Whump

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Whumping, Wump, Trash, Bonk, Get 'em
Related: Character Bashing, Woobie
See Also: Angst, Darkfic, Hurt/Comfort, Suffer Beautifully, Rapefic, Torture, Sickfic
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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The term whump (or whumping) generally refers to a form of Hurt/Comfort that is heavy on the hurt and is often found in gen stories. The exact definition varies and has evolved over time. Essentially, whump involves taking a canon character, and placing them in physically painful or psychologically-damaging scenarios. Often this character is a fan favorite and may sometimes be referred to as a woobie.

Furthermore, whumping (at least in the way it was used in the Stargate SG-1 H/C list) was meant to indicate a character who was in jeopardy, or hurt, and then other characters come to comfort said injured character. Hence the term H/C or hurt/comfort fics can be used as an interchangeable descriptor tag for "whumping" fics. However, there are also whump fics that focus entirely on the hurt with no comfort in sight, so whump is generally considered a darker genre.

Whump is a term that has migrated from its origins in Stargate SG-1 to become a pan-fandom term, with active communities on sites like Tumblr. It is most common in fandoms where the source material already places characters in dangerous situations, but given the limitations of that media, the trauma inflicted on characters is rarely explicitly shown or addressed in the canon. For example, procedural TV shows.

Whumping should not be confused with character bashing, where the negative aspects of a character's personality are exaggerated to express hate for that character.

History

Origin of the Term

Stargate SG-1 Fandom

webring Banner of the Daniel Jackson Whumping Society

Whump, as a term, is believed to have originated in the Stargate SG-1 fandom. Ff.net user OXBastedXO states in her profile that one of her minor claims to fame is coining the term Danny Whumping in the fandom.[1] However, another fan claims: "I saw it used in 1996, in the Earth 2 fandom," which would suggest the term predates even the Stargate SG-1 fandom. [2]

From DIAL #23 (Autumn 2002): "Stargate has a large contingent of h/c writers, and a particularly category of Dannywhumpers..." where it is a fandom specific expression for the practice of physically and psychologically abusing one's favorite character in fanfiction and then offering them comfort. Daniel was the character a lot of fans loved most, which means he was the one they loved to hurt the most and then have comforted by another character [a fan favorite was Jack O'Neill]. Danny whumping was extremely popular, especially in gen fiction. There is a Daniel Jackson Whumping Society and the Whumpalicious Archaeologist[3] page is dedicated to Danny whumping fanfic and vids. For a list of Danny whumping recs see lorien_79's Daniel whump FF-List.[4]

One fan's response to the question of what makesDaniel so whumpable sheds some light on the popularity of whumping as a gen kink: "Because it's so damn sexy. Watching Daniel get beat up, crying, screaming, I love all of it. It gives me tingles and makes me grin madly."[5] By now the term whumping has spread to several other fandoms that like to hurt their woobies.

Other Fandoms

While the term Whump is relatively new, its origins are not. People have been enjoying "hurt/comfort" stories for years and the genre can be traced back decades. In the early days fans would use email lists, webrings, and fan-published "zines" to share their stories. Some remnants of these old modes of exchange can still be found today though many of the original fandoms have died off.

Whump is not dissimilar to MulderTorture in the X-Files fandom and the popular Get 'em or "Get" themes found in the classic Star Trek zines, though the term is used much less frequently today. The Star Wars fandom, as well as others, also used the word "trash" in a similar way. Many early fanworks from the UK use the term bonk.

I began writing Fanfic back in 1997 when I needed a word processor to write and then upload from a 3" floppy via dial up to the one computer in the house. A young teen, I was fascinated with the idea of being able to share my imagination and my love for the X-Files with other like minded people. I especially enjoyed Mulder!Whump, though back then we called it MulderTorture.(...)[6]

Tumblr Whump Community

A thriving whump community exists on Tumblr. There are many dedicated blogs[7] where whump fics, meta and GIFsets are created for people to share. Some blogs also publish 'whump lists', which are lists of scenes in various canons (e.g. TV series) where whump-y scenes involving various characters are highlighted.[note 1]

Whump fans on Tumblr have also created The Whumpapedia, a comprehensive spreadsheet listing whump scenes in a wide range of TV series, movies, books, podcasts, anime and much more.

