm addressing the wrong things #and if that's the case then i'm sorry for going off the way that i did #i've just seen and known too many people personally affected very strongly and very negatively #because of the way things are portrayed in fanfic and fandom [25]
[we-trade-your-heroes-for-ghosts in response to nicolas-benedetto]:

Yeah I also agree with all of this, too. The creepy obsession with who’s a top or bottom that hypersexualizes and objectifies gay men, the faux moral superiority, the gross treatment of female characters who are “in the way”, the extension of the fetishization of gay men into real life, some examples of transphobia, intentional or not, all of that is real and icky.

On the flip side, though, I have actually seen people call it pedophilia to write two characters in their teens having sex, or even aging up characters first. (I even remember when John Green was accused of being a pedophile bc of this?) And I’ve seen posts demanding that m/m shippers stop making content and stop shipping (including fluffy nonsexual content) and I just can’t get behind that, because it doesn’t account for the multitude of reasons why women and nb people of all sexualities ship things, the persistent lack of developed female characters that also affects what people ship, and the lack of mainstream media catering to women and other genders. At its core shipping isn’t.. about sex, but about the relationship aspect, and I know fandom can be super gross but I can’t get behind a stance of “stop liking x thing because ___” especially when it’s aimed primarily at women because women still aren’t really allowed to… enjoy things? Especially romantic, “girly” things..

But yeah I hope this doesn’t seem dismissive of the legitimate problems, but instead critical of the black&white “this is bad and so are you” mindset that a lot of Tumblr adopts when something is problematic and I think it really is more complicated than that. I’ve seen people take policing to its Tumblr extreme, and while I don’t want to invalidate anyone who is offended or upset by something bc they have every right to be, I also think most things are too complex to warrant the censorship that Tumblr calls for at times.

#i am also a lot younger and have very much filtered my fandom experience #so there is a lot of gross stuff that goes on that i have noped right out of #while ive seen fandom be super sweet and awesome i don't wanna make it seem like it can't be harmful #hopefully this makes sense? #i only have my experiences and feelings and i don't want to invalidate someone else [26]
{arinrowan]: "This also reminds me of a post I saw recently. The post was about gay men, and was saying that women loving yaoi or slash are to blame for gay men being unable to find healthy relationships in yaoi or slash fiction, and that basically women need to stay out of yaoi or slash. As someone who is queer, biologically female, and genderqueer, I have to admit I’m dubious whenever cis gay men start claiming that women are ruining everything, and I think this really ties into why I felt uncomfortable with their claims.[27]

Is The Source Of The Criticism Unexamined Baggage?

[vulgarweed]: "I think a lot of the crusaders are young women who have a lot of unexamined baggage about sexuality, especially their own desires and fantasies. They go ballistic over stories about sex and romance involving underage characters because they’re deeply uncomfortable with the fact that most teenagers have sexual and romantic fantasies and desires and are exploring them through fiction. How many “underage” stories are written by people about the same age as the characters? A hell of a lot of them, I reckon, and there is nothing at all wrong with that. Even the stories written by adults are drawing on their own MEMORIES of THEMSELVES as teens, more often than not. I don’t write much fic with teen characters because I don’t find teenagers very interesting in any way now, but whenever I have written stories with teen characters, I drew on my own memories of myself as a teenager. I’m allowed to write about my own experiences and interpretations thereof, tyvm, and every adult is a former child and former teenager who has memories to draw on.

I think a lot of them are people who want to imagine themselves as righteous warriors striking a blow for a cause, but aren’t yet ready to do real activism in real life, so they lash out at the most convenient target, which is other people on the same social media sites. What’s that quote? “There’s no better way to bolster someone’s self-esteem in the short term than to give them someone to look down on” or words to that effect.

Want to actually strike a blow against pedophilia? In real life, with a real effect, that’s very dangerous. You will have to protect a real child in real life against a real abuser sooner or later. It’s much easier to type an angry tirade against another Tumblr user who draws a character looking too young in your opinion - and you can still get the same high if you convince yourself it’s making a difference! YAY! (You’re lying to yourself, you achieved nada except probably badly hurting another person who’s a lot more like you than they are like a child molester, but hey, at least you got to FEEL like you did something good. That’s what really matters, right, you FEELING like you’re a real activist doing something important?)

Antis and fandom police don’t go after really damaging aspects of patriarchy for the same reason PETA doesn’t throw red paint on Hell’s Angels in leather: they are cowards who don’t care to engage an “enemy” that will actually fight back. They only want to make themselves feel righteous by going after a very convenient target of little resistance.

They are inconsequential people who achieve nothing but making a relatively inconsequential subculture a lot less fun. They have exactly the same effect on the real battle against rape and CSA as all the wannabe military keyboard warriors typing away in dudespace actually have on any real war fought by real people. None whatsoever, except in those cases where their careless use of language and terminology has made the real thing less likely to be taken seriously, in which case it’s a negative good.[28]

[littlemanicmonday in response to vulgarweed]: "It’s also interesting to note (pardon me if t was already said!) that they criticize fanfic (which has a comparatively small impact) and not like, the porn industry/human trafficking.

(Now before anyone says that I hate sex workers, that is NOT what I’m getting at.)

Like you absolutely cannot go after fic and ignore the abuses in the porn industry and prostitution/human trafficking. The thing is - those industries are largely controlled by men, which….somehow makes them acceptable?? Even though the idea that “sex on demand” or “I can buy consent” probably contributes more to rape culture than anything a fic writer does tbh.[29]

Safe Places For Teens To Explore Sexuality?

[krakensdottir]: "....But most importantly, regarding what others have said in this thread: Fanfiction is the key to sexual liberation for many, many girls.In fact, it’s often the only route they have to exploring themselves and their feelings. It’s certainly the safest. I’m all for underage writers exploring sexual themes, of their own accord and for their own interests, in their work. I agree that there may be issues with underage and mature players exploring such scenarios together - imbalance of power and so forth - though I think that can vary a lot from case to case and is generally a murky issue. (To be clear, don’t do it anyway, because it can and will get the older participant put on a sex-offender list.) However, there should be no age limit on what a writer chooses to do in their own damn fic. Sexual interest and drive don’t wait to magically start at eighteen, or sixteen, or any arbitrary age. Girls NEED that outlet. Let them write their pairings and their kinks, no matter how ‘problematic’. (God, can that usage die in a fire already?) Let them objectify characters if they want to. It’s fiction. It feels good. It’s hurting exactly zero people. Leave them the fuck alone. Moral guardians and overprotective parents are already scrutinizing them, trying to keep them ‘safe’ - social justice, don’t you fucking bring YOUR restrictions into it too."[30]

[until-the-next-time]: "I want to be super clear about something: fanfiction was CRITICAL for me when I was young. Is it great for young people (tweens/early teens) to be reading smutty fic? That’s a different debate. What I know is that I read TONS of fic when I was younger - mostly quite fluffy, but some certainly had smut. (I have a very vivid memory of asking my mother to come read a chapter of a Harry/Ginny WIP that had a “Warning: Do not read if you are [under] the age of 18!” disclaimer to see if it was okay for me to read. I was maybe 11? I went back and read that chapter years later and it was about as sweet and non-graphic as smut comes, thank God, but Mom definitely did have a Talk with me after that.)

I’ve got a pretty liberal family but I still live in the deepest of deep south in a community that is largely Donald Trump conservative and at the time I was at a Christian school. People around here have Ideas about sex. Middle school was hell in the way that it is for most adolescents, and particularly because I was experiencing attraction to girls for the first time, not that I realized it yet.

Fanfiction, and especially the fandoms that I was involved in (largely wlw spaces), were critical. I struggled in middle school and part of it was very confusing because I didn’t understand why I was so confused and felt so isolated in my real life, and I know now that it’s because the messages that I was taking in irl - the ones that told me that I was wrong, that relationships had to be a certain way, that sex was only for married het couples and never to be discussed, etc. - were SO CONTRARY to what I was seeing in fanfiction, and I had encountered so many people online who were JUST LIKE ME. Girls who were obsessed with badass older lady characters, girls who thought about sex a lot and actually TALKED about it, girls who loved fictional relationships in a way that no one in my real life seemed to understand, girls who were older than me and taught me so much about myself and helped me grow up. A lot of those girls were people I knew nothing about - just reading their stories, reading their stories about characters that we shared a mutual love for, helped me. I realized a lot later in life than I could have that a lot of the things that fanfiction/fandom had helped normalize for me were considered taboo or had stigmas attached to them. If I had been consciously aware of that at age 11 or 12, when I was already dealing with anxiety and traditional adolescent troubles, I have no doubt that I would have struggled far more than I did.

Are there some things that shouldn’t be normalized? Sure. And are there things that younger kids shouldn’t be exposed to? Absolutely. But the idea that fanfiction or other ways that fandom explores sexuality and relationships is inherently Bad or something that should be policed is bullshit.[31]

Is This Just Performative Outrage?

[roachpatrol]:

i’ve been calling it ‘wrapping paper activism’. same old box of shit, but repackaged as a wonderful new gift. [32]

[cookingwithroxy in response to roachpatrol]:

I hesitate at calling it misogyny. But only because I’ve seen the rest of what it is, the nature of the performative outrage. The focus on purity that ‘allows’ those damaged by abuse to do the things, but only if they preface it with an absolute bearing of everything wrong done to then and then followed by a demand to not do this again in public where people could see it. And so in the end I don’t think it has so much to do with attacking women for being women, but has everything to do with attacking vulnerable people. It’s not that they don’t go after men, after all. They do! They just fail to continue their attacks after they get brushed off by someone who doesn’t take the message as something to be heeded.

You respond with worry, they attack hard. You respond with arguments, they try to silence you with emotions and calls to the community. But a response to ‘fuck off’ gets a drastic reduction as far as I can tell.

