[Guest Post] Engaging With Characters of Color

When it comes to fandom, characters of color consistently receive less fan engagement  in comparison to their white counterparts. There are many ways that fans engage with their favorite characters, not just in art and writing, but also through fancams, zines, playlists, or the humble shitpost. After all, someone has to do the hard work of editing Community dialogue onto screenshots of unrelated media. When it comes to fan engagement, it might not stick out in all fandoms, but there is almost always a bias shown in not only the amount of fan content created for characters of color but the type of content as well. Yes, a character may have a decent number of fanart and gifsets when scrolling through their tag on Tumblr. However, this love is often not reflected in the amount of fanfiction or meta within the same fandom.

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Media With Pride

This is a list blending queer media I like as a queer person or that my queer friends recommend. It’s all queer, pals. If you need warnings or want to know what I think about a specific thing, ask! Right now I just wanted to get this list out and anything else would’ve taken too much time!


Title: I Want To Be A Wall vol 1 (Honami Shirono)

Summary:

Any love story aficionado will say that the key to a successful couple is intense desire for one another—but what if the characters in question are an asexual woman with a passion for Boys Love stories and a gay man whose heart forever belongs to his oblivious childhood friend? Although romance will never be in the cards for newlyweds Yuriko and Gakurouta, the bond blossoming between them promises to be a wonderful relationship—the likes of which neither has ever experienced before…

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://yenpress.com/9781975338978/i-want-to-be-a-wall-vol-1/


Title: Archangel’s Light (Guild Hunter Book 14) (Nalini Singh)

Summary:

Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…

Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.

As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://nalinisingh.com/books/guild-hunter-series/archangels-light/


Title: Semantic Error

Summary:

Chu Sang Woo (Jae Chan) is a junior computer science majoring student who prizes reason, rules, and a rigid sense of what is right above all else. As part of his university work, he is told to work on a group project for the liberal arts, whereby the group is required to make a final presentation in order to pass the module. But as the rest of the group – whom he knows nothing about – have decided to leave him to do all the work on his own, he decides to remove their names, and make the presentation in his name.

But little did he know that when he did this, he would deal a heavy blow to the academic prospects of a senior student named Jang Jae Young (Park Seo Ham). The latter, a design major, is Chu Sang Woo’s polar opposite. He is stylish, fun-loving, and – above all – extraordinarily popular. He is the closest thing the college has to a superstar! But when his credit for the liberal arts project is taken away, his grand plans to study abroad are suddenly thrown up in the air. He seeks out Chu Sang Woo and is of a mind to torment him. But when the duo is forced to work together, a strange attraction starts to develop between them…

This drama series was based on a long-running web-based cartoon of the same name.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.viki.com/tv/38375c-semantic-error


Title: Mine

Summary:

Encaged in a gold-clad life of secrets and lies, two women in a conglomerate family seek to topple all that stands in their way of finding true joy.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.netflix.com/Title/81403973


Title: Lord of the Last Heartbeat (May Peterson)

Summary:

Stop me. Please.

Three words scrawled in bloodred wine. A note furtively passed into the hand of a handsome stranger. Only death can free Mio from his mother’s political schemes. He’s put his trust in the enigmatic Rhodry—an immortal moon soul with the power of the bear spirit—to put an end to it all.

But Rhodry cannot bring himself to kill Mio, whose spellbinding voice has the power to expose secrets from the darkest recesses of the heart and mind. Nor can he deny his attraction to the fair young sorcerer. So he spirits Mio away to his home, the only place he can keep him safe—if the curse that besieges the estate doesn’t destroy them both first.

In a world teeming with mages, ghosts and dark secrets, love blooms between the unlikely pair. But if they are to be strong enough to overcome the evil that draws ever nearer, Mio and Rhodry must first accept a happiness neither ever expected to find.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488055102_lord-of-the-last-heartbeat.html


Title: The High King’s Golden Tongue (Megan Derr)

Summary:

Prince Allen has trained his entire life to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious mother, who has made their kingdom one of the wealthiest and most influential in the empire. For the past few years he has trained to become the new consort of the High King. The only thing no one prepared him for was the stubborn, arrogant High King himself, who declares Allen useless and throws him out of court.

