Unpopular fannish opinion: i feel bad about mocking the snapewives

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Title: unpopular fannish opinion: i feel bad about mocking the snapewives
Creator: seperis
Date(s): November 13, 2010
Medium: Dreamwidth post
Fandom: Harry Potter
Topic:
External Links: the post is here; WebCite
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unpopular fannish opinion: i feel bad about mocking the snapewives is a post by seperis.

The topic was the 2006 Snapewives wank on fandom_wank.

Some Topics Discussed

  • Snapewives
  • when is wank not funny
  • privileging one fandom over another
  • fannish policing
  • The Geek Hierarchy
  • female hobbies and their worth
  • mocking what makes us nervous

The Post

Re-reading SnapeWive wank, for the actualfax first time I felt really uncomfortable with the entire subject matter. Not because it wasn't batshit, but after reading for years in the snark communities--and also existing on this plane of existence--batshit is the rule. I know no non-batshit people. Frankly, the non-batshit seem untrustworthy and smell weird, like eggs. I'm just saying. Granted, this is a level that most of us cannot--no pun intended--dream of ascending to, but still.

It's like the formula for funny now is batshit (higher level) + bad behavior for me to like, enjoy it in a group-like setting or batshit (higher level) + destructive behavior (in private, I enjoy many kinds of batshit. I feel that is okay). Which in a weird and uncomfortable way comes back to irony; if you aren't being ironic, you're doing it wrong, and Snapewiving was just not ironic, ick. Or honestly, a lot of it was the mention of OH NOES SHE HAS KIDS, which, okay, let me say this honestly, most if not all parents have batshit hobbies. I know we privilege birdhouse building over Snapefenning, but I'm going to be honest, I'm not seeing a huge gulf of societal value here. I say this as a crocheter who has done nothing but use up a perfectly good ball of yarn making random and hilarious shapes for the self-amusement value--at least the Snapewives are amusing each other. They are adding fun to the universe that was not there before, where I am only at replacement-level fun and wasting yarn shaped like misshapen penises and once, a cat suffering from radiation poisoning and possibly missing a body. It might have started as a hat? But I'm going with cat.

[Of course, I come from the school of thought that 'serious' does not equal 'not fun'; fun is serious fucking business. We are not immortal and I have like, what, only sixty years left before mortal funtimes are over; that's not all that much time.]

So possibly I'm still smarting from eww fanfic last week being trotted out by actualfax fanfic writers. It's just--it's not even irritating so much as boggling. Anonymeme mockery of too much squee or investment doesn't matter; one of the various uses of anonymous include being a dick, so if that is your fun, go forth and eventually the fun distribution will even out. On the other hand, someone said, straight faced, that all those people (girls) obsessed with TV shows, stars etc are all terrifying!!!! while I thought about it and sure, percentagewise in the general population a few actual crazy-crazy people will take it to the horrifying level, but in general, that's still safer than hanging out with the equivalent fan of sports.

I mean, I don't want to say football, American and not; it's not like that's a mystery. Because in general, media fen don't usually riot through a city--could happen, but you try rioting with a laptop, your internet connection is so unstable, please--or settle a UT versus Oklahoma state with manual testicle removal, which--yeah, I got nothing. But the guy who paints himself blue and white who streaks the field is like, some more meaningful layer of crazy than the chick who married Scott Summers on the astral plane? Cause I didn't see anyone say maybe they need to take away his kids.

If I were speaking in stereotypes, then women totes overinvest in romance and it's unrealistic and dangerous and they could like, mistake it for RL and fuck up their kids if that shit isn't watched and kept goddamn ironic. If I were speaking in stereotypes, then men totes overinvest in romance and it's unrealistic and dangerous and they shoot their love interests to death IRL. I'm not sure, since it doesn't seem to come up a lot, but I'm pretty sure that fucks up the kids more. And also, the woman is dead, but whatever, we're talking about a man and his kids. In most murder cases, I rarely if ever see someone state that someone shouldnt' have access to their kids when they kill their partner; in Snapewives, I saw people worriedly recommend a visit from CPS more than I was comfortable with.

This came up in MsScribe too, actually; the weird thing was, there was a lot of OMG NO SHUT UP at the idea of calling CPS because she was using multiple sockpuppets to play a really fun game of munchausen by internet proxy, but I think the dealbreaker was she was ironic enough about it. It's not even that I think there's a double standard here; I think it's a very consistent standard. MsScribe's actions, though destructive, sometimes personally, were in retrospect clever; she was manipulative and played on stereotyping, and it wasn't like she believed her own sockpuppets were real or something. They were tools for a goal.

Snapewives just think they're married to Snape; that's not clever at all.

