autumnus: A purple monochrome portrait of Zoe from Dreamfall, with drawn stars in background and "the Dreamer" written on bottom. (Default)
Hey the whole cool kids are writing about it! No, of course not why I write.

In case you somehow missed it, there is a huge discussion going on around board elections of Transformative works.  I am not going to write a lot here since most of what I want to say (and counter opinions I disagree with) have been explained by people with a lot more mastery in written text than I do.

[personal profile] troisroyaumes has the most recent link roundup that I know of

edit: a second link roundup by [personal profile] ainsley is also being actively updated.

Personal opinions below.

a) I am very glad this discussion is happening, regardless of what the outcome is, I think (hope) that the ideas and opinions brought in here will be put into use.
  a.1) I am also very glad to see a REAL election happening for a change where people can make a choice in what they want to see the org become.
  a.2) super cool that all sides of criticism and counter criticism is out there, that we are discussing this! and the whole thing has so far been very constructive.

b) Few posts I see as well as some comments that bothers me just a little bit. Choosing a board member shouldn't be based on how cool and amazing a person is. Them being chosen or not chosen doesn't change it. It is a decision on how good of a board member they will be, based on their current plans as a board member and attitudes toward the current issues. 

c) Differing opinions is not something to be scared off, nor is it a threat to efficiency. I think what many candidates define as a transparency problem in the org is a flat out communication issue the org management structure has with volunteer pool and fandom outside. We have no way to handle, and channel criticism or even opposing arguments (without actively trying to shut them down). This then affects diversity of the org (the point of diversity is not to get a stamp of approval on status quo but to actually change), and brings out things like the "server naming fail". What is the true problem here: we cannot communicate out our ideas to get feedback, or we don't really see the reason for communicating until it is too late?

d) Sustainability is not a joke. If few critical people (3-4) were out of commission at same time, right now, archive development and maintain would be severely hindered. Yes, kudos to these people, but overall this is terrible: and this is just one example on how understaffed org is in some key places. For those who argue: "people with specific skills are rare", well we have volunteers on one side who don't have enough to do and drop out because of that, and people with too much to do on other in danger of burning out. Clearly something is failing in between. I think it is time the for OTW to seriously focus on why, before it implodes.

All of this said, I know I am definitively voting for [personal profile] jennyst, [personal profile] lucyp and [personal profile] julia_beck, I have worked with all three of these people and saw them first hand make the org step (even if baby steps) forward on points c and d.  For my 4th vote I am still debating since all 3 candidates have their pluses and minuses, currently inclining toward [personal profile] sanders, due to her two recent articles on her journal. We'll see how that goes after second candidate chat and followups.

autumnus: A purple monochrome portrait of Zoe from Dreamfall, with drawn stars in background and "the Dreamer" written on bottom. (Default)
Calla's on being silenced voices most of my concerns much better than I ever could formulate.

Just my 2 cents on two topics that ended up being part of the recent discussions. A lot of it is probably rehash of what is written up in the link above but I need to get it out of my chest at this point, before going back to radio silence.

Generally one question I see is "Why shouldn't we yell? That is the privileged rules designed to keep us invisible".

The problem with yelling and trying to silence is that it hides the problem instead of solving it. A person being yelled at will be focused on trying to stop you from yelling. That is not very conductive to thinking. Then you end up with silent racism, ableism, homophobia. Nobody speaks of it openly. They outwardly support what you say but the faulty thinking is still there.

You need to convince other person that what they do is wrong (and unfortunately yes, you have to do the effort as unfair as it is). Convincing is not yelling or bashing heads (figuratively speaking), or saying only people with certain qualifications should be allowed to write on a topic (you need to have done N amount of research is a variation of the latter). Convincing is not "calmly" explaining what they did wrong or staying silent.

Encourage people to write, badly or good on the topic, off the topic. Ask them questions about how they formulated their characterization and settings. Ask them why they had the assumptions they had? Argue. Give them examples, counter examples. Challenge them into thinking instead of telling them what to think.

and yes... it is hard as hell to do. However it is worth it.


2. One particular aspect of the recent discussion on writing about a recent disaster. How dare the author use a tragedy as back setting to smut? It is so disrespectful.

My main problem with this argument is that it is so american/western, it completely disregards different traditions and cultures. Did you know that back home (for me that is Turkey) it is actually a common thing to have characters of say a TV show mention current events even when it has nothing to do with the plot? Another memorable TV skit from my childhood was one that was about torture by police (which was a serious problem in early 90s or so) that had me doubling over in laughter. I can't remember for the life of me where the following quote comes from "We laugh at our crying-worthy state".

Sometimes making light of a tragic event or writing about it is a way to handle our grief and make sense of it (and art is all about making sense and transforming). I know American way is not to speak of it. However fandom does not belong to one culture. So I have to ask.