High King Sarrica is ruling an empire at war, and that war will grow exponentially worse if his carefully laid plans do not come to fruition. He’s overwhelmed and needs help, as much as he hates to admit it, but it must be someone like his late consort: a soldier, someone who understands war, who is not unfamiliar with or afraid of the harsher elements of rule. What he doesn’t need is the delicate, pretty little politician foisted on him right as everything goes wrong.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/25902535-the-high-king-s-golden-tongue


Title: Tinted With You

Summary:

In Korea’s feudal past, the deposed Crown Prince Lee Heon (Yoo Hyun Woo) has been forced into a lonely exile by his cruel older brother, who has usurped the throne. Lee Heon fears for his life at every moment, as his brother plans to secure his place on the royal seat by killing him. Assassins and other schemes are a constant threat for Lee Heon, whose only true ally is his faithful and kind-hearted bodyguard Guem (Kim Tae Jung).

Meanwhile, in modern times, a high school student named Eun Ho (Jun Hee) loves paintings. In fact, art is his whole world. And when he is tasked with completing a mysterious painting, he is unexpectedly drawn back into the distant past, where he meets Lee Heon. The duo starts to form a close, romantic, and tender bond. But as the acting king grows restless, hoping to kill the exiled Crown Prince as soon as possible, Eun Ho begins to understand that he may be Lee Heon’s best – or perhaps only – chance of survival…

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.viki.com/tv/38120c-tinted-with-you


Title: Couple of Mirrors

Summary:

You Yi is a young, innocent, and kind-hearted socialite and a successful author, living with everyone’s adoration and envy. Her perfect life is turned upside-down when she discovers a betrayal by the two most trusted people in her life. With no one left to turn to, she finds refuge in the friendship and support of Yan Wei, a young photographer with a cold personality. Unbeknownst to all, Yan Wei has a deadly secret identity.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU4DJf2_jqE&list=PLy8WDOJkSFFwjEU-MGP8uSclEBVo1N5gE


Title: Jing Wei Qing Shang

Summary:

A natural moat called the Luo river split the great land into two. Jing of the north, and Wei of the south.

One was the Prince of the grass plains who had no worries or sorrow. One was a lawful Princess who received exclusive favour of the Emperor.

A war turned the Prince of the grass plains into an orphan. She who had laid dormant for ten years had originally planned to become a sycophantic official, to manipulate the enemy kingdom into chaos, but she was appointed as Fuma at the Chionglin banquet.

Wait and see, how this debt of grudge from a fallen kingdom and devastated home will be settled.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://jwqs.carrd.co/


Title: Monster and the Beast (Renji)

Summary:

Cavo is a hideous monster with a pure heart. Liam, on the other hand, might look like the perfect gentleman, but he’s a beast on the inside, and he has an eccentric personality to boot. When Cavo rescues Liam from an unfortunate situation in the forest, the paths of the monster and the beast cross for the first time. Will their meeting be a fleeting encounter or a timeless entanglement? And will Liam succeed in leading the innocent Cavo astray?

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://yenpress.com/9781975357221/monster-and-the-beast-vol-1/


Title: Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)

Summary:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42036538-gideon-the-ninth


Title: Animalheads

Summary:

When four best friends enter adulthood in a flagging economy with no job prospects and the insatiable pressures of family hanging over them, they get creative—there’s money in the strangest of gigs. What starts off as a part-time venture scaring people quickly spirals into a life of crime when they get involved with a seedy organization. Now, their survival is on the line as they become the newest outfit in the criminal underworld. And they are not welcome…

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://tapas.io/series/143053


Title: Monstrous Heart

Summary:

When I was offered a free ride to this fancy school, it seemed like my bad luck had finally changed… until I discovered that my classmates are literally monsters. Now I’m surrounded by people trying to eat me, but then there’s also Lucian. He’s dangerous, broken, hated, and has a dark secret—and I can’t get him out of my head. He saved my life and gave me his heart, but when I look in his eyes, I see hunger. Will our feelings consume us… or will this monster consume me first?

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://tapas.io/series/monstrous-heart/info


Title: Love Tech

Summary:

How would our relationships look like if we could know about our break-up in advance?