Which is why I think the real issue is bullying. It’s people who perceive of themselves as vulnerable or weak trying to find somebody who’s in a worse position than they are to punch down at them. It’s not that they hate women or our awakened sexuality, and it’s everything to do with that we’re already vulnerable, already weak because of how society treats us. Shamed for being sluts by the normies, shamed for not being pure enough by some feminists. Shamed for our sexuality if it doesn’t fit into any of the approved boxes. Of course they’d rather go after us than anyone else. We don’t fight back as much. [33]

[uniwolfwerecorn in response to cookingwithroxy]:

This. Exactly. Very few people would waste their time typing out extended rants and harass others if they didn’t get something out of it, if it didn’t make them feel good. A lot of it is bullying, a lot of it is entitlement. And a lot of it is sensationalism too. [34]

[norighttoshipabuse in response to koreanmermaidpuke]: "The main premise of this post is, “fandom is the domain of mainly [white] women, so everything fandom does is above criticism.” Just because a woman gets off on something does not make it progressive. LGBT+ people and poc have raised concerns of being alternately erased and fetishized, and they’re being talked over with “don’t police my creativity/sexuality!"

Now we have a number of mainly underage abuse survivors speaking out against the romanticization of their trauma, and are being called pearl-clutchers by mainly overage women. I don’t have to point out what’s wrong with adults telling minors to be more sexual, do I? Yes, teenagers and children are sexual beings, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them to explore their sexuality with adults in an adult-oriented fandom. Just because many of us were denied comprehensive sexual education doesn’t mean that all internet resources are good for developing healthy sexuality. I agree that minors need safe places to explore their sexuality, but internet fandom is not it. Not when minors within it are still being groomed on a regular basis. Sexual education should be handled in school and experimentation should only happen with other minors in their own space.

I’ve heard accusations of the anti movement being victim blaming before, and it’s a deliberate misunderstanding of everything we stand for. Nobody’s saying that the normalization of abuse in fiction is the direct cause of real life abuse. Abuse has long outdated fandom culture. Abusers don’t abuse because society normalizes it. Society normalizes abuse in order to protect abusers. Fandom society has abusers just like any other, and the romanticization of abuse within it has sprung up in order to protect them. Calling out the abuse in fandom culture is not blaming victims for being a part of that same culture.

And yes, antis know our issue is not the only issue in the world. We do, despite our critics’ offhand characterization of us, engage in other sorts of activism. Even so, devaluing the anti movement just because there are other important issues is like when people use the state of women’s rights in other countries to say women shouldn’t worry about sexism in Western countries. Yes, there are issues of differing magnitudes, but we are capable of being concerned about all of them at once.

tl;dr just because something is controlled by women doesn’t mean it’s above criticism. The internet is not a safe place for minors to explore their sexuality, and calling out abuse culture is not victim blaming."[35]

A Troubling Trend: Further Victimizing Victims

[sspeshlockit responds to roachpatrol]: "This right here. In the case of the gracee and crew debacle, it’s less about bible and morals and more about gaining online “power” by strong-arming a group they know is used to being attacked and abused: women.

"You are as bad as the ones who have abused you (or threatened to abuse you)!” is a powerful mallet to whack against the heads of people who are already beaten back at every turn every day of their lives. Society has done the hard work of cutting us down; these “think of the children” folks just go back, unwrap the bandages, and pick at the victims’ scabs. [36]

[jumpingjacktrash in response to roachpatrol]: "please consider: i write the same stuff, i actively speak out against these crusaders and argue with them, i am a man. they have not said a single word about my writing or art. my best friend gets attacked for being a ‘pedophile’ even though he doesn’t write/draw anything noncon/underage; he’s an afab transguy. my spouse doesn’t write fiction or draw, but gets mobbed and lied about constantly; seebs is femme-leaning nb.

purity culture is about controlling women’s sexuality. period. [37]

[yeswevegotavideo in response to jumpingjacktrash]: "Also, I’d like to bring special attention to this because I don’t see it addressed often: It seems to me that the majority of people decrying these subjects are assuming that the writers aren’t, themselves, INTIMATELY familiar with the subject matter. When in my experience, it’s been just the opposite. Seems to me many (not all surely, but many) of the creators of this type of art are survivors of the situations portrayed, or at least something like them.

So to just say, “I’m a survivor and I don’t like this so make it stop” is completely ignoring the writer whose position is, potentially, “I’m a survivor and this is one of the ways in which I choose to process my trauma and reclaim my sexuality.”

Like, people process shit differently? This is not difficult to understand? The whole survivors policing other survivors thing is really…abhorrent to me. Oh, I’m sorry, am I not healing from my traumatic experience in a socially sanctioned manner? Well then, please direct your complaint to the Office of Zero Fucks Given and I will get back to you never.

don't like don't read I am one of those writers who writes dubcon because of my COPIOUS experience with coercion And reads underage because of a really complicated childhood full of bullshit So maybe lay off? [38]

[mondopolis in response to roachpatrol and zefram-cockring]:

"reblogin this on my main bc maybe it'll help me to stop feeling like a piece of human garbage every time I enjoy somethin fictional [39]

[othercat2 in response to jumpingjacktrash]: "^^^ All of this!

About a decade ago, I was highly critical of a writer who wrote incredibly disturbing content involving abuse/non con/torture. I did not know until much later that she was a survivor of abuse, and she used these incredibly dark, disturbing scenes/topics to work through her own abuse, and explore her kinks. I am eternally regretful that I actually suggested she keep her “copefic” to herself, and amazed now that she continued to speak to me afterward. (She was a very sweet, kind woman, so that probably explains it.)

It’s fine to interrogate the fic based on your discomfort with the theme or unrealistic fantasies, or critique based on the skill of the writing. (This is my preferred medium to critique a fic btw.) It’s NOT fine to assume the motivations of the writer, or make accusations against them. (I have also done that, which I also regret, except in cases where I had actually interacted with the author or observed their interactions with others and went…”yeah, this person is a creepy creeper from creeperville.” )

#the discourse #anti-shipper s#the witch hunt# jumpingjacktrash #vastderp[40]

Conflicting Victims Needs

[scartissuesoul in response to zefram cockring]:

Huh. Well, as a woman, i find it interesting that OP seems to think any critique of women BY women must in some way be…anti women? I’m not certain what’s trying to be said here. If you’re talking about the men, both inside and outside the community who DO INDEED critique women for all sorts of things, i’m right behind you in saying that those men need to shut the fuck up about women’s sexuality and it’s expression. That’s not their lane and they need to stay the fuck out of it. But by you’re own admission, majority of fan writers are women or NB, and since most of the critique of fan works seems to come from within the community itself, it stands to reason that we are in fact, talking about women and NB’s critiquing themselves yes? right?

Bible banging? repressing women’s sexuality? uhh, no. i don’t think that’s the case here. i really really don’t. Does that sort of thing happen in fandom? Of course. Does it happen WAY too often? Shit yes. And if all you were saying is exactly that, i’d be slapping that reblog button no issue. But that’s not all your saying, is it? Seems to me that the heart of the message here is all about your desire to ship as you please, and nary a quibble allowed to be made. After all, that would be repressing your sexuality right? Normally i’d agree with you, even on this, buuut for that tiny tiny issue of rape and CSA kinks. You know, the ones that are so obviously written by abusers for abusers it should practically come with a sign.

So, as a woman, and as a childhood sexual abuse survivor, i gotta ask you, can you seriously look me, and all the other rape and CSA survivors in the eyes, and say you truly think it’s ok for someone to create a fan work that romanticizes these issues, or apologizes for abusers in some way? You really think that’s ok? You think it’s okay because it’s a woman doing it? or because that’s her kink? Really?

I mean…i’m going over and over in my head how i can possibly show you how this idea makes me feel, but i’m failing. Utterly. So, please, explain to me why it’s so much more important for someone to post their daddy kink than it is for me or so many others not to relive their own trauma. [41]

[vastderp in response to scartissuesoul]: "yes, i can look you in the eyes and say fucked up things happening in fanfiction are 100% aok even if you, a total stranger with full control over your media experience, aren’t into reading it.

not thrilled by you calling me a “fucking pedophile” in your tags as if disagreeing with you is somehow sexual violence against children, or the way you’ve just called a person an “abuser” if they write about fucked up stuff and deemed the audience abusive for reading it.

you don’t know these people, you’re projecting your idea of immorality onto complete strangers and declaring them unclean, as if those of us who are survivors are polluted by our experience and must not talk about it where decent people might see.

maybe don’t dip your toes in the discourse if you’re planning to engage in victim shaming while you tell people to lay off victims. it’s pretty shitty being rando-splained that sexual violence is somehow my fault because of my unclean behavior, and you have crossed that line tonight. i have had a lifetime of that nonsense, and you’re not welcome to perpetuate it here even if you’re 99.9% certain you know who the bad guy is, and 110% sure it’s not you. [42]

[scartissuesoul in response to vastderp]:

"We obviously have very different perspectives on this. I’m hurting you by pointing out that the things you use for therapy hurt me. You (i feel) are hurting me by blaming me for what i see on the internet, television, news, etc, as though i truly have complete control over it. Are we destined to hurt each other then? Can we not coexist in some form where neither hurts the other? [43]

[the-real-seebs in response to scartissuesoul]: "I want to be clear on a thing: You’re not (directly) hurting me. You’re hurting dozens of my friends. I’m basically immune to trauma, and nothing has ever made me a traumatized survivor. But I have a lot of friends who were raped as little kids, or as adults, or both. And I can tell you that I know people who are more traumatized and hurt by seeing people campaign against fiction they read than they were by being molested in the first place. Yes, really. Because it’s still happening, and the people doing it are claiming righteousness. And that can hurt more.

So, I’m not blaming you for what you see. I’m blaming you for how you handle that: By shaming people and telling them that they are shameful and disgusting and need to be hidden. Yes, it sucks that you sometimes run into untagged fiction. The anti who wrote the gory revenge-rape fantasy refused to tag it, and eventually got it moved to “chose not to use content warnings” by the Ao3 staff. And that is a problem!