How dare you to tell me how I should grieve, show concern for or make sense of the events? Who decides what is the right way to show respect?


Enjoy commenting, yelling, arguing if you wish to do so. Comments are screened by default but I will unscreen pretty much anything that keeps a civil (lack of R-rated curses and racial slurs) language.
autumnus: A woman looking down hands in pockets of the pants, a bit lost.  (mentalist)
I am still trying to follow up the conversation on the topic and I am very glad to see that this time the conversation is not easily dying.

This being said however it is very disheartening to see us walking the same vicious cycle again and again.

Somehow the conversation ends as "slashers vs others" and any criticism that comes out somehow gets generalized as "this person is talking against my right to write slash!" and the whole thing gets derailed (so far it is more like partially derailed since there are voices of reason still out there)

There is homophobia in fandom yes. Slashers are not the only one against homophobia. Not all slash fic is problematic in terms of gender (I have seen slash that does wonderful characterization of women, somewhat rare but it is out there), We do not say do not write slash. Not at all.

No what is being said is different:
1) Slash is not the only way to be progressive. Categorical demeaning of het and other genres is wrong and as dangerous as dismissing slash as a category. Slash snobbing unfortunately exists and is problematic.
2) Female characters are dismissed for reasons that are not realistic (too perfect, not interesting etc) when male characters equally badly written, or with problems (or with no screen time) is given focus and fixed in fandom. We expect a lot more (too much) from female characters. Why the double standard?
3) We do this to ourselves in real life situation too, this attitude is not because "it is simply fandom" or because "TV does not have good female leads". (Remember the Hillary Clinton bashing that occured during the elections. Think critically for a moment regardless of your political opinion how many of the arguments against her was objective concerns about her qualifications compared to the qualifications of other candidates)
4) We might even be influencing main stream media backward by our attitude (think of female leads and stories in late 90s compared to what came out in last 2-3 years. See a difference in female characterization? We went from Buffy to Bella as female heroine. Even then think of the hoards of Buffy bashing that exists in that fandom.)
5) Female hate and erasure finds a home in slash fanfic and gets mixed in/hides behind the legitimate defense of queer. Slash readers/writers need to be aware of this and it should stop.
6) Female hate and erasure is not limited to slash, it happens in many places in fandom.
7) Categorical defense of anything, even slash, is not being progressive. Questioning, reevaluating our cultural norms is progressive. Slash is one of those cultural norms. Identifying a limitation of a movement does not invalidate that movement. It just improves it.

Bottom line: write/read slash for right reasons and listen before going in defense I guess?
This is what I think, read and defend. Please do not put words to my mouth by saying I argue about something else. If there is a post out there that argues something else, I probably do not defend that either but don't use it as an argument to dismiss this conversation.
autumnus: photomanip that looks like a monster with tendrils coming out of face and yellow eyes (fire)
[personal profile] miera_c's  The list of excuses for debunking misogyny is thought provoking and there are several other posts made on the topic already. [community profile] metafandom has links.

Lets start by of some of the arguments from the list for not liking a female characters/het/femmeslash/gen

"I don't like female characters that are too violent/masculinized by being violent or physical."

"I don't like female characters that are too nice/passive/boring."

If male person said this to you in your work environment as a woman, what would be your reaction? Would you think that the person is just stating an objective opinion or preference or a fact about you or would you be thinking you are being discriminated against? 

Are we even aware that we use the same wording?

Continuing with some other arguments listed in the post:

"Why don't you just write what you like then and be happy?"

"It's not fair for you to judge me based on my fannish likes and dislikes."

"This isn't my problem. "

This is where the discussion gets scary. Some of these were actually in the comments to an earlier post. If these were written for a post about racism the people writing it would either not dare or would be quickly shut up/overwhelmed by replies, presented by bingo cards and generally yelled at. However same people who defend religiously against (and rightly so) race discrimination (or defend queer issues) stay mostly silent when the same arguments are used against talking about misogyny.

You want more proof that something is not quite right here?

Check how many people are even bothering to talk about the topic, the key part of it: the erasure of women in fan work. The het/slash is presented as a consequence/instance of a deeper problem, not as the problem itself. However if slash was not mentioned, would this have even made metafandom?

So what is the bottom line? Is it that it is okay to be liberal and defending against oppression in many forms but not gender discrimination?
Should we stop arguing, refining and criticizing further now that we are so open and progressive that we don't have faults?



and on a tangeant:  

Slash is not making us progressive. Slash is not making us not-progressive. The process of negotiating, questioning, critiquing social norms makes us progressive. Those social norms also includes our current culture of fandom and yes slash. Just because something is good does not mean there is nothing wrong about it (or vice-versa)

*waits for the yells in the comments*


autumnus: A purple monochrome portrait of Zoe from Dreamfall, with drawn stars in background and "the Dreamer" written on bottom. (Default)

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