As always, I’m only eligible to be nominated for awards related to fan writing (because my fiction writing is… sporadic and also super NSFW when I do post it). If you were so inclined to nominate me for something – like the Hugo Award for Fan Writer or any similar award – here’s what you could nominate me for!
I’m a fan writer because I’m a fan writing about fandom – maybe not fandoms you think about on the regular, but spaces that need coverage that strays from solely celebratory. My writing primarily focuses on queerness and/or race in media/fandom spaces and I document and push back at established narratives about the supposed progressive spaces and what fandom is actually like when you’re in the thick of it.
As of this point in 2020, I posted 101 pieces on my site for a total of 185,232k words. These pieces covered antiblackness in transformative fandom, Korean pop/hip hop fandom, how a popular Tor release missed the mood of 2020, music reviews, the Star Wars fandom’s endless awfulness… and so much more. I uploaded a handful of videos to my YouTube channel, recorded and posted like nine podcast episodes, wrote for I-D and Teen Vogue, and pissed a lot of racists off in fandom just for pointing out the facts of fandom.
2020 has been tough, but I have put out some of my best work so far despite all the wild shit I’ve been through and it’d be cool if folks recognized that, you know?
Anyway, stats aside: here are some pieces I did on my website that I feel highlight the work I do best:
Whiteness is seen as a neutral state rather than a heavily politicized racial identity in and of itself and, as a result, so is white womanhood in transformative fandom spaces.
When we see people complain about the presence of “identity politics” in fandom or in media, we rarely talk about the idea of “white” identity politics or how these fans focus on whiteness and white people or character above… even good storytelling.
When whiteness’s status at the top of the metaphorical mountain is called into question, usually threatened by “threatening” fans of color or the existence of characters of color in Western fandom spaces, shit hits the fan and white women reach for their womanhood.
The idea of white women weaponizing their white womanhood isn’t actually exclusive to fandom or new. Aside from how women of color can talk about how White Tears have been used to silence them, the murder of Emmett Till decades ago literally couldn’t have happened without a white woman weaponizing that fear of white womanhood being under fire.
If there’s a super diverse show with lots of well-written characters of color and white female characters, fandom will always focus on the white male characters in the show.
The Black Panther fandom didn’t actually zero in on ships focusing on the Black characters – outside of the cousins Erik “Killmonger” Stevens/T’challa. In fact, the fandom focused on the white men in the film to the point of zeroing in on Bucky and Steve because they just had to finish that thread from Captain America: Civil War.
Folks were out here writing “Bucky and Steve go to Wakanda for vacation” stories like that was ever an option for those characters, colonizing Wakanda for Stucky with zero shame.
And if you think that this behavior is just anxiety and depression caused by the end of The Rise of Skywalker, what excuse did Reylo fans have in October 2019 when they went after her following some tweets she made about Kylo fans that go after people that dislike him are the very bullies other people see when they look at him?
What excuse did they have for swarming her mentions after she mentioned getting at least four fake reviews on goodreads done to drop down the rating of her work?
What excuse did they have for trying to browbeat her into submission for expressing her opinions – first about Kylo Ren and then about the fans that won’t let criticism of him past?
Rey/Kylo fans are the reason why NK Jemisin doesn’t deal with Star Wars, were annoying as hell about EK Johnston calling Kylo a villain, and constantly try to come for Tricia Barr.
Docile is a book that calls back to the history of slavery in the United States – the enslavement of Black people – and then hangs up the phone without so much as a timid “hello”. Its lack of true engagement with the still-painful, and still incredibly relevant past of slavery in the United States shows in how reviewers are responding to it as “yet another” gushy and empowering dark-fic in fandom.
Docile doesn’t reckon with race.
On any level.
And neither do the majority of the reviewers who’ve talked about the book so far.
If your queer anti-capitalist critique isn’t also explicitly anti-racist… it’s probably not great anti-capitalist critique.
I refuse to stop talking about the fact that fandom is racist. I refuse to pretend that there’s not something wrong about the fact that there is literally nothing fans of color can do in the face of flat out racist stories – because the response from the reporting team has almost always been smug as fuck and unhelpful – and that the only thing we can do that works is to repeatedly try and reach out to the creators on our own about their racist shit. (Which leads to fans of color being labeled as bullies and shifts conversations away from racist authors, by the way.)
I refuse to be silent about the unchecked racism in fandom that harms me and that has harmed other people and that will continue to harm other people. I’ve never let other people stop me from doing what has to be done and I will continue to document, write, and talk about racism in fandom for the foreseeable future because this is how I help. This is one small part of how I practice anti-racism, by unpacking its presence in a space that’s usually very dear but very harmful to me.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t need a celebrity to tell you that Black Lives Matter.
You just shouldn’t.
You should already think that our lives matter so that when your idol favorite eventually tweets about it, you can be like “yeah! Thanks for getting the memo, now let’s work to change things”.
Your celebrity fave – regardless of where they’re from – shouldn’t be the reason you decide to care about other people.