But the solution isn’t “all these shameful things that only bad people like should be hidden”. That hurts a huge number of people.

If you want to campaign for better tagging, and for people to not post these things without tags? You will get enthusiastic support from everyone I know, because tagging helps everyone. It helps people avoid things they don’t want, and it helps people find things they do want. These are both important!

And I know that, if you have triggers, it’s a problem that you can just randomly run into them. But that’s true for every trigger, and specially targeting only the sex-related triggers, and only the sex-related triggers whose readers and writers are overwhelmingly likely to be abuse survivors, gives a very upsetting impression that it’s about policing sexuality, rather than about avoiding triggers. And I know that’s not always the case, but I also know it sometimes is the case.

Mostly, I think… If you are getting information about a thing from “antis”, be aware that they are probably wrong.

I’m not even kidding. Let me tell you some things I’ve seen antis say (or do). Just things I personally have seen in conversations; I’m not including second-hand stuff. *it’s not in any way better for a pedophile to jack off to cartoon porn than for them to actually touch a child. *“I’m sorry being raped made you so unlikeable that you don’t have any friends.” *If a 15-year-old is sexually attracted to other kids their own age, that’s pedophilia. They should only be fantasizing about or interested in sexual interactions with adults. *If a 17-year-old has a sexual relationship with a 1-10 year old, that’s not pedophilia, but it’s problematic because it would become pedophilia in a year. *Minors absolutely cannot ever consent to any kind of sex, regardless of the age of the other party. *One particular charmer started spamming a CSA survivor with untagged explicit porn in an attempt to trigger them. Note that the person doing this was a minor, and shouldn’t have even had the porn.

Every one of these things is horrible, and insofar as there’s factual claims in them, the factual claims are wrong. Totally wrong. Disasterously wrong. They are actually encouraging teenagers to fantasize about having sex with adults, in order to stop “pedophilia”.

And this isn’t isolated or anything. I’ve waved that first one at a dozen or more antis. So far, I’ve seen two who were even willing to admit that there could be a way in which it was actually more important to prevent kids from getting raped than to prevent someone from getting off to cartoon porn. Two. Out of dozens.

So, basically. Don’t shame people, don’t make sweeping generalizations about who likes or produces the content, and don’t tell people to conceal it or hide it. Encouraging tagging is fine, we all want tagging. [44]

[ladysomnambule responds to vastderp]:

While I do think the repressing sexuality part no longer applies as much now, op does have a point. And has leading moral crusades ever helped stop a pedophile from harming a child? No! You know what does? Actually reporting adults who are having sexual conversations with children other than educational shit. Reporting people who have actually been predatory towards a child to the police. Reporting photographed and videotaped porn of real minors to the police (because believe it or not, that’s a problem on this site and everyone seems to be ignoring it)!

Drawn and written porn of certain characters harms no one, it’s entirely up to you to avoid it as much as possible if it triggers bad memories, and getting rid of fictional porn will NOT get rid of abusers, child molestors, sex offenders, or actual child porn that harms real children for the purpose of making it! You’re directing your outrage, grief, and keyboard activism towards the WRONG PEOPLE! [45]

[meeedeee quoting from another fan's post]: "im coming at this from the perspective of a victim, and one who would feel very unsafe in a fandom that wasn’t even partially critical of such material. just a heads up… for a long time now, ive been finding it very hard to find spaces that make me feel safe. ive found that even spaces for victims are ultimately not safe for me. i understand that everyone has to cope in their own way, but if you’re asking me to just “not look” at these things, i’ll tell you that’s easier said than done. ive been part of multiple communities that involve mostly women exploring their sexualities and a lot of it involves me sifting through heaps of rape, incest, and abuse fetishization before i can finally find something i can enjoy – if i find that thing. if that community’s contents don’t end up being just rape/abuse/incest. and like shit, i’d like to feel safe in a supportive community too? i don’t write as much as i used to anymore – or at all, really – but maybe that’s because i just got tired being bombarded with depressing reminders in places that are supposedly supposed to be a safe escape for people like me.

im not going to deny that this post probably has some food for thought that’s just hard for me to process right now because all i can think of is the multiple times when i would just give up because the stories of healthy relationships i was looking for don’t seem to exist and how terrible that would make me feel, but i don’t know. i get that women and non-binary people aren’t coming from a place of privilege, i get that some of them might feel their sexual expression is being poked at from all angles, i get that their comfort matters too, but it feels like we just can’t do both. it feels like we can’t have people who use fetishization to cope and people who use more “idealization” (is that the word for it?) to cope in the same room together. and in that case, maybe we need our own separate communities? i don’t know."[46]

The Difference Between Failure of Writing vs Failure of Character

[cyberdyke-industries in response to lokislacefront]:

"Just so we’re clear on this, OP is probably speaking about sexual darkfic in particular, rather than things such as offhanded slurs and skin color/food comparisons, which are admittedly more often the result of lazy writing. Darkfic writers choose to portray terrible things, that’s the definition of the genre. And OP is not talking about good faith critiques, they’re talking about the active harassment which darkfic authors receive, regardless of how painstakingly they tag their work for any indecency their characters commit.

“You’re garbage, your stories are garbage” is not meant to critique. It’s an (ineffective, toothless) attempt to silence."[47]
[dendritic-trees]:

I would like to start what promises to be a truly meandering ramble with a reiteration of the point that the start of the thread is about reaction to darkfic and otherwise ‘inappropriate’ topics in fanfic, not casual racism/etc, which is a different enough topic that attempting to discuss them in the same thread is really counter-productive.

But oh gosh guys, when people first started discussing failures of diversity, and bad tropes and what-have-you in terms of a failure of writing, as opposed to a failure of character, I had such high hopes.

Finally I thought, we would start talking about these things as mistakes in need of correction as opposed to expressions of fundamental moral failure. We might even, I hoped, be able to comment on how weaknesses in other, more general writing skills can feed into representation problems…

But no, ‘shitty writer’ has become one more character defect to bludgeon people with.

Well my name is Dendritic Trees and I’m a Shitty Writer.

But fandom is full of shitty writers, and that’s great.

I know its not popular to bring it up these days, people have been putting a lot of effort into highlighting the massive amounts of truly high-quality work that comes out of fandom. And that work deserves the credit they’re pushing for.

But there’s no barrier to entry into fandom, so right along with those brilliant, dedicated writers, there are writers who are very young, very new or both, and just getting a feel for how writing is even supposed to work. There are people writing in their forth languages. And quite frankly there are a lot of people who are bad at writing because writing is hard. And putting aside the logistical issues inherent in trying to put a minimum quality barrier on fandom, why would you do that? That would totally change the nature of the community and it would totally depress its output, probably permanently. Because people who couldn’t meet the quality requirements would leave. And not only that, but anyone who didn’t think they could meet those requirements would stop writing. And generally good writers who made errors would reduce their output.

And quite frankly putting work in the public sphere and getting real, concrete critique, not ‘you’re a shitty person and this is a shitty story’ which is both horrible and unhelpful, but real critique is one of the best ways people have of making sure that there next story is better. So how is preventing that a good idea?"[48]

Is Performative Morality Creating An Even Unhealthier Community?

[tobermoriansass]: way too many fanwriter friends have privately confessed to me that a) the current atmosphere makes them literally terrified of writing anything that explores anything dark or vaguely problematic because they’re afraid someone is going to misread exploration for endorsement (and lbr, it only takes that one match for the smear campaign to get going) and b) that they are actually afraid to talk to other fannish friends about the things they want to explore because they have no idea how those friends are going to react and whether or not they will end up being the Next Big Wank and callout. this isn’t healthy. this isn’t a healthy state for a community to be in at all. fannish creators can only control responses to their works so far - the original definition of death of the author declares that the reader fills in a lot of the gaps with their own social milieu and their own ideas. you literally cannot be expected to create a work that everyone will understand 100% because surprise! no one comes from the same background or the same worldview and no one responds to a work in exactly the same way, in exactly the way the author intended.

like, we have got to abandon this idea that there’s something like ideologically pure and perfect sex because there isn’t or the fact of wanting to write about bad or problematic sex being enjoyable being bad because it isn’t. humans are weird. brains are weird. fantasies are weird. none of this necessarily makes people bad, least of all when they know they’re never going to act on it.

look, its not healthy at all for us to have been pushed to the point to have designated friends who will ‘get’ this shit and not write up a callout post for us, or who will not bring this up if ever the friendship dissolves or a grudge is formed for whatever reason - and friends who are ‘not safe but enjoyable’. and i’ll go one further and say: i’m actually really fucking tired of doing the whole performative ‘i know i am garbage but consider this’ bullshit, because i would like to launch straight to ‘here is some porn, enjoy’ or conversely, ‘here is some pain, enjoy’. it is psychologically taxing and its infuriating because fandom is meant to be a form of relaxation, in which we bond over the things we love. anon hate and callout posts and doxxing are not revolutionary praxis and at least two of those have highly dubious origins in the SJ sphere (that’s another discussion to be had).[49]

Perhaps The Source Of The Criticism Is Because Fandom Is The Only Place We Feel We Can Control?

[hexiva]: "I’m not sure I actually disagree, but it seems pretty obvious that the reason we (tumblr/fandom) criticize fanfic, as opposed to other genres, is that we are part of fandom and thus criticizing our own community and our own peers. It’s a proximity issue. There’s a world of disgusting, problematic, male-aimed porn out there, but I never have to see it because I am not a part of that community. When you spend a lot of time reading, writing, and otherwise investing emotionally in fic, of course you’re going to turn to analyzing it. Especially when a big part of fandom is analyzing other media. I think it’s good that we turn at least some of the same scrutiny on our own work as we do on professional media.

