I’m Stitch and I’ve been running Stitch’s Media Mix since March 2015.
I created my site as a place for fandom and media criticism after being frustrated by my inability to find a safe, welcoming place where I could be a part of these conversations in the fandoms that I was trying to participate in.
I love being in fandom and I love the act of being a fan, but I feel as though there’s room for improvement that is always being overlooked. I’d love to be able to change certain things about the overarching institution of fandom, but for now, I’ll settle for educating and snarking my way along as I figure out how to bring change to and spark conversations in my main fandoms.
Using my academic background – a BA in History and have my MA in English/Literature – alongside my experiences as a queer Black person in fandom, I try to tackle the media I consume and the fandom spaces I inhabit from a critical and faintly snarky angle.
Off-hand, I have a list of a few words that I think apply to my experience at PCA 2019
First of all, while I was surprised that folks in fan-studies gave two shiny cents about me when I was at PCA back in 2017, that was nothing compared to this year.
Y’all. I had meetings (like two, but still). I have a mentor. People were happy to see me and wanted to see more of me as a person and as a fan-studies person. Hell, I went to a panel on k-pop (more on that in a minute) and when I was poking holes in the one panelist’s argument, there were several people in the audience who referred to me by name and like…I’m just gonna believe that they all knew me beforehand and didn’t read my nametag beforehand.
Then, the validation.
Generally, the reaction I get to my work on fandom racism and racism in media… isn’t great. If it’s not coming from my friends and followers, there’s a huge chance that it’ll be antagonistic and unkind. (Like I detail in this thread.)
Coming to PCA and having people not just excited for my work, but excited to see what else I’m planning on was amazing. People told me that they reference my work in their work or use it as an example of accessible academic writing (that was Kathy Larsen, in the Future of Fan Studies Publishing panel).
Multiple people told me that folks in their fandoms/fan spaces are like “oh, you’re into this thing? You should read what Stitch has said about it” in a positive way.
Like… it’s all very validating considering that outside of this space, folks… don’t like me very much because I talk about fandom and race. Continue reading →
In and outside of fandom spaces, performative allyship is a thing to be wary of.
In a piece for The Wooster Voice, writer Sharah Hutson describes performative allyship as, “when folks pretend to care about a cause but magically forget to keep the fight going outside of certain spaces”.
We’re talking about people who only seem to care about the plight of the underprivileged when it looks like they can get something out of it.
You know, like folks who record themselves helping disabled people cross the street, people who post about how they helped the neighborhood homeless person get breakfast on social media, and white saviors who travel to Uganda and Haiti to “help” but are really just participating in imperialistic voluntourism that does so much more harm than anything else.
These people may mean well and they probably even see themselves as actual allies, but their allyship seems skin-deep and conditional on the attention they get or the marginalized people’s compliance and subservience. The second they’re no longer getting praise or when the person or group they’re trying to help isn’t compliant, the person in question stops being an ally.
But you know what’s not performative allyship?
A Black person in fandom talking about what they find racist in a piece of media or fandom space. Continue reading →
This is a pint-sized primer about the differences between queer representation, queer coding, queer reading, and queer baiting because I wanted to have something small to keep around and kind of… wave it at folks that want an easy way to know the difference.
This is literally the simplest I could make this (because I’ve got dense academic brain) and so it skims over a lot of crunchy academic writing to make its points and be as clear as possible.
If you want more in-depth texts or conversations about this, I personally love the late Alexander Doty’s work along with Harry Benshoff’s Monsters in the Closet, but there are a bunch more academics and whatnot writing about this in media fandom and related academic fields. I’d be happy to point y’all in the related directions.
I’m gonna be honest here: If the first thing I’d seen from BTS had been their super cringey, wannabe hood phase back when they’d first debuted, I probably wouldn’t be able to give a shit about the group now.
BTS hit the ground running as a faux-hood group. Their whole thing was like… setting them up as this socially conscious street gang. Everything about their look in 2013 was this manufactured look that showed what K-pop stylists and folks in the industry viewed as a path to proper hip hop.
Their look, their style, and their sound was pretty much what happens when you take an approach to hip-hop that sees Blackness and Black people as commodities to be transplanted onto and consumed by non-Black people. Continue reading →
I spent the last half it in a fog for a variety of reasons – job interview that went well not going anywhere, reawakened fear that I’ll never get financial stability, screwing up a job opportunity that I did get, and an anxiety + depression combo about being a burden to my friends and family – and it wasn’t great.
I didn’t quite get everything done that I wanted to do and since this would be the third month for a few of those things… I think it’s a sign that I should scrap them for the time being. (“Them” being the Nakia and Mariah posts as well as the one on the nobility.) They’re just not clicking in my head despite how interesting I find them so I’ll be taking them off my writing roster for the time being.
This month is going to be a very busy one offline. Both of my parents, my small niece, and one of my older brothers have birthdays this month and on top of that, I’ll be in Washington DC a whole week for PCA 2019 thanks to a Fairy God Academic who’s made this whole experience possible and really helped keep me afloat as I’ve been struggling. I’ve never been to DC and the last time I went to PCA was in 2017 so I’m just going to be a Mess.