Jae-Young and Soo-Hyun connect over a match on a dating app by the name of Destiny. By the third year of their relationship, things begin to get rocky between two as they constantly find themselves getting into the smallest of arguments. All of a sudden, the estranged couple receive a push notification from the app confirming whether they would like to check the expiry date of their relationship. Both Jae-Young and Soo-Hyun look hesitant. Would they end up choosing to check the expiration date or would they avoid it? What if it were you? What would you do?

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.gagaoolala.com/en/videos/2754/love-tech-2021

Title: The Grace of Sorcerers

Summary:

To be a warlock in this age is to trade in powers and promises and poisons, to bind demons and men to your will, to break them as you see fit…

Viveca Hua is the warlock of her era, and she has finally obtained her enemy’s greatest weapon—the demon Yves, an entity powerful beyond imagining… and far more alluring than any mortal woman.

But each ritual has a price. Yves has her own past, one brutally intertwined with the nemesis that killed Viveca’s mother. Her secrets will make or break the hunt.

Whatever the risk to her heart or her soul, Viveca is sure of one thing: she will have victory at any cost.

The Grace of Sorcerers is a lesbian urban fantasy of smoldering shapeshifters, brooding demons, and the bloodthirsty mages who engage their services in both vengeance and lust.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Sorcerers-Those-Break-Chains-ebook/dp/B09TLG7N72/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


Title: Stud Like Her

Summary:

Chance has been in love only once, but it wasn’t with the girlfriend she stayed with for far too long. The same girlfriend who dropped Chance when she became too inconvenient. Or maybe just boring.

To bury her disappointment, Chance tries to return to the woman she loved back when she was too afraid to be herself. A stud attracted to other studs.

Instead of her old love, though, Chance finds Garett: a new and persistent admirer with the kind of swagger that leaves Chance weak in the knees. Garett is hot and very popular with her half a million followers on social media. She’s also a lot younger than Chance is used to. Not to mention there’s something familiar about her, something dangerous, that Chance can’t quite put her finger on.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/58955696-stud-like-her


Title: D’Vaughn and Kris Plan A Wedding

Summary:

D’Vaughn and Kris have six weeks to plan their dream wedding.

Their whole relationship is fake.

Instant I Do could be Kris Zavala’s big break. She’s right on the cusp of really making it as an influencer, so a stint on reality TV is the perfect chance to elevate her brand. And $100,000 wouldn’t hurt, either.

D’Vaughn Miller is just trying to break out of her shell. She’s sort of neglected to come out to her mom for years, so a big splashy fake wedding is just the excuse she needs.

All they have to do is convince their friends and family they’re getting married in six weeks. If anyone guesses they’re not for real, they’re out. Selling their chemistry on camera is surprisingly easy, and it’s still there when no one else is watching, which is an unexpected bonus. Winning this competition is going to be a piece of wedding cake.  

But each week of the competition brings new challenges, and soon the prize money’s not the only thing at stake. A reality show isn’t the best place to create a solid foundation, and their fake wedding might just derail their relationship before it even starts.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57188051-d-vaughn-and-kris-plan-a-wedding


Title: Criminal Intentions Season One, Episode One (Cole McCade)

Summary:

When a string of young queer men turn up dead in grisly murders, all signs point to the ex-boyfriend—but what should be an open-and-shut case is fraught with tension when BPD homicide detective Malcolm Khalaji joins up with a partner he never wanted. Rigid, ice-cold, and a stickler for the rules, Seong-Jae Yoon is a watchful presence whose obstinacy and unpredictability constantly remind Malcolm why he prefers to work alone. Seong-Jae may be stunningly attractive, a man who moves like a graceful, lethal bird of prey…but he’s as impossible to decipher as this case.

And if Malcolm doesn’t find the key to unravel both in time, another vulnerable young victim may end up dead.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39783569-the-cardigans


Title: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Alyssa Cole)

Summary:

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy–so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

Buy/Read/Watch Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42128976-once-ghosted-twice-shy

(Things I Wish Weren’t) Applied To Fandom: The Three Rules/Laws of Fandom

Fandom – understood as progressive, transformative, queer, generative, feminist, etc – is simultaneously a lawless space where anything goes or else nothing will… and a space where we have to have rigid rules to protect people from everything from actual harassment to mild complaining or criticism in someone else’s space. For the past four or five years, we’ve seen an increase in people longing for the “LiveJournal Era”, a time when people supposedly were nicer to each other and didn’t fight each other over ships.