I still think this post is right about the specific nature of that scrutiny being problematic. I can’t help but hear a sexist undertone anytime I see a cis man criticizing rape fantasies."[50]

What About Depictions of War and Violence In FanFic?

[molten-rainbows]:

The only thing I can add to this is this: People tend to to make a way too big deal about sex in general. What bugs me though, is authors like George R.R. Martin (who is amazing so please don’t bug me on this) has more intense stuff in his books than there is intensity in about 90% of all fanfiction grouped together. And with intense I mean both sex and other stuff. Yet when he does it, or other renowned authors do it (Like 50 shades of grey and stufff) it is sort of accepted, normalised even. Yet fanfiction is branded as wrong and all sorts of nasty stuff. People, can we just…idk not be so morally hypocritical?

Also…this is something that I was thinking about as an afterthought. What about the GUYS in the fanfic community? If we’re already being so uptight about women, sex and fanfiction, just try to imagine how UNSAFE a man would feel when admitting to fanfiction? That is food for thought as well…. [51]
[coloursadversary tags]: #Filed under ugh fandom just tag it #just avoid it #its so easy #reblogging for the last post #as long as you understand it is perceived as wrong and say it is so #fiction is fiction #if we can portray murder and torture why is portraying sexuality and sexual taboos so wrong tbh [52]
[emnneryn tags]: #long post #really long #but worth the read #writing #text posts #I find it interesting that you can have characters happily murdering other characters and no one says a word #committing basically any kind of crime #but the moment it's sexual you will get screamed at

On The Redemptive Power of Fan Fiction

[stabbedinthenameofscience]:

This is the problem with fic becoming more mainstream and normal. The puritans have arrived.

I write smut in some of my stories. I write horrific violence, too. Usually not in the same part, but I may some day. I use it to explore toxic masculinity, rape culture, identity policing, feminism, sex and body positivity, mental illness, sex and gender identity, othering…all kinds of themes that I wish I saw in the original media but is usually ignored or made the butt of a joke. So I write them in fic. And that means exploring both the horrific things they can lead to (or that the stem from) and the freedom that comes from acknowledging these things and learning how to be better people.

Fic is an incredible world. It allows us to explore the traumas of everyday life and take them to bright places and to dark places. It is therapy in a world where these things are often so very difficult to address safely- we can talk back to catcallers, fight back against the injustices in everyday living as women, people of colour, sexuality or gender minorities…and we can do it without risking harm. We can be heroes.

We don’t need this to be a place for those who can’t handle our explorations. We have created a community over these years willing to go with us on long journeys to strange places, readers willing to trust a writer no matter where they go. And who are constructively critical of works as well as encouraging even when a work doesn’t do it for them. What better place is there for a writer to grow into their own?

What more powerful place is there for us, other than fic? [53]

Judging People By What They Write Is A Dangerous Precedent

[cephiedvariable]:

I’ve seen people straight-faced compare slash fanfic to the mainstream porn industry on this website and get thousands of notes praising them for the insight. This is indicative of a deeply sheltered attitude that hasn’t actually looked at the rotten core of dominant heteronormative sexual culture. I’m long past the point where I think that fanfic is “transfomative”, but for many people it’s a refuge from the male gaze, and also from homophobic mainstream culture. A place to explore sexuality in both gratifying and ugly ways free from the baggage of heterosexual male expectations. Fucked up that the same people who accuse people of being pedophiles because they ship ‘Free’ characters together or whatever also act like mainstream porn is some untouchable cultural institution that nothing can be done about (“boys will be boys”). I’m not trying to distract from the issue by saying “you can’t care about this [ONE THING] because [THIS OTHER THING] is worse”; I’m just saying that if you’re concerned with the dangers of pornography that contains transgressive elements but you’re only interested in punching down in your crusade, I question your sincerity.

There is definitely breeding ground for interpersonal abuse in fandom, but no more or less than in any other sub-culture. Judging people by the broad-strokes of what they enjoy or write rather than the details of how they behave or treat people is beginning to set a dangerous precedent where deeply nasty people can essentially bunker down behind a shield of “correct” and “pure” opinions, fandoms and ships. They can lash out and bully people as much as they want, but they get to be considered “good” because they don’t have any problematic OTPs. How many Big Name discoursers over the last year or so have been revealed to be abusive and/or sexually exploitative using this method? These adult ring-leaders of teen “anti” circles or fandom Social Justice movements who were able to gain access to young people in fandom by saying and liking the “right” things? Fandom is turning “abuse” into a nebulous concept that can be enacted passively or even by accident in some cases - conjured up like a spectre by reading the wrong kind of fanfic - rather than a calculated, pre-meditated action by a person with abusive intent, and it all begins right here: with the idea that shipping one thing makes you an inherently Good Person, while shipping another makes you Bad. [54]

[tobermoriansass]:

...the idea that depiction = endorsement, which is so inherent to the negative discussions of darkfic, noncon, dubcon and even fucking unhealthy relationships ...is frankly ridiculous and i have no qualms calling it neo-victorian because it is, quite literally, about the aesthetics of morality - performative morality, instructional morality, predicated entirely on individual action and personal responsibility - rather than an actual discussion of ethics, of what it means to live in an inherently ‘sick’ society (a patriarchal society, a society in which we are hurt one way or the other either by people, by our social milieu, by our culture and by our media) and what actual structural social change would look like. it ain’t healing or helping people, it’s just concerned with making sure we present ourselves properly OR ELSE (or else you are literal trash, you are the worst, you are not only an apologist, but you feed rape culture, you are a pedophile, you are the very thing that hurt you in the first place.)[55]

We Need More - Not Less - Critiquing. But Of The Right Things

[tobermoriansass]:

i’m much more worried about books that present themselves as good and non-problematic romances than i am darkfic or fic in general, which i’ve generally observed is usually rigorously tagged for and covered with the appropriate disclaimers (and somehow, like one of the commenters mentions, its always these labelled fics that attract attention rather than the ones which are labelled as something else and have their own problems - which again, performative morality; its easier to go after a visible target than a non-obvious and insidious one).

in fact i’d much rather have critical discussions about what is ‘romanticization’ and what constitutes rape culture in fiction - why is something “bad”, in what ways does a text fail to convey what the author was trying to say and why - so that we can think critically about its tropes and forms and presentations, than these ongoing blanket statements that ‘x person is romanticizing abuse because they wrote a particular pairing/trope/whatever’. did you read the fic? did you understand what they were doing with it? did you actually engage with the work at all? do people really park their brains so much while reading they can’t delineate the difference between fiction and reality? teenagers read a lot more heavy stuff in school as part of their literary curriculum, i promise you - and incidentally, its this same argument that’s led to the banning of books like Brave New World in some curricula, because of their ‘negative’ themes. ironic, because i can’t think of a book that teaches criticality and awareness than Brave New World.[56]

Tagging And Filtering As Possible Solutions

[alkjira]: I’m one of those people who have said such things as ‘this normalises this and that" (mainly rape culture, homophobia, pedophilia, racism, and some biological nonsense) and I stand by that.

Representation matters.

For me there is a definite line between “exploring dark themes” and normalising the same. And that line is basically some awareness that what the fictional characters are doing is wrong and that real life requires consent and respect.

It’s as easy as that, but I’ve seen fan content where that awareness is totally missing and those are the times I’m really bothered.

I’m also *not* agreeing that mainstream culture are against such things as rape fantasies and pedophilia, leaving fandom to be the one free space for such things.

I could talk for several paragraphs about how both those things are present in films like Suicide Squad, how 'teen’ is a porn genre, and so on.

For some kinks this is true sure, but not the ones that I have major issues with. Fanworks are just a reflection of society at large when it comes to things like that.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about now, because while one of the peeps above say that fandom can’t be a safe space can we please please please mention tagging?

If you want to have rape, pedophilia, homophobia, racism, and all other things I would rather not see in fanfic then you are right, I can just not read those fanfics. No harm no foul.

But only if you make it clear that’s what they are.

There’s always something we don’t want to read, regardless of what kinks we have.

Just because you’re into rape fantasies you might be a bit ?!! if the characters start shitting on each other in the middle of it or was suddenly wearing diapers, or in animal costumes. Because other people’s kinks isn’t necessarily for you.

So use tags when appropriate, thank you.

fishfingersandscarves Source: buckyballbearing tagging forwank pedophillia mention rape cw fandom discoursethere are hobbit fics that has made me NOPE so muchand in those cases I leave notes about please tagging to the writerand they are usually really sweet about itcan we please have a tagging culture? </ref> [25], Archived version </ref>

[kyuubislover]:

Lol plus 99% of all Fanfiction that I have read usually have their basic content / concept posted right on the summery. From ship to the type of fiction it is. Ex. NarutoXSasuke, Hurt/comfort, Rated M for graphic abuse and lemons.It’s pretty funny. Fanfiction has literally been trigger warning before there was trigger warning. Simply put… Don’t like it? Don’t read it.

Tho I can’t entirely agree that all these harsh critiques are simply a way of controlling women. Seems like a small stretch. [57]

[clockworkcanary has some thoughts on Anne McCaffrey and tagging]:

Well, since Dragonquest was first published in 1971, and at the time that behavior was accepted as normal between romantic partners in lots of places, she probably did, at that time, see it as normal. A lot of fiction from that period would portray that as normal, and marital rape was legal for long after that in many states in the USA.

I seem to recall Anne McCaffrey’s books getting better on those fronts over time, but, I could be misremembering, too, since its been a while since I reread most of them.

I would love to see the tagging system spread, though, because there have been professionally published dead tree books that I have set down, never to return to, upon finding some thing in them that I could not get past. When I was in high school the books getting passed around were the Flowers in the Attic series, and incest and abuse will always freak me right out. [58]
[krakensdottir in response to philosopherking1887:

"..... I do think fanfic needs warnings. They don’t have to be “trigger warnings”, because not all of them are triggers as such. Just content warnings. We’ve had those for decades. “The following may contain…” That’s what fucking content tags are for, and most people nowadays DO use those. If those are used, then the author has literally done all they are obligated to do as decent human beings to warn you. The rest is up to YOU.

