Original thread here for those of y’all following me on the locked main & lightly edited for clarity and to input some explanation at the end.
I would genuinely like nonblack people in fandom to think about how antiblack fans devote months and even years of their time to hating Black characters… Usually over shipping in canon or fandom and how that NEVER counts as “anti shipping” while Black fans’ pushback always does.
Anti Iris “Snowbarry” fans have hated Iris (and even tried to blow up scandals to get Candice in trouble) since 2014.
Anti Finn/FinnRey Kylo stans have diminished Finn (and repeatedly spread rumors trying to get John in trouble) since 2016.
Over a decade after their first introduction, characters like Martha Jones, Gwen, New Trek!Uhura, are still hated by their respective fandoms.
The common element is that these were all Black women characters in romantic relationships with a white male character shipped elsewhere.
Those are anti fans. Those are anti shippers. They do harass these characters’ fanbases and mock them and harass the performers (especially John and Candice) and their largely Black fans because they aren’t willing to let those have anything
And yet no one talks about this?
If you’re going to focus on anti shipping in fandom but don’t know how much antiblackness specifically is bound up in it (antiblack anti fans at it for years, Black fans relabeled according to this new nebulous definition of anti fan that includes anti racists)
You’re literally just regurgitating one part of the acceptable fandom narrative, one that uses fans’ valid trauma from harassment with real anti fans to excuse things like aggressive antiblack harassment of fans like me who are often solely commenting on racism in fandom.
Foz Meadows followed up the piece on racism in fandom that I mentioned here with one on “anti culture“. That wasn’t fully on my mind until one of my mutuals, Alexandra Erin, posted a thread with her thoughts on anti shipping.
Her thoughts and Foz’s aren’t like Fully Wrong, I’m not disagreeing with them (like at all, I’m Not Having Opinions on neither post nor thread) because I have seen some concerning elements in how people talk about the ships they hate and the people that ship them that are seriously worth unpacking and pushing back at.
But I wanted to point out that these conversations about anti shipping and anti fandom never talk about race/racism except sometimes people will say things like “anti fans who hate Reylos are mean to Reylos of color/assume we’re all white” and that’s… been a thing I’ve seen where white self-proclaimed anti fans will run to be racist towards people they hate, but also the second thing hinges on the fandoms’ own demographic surveys which are… beige. (There’s also the issue where white fans take up the burden of in-group beef like how angry white people are that I call people “PickMe POC” to explain why I don’t let other people of color talk over me/silence me in service of whiteness/racism in fandom.)
Anyway, these “let’s unpack anti shipping and why it’s bad” posts never reckon with the fact that people who are anti fans of a pairing with a Black character/celeb and who do harass people for years over being into the pairing… are never called that. Snowbarry shippers who have 6k large followings on Twitter and IG who have spent years hating on Iris (including calling Candice slurs and wishing death on her AND Iris) aren’t called “anti Iris” or “iris antis” but Black women pointing out how these fanpages are trying to get Iris booted off the show and Candice “canceled” for rumors… are called “anti snowbarries”.
See the discrepancy? The harassing group gets to just be the pro-ship group. The marginalized people trying to defend against racism are relabeled antis.
In all of the conversations about Rey/Kylo fans being under attack by “antis”, no one ever points out that the shippers in Jan 2020 were actively mobilizing as an anti fandom against John and trying to get him canned from other work. (These fans also mobilized against Black fans like myself – this is ongoing and again is part of what happened in Feb 2021.)
None of these pieces – many of which are written by queer white folks, but some are by BIPOC who just ignore racism except from actual anti fans and people like me who’ve they decided are being The Real Racists – engage with the fact that when racists don’t like a pairing in fandom, they actually do harass fans of the ship or the character of color. They don’t engage with the fact that while some anti fans did name each other and, between 2015-2018 at its peak, formed communities around being anti fans/antis… Black fans have the label of “anti” thrust upon us no matter what we do or how we do it.
I keep being told that antis are people who harass others over what they ship and like in fandom. But a lot of the people I’ve seen blasted as antis – I’m talking harassed by huge accounts and their followings, labeled as a “fandom policer”, dismissed when talking about issues they have – aren’t harassing people in general, much less over what they ship and enjoy in fandom.
When it comes to Black fans specifically? Even the fans who are tweeting sharply with swears and whatnot… are doing it on their own pages primarily. From about 2011, Black fans who’ve spoken up about an issue they’ve had with racism in a fandom or in media have been relabeled as antis. Even when there was no harassment involved. Again, I’ve never harassed anyone over what they ship or otherwise. And yet, it’s gotten to the point where people lie to other people and demand my deplatforming… and this has happened to other Black people across years of fandom.
A better way to look at anti fandom/anti culture would be to add onto the original “anti fan” idea built out and then updated by Johnathan Gray to accommodate for different kinds of anti fans and fandom cultures (a BTS anti is not the same kind of anti fan as an anti of a “problematic” ship, for example).
Anti fans are real and we have documented proof across years of fandoms that people hate on things so much that they will harm others over it.
However people talking about racism – and that has often been Black fans risking everything to be very loud – are not antis for talking about racism. Beyond being anti racism.
People telling you that anti racism in fandom is actually just anti fandom/a smokescreen for anti behavior are lying to you. (And many of them are anti fans of the people they hate so strongly.)
Folks who aren’t able to talk fully about the histories of English language anti fandoms related to shipping and tropes – as in about all the racism aimed over years at Black/brown fans who are relabeled against their will and dehumanized in the name of freedom and fandom- need to pull back and do better research to provide a nuanced approach to criticizing anti fandom that includes how antiblackness and other forms of racism from people claiming to be “against” anti shipping or victims of it… go unseen as anti fandom in and of itself.