I feel like I'm going through some kind of phase of overly critical thought. I really need to work on my irony, y/y [1]

Comments to the Post

[sapote]:

...I've always thought the central function of fandom_wank back in the day was essentially the kind of community policing that all gossip does - setting a standard way of interacting with other fans and with the source material, and then setting a social disincentive to stray from that pattern - namely, that you would become infamous and people would laugh at you.

It's something most intact communities do, to my understanding. It's also worth thinking about critically, because yeah.
[seperis]:

...I was trying to decide how some of the comments there would have been taken now. Because oh yeah, there's some stuff in there that's worth an entire wank all it's own.

It's also weirdly--they were kind of doing their own thing? Not interacting or being wanky to other people, so I couldnt' work out what it was besides weird.... Poking the Snapewives feels weird now, like, IDK, paparazzi instead.
[sapote]:
Well, but there were the Tinhats. There were the Harmonians, whose grievances were with other fans but also with their canon. There was the Victoria Bitter saga with the hobbit-channeling element. The "greatest hits", as you will, seemed to have a substantial element where the relationship that was considered o_O was between fan and source material, even if it was wanky interaction that drew the community's attention. Your point is taken that without that element of wanky interaction, it really is just pointing and staring, though.
[sapote]:

There's an uncomfortable element there of "We are not the ones who take it too far. They take it too far. We know we do not because we are not them.", yes?

I came into fandom through fandom_wank, and I honestly know that part of the reason that that was a comfortable entry point was that I had a lot of internalized discomfort with Ladies Having Hobbies and found it easier to ease in through "sardonic" to "sincere". I am not proud of this, but I think it's also common and worth articulating?

[seperis]:

I think a lot of fandom either came in with that or developed it defensively; honestly, it's hard not to. Hobbies done by women are either feminine and have no value or masculine and that's like, a sign of lesbianism or something. I hate to say that I'm seeing the benefit of the Greek ideal of the perfect woman being one whose name is never spoken and has no reputation for good or evil, but at least that's like, upfront about expectations.

[ratcreature]:

What do you mean with "developed it defensively"? Feeling defensive towards non-understanding mundanes? I mean, I don't remember a time I wasn't fannish, and my close relatives are all geeky and fannish to some extent, so obviously I found fandom sincerely, in that I started to collect comics as a kid, and then read my sister's comics, and then went to my first comic con, and eventually found comic fandom online and then fanfic fandom... At no point was there any kind of ironic distancing or anything. I always assumed that was the usual way. That someone was a fan of stuff and then at some point finds community.

[seperis]:

YMMV. I can honestly state that it's common if not almost expected for someone to disparage fanfic or female-oriented fandom even as participants in it.

[ratcreature]:

Ah, I misunderstood your comment. I thought you meant that the mocking of fandom was a common path into fandom, like easing into it or something. That it happens as a kind of coping, I see that too, like the "geek hierarchy" thing. But that's kind of an universal reaction for things that are not quite the "norm", like internalized homophobia and the like, that the impulse is there to point out that you yourself aren't really all that different (say you want to marry and raise kids and have a picket fence, just with a same-sex partner), not like those weirdos way over there who are much less normal (say promiscuous with a latex fetish or whatever). I just meant that communities for mocking fandom never occurred to me as a common way into fandom, rather a pattern within fandom that sometimes happens regardless of how you joined, which I tend to assume happens because of sincere fannishness.

[saraht]:

Can't say as I'd want to hang around with someone who came into fandom through a fandom-mocking community. Not just because of the self-hate, which is tedious, but because of the lack of basic social savvy it suggests. I prefer to hang out with people who have mastered the concept that their fellow-fans are human beings even if they're not sitting right in front of them.

[out_there]:

I feel like I'm going through some kind of phase of overly critical thought. I really need to work on my irony, y/y? *shrugs* Maybe...? I think I have a very small window for finding this stuff funny -- also, it's 6am over here, and I'm trying to write so I think I've lost my patience for people being mean and stupid. (I'm not sure why writing Sherlock makes me want to roll my eyes at humanity -- I think it's characterisation osmosis, to be honest.)

[niqaeli]:

Let me tell you how many people I know who very carefully maintain plausible deniability re: their muses just being the collection of their unconscious minds spewed out on the page. Because if they're not, either they're real people communicating in some fashion from, what, another world, or something... or the writer is crazycakes in a manner that... um. Yeah. Neither of these is a good option!

Because it would be terrible to have voices in your head that really are voices in your head and not, ahahaha, what an eccentric writer!