That era they’re longing for? Never actually existed and it was moderated in ways that continue to be damaging to fans to this day.

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Stitch Talks Ish: Season 3/Episode 4: this is not a podcast about benedict cumberbatch

On our latest episode, I caught up with Tabitha Carvan, author of the book this is not a book about benedict cumberbatch:  the joy of loving something — anything– like your life depends on it

Tabitha’s book is a callback to everything that I loved about Sherlock fandom and what does make fandom so good and empowering even with its rough spots. We had a great chat about what we love, how we love it, and what are some of the best parts of being in a fandom!

this is not a book about benedict cumberbatch  is out May 31st wherever you buy books! pre-order it today!

Show Notes

[More show notes to come! Ping me if you catch something that needs a ref!]

[GIVEAWAY] SHOW YOUR PROOF

I can’t do much because things (life-wise) are still… not where I want them to be, but I wanted to do a giveaway for 2 copies of the compact version of BTS’ upcoming anthology album, Proof. It makes me feel happier to share the love with fellow ARMY and get a copy to someone who couldn’t afford it at all or would have to choose between it and an essential item. 

So, here’s how to enter:

Comment below with:

  • Something the member you’re most attached to (either your bias, if you have one, or the member you feel you’re the most similar to) has done or said that lives in your head rent free!
  • A moment or memory that made you feel like you’d proven (to yourself/the universe) that you were an ARMY!

(It could be something like “I never miss a Live. When I first got into BTS, I was up at 5AM to watch their lives even though my grasp of Korean sucks” or “I cried so hard when I rewatched their MAMA 2018 acceptance speech… you know, the one”. Something that made you think to yourself “hey, I… I’m really here”)

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Fics That Made Me: May 2022

Why yes, I am making a blog series all about fic that shaped me as a person. I am speed-running my way through this however, so I haven’t attached any warnings or content notes to any of the stories since for some of them, it’s been a while. So I maybe don’t recall what notes or warnings a story requires before recommending! Read carefully if you decide to dive in!


TItle: Glass Houses

Author: Viridian5

Fandom: Weiss Kreuz

Why It Hooked Me: Glass Houses is set near the end of the main Weiss Kreuz series and main character Ran Fujimiya (who takes up his sister Aya’s name while she’s in a coma) loses her at the start of the story, he tries to take his own life. While he’s miserable and restrained, series antagonist Schwarz, rolls up to “rescue” him and one of the quartet, the berserker Farfarello, becomes enamored with the wounded “kitten” and seeks to remake him to his honest and best form. I remember a lot of the early parts of this massive fic, but what hooked me was this part where Ran realizes that he’s getting pleasure from killing and it’s not about killing the just or whatever, he just likes this shit. Him starting to accept his real monstrosity – more than killing, but liking it and realizing that this wasn’t Stockholm Syndrome but genuinely his real self breaking through– was where I settled in for the story. I genuinely didn’t expect to straight up change my life.

How It Shaped Me: I’ve been reading Glass Houses since I was a high schooler. Even when I’m not reading it – a thing I used to do multiple times a year before it crossed the million word mark – I’m thinking about it. This story is a masterclass in how to write fix it fic and pull the characters in a story far from their origins while remaining in-character. Everyone in Glass Houses feels the way they would in the anime series. It’s an implausible but logical progression and the sprawling cast of characters – incorporating existing characters from side media like the radio drama or sequel manga but also new characters – helps keep you on your toes. At no point do I think “wow this couldn’t happen”. In fact, I’m like “why didn’t this happen?”. This was also an early primer for me figuring out how to write intimacy and banter so as a baby I would try to write my own fic in ways that echoed the flow of Glass Houses. I also became deeply attached to people and characters named Sasha because of this. #IfYouKnowYouKnow

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Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Queerbaiting, Betrayal, and the Quest for Better Representation

I know “betrayal” is a strong word, but there’s no other term that captures the full effect of what queer fans feel as a result of queerbaiting. For many queer fans, queerbaiting removes the confidence they had that the media they were watching was made with them fully in mind. It reinforces that to studios (and some celebrities), queer fans are walking rainbow wallets to be discarded once empty. Part of why queer fans have gravitated to shows like Taika Waititi’s Our Flag Means Death or The CW’s Batwoman is because these shows don’t hold back the “good stuff.” In these series, queerness – especially as seen from characters and people of color – isn’t something we get hints of before it’s snatched from us. It’s part of the narrative and made stronger for it.