Anyway, because I’ve got a lot going on this April, I’m trying to take things a little slowly and be gentler on myself when it comes to writing and creating content. Continue reading →
Earlier this week, I read Zina’s post on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the character of Miles Morales, and the idea of authenticity. While agreeing wholeheartedly with the post itself, I found myself struggling to articulate my current position, which is that while these films construct nationalistic racial and cultural narratives in ways that allow for reclamation and representation, the process of these claims seem to hinge on specific connections between fatherhood, masculinity, and nationality.
While women are present, and while mothers are present, they’re somehow not part of that narrative. This is a complex and confounding thing because these films aren’t being positioned as inherently patriarchal or lacking in female characters, yet the underlying implications of its narrative suggest extremely traditional patriarchal ideology.
My hope is that I can briefly trace this out here, and maybe that we can consider the ways in which films like Into the Spider-Verse and Black Panther centre Blackness, authenticity, heritage, a coming into oneself, and national identity, while also seeing how this amazing intergenerational space is somehow all about Black fathers and isn’t necessarily leaving a whole lot of room for Black mothers. Continue reading →
Note: Depending on the format of the source media and what makes organizing my thoughts easier, the overall format of this blog series will be flexible to accommodate that! So this first, comics-focused installment of In Retrospect won’t be repeated for (as an example), me talking about an episode of “Smallville” that stuck with me.
I do not claim to hold the copyright to The Authority or the images in this post. I may own copies of the books, but that’s it entirely.
Content Notes: references to racism, misogyny, colonialism, fascism, and homophobia
I got into The Authority right around the time that DC shut the doors on the Wildstorm universe for what I thought might be the last time.
A dear friend in the DC fandom, Sasha, had gotten me into the series after seeing me comment on fanart of Apollo and Midnighter with the kind of excitement that really only comes from getting to call a character “gay murder Batman” and pointed me in the direction of the series and some of its best arcs.
I started with Warren Ellis’s second volume of Stormwatch (which introduced the characters that’d go on to be part of The Authority and went on from there. It remains one of the series I reread as often as possible because the storylines and characters are just flat out fun to fuss over.
With DC’s The Wild Storm reinventing all of the characters from this run, I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to look back at the first twelve issues of The Authority. What was so awesome about Ellis’s first run and why is it that Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s following turn on the series so dang distressing?
And above all: does this series still deserve the hype in my head?
INT. MILES’ APARTMENT – BEDROOM MILES MORALES draws HOME-MADE STREET ART NAME-TAGS at a desk, headphones on, singing along to a song he’s too young for (”Sunflower”), but he doesn’t quite know the words yet.
It’s no secret that part of what launched Into the Spider-Verse into the stratosphere and gained it tons of love from critics and audiences alike was how, for an animated movie starring superheroes and a cartoon pig from another dimension, real and relatable a film it was.
Spider-Man is one of the most relatable superheroes out there and when he’s not relatable, you know he’s not being written well. Even in the recent Spider-Man video games, little and large things alike serve to make you feel like you get insight into Peter Parker’s familiar life. Sure, he’s a superhero that swings across the skyline saving folks from all kinds of crime, but he’s also a nerd who loves his aunt and gets distracted by cool weird things and makes bad jokes.
Peter has had decades of being written to be relatable. Recently, he almost always feels like an authentic example of a millennial trying to make it work in New York.
Throroro is the best ship you’re probably not shipping.
A non-canon ship courtesy of Marvel fandom’s penchant for shipping everything under the sun, pairing up Thor and Ororo just sort of makes sense when you think about it. Thor’s a lightning “god” from Asgard with biceps for days and a heart of gold while Ororo is basically a weather goddess who could change the entire world if she felt like it.
While they aren’t a canon ship, they’ve got a ton of potential as a totally electric ship and a small but dedicated fanbase. Continue reading →
– The button that Monica Vespucci is wearing when she and Anita first meet echoes a repeated message in this series about how vampires are people too. But people you know… suck. So vampires do too, and not just because it’s how they get nourishment.
I’m trying to make my work more accessible to a larger audience so that means Patreon-first recordings of me reading my longer essays and parts of my various series at the $1 Tier before they get put up here.
If there’s a post you couldn’t make it through because of its length and would prefer having as an audio file, drop me a line and I’ll bump it up the list!
I’m a writer in my late 20s, trying to figure out love, life, and how to get the most out of my TWO (2) degrees. I love research and I’m the kind of nerd that likes analyzing the heck out of every single piece of media I consume so expect a lot of that here.
I’ve got an an opinion on basically everything. If you like strong opinions, candid talk about mental/physical health and trauma, and the occasional ode to fictional characters, then you’ll probably love me.
This blog focuses on analysis of nerdy media, book reviews, and lots of commentary about race in fandom and the source media that spawns our favorite fandoms.