It is unclear when the first whump blog appeared on Tumblr, but some of the earliest blogs began showing up in the 2010s. The emergence of the whump community on Tumblr is thought to have been the result of, at least in part, the Strikethrough and Boldthrough controversies over at LiveJournal in May and June of 2007. This signaled a shift in fandom away from LJ towards other social platforms.

Evolution of the Term

In recent years terminology has evolved and added the words "whumpee" and "whumper" into the vernacular of the Whump Community.

The whumpee refers to the one being hurt. This term has seemingly come to replace the word woobies when referring to the target of the whump.

The whumper refers to the one doing the hurting. It may also refer to the author of the fic, or whump writers in general.

In their essay, Hurt/Comfort and Whump in Fandom Discourse: A Timeline (1970′s - 2020), Tumblr user haich-slash-cee provides an overview of the evolution of Whump and Hurt/Comfort.

The term whump has become inclusive of hurt comfort; possibly due to the way Tumblr's tagging system deals with slashes. While some communities and fandoms may use whump as a synonym for hurt/comfort, there is still a recognition that whump refers to darker and more extreme scenarios. And there are still whump fics been written that have very little, or no comfort at the end of the story.

Some fans also posit that the term whump is more likely to be used on certain platforms; namely Tumblr. With fans on LJ and fic writers on Ao3 often using hurt comfort to tag their works. It's also more common in certain fandoms. So there is no clearly defined difference between whump and hurt comfort. Instead the term used to describe whumpy fic may depend on the fandom that fic is written for, and/or the social media platform used by the fandom. [8]

In other cases, fandom specific whump tags may be used. Such as in Prodigal Son fandom, where their tags of choice on AO3 and Tumblr are Malcolm Bright Whump or Malcolm Bright Needs A Hug.

The term caretaker is used to refer to the character who takes care of the whumpee when they are hurt.[9]

Favorite Targets

Examples of Use

  • "McKay Whumping. Because I'm only happy when he's miserable." + "I love to see Rodney in pain, I really do. I'm not even sorry." [10]
  • "I enjoy whump. When the whumpee is hurt by the whumper, I just squeal!"
  • "Can you believe what happened in the last episode? There was so much whump!"
  • "I write whump. Do you want to see my whump blog? It's in the Whump Community Directory if you want to check it out."
  • "what i'm looking for is jack whumping fics! the hurt could be physical or mental i dont really mind, but please no jack/rose "[11]

Example Fanworks

Fanfiction

Fanart

Vids

Meta

Archives and Fannish Links

Communities

Challenges

Links and Resources

References

  1. ^ One of OXBastetXO minor claims to fame coining the term: Danny Whumping...dang did that get out of control. ;-) OXBastetXO on Fanfiction.net, accessed July 16, 2020.
  2. ^ From comment by Kel at Fandom Wank, 29 Apr 2009.
  3. ^ Whumpalicious Archaeologist
  4. ^ lorien_79. FF-List (Daniel whump)
  5. ^ Angy. Whumpalicious Archaeologist, added 15 August 2005.
  6. ^ XScout, Archived version
  7. ^ A directory can be found at https://whumpcommunity.tumblr.com
  8. ^ Discussion on Tumblr, Whats the difference between whump and hurt comfort
  9. ^ Tumblr ask, June 17, 2020. (Accessed July 16, 2020). Who are ur favorite whumpies and their caretakers?
  10. ^ from a fan in 2013 at The_RMWC (The Rodney McKay Whump Community)
  11. ^ Extract from a comment at dw-ficsearch, 2013.
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Notes

  1. ^ Whumps' list, Whump Lists and Whump TV Show Lists are some examples of dedicated whump list blogs.