I’ve made this mistake. Years ago, I was a lot less mature about fanfic. I used to criticize authors over comment that upset me. I wasn’t on a tumblr bandwagon, I didn’t come at it from a sense of superiority, just personal outrage. But it was still stupid. The only time I would say “this is really upsetting” is a legitimate comment is if, again, there are no warnings. Even then, they aren’t actually obligated to provide those. (But please do.) That’s just the only time you can honestly complain, because otherwise, you were warned. Why are you blaming the writer for your choice?..."[59]

[darthkrallt]:

“Ship and let ship” and “don’t like, don’t read” are the reasons why I created AO3rdr (unofficial browser extension for AO3). This is important.[60]

[kalinara]: Tags are well and good and yes, blacklisting is possible, but if an explicit FinnRey fic (because it always seems like I target Reylo in these examples) is tagged: Star Wars, Rey, Finn, nsfw, explicit, bdsm …then a kid may well still see it. (I’m not completely certain how Tumblr safe search works, but I know what *I* have managed to stumble across with it on.)

We can’t expect children to be policing their own online consumption. And really, is it all that fair to expect abuse survivors to have to be hypervigilant when exploring the main tags either? And that’s assuming people use warning tags at all.

I don’t know what the answer is here. But I do think we should be finding a way to balance all of these concerns: protecting kids, protecting people who can be triggered, protecting us all from legal consequences, and still allowing people to enjoy what they enjoy.

I just wish I had some ideas of how to do that."[61]

Another Solution: Acknowledge Different Experiences and Different Reasons?

[kattahj]:

"I think discussing fanfiction’s tropes and pitfalls is definitely worth doing, because not everything we write comes from a deep psychological place, and sometimes a skeevy or tired trope is just there because it was the quickest place for the brain to jump to. And sometimes we (and by we I mean, for example, I) might look at an argument against a trope and go, “You know, they have a point, this story would totally be better if I did this other thing.”

(And I don’t know where the argument is coming from that the “fandom policing” is all about sex, because there’s been plenty of discussions about whump fics and Mary Sues and whatnots too.)

But there are also a lot of tropes that are there foor deep psychological reasons, or because the author feels comfort in them. And I don’t think it’s possible from the outside to say which is which, especially not when it comes to super broad categories like boyslash or even incest fics.

So because of that, I think it’s vital to keep the discussion voluntary. Don’t engage negatively with an fic author unless the author has invited in that kind of feedback. Do discuss things that make you uncomfortable, but don’t shame fans who engage with it. Acknowledge that we have different experiences and different reasons for doing things.

I mean, for me personally, if a bunch of people read a fic of mine and go, “Wow, that is super fucked up and gross!” I’d really like to know about it. Other people would prefer not to. Both of those approaches are fine. And if protection of fic authors becomes “no negativity of fic must be expressed even in general terms, even on private blogs away from the authors,” then that’s a form of fandom policing in itself that’s not really any more pleasant than the other kind.

If we are to accept that fandom includes writing other people might find gross, then that also includes accepting the writing that consists of “I find this thing gross.”[62]

Women Expressing Their Sexuality Is Why AO3 Owns The Servers

[handypolymath]: Excellent meta like this is why I have the tag #women also own fucking. The greater culture sees sex as a commodity service that flows from women to men–so women writing outre sexual scenarios, mainly for the entertainment of other women, for free no less, is a triply-rebellious act.

It’s a patent demonstration that women’s sexuality can and should be primarily defined by what gives women sexual feelings and not by what is the culturally-acceptable mode to attract men.

Sexuality is a wild fucking forest of delights and terrors, and women own their acreage in it. The fight to express that right is one of the perennial struggles in fandom, to self-define in the face of forces that want to shame, ridicule or commercialize. It’s why AO3 was built, so we could own the servers and ensure a safe space in the first place. [63]

[drst]: "We fought long and hard to get fandom’s existence legally and socially protected as a safe space for people (mostly women) to do whatever, be it explore fantasies they can’t act out in real life, deal with real life trauma, or just make shit up for fun.

There is a difference between a critique of fandom’s systemic problems with racism, misogyny and homophobia, and verbally attacking an individual person because you don’t like what they wrote. One is a valid discussion, the other is being an asshole. Learn the difference or shut the fuck up."[64]

Present Yourself As Teachers, Not Gatekeepers

[koreanmermaidpuke: in response to itsbuckybitch]: ""Additionally: a good portion of the people writing smutty fics are underage themselves. And them youngins aren’t gonna stop having sexual impulses just because you can’t personally police where they get their personal wank material.

I’ve thought a lot about how reading so much fic impacted me developmentally, specifically when it comes to sexual attraction. Honestly, I don’t know if it really harmed me in any way (I don’t have a lot of hang-ups when it comes to sex, and unless it’s downright gruesome non-con nothing squicks me out too much), but I do know that I learned so much more about homosexual acts and risks than I ever would have otherwise, and as a bi person who’s dated people of various orientations, that’s incredibly important to me.

I learned about lube and protection and the different ways one can feel good and make others feel good through the fandoms I was a part of, through those info posts that vaguely call people out, going, “You’re doing this wrong!” and having zillions of sources to sex-ed resources that I could then troll through and learn all sorts of other stuff from.

And, more importantly, I did it in an environment that didn’t make me feel ashamed to want sex, much less to talk about it or have feelings about it.

So many of the people I see trying to stop shipping with underage characters seem to be older fandom members who’ve been legal adults for a few years. As fandom becomes more and more accessible, I wonder how many of them are recently fannish, and didn’t go through puberty with fandom as a sexuality outlet and resource.

I think the way we approach sexuality in minors is fundamentally flawed. We, as adults, like to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not there. This does not solve anything. This further isolates young people, tells them that we think their being sexual is squicky because that’s the way any kind of sexual activity involving underage people is portrayed. And the more we, as older and nominally more influential people in fandom, try to police and exterminate romantic and sexual shipping involving minors, the louder this message becomes.

We do not want this.

I really think we should take this as an educational opportunity. Talk less about “Shipping Z with anyone is immoral because they’re not an adult!” and more about how to recognize when someone’s grooming you, or how to fact-check info they get form people regarding sexual activity, or how sex differs between straight and LGBT people, or information about sex with a disability, or so many other things that, if you’re uncomfortable talking about frankly, can be presented as a way to write X character more realistically.

Present yourself not as a gatekeeper but a teacher and maybe people will be more inclined to listen."[65]

Depiction =\= Endorsement

[bangingpatchouli]: As a darkfic writer who tags heavily, I just want to second here what dendritic-trees says about authorial awareness. If I tag non-con it’s because there’s non-consensual sex. That doesn’t mean that non-con is being endorsed in the narrative.

With our focus on triggers in the community, we sometimes overlook the criticism that writers are somehow endorsing whatever issue the critic has a problem with – often non-con. Fanfic isn’t a commercial that sells a product. It’s fiction, a story peopled with fictional characters, not actual people. It gives voice to the unheard.

I don’t think of my readers as sponges just soaking up what they read without awareness, and the comments I get on my fic suggest they aren’t. They engage with the characters and critically with the narrative. They are well aware of power imbalances and abusive behavior. They don’t just accept it or romanticize it.

So I think we have two different issues here. There are those who are legitimately concerned about triggering and tags address that issue. Readers can actively take control by using tags and avoiding what triggers them.

The other issue is critics who police sexuality in fanfic on principle. As a (U.S.) American of a certain age, I oppose censorship on principle. Silencing minorities, dissenters, rebels of all stripes is a tool of oppression. It troubles me when those who seek social justice use censorship to silence the very groups they say they are protecting. The very idea of “protecting” is worrisome. It smacks of paternalism. [66]

[manaika-chan]:

OK. This is IMPORTANT. I never saw it like this and I’m HORRIFIED by both the fact AND that I have never realized this.[67]

[quantum-angel]: And this only very lightly touched on my least favorite thing about this kind of fandom wank.

See, I’m very critical of media that condones toxic stuff. Not portrays it, but overtly condones it - things that act, in the narrative, like rape is an act of love, or that micromanaging and restricting your partner is the same thing as healthy protectiveness, and so on. I’m very critical of media whose portrayal of marginalized groups is just outright wrong - things that imply a good enough relationship cures depression and anxiety disorders, or imply same-gender couples must necessarily have “the boy” and “the girl”, or perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

I have NO PROBLEM with the existence of works that involve these themes WITHOUT condoning them or presenting stereotypes as reality. In fact, I LOVE them a lot of the time. (I mean, hell, I’m lowkey a Kylux fan here, and, as I’ve described to the only person who actually knew that before this point, the reason I like it is that its really fucked up, but so are the characters, so in that way it works out beautifully.)

Yet I have a really hard time criticizing the things that do condone some really horrible shit in good conscience lately because of how many people take those criticisms and twist them for…these purposes.

And the net effect is that it’s a much less humorous version of the old Infraction Distraction. We have people absolutely losing their shit over neutral-at-kindest portrayal of Bad Things, and…as a result, a lot of things that actually are Not Good end up going largely unchecked. I mean, here’s one person typing who often thinks, what’s the point? People are just going to write it off as more fandom wank. More misogynistic, sex-negative, just generally disgusting fandom wank"[68]

Framing the Discussion In The Context Of Fandom History

[grandtheftcanine offers up some history]: this piece from [[Menagerie (Star Trek: TOS zine edited by Paula Smith & Sharon Ferraro)|menagerie#13]], a star trek fanzine, was drawn as a parody in response to drama that sprung up around sekwester*con/“the porno debate”, which was about the presence of nsfw material at the con:

"Met, how could you? What about the cancer victims? What about the children under 21? What about the horses?, Met? Some of them are only 2 years old! This is disgusting! Dirty! Why, if God meant for us to have sex, we'd have been born naked! I bet Lestwe Fizz is behind this... Mary Sou."

and this is from 1977

almost 40yrs later and fandom still hasn’t chilled out

Tagged: #replies #fandom discourse #fandom history #but yeah hearing people talk about good morals in relation to fandom always sends a chill down my spine #it's the most purity culture shit and it's so fucking creepy and awful #also the characters don't even have to be underage for pedo wank #that's so limiting!#see: pharmercy wank; parts of sheith wank (it's still pedo even if keith is 18/19 bc reasons!!!); even johnlock top/bottom wank [69]


Framing the Discussion In The Context Of Women's History

[esteefee in response to itsbuckybitch]:

“…women come together to share the fantasies that mainstream culture refuses to let them indulge.”