On Queerbaiting, Betrayal, and the Quest for Better Representation

I know people don’t always agree on what queerbaiting is or looks like. I get yelled at once or twice a year for disagreeing when I see people talking about queerbaiting in a fandom — even when I use coded names and don’t specify the fandom. There are thing I think are queerbaiting that’d get me labeled as Terminally Online TM and “reaching”. It’s not super easy to say “this is queerbaiting” sometimes, but that’s something that I’ve since learned… doesn’t matter? Because it’s not about our feelings as we watch other queer fans be like “wait but we’ve been waiting for this fir six years and it didn’t happen??”

Queerbaiting is one of those fandom things I’ve realized is like… confusing to people who aren’t affected or don’t see it (for whatever reason) but is frequently devastating to the people who put their time and energy into it. And yes it took me ages, but I learn nothing when I’m being yelled at by random people on the internet, so in moments of peace I sat, researched, and learned.

Also, semi-related but when Ruby Rose was cast as Batwoman Kate Kane initially, one of the wildest things was watching people (other queer people) say that Ruby Rose was queerbaiting. Ruby Rose, mind you, is gay as hell and has been from before I knew she existed. How could Ruby Rose, a real out queer person, queerbait?

To this day I don’t know the answer for that one.

Anyway, go share on twitter if you want! Please read the piece for sure!

Meme-ing For A Reason: Racism In Escapist Fandom? More Likely Than You Think

The “it’s more likely than you think” meme where the top text reads “Tons of horrific and active racism in the fandom [space] *I* use for escapism as a queer person?”

As I write this, there are Star Trek fans mad about Star Trek: The Animated Series character Admiral Robert April’s upcoming appearance in Strange New Worlds. April is now being played by Canadian actor Adrian Holmes, who currently plays Uncle Phil on Bel-Air, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot. Obviously, Holmes looks nothing like the original admiral… but is that such a bad thing? After all, as Jamie Lovett points out over at ComicBook: “Despite being one of Starfleet’s most highly-decorated captains, April has previously only appeared in canon in a single episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series.”

One episode in a show older than most of the people complaining.

And yet, there are people screaming and moaning about “the wokes” forcing “political correctness” on Star Trek, a show that has apparently never delved into progressive politics or had people of color in main roles. Except… Star Trek, while imperfect in execution, was a science fiction pioneer in how it portrayed a relatively progressive society with diverse people learning, loving, and living together. From day one it was a show that put people of color and women on-screen… and had detractors because of that.

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Things I’m Into – April 2022

I read so much this month, my god.


Webtoons

My big two webcomic reads in April were “Taming the Tiger” and “I Got Pregnant With the Tyrant’s Child“.

“Taming the Tiger” is one in a long line of “mad noble” webtoons I’ve been reading for a hot minute. The noble in this is Ahn Geum-hoo who needs fresh animal blood for his brother’s medicine and he gets entangled with “Nobody” – later called “Beom” – a butcher who eagerly does his bidding. It’s steamy and I really love Beom who is basically The Ultimate Service Top. I want to brush his hair So Badly.

Then “I Got Pregnant With the Tyrant’s Child” legit caught me from an Instagram advertisement. I truly was not expecting marketing to work on me (lol) but I stayed up until around 4AM reading this webtoon. Elan, a royal knight, has a wild one-night stand with a man who uses magic to blur his face. As a result, she gets pregnant and realizes that uh… the baby daddy is the terrible and terrifying tyrant. Now, I will say that as thirsty as I am for Kylart the tyrant (lol), he’s genuinely terrible. Like he is the creepy stalker dude you wish you didn’t dream of. He is terrible and it takes him way too long to realize he’s wrong. Also the fact that he keeps trying to take her kids might be triggering for some people so… yes. But I love it, I actually like the development of the relationship, and I think Kylart is a babe.

If you’re into TikToks, I even made one about this series!