I dunno. There's a lot of judgment against not matching up to a standard model of sanity, pretty much no matter what subculture you're in. This is why my model of sanity comes down to: Are you functional? Can you contribute to society in some fashion? Are you able to control your destructive to self and others urges to a great extent? Congratulations, you're sane! Note that in there is no discussion of what the inside of your mentalscape looks like, because it honestly seems irrelevant to the actual important things.

I mean, if you're married to Snape on an astral plane, okay, I'm going to think you're fucking weird and possibly not want much to do with you, but whatever. I think this of, like, Mormons, to be honest and I live in a city full of them. Have you seen their holy underwear? But people aren't suggesting we call CPS on Mormons who aren't the fringe cultists living in compounds and shit, yeah? How is a relationship with Snape so much more damaging? Because it's not as common, basically. And because it's fannishness and, we really must be certain to police how people are fannish. Because god knows, we're already off the charts weird! We can't be seen as ~crazy~!

Yeah. Old School fandom_wank was sort of a curation of the weird, rather than just the wanky, and I like going through the wiki for that but I honestly don't want to point and laugh unless they're being asshats -- I'm just curious about all the stupid human tricks we get up to.
[fyrdrakken]:
Having read through the other comments and had a line about the damage done by overinvestment in romantic ideals repeated and thus highlighted for my attention, it occurs to me that the perceived danger of women overinvesting in romance lies in warping their instincts and teaching them that obsessive controlling behavior is appropriate -- teaching them to be excessively trustful with a partner who knows the right buttons to push, teaching them not to prioritize their own safety and independence. The underlying assumptions being that it's male behavior that's dangerous, and that the onus is on women to be ever-vigilant for their own protection. Which is somewhat tangential to the main point of your post, though I think I could relate it back somehow given a bit more time to mull. If nothing else, astral marriage to a fictional man seems a lot less likely to harm the children than attempting to find a new RL partner -- I mean, have we ever seen news reports on how a woman's astral husband or fictional boyfriend killed one or more of her children?

[nagasvoice]:

RE: pointing and laughing being a way to regulate a community, that's pretty mild compared to what old-time fans might have to resort to just to protect themselves.

Some older fen will teach you never to send mass emailings with everybody's email out in the open, because you never know where it'd get forwarded. Nope--bccs only, folks. That's from the old history where being known for any mocked behaviors could get you fired from your job (school teacher, anyone?) and listed on FBI watch lists (why are you asking all these questions about forensic procedures?) and most seriously of all, offending The Mouse. You could be given video or music takedown orders or desist orders and sued by lawyers on retainer for selling or distributing fancfic on paper. All that stuff about various powerful media franchises who were legally required to protect their copyrights was No Joke, and sometimes I've heard real life stories about bankrupted fans who were Made Into Examples. Oh, and more recently, for awhile lj was being stalked by rightwing Christian nutters who were reporting members of various groups for offensive content and getting people banned. They kept trying to root out all their friends's lists as well, so just being the friend of somebody indiscreet could lead to you having problems elsewhere. Then there's been stalkers who try to get specific people in trouble, and are happy to take down everybody associated with them. Things like "warning" bosses and church groups and friends of yours with kids, and telling them you write porn, or you present offensive Japanese sex animations to children in your perfectly innocent anime club at school. And so on. So the institutional memory on fandom at large has the memory of this kind of ...apprehension. Entirely aside from over-reacting irritably to bad grammar or Mary Sues or whatever (get a LIFE, please!) they don't want the public eye to swivel around with the tv cameras onto Weird Cousin Stas, who's babbling happily about things that make mundanes turn green. (No, I'm not pointing fingers at anybody's twincest or RPF or anything...) Mockery is one way that nervous people may react to get other folks back in line before "it gets out of hand."

And that's just the reasonable folks, that's not the folks who entertain themselves pointing and laughing.

[wembley]:

I feel bad about the general pointing and laughing I do at crazy fan behavior, for similar reasons, but I still do it. I guess I just... at some point, I have to just say, "Yeah, I am sometimes -- many times -- a nice and empathetic person. And sometimes I'm a dick." I mostly keep my "LOL SNAPEWIVES WTF" comments to private conversations, because at least the Snapewives and the like won't get their feelings hurt by me. It's definitely about social policing, it's definitely about, "Well, yeah, I'm mentally ill and it sucks, but at least I don't think Snape's (a) real; (b) my boyfriend on the astral plane who (c) dumped me*, yay, I'm less crazy than that fan over there!" It's definitely fucked up. But... idk. Sometimes, I'm a dick. /unhelpful comment is unhelpful.

References

  1. post by seperis: unpopular fannish opinion: i feel bad about mocking the snapewives; [ WebCite], November 10, 2010