I was just telling a friend of mine I attribute my (fortunate) comfort with my own sexuality to a chance encounter, at a very young age, with a paperback titled “My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies,” by Nancy Friday. Found it in a stack of mystery novels, and man, I remember blushing so hard… It was reading all these fantasies other women had that normalized what, at that young age, I considered to be pretty extreme desires, all in the context of this authority saying, “Anything you fantasize in the privacy of your own head is perfectly natural and okay.” She asked hundreds of women to share these fantasies so that others could read them and see we aren’t alone; most everyone has these thoughts and fantasies and desires, and that’s perfectly fine. Since then, I’ve discovered fan fiction as a whole universe of people’s fantasies writ large, and goddamn it, that is perfectly fine. Anyone who wants to argue the point and try to stuff us all back into the cramped cupboard of shame should have a talk with Ms. Friday. I believe she’s still around.

Filed under sexuality sexism nancy friday apparently when the book first came out people claimed she'd made up all the fantasies herself as if women couldn't possibly fantasize about bdsm or bestiality or furries or mr. spock :D nsfw [70]

[garveydursts in response to esteefee and others talking about Nancy Friday]: "jenny slate has this bit (i’m going to butcher it in summation but this is the gist) about her mom trying to scare her at a youngish age by telling her about the possibility of a man hiding in a like, a parking garage who would attack her by “lifting her up by the vagina” and she’s like, well then i started having sexual fantasies about a mysterious man grabbing me by the vagina! and then we have sex! how intriguing! and goes on to say that like, yeah but if i’m actually in a parking garage by myself i’m walking fast and looking over my shoulder or whatever.

and it was just kind of great to hear a woman talk about a squicky personal fantasy to a room full of people? and how it’s not like, directly proportionate to her actual real-life experiences as a sexual being? and i came home and me and my roommate both brought that up as a favorite part of her routine, because it resonated.[71]

[tobermoriansass]: 1) this is not the first time we’ve been having this conversation in this particular form and i can trace the discourse about public morality and responsibility and the poor impressionable hysterical wimmens whose sensibilities are now excited and senses inflamed by consuming this lurid, pornographic literature all the way back to the discourse surrounding the advent of the novel as a form of writing. yes, those dry books by walter scott once inspired the same pearl clutching as an adult writing teens in romantic & sexual relationships (for some reason, always the fic writers, never the pro adult published authors who get targeted by this ire) do today. people are being neither revolutionary or thought-provoking when they revive this strain of discourse again. cis straight white men have been doing this to us for centuries.

2) this same discourse was repeated with the rise of the gothic romance which....eventually....became a genre for women and by women. i’ll say a lot of the themes and concerns of the gothic romance are repeated in darkfic today, so its worth looking back at what was said to those women - what is still being said about this genre, without ever interrogating why someone might choose to write the stories in this form without reflecting on the authors’ inferred personal morality and inherent “unfeminist” inferiority - and how, ultimately, it did nothing to actually change the pervasive social structure of the time but did plenty to remind us that women are inherently silly and stupid and full of unruly and awful desires.

3) the ‘all depictions must be pure and edifying’ is a peculiarly Victorian strain of thought and is one of the reasons why, for the longest time, children’s lit was this bizarre genre in which children were saintly and suffered beautifully without complaint and were in the end rewarded for their adherence to christian virtues - while the naughty children obviously were frowned upon and went on to be inherently defective and awful till they became the criminals they were destined to be. thank god there were writers who decided to write a form of children’s stories that were ‘realistic’ in that they were not moralistic handbooks designed to browbeat children into submission to the perfect Victorian ideal OR ELSE, but instead for children to read, relax and have fun and probably develop some ability to think critically for themselves and recognize when children in the stories were acting like asses without necessarily having it punished on-screen." [72]

How To Approach This From An Empathetic or Pragmatic Perspective

[thedepthsofmyshame has questions for roachpatrol]: "I don’t disagree with any of this, but I have questions.

The fanfiction community is overwhelmingly comprised of women*, and the push to be critical of fanfic comes from within the community, so it is reasonable to infer that the people pushing self-censorship are women.

I have seen a lot of anger from people calling for censorship, and anger is often the result of fear. It is not unheard of for the calls for censorship to be accompanied by personal accounts of sexual violence, etc., which reinforces the conclusion that this anger is driven by fear.

These women calling for censorship are very much part of our community. While I vehemently disagree with them, I want to acknowledge their place in our community, and I want to respect their anger (which I see as pain and fear). I would ask, “How can we address the fear that writing/reading fictionalized sexual violence perpetuates actual sexual violence?”

We can explain the remarkable similarities between sex-negative feminism and paternalistic control of women’s sexuality, which the posters above have done admirably well. We could offer the conclusions of academic research that show there is no evidence that suggests that sexually violent material as seen in fanfiction contributes to the occurrence of actual sexual violence, if any such research exists. We can offer research and anecdotal data that show that fictionalized sexual violence is often very effective in helping victims of sexual violence process or cope with their experiences.

Ultimately, though, I don’t see any of those strategies being effective when dealing with someone who is currently experiencing a strong anxiety/panic response to something they perceive as dangerous. If we understand the underlying motivations for censorship in such a way that instead of seeing someone controlling and puritanical we see instead a person having a strongly phobic response, then the most effective way of dealing with calls for censorship has to be found in the answer to this question: “How do we compassionately respond to someone calling for censorship without acceding to the demand or escalating the situation?”

I don’t have an answer to that question; empathy isn’t really my area." [73]

[ancientreader may have one answer for thedepthsofmyshame]:

"@thedepthsofmyshame: It is kind of you to ask this question. But whereas I am more than willing to accept some caretaking responsibility for my friends and family, and also for people who are in uncontrollable situations (war refugees come to mind) and who therefore have a claim on care from other people in general, I’m not so sure I have any special duty toward adults (or near-adults, like many of the pro-censorship brigades on Tumblr) who have choices that include not engaging with distressing material in the first place.

I have phobias and squicks and have experienced a trauma or two in my time, like pretty much everyone. I too find certain kinds of fiction and art greatly distressing, like pretty much everyone. It’s not a creator’s responsibility to change their creative practice to accommodate that distress. If a writer or artist given the standard warnings, or Chooses Not to Warn – well, I’m a grown-ass adult who knows there’s all kinds of Stuff Out There on the Interwebz. Navigation is on me.

So in my view, the answer to your question is that such demands must simply be met with polite, stonewalling refusal. (And with less-polite refusal when the demands mutate, as they inevitably seem to these days, into harassment and bullying.)

Those calling for censorship because they’re so phobic need psychological help, but I can’t imagine that they would take that suggestion on board if it comes from the people they’re attacking." [74]
[dendritic-trees offers another perspective for @thedepthsofmyshame]:

@thedepthsofmyshame you are so kind for asking this question. I have so much respect for you for that reason.

One of the reasons I have little patience for this is that fandom TAGS, fandom is at the absolute cutting edge of tag use. And untagged material is definitely a thing that exists, but its much, much easier to avoid distressing material in a fandom setting than nearly anywhere else because of tagging. And darkfic writers are at the bleeding edge of that. I don’t read darkfic, but I’ve sought it out specifically to grab tag-use from, for serious. And tagging has a less discussed second effect. It indicates authorial awareness. If I read a fic tagged with noncon then I can have very little doubt that the author is aware that the nonconc seens are in fact, nonconsensual, because they tagged it and told me so.

When I pick up an Anne McCaffery novel on the other hand there’s no warning that virtually every relationship is, at best, seriously unhealthy, and that women getting slapped and shaken is routinely portrayed as normal romantic passion. And there’s no indication, anywhere of if this was deliberate, which doesn’t prove anything but has always left me with the uneasy worry that she, on some level, did actually see that as normal." [75]

[thedepthsofmyshame responds to both dendritic-trees and ancientreader]: I’m not kind, and I agree with you that people ought not expose themselves to material they find upsetting.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that they do. They put themselves in a position to see things they don’t like, and then they stridently express their distress* with panic-driven hostility** and engender divisiveness*** that turns the focus of communication away from the larger body of material containing whatever upset them in the first place.

I don’t suggest that calls for censorship be seen as fear and met with compassion because I’m nice, I suggest it because I believe it would be the most effective way to avoid large and hostile disruptions****.

* shit up the feed ** shit up the feed with their panicky moralization *** shit up the feed with their panicky moralization creating an environment that emboldens people to attack others directly

**** shit up the feed with their panicky moralization creating an environment that emboldens people to attack others directly and the people who actually create and share art give up and leave [76]

[ancientreader]: @thedepthsofmyshame, your footnotes cracked me up! Okay, I take the pragmatic point. I’m not sure the analogy in your tags (good education, etc., saving the cost of jailing people – yes, and if only we had smarter legislators!) will work, though – for one thing, because the very act of wanking is so powerfully reinforcing to the wankers. They seem to feel important and committed and on fire.