@stitchmediamix

I’m obsessed with this webtoon. “I Got Pregnant With The Tyrant’s Child” from @tappy_toon. #webtoon #romance #fantasy

♬ original sound – stitch
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Fleeting Frustrations #13: Media Consumption As A Substitute For A Personality

This is so old. I don’t even remember when I finished the first draft. Anyway, it’s a rant and it reads like a rant. Sorry I can’t smooth down my edges this time.


One of the wildest aspects of White Feminism ™ in fandom, media/pop culture criticism, etc… is the way these White Feminists™ – who are not always white or women but are always in service of  feminism that privileges white women – refuse to acknowledge the difference between “I like this because it’s good” and “this is good because I like it”.

Too many people think that because they like something as a marginalized (usually white) person – an idol group, a movie, a pairing, a character – that that thing is automatically good, empowering, and feminist. They don’t engage with critical reviews of the work – in any sense – to get a sense of what they can bring to the table or what the thing does in general, not just for themselves as the consumer.

And if they dislike something? There’s nothing you can do to change their mind. It’s eternally Bad, Fucked Up, and the dreaded “Problematic” even if they’d only read a summary of the thing on Wikipedia or gotten their knowledge of a person secondhand from people who also hate the person. (Hello to my anti fandom!)

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Meme-ing For A Reason #17: No Critical Engagement, Just Compliments

The “No Take, Only Throw” meme where the dog (representing fandom) first asks people to “Please engage meaningfully”. When A hand reaches out to take the ball/engage meaningfully, the fandom-dog says “No critical engagement! Only compliment!!”

There’s a tweet blowing up right now that asks people to “talk about arbitrary things in fics that make you not want to read them”:

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Who’s Afraid of A Black Blaise Zabini? Everyone in 2005 Harry Potter Fandom… Apparently.

When we talk about “toxic fandoms” and racism, the easiest example people go to are male nerds mad about Black people being cast to play comic book redheads and other “historically white” characters. However, one little known or talked about example is the way that the Harry Potter fandom from 2005 practically went to war over the one-line reveal that Slytherin Blaise Zabini was actually Black.


One perfect example of antiblackness in fandom that proves false these claims that Black characters and celebrities are just “lacking” something to make them worth shipping (characterization, canon romance, tapping tropes) and that is why no one ships them?

The Harry Potter fandom’s response to Blaise Zabini before and after JK Rowling’s reveal that Blaise was male (2004 in a Q&A) and Black (“He recognized a Slytherin from their year, a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes” in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 7: “The Slug Club in 2005).

Blaise Zabini’s only appearance prior to that book and film was in a single line in the first Harry Potter book (““Well done, Ron, excellent,” said Percy Weasley pompously across Harry as “Zabini, Blaise,” was made a Slytherin.). However, people instantly made up all sorts of headcanons for this character based off of a name and Hogwarts house.

For the eight years between Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, here’s all what fandom frequently decided Blaise Zabini was:

  • Italian
  • Tan (but sometimes pale)
  • Dark haired with light, sometimes blue or green eyes
  • Draco’s best friend
  • Draco’s boyfriend
  • A pain in the ass to Hermione
  • Sometimes shipped with Pansy Parkinson
  • Sometimes a girl
  • A bisexual Chad
  • A cool badass
  • Occasionally very Gender (and written as androgynous or gender queer/fluid)
  • A pureblood
  • Interesting
  • Sexy
  • Charming

He didn’t have any characterization or lines in canon, but he sure did have all of that.

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Link Catch Up

Here are four things I did that went up in the past month (including today!). Thanks for reading and sorry for not having separate posts for each one!


On Tom Hiddleston & Zawe Ashton, Misogynoir, and Why Fandom Should Stop Punishing Black Women

Sure, if you press these “fans” on the reasons behind their bad behavior, few will say outright that jealousy fuels them. They won’t say that they believed they really had a shot with the celebrity or that they’re mad that the opportunity is no longer open to them. Instead, they claim that the potential partner isn’t good for the celebrity, that they’re using the celebrity, or that they’re ugly. They’re not willing to say that they think the celebrity should be with them or, in the case of a partner that’s a woman of color, a white woman they can layer themselves and their desires onto almost like a reader insert.

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