Also, when it comes down to it I don’t believe most of them are genuinely all that frightened and distressed; that was giving them the benefit of a doubt I don’t feel. Having watched the Sherlock Wank Pack at work for the past year and change, I have the impression that in this case there’s, basically, one sociopathic ringleader who eggs a coterie of younger fans into spasms of performative rage. Essentially, a cult. I suspect that any expression of empathy would simply be interpreted as an attempt to undermine the cult’s belief system. And at this point it looks as if all of the performative moralizing rage across fandoms is “cultish” in that way – it’s not susceptible of rational argument, either.

But all of that having been said, I’m obviously in agreement with your goal, so I’m interested in how you’d express such compassion. I’m at a loss to imagine how it could be done effectively, even in the (as I believe) rare case where the panic and distress are genuine, because the compassionate expression would be coming from someone perceived as the enemy/a threat.

#THIS FUCKING THING #JUST GOES ON AND ON

#AND HOW DO WE BEST FACE IT DOWN? [77]

Can We Please Bring Back "Squick", "YMMV", and "MKIOKYKIOK?

[philosopherking1887]:

I’ve been seeing a lot of commentary like this recently, as well as the movement to reintroduce “squick” as a term for something you just don’t like, but you don’t condemn morally. Is the tide turning, do you think?

#ship and let ship

#kink and let kink

#your mileage may vary

#bring back squick

#down with the fandom moralizers!

#i'm so sick of the fake sj stuff

#save it for where it really counts [78]

[spacequeer]:

"can we PLEASE bring back “don’t like don’t read” and “your kink is not my kink” and “squick” to fandom??? these are such useful terms. not every fanfic has to be palatable for every person. maybe this fic is a way for the author and/or readers to work through a traumatic experience they had. or maybe not! who cares! as long as you’re not hurting anyone irl and you make sure to give at least vague warnings of possibly harmful topics in your fic, you should do and write whatever you want. and don’t let the haters get you down. this is a free, personal medium and you should do it because it makes you happy, not because you’re supposed to be writing or reading a certain kind of thing." [79]

[manic-intent. in response to in response to olderthannetfic and esteefee]:

"When I first started in fandom over a decade back the predominant attitude (at least in the fandoms I was in) was ymmv… your mileage may vary…. can we go back to that please." [80]
[pinknoonicorn]:

"I wish…I’ve also seen an upsurge of comments on fics purely aimed to insult and upset authors. From “I’m no longer enjoying this fic, so goodbye” to “is this even legal?”. Neither of which contributed in any way to the fics in question other than to upset or annoy the authors. Just…don’t read it or move along if you did.

People also need to learn the difference between squick and trigger. I see trigger being SO over used it’s becoming meaningless…a trigger causes anxiety and panic attacks. It does not make you feel a bit sick, squicked or scared in the way a horror film does…If you have a phobia you can be triggered. If a life event occurs in a fic that you have experienced you can be triggered. Having a dislike of something will not trigger you, that is a squick, especially if it’s a kink. It pisses me off when people get the two mixed up."[81]

[krakensdottir in response to philosopherking1887]:

"...To be clear: squick is still legit, and if people intentionally try to squick you, or MOCK what squicks you, those people are shit. But you can’t erase your squick from the Internet, and certainly not from fanfiction. You don’t have that right. Hell, you don’t have that right with your triggers either. People can put whatever they damn well please in a fanfic. It’s free, so reading it is entirely a matter of choice - it’s not like you spent money on it and don’t want to waste it....."[82]

Fan Fiction Is Not Inherently Progressive

[once a polecat in response to almostdefinitelydying tags]: ''#we’re not hurting anyone we really aren’t #if u don’t like smth u can nope out #and im sorry but ’m/f fanfic’ + ‘progressive’ dont belong in the same sentence #fanfiction #long post for ts''

I would actually argue that there is no fanfiction content that is inherently “progressive” at all. The whole point of this post is that fanfiction as a non-commercialized arena of sexual expression owned largely by women is inherently a transgressive phenomenon.

But inside that arena, it is fantasy… And fantasies are largely shaped by our unconscious desires and dissatisfactions, which develop in response to a society at large that is misogynist, racist, homophobic and transphobic. And our fantasy worlds have developed in response to that society is very, very diverse ways… None of which are *inherently* progressive because it’s a warped funhouse mirror of society at large.

That’s why we end up with fanfic that is dominated by white pairings, both because society as a whole shapes racist casting, AND because many of us have bits of unexamined racism lurking around in the corners of our heads because we grew up in a racist society. Those two things are additive. (Also, I will point out that POC can write racist tropes about people from other racial or cultural groups, no one is safe from the black mold of racist society creeping around in our grey matter.)

This is why fanfic authors can sometimes fetishize M/M ships. Because again, the dominance of those ships is partly because of sexist writing (leading to a predominance of male characters), because cis-female writers best reference for M/M sexual practices is often porn, and because many fanfic writers exist at a distance from gay male culture.

But at exactly the same time, we can have fanfic that spotlights a POC background character, or subverts stereotypes by casting them as a romantic lead or even celebrates canon media when they do a good job of depicting POC in a well rounded light. We have M/M fanfic that normalizes masculine romance, acknowledges the real prejudices gay men face and imagines a society that has generally moved forward into acceptance.

Why? Because there are a lot of us. And we come from really diverse backgrounds with diverse life experience. Some of us want to celebrate an Asian dude getting the girl for once, while some of us are deeply scared of writing characters from a culture we haven’t experienced. Some of us do have deep ties with people in the gay community, some of us are activists, and others don’t have a lot of genuine interest in gay rights beyond seeing Kirk & Spock kiss.

And this goes for every other hot button issue. Genderswapping & trans characters. Fetishizing canon abusers. Femslash. Making canon fat characters thinner. I could go on and on and on.

The space of fanfiction is transgressive and within that transgressive space people can write freely about content that may embody ideas that are progressive, regressive or neutral with respect to the real world. But society at large, in all it’s flawed glory, is reflected by the content we produce within that transgressive space. And no, writing “progressive” fic isn’t going to change society at large, although it may provide comfort and validation to people who read it.

Signed,

Someone who writes femslash because it speaks to my heart, not because it’s eating my vegetables." [83]

No Misogyny Here

[boyonetta in response to vastderp]:

"Are y’all seriously trying to make anti-shippers and their dumbass tumblr bullshit into misogyny? Seriously?

Look, it’s tumblr, man. That’s how tumblr is. It’s not about oppressing women, it’s about appearing progressive. It’s about claiming the moral high ground. It’s about painting yourself as pure and better than everyone else, regardless of sex, gender, or life experiences. People from all walks of life are harassed and attacked by these losers.

Misogyny can happen in fandom, just like misandry can, and transphobia, and homophobia, and racism, but the overarching issue isn’t some war against women and their sexuality perpetuated by straight men. It is largely other women, trans, and non-binary folk attacking fic writers, because they are personally uncomfortable, and they think that gives them the right to censor others.

Obviously, I agree with the rest of this comment chain, but trying to turn this into a women’s issue, into specifically misogyny, is honestly really gross and disingenous."[84]

[iphisquandary]:

"I wouldn’t say these crusaders outright hate women, but I do think they share a common assumption that does result in a conservative drive to censor fantasy: that fantasy automatically influences reality in a straightforward and simplistic way. A lot of them seem to assume that depicting rape, abuse, or other “problematic” elements in relationships will automatically hurt someone. Which is an odd assumption when you think about it. If someone is aware that something is bad in real life, who does it really harm if they like the fantasy of that? The only harm would come from someone actually doing those things in real life. But SJ on tumblr actually moralize about fantasy–they are quite literally thought police–so I guess in that way they are similar to conservatives. In that you can have “sinful” or in this case, “problematic” thoughts and fantasies."[85]

General Comments

In Support

[gala0apples]:

"I was talking to my best friend on Friday about this. About missing HP fandom, because you could ship whatever the fuck you wanted and no one would bitch at you and call you ‘problematic’. I’m so sick of being told things that don’t actually exist are Wrong. Her fave pairings were cross-gen, mine were teens showing their sexuality at the same age that I actually was. These days righteous Tumblr jerkoffs would call us both out. I’m so done with giving a shit about the word problematic." [86]

[ardentiaverba in response to olderthannetfic]:

"I’ve been angry about this for a long long time so thank god for this post" [87]

[rabidchild67 in response to olderthannetfic]: "“Fandom does not need to be a safe haven for people who never want to hear about that: the entire rest of the world is a safe haven for anti-kink, anti-sex, anti-woman feelings.”

There are a lot of corners of fandom that need this (metaphorically) branded on their foreheads." [88]

[zefram-cockring]: "It’s bible banging bullshit in a progressive mask.

Tags:where did all these helen lovejoys come fromfucking hell [89]

[lostlogs]:

"Man watch porn. Women read porn. Both get off. Getting off is wonderful. Get your endorpines, it makes the world a nicer place to be for everyone." [90]

[nederys tags]: "THANK GOD

SEX NEGATIVITY

NEOPURITANS

ANTI SEX NEGATIVITY

EXACTLY THIS

THANKS ATHENA

THE INTERSECTION OF MISOGYNY AND SEXNEG IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

CULTURE IS SEXNEG JUST LIKE IT'S HOMOPHOBIC BC THAT'S WHAT THRIVED IN THE STONE AGE WHEN PPL DIDNT HAVE PENICILLIN

TIME TO DROP IT BY NOW" [91]

[taxidermygirl]:

"Also like isn’t it normal for teenagers to be attracted to people their own age? Wouldn’t them fixating on adults be the creepy/dangerous thing for them?" [92]

[wishkey in responding to manic-intent]: "I hadn’t thought critically about what troubled me so much about today’s fandom’s attitude of aggressive self-policing… but now that I have, it troubles me even more.To. Each. Their. Own.Yes, we’ve adopted some useful and important practices like more comprehensive tagging and warning, but those are meant to enable you to find what you do like and skip what you don’t –not to get up in the business of fic or fantasies you don’t approve of.

#fandom #meta #I don't fucking care if you like it " [93]

[verdancyhime quoted ardentiaverba]: “Anything you fantasize in the privacy of your own head is perfectly natural and okay.”

#seriously #go ahead #as long as you know the difference between fantasy and reality #you are fine #have orgasms [94]

[ironmyownpants]:

"I personally refuse to let people put bonds like that onto me or my writing. If I write sex it’s because I want to and if people don’t like, tough shit. I don’t care. I do not conform. Hence why I also don’t care what other people say about Women writers or sex. Seriously. So lame. They need to try another rhetoric we can laugh it, this one is old shit." [95]

[iphisquandary]:

"On the other hand, do I think that all female creators are responsible for the education of all young people? No, especially considering that sexually explicit material is meant to be consumed by adults, and it’s not meant to be realistic or educational. I think the type of SJ bloggers who moralize about fandom always privilege the education of young people and the feelings of (some) survivors over the adults’ rights of free expression which…when you think of it doesn’t make sense when minors aren’t supposed to be reading the material, and offended or triggered survivors have the option to avoid the material. It’s never the answer to attack, harass or strive to censor any “problematic” fiction you come across. A lot of fiction does contain difficult or even triggering subjects, and has the right to be. It’s presumptuous to ask all fiction change because of some people’s feelings when those people have the ability to simply not look at it."[96]

[atevalve]: Okay, so this may not be a popular thing to say (don’t worry it’s not anti-fanfic or anything like that) but I’ve come across so many people who not only see this as wrong but blame men for this stuff popping up in fandoms. I’ve seen it used as evidence of men stealing things for themselves every time that comes up in the context of a fandom. I guess it’s because women aren’t seen as capable of enjoying sex and sexuality, which is bullshit btw.

Anyway I don’t know that the majority of the people coming down on this know the harm they’re doing to women and their sexuality. Now that doesn’t excuse it, but I think it does put it in context and may be something that needs to be kept in mind when dealing with some of these people." [97]

[slimmeroo reblogged this from zefram-cockring and tagged]:

#long post #ah this is the prime content i live for #this is a nice discussion that is both smart and careful and kind #the discourse.

[thoughtsfromthestorm]:

#my art and fantasies are my own and i draw for myself #not to please others #if you dont like my stuff feel free to block me its totally cool! #if you dont like someone else’s stuff block them! dont give them crap! #i think we all need to learn how to create our own safe spaces and keep what we dont like out of it #its easier than ever with so many blocking features and word filters on any given site #like if it bothers you so much that SOMEONE out there is drawing SOMETHING you dont approve of then like. get the stick out of your ass #and ignore it[98]

[lemon-and-chai]: "This is like blaming video games for violence. Violence existed long before video games, and was so many times worse.

I’m angry that anyone would think a fanfic author who writes about rape, or underage characters, is a rapist or pedophile, and their readers as well.

It’s not only insulting to the fanfic community, but it helps real rapists and pedophiles hide by pointing fingers at the wrong people."[99]

Against

[batman-protection-archive wrote in response to itsbuckybitch]:

This is utter bullshit. I can’t believe I even read it with my own two eyes.

Oh my actual god. Okay, you said it yourself: viewing and distributing child porn is pedophilia. Two children, or a child having sex with an adult is child porn. Just because it’s fanfiction doesn’t mean it’s okay.

I get why you feel entitled to Harry Potter, entitlement seems to be a trend with you types. You grew up with Harry. Watched him grow from a boy to a man. You feel like you know him and all his friends, so you want to write about it, explore those relationships. Great! Have at it.

But as we grow older, we move out of the narrow margin that Harry Potter was intended for. We are adults now. Harry Potter’s target audience is children. It no longer belongs to us. We can love it all we want, and continue the magic as long as we want, but you can’t ever forget that. And as adults we have a responsibility to treat that content created for children with respect.

There’s a difference between the writer and/or the characters exploring their sexuality, and pedophilia. Exploring sexuality is a sixteen year-old getting a crush on his roommate. Sexuality is kissing a girl for the first time and not knowing if you like it. For the older kids, it can even go deeper than that, get more physical than that, and might even include sex. Because the age of consent consistently hovers between 16-18. But a 1,500 word fic of sex is just that. Porn. And there’s the difference between your pedophilia and shippy teenage fanfiction.

And having a 10 year-old fuck his 25 year-old adopted brother is pedophilia.

It’s incredibly belittling of you to tell CSA survivors or any abuse survivor who sees their abuse reflected back at them in fanfiction, subsequently equates it to their real live abuse, and is hurt by it that they’re weak for it. Jesus Christ. How terrible areyou? Just because your esteemed fandom normalizes it doesn’t mean it’s okay. Your argument that a lot of people do it/have done it makes it okay is mind-blowingly ridiculous. Like a lot of people could never all agree on a bad thing. Good lord, what planet do you live on?

Ah yes. Me. Of course I am harming the children. I am definitely the one who trivializes them. These “real live vulnerable” children, who I work with every day. Have you talked to a child recently? I’m not using them in a goddamn shipping war. I’m letting them be fucking children. Gasp! A ten year old allowed to do childish things! And not have to think about sex! How terrible. You’re right. I’m probably a monster for telling all you saintly adults to leave the children their intended contentand go put your sexual fantasies somewhere else. I’m definitely the one at fault here.

And it’s all because I don’t want kids to have to come into contact with sexual material written by adults for adults when they’re interested in a thing meant for children. You’re right. I’m tired of people trivializing pedophilia. I’m tired of you." [100]

[externallocustofcontrol wrote in response to itsbuckybitch]:

“Posts telling people to be critical of fanfic and mind its implications should stop because it’s misogynistic to critique a medium primarily inhabited by women,” is already pretty wtf, but the second bit with someone in their 20s derisively referring to (this one’s an exact quote), “the righteous doxxing of ‘pedophiles’ (which in current tumblr parlance means anyone who draws or writes canonically underage characters in romantic or erotic scenarios),” is FUCKING WILD and maaaaybe one of the worst #discourse posts I’ve seen on this website?" [101]

[punkfutchroxy in response to itsbuckybitch]:

I can’t believe y’all are saying criticizing and calling out fanfic authors for writing fanfic about rape and csa is misogynist. Yeah your sexual fantasies about rape and child molestation are pretty fucking concerning and it needs to be public concern so survivors and minors can avoid your disgusting asses" [102]

[pro-erendis-anti-aldarion in response to zz9pzza]: ‘to the righteous doxxing of ‘pedophiles’ (which in current tumblr parlance means anyone who draws or writes canonically underage characters in romantic or erotic scenarios)’ Ummmm #i mean...i agree with the general gist of all this

#but drawring and writing underage characters in 'erotic scenarios' IS pedophilia" [103]

In The Middle

[poisonchocolatequake]:

Oooooh I’ve been wondering about this lately. Yes representation matters! People can and do internalize unhealthy messages from fiction - it’s almost like fiction is a tool for teaching culture or something.

On one hand there is the perception that women are feeble minded and less able to access the ManLogic needed to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Maybe it’s true, if vampires ever take over the world I’ll just offer myself up as a snack/BDSM sub instead of standing and fighting because too much fanfic.*

Do any other Olds remember when no one seemed to get weirded out by depictions of drunk sex? I’m not saying it was an all across the board thing, but I will say think there’s been a change. It’s a change I’m very glad to see in the fandom world.

* jk I’m mostly a top.😜

This was a wee bit rambly…but I mean to vocalize some conflicting thoughts/feelings on theater." [104]

[birdsbutt]:

"everytime theres a big BIG disc0urse about things like fanfics and headcanons and shipping on tumblr i get a bit confused because this small place on the interbet is not influencing our society as much as you think and it really isnt worth half the attention it gets?

like you wont stop real threatening people by telling others to stop thinking about fake (not even canon) fictional people" [105]

[shiobookmark]: "It’s all about framing. If it’s portrayed as a bad thing in the fanfic then that’s fine. It’s also fine if it’s clearly stated to be fantasy. The problem with rape fantasies is when it spills over into what is considered ‘romantic.’

Sorry for the poor example, but 50 Shades could be considered to be rape fantasy, the problem is its uncritical romantic portrayal of the rape without any context of ‘this is fantasy folks, don’t do this irl unless it’s with informed consent and safewords.’

There’s a difference between exploring something morally abhorrent and actively encouraging it. You don’t have to provide personal context, because your life is not the business of strangers unless you want it to be. But a simple ‘this is fantasy folks, don’t do this irl’ is enough. It’s acknowledging that the content is harmful, that you know the difference between reality and fiction.

It’s when the authors try and justify their fantasies as something that’s absolutely okay (and romantic!) without the context of fantasy (with safewords and informed consent beforehand) that’s the problem.

Fantasies should be fantasies. You should be able to explore whatever kinks you have in a safe space, and not encourage people to make assumptions about what you like." [106]
[theozilla]: #hmmmm #fandom #long post #fandom drama #fanfiction #fan creations #isms #social commentary #abuse #kinks #csa survivors #csa mention #online harassment #coping mechanisms #catharsis #private vs. public #social media #not sure what else to tag this as#like there are definitely creeps who make messed up dark fic who should be avoided/potentially reported #(though those types of creeps tend to be people who don't think/deny that what they are making is messed up dark fic) #(and there is merit in critiquing/analyzing certain fandom trends/tendencies on the large impersonal scale in certain cases) #but there are also plenty of people who indulge in messed up dark fic who do it as a coping method and/or #catharsis for dealing with messed up thoughts/emotions #like people are well within their right to be uncomfortable with various fandom creations and have every right to avoid it #but people also have the right to deal with their messed up thoughts/emotions through writing/fandom creations #on their own personal social media accounts/platforms #but the way social media platforms can often be both private and public platforms at the same time #is what I think muddles things up and leads to drama/harassment a lot #and even I don't know what the proper balance between public vs. private utilization of social media is #it's a complicated subject

References

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