[Stitch Talks Ish] Season 2/Episode 1: Stitch Talks Ish… With Morg

Transcript

[Coming Monday…]

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Three Things About The Negative Backlash to Fan Service #2

I have been harassed for writing about racism in fandom spaces since 2017.

Before, people had one off “lol that’s d*mb” and “fandom isn’t racist” responses, but it wasn’t until people started taking me seriously that the harassment amped up to the point where I found myself leaving Tumblr as a result. Sustained direct harassment – insults, impersonations, aggressive pushback, dogpiling, brigading and lying – have marked a large amount of my time in fandom since 2017.

It started with white dude slash shippers when I talked about the laser focus on Hux/Kylo and other white dude slash ships at the direct expense of characters of color in their media. Then Rey/Kylo shippers got in on it when I pointed out how their early Ben Solo characterization was given Finn’s backstory and interactions with Rey. Then people who identify as “proshippers” in and out of the Hannibal fandom and various anime fandoms that I’m also not in got in on the game.

And that’s what it is to them: a game.

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a letter to the world, a friend, and to everyone else

You probably don’t know me.  What I do for Stitch’s Media Mix, and Stitch, is largely unseen.  I don’t engage in fandom the same way Stitch does— or for that matter the way most of you do— I tend to more actively interact with news and sports than I do with fiction, and I really enjoy avoiding fan spaces. 

But I have known Stitch for over a decade.  I know who they are as a person and who they are as an author, and who they are as a fan.  I know the work Stitch puts in to every article that gets published on here, on Patreon, in Teen Vogue.  And I believe in the work she’s doing.  It’s VITAL that we actively think about, and actively engage in critiquing the entertainment we consume.  If we cannot critique our entertainment, if we cannot place it in the large context of our society (both how it is informed by society and how society informs what we find entertaining) then we are not doing everything we can to make a better society. 

And Stitch has chosen to not just apply critical analysis to fiction and to music, and to the reactions of the fans. She has chosen to take this really incredibly dense academic concept and make it accessible, both in terms of how it’s written (trust me, every single article Stitch writes could be SO MUCH more dense) but also how and where you have access to it.

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Fan Service #2 @ Teen Vogue: On Fanfiction, Fandom, and Why Criticism Is Healthy

Head on over to Teen Vogue to read my latest Fan Service installment “On Fanfiction, Fandom, and Why Criticism Is Healthy” where I look at the ways that fandom’s instinctive pushback against criticism affects fans in fandom – not just external critics who maybe don’t “get” nuances of fandom cultures.

It’s not censorship or bullying to point out that there are issues in different fandom spaces that require some updated approaches. For example: “Don’t Like, Don’t Read” and “Your Kink Is Not My Kink” are phrases used in fandom to let people know that they should take care of themselves by not reading content they find objectionable based on a matter of different taste. But neither of those phrases are good responses when fans come up against bigotry in fanworks. Telling someone to “just ignore” transmisogyny, ableism, or open antiblackness in fanfiction isn’t just unhelpful; it’s unkind.

I love critique as a mode of expression and meta fandom works are among my favorite outside of well… literally anything to do with Omegaverse. February’s first column was born out of a deep desire to get people thinking critically about why fandom isn’t down with criticism even from people inside of it. Not every critique of fandom is in bad faith or an attempt at censorship/controlling the average fan and assuming they all are – especially when marginalized people are talking about things in fandom that harm us on purpose or accidentally – isn’t a good way to go about things.

Anyway, please go check out the latest installment of Fan Service and feel free to share the piece with interested friends and fans!

On Fanfiction, Fandom, and Why Criticism Is Healthy

😀

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Meme-Ing For A Reason #5 – Take The BLM Out of Your Bio

I cannot get over how many people continue to be antiblack on main while having the nerve to have the Black Lives Matter hashtag in their Twitter (or another social media accounts) bio or in the header of their account.

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[Guest Post] Alison the Beloved (Part One)

The Black companions in the rebooted iteration of Doctor Who have it rough, especially the women. 

Think of Martha, who suffers Simm Master’s mockery and his enforced servitude of her family in Season 3’s Sound of Drums. Think of Bill, who endures a decade of medical abuse and slow Cyber conversion (i.e., being made into a cyborg) at the hands of Razor Master in Season 10’s World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls. Think of Grace, who dies of electrocution and fall after defending the Thirteenth Doctor from a gathering coil in Season 11’s Woman Who Fell to Earth. The New Who’s Black companions are generally treated as more disposable and less important than the white characters.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if New Who’s first companion had been a young Black woman — cherished, celebrated, integral to the narrative? How might the experiences of Black companions be different if Alison Cheney had been the first?

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Thread Collection: Anti Racism =/= Anti Fandom (1/8/2021)

Originally Posted on 1/8/2021

This is super relevant to fandom, where “nice” white women & queer people latch on to acceptable Black/brown targets and will spend months or even YEARS spreading hate & harassing others in the name of “their” thing.

These spaces are surface level progressive with a deep racist rot.

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Introducing… Fan Service @ Teen Vogue

In exciting news… I now have an ongoing column in Teen Vogue on fandom!

Here’s the blurb for Fan Service that’s front and center in the first installment “Who Actually Gets to “Escape” Into Fandom?

Fan Service is a column by pop culture and fandom writer Stitch that looks at the highs and lows of fandom, and unpacks how what we do online, and for fun, connects back to the way we think about the offline world.

This first installment looks at how while fandom was a source of escapism for many people from the endless horrors of 2020, there was one glaring way that escapism fell short or excluded people… racism. How can fans of color expect to escape racism in fandom when racists… are here too?

Head on over to Teen Vogue (TEEN VOGUE!) to learn more about how fandom dropped the ball and how we can be better together in these spaces!

And if you liked what you read there and want more, every other week, we’ll do a deep dive into something critical OR celebratory of fandom, highlighting high and low points that even people in fandom tend to miss when they’re not looking for it.

I’m looking forward to fandom-ing with y’all!

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: “You’re Silencing Meeeee (Feat. Determined Derailers)”

Back in August, I tweeted (as part of a thread) how:

A recurring “fandom vs Me” thing is “Stitch is silencing us” and like… How? How on Earth am I silencing fans of color who are CHOOSING not just to be silent about racism in their fandoms but to support & create horrifying lies about other BIPOC in fandom who are critical?

It’s a recurring theme that I am somehow silencing other BIPOC fans by… having and using my own website, twitter account, and the rare external platforms I’ve been offered across the past six years.

I am silencing others, you see, by having work out in public that people read and share because it is accurate and speaks to experiences that they have had or witnessed in their fandoms. I am silencing BIPOC in fandom, you see, just by existing and talking about what I experience and witness in fandom in a relatable way.

My, how powerful must that make me –

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Thread Collection: When Representation DOESN’T Matter (8/4/2018)

Originally posted as a thread on Twitter on August 4, 2018


Fandom about shows/films with white queer characters: “You have to support it because it’s a win for ~all of us~ and #RepresentationMatters”

Fandom about shows/films with queer characters of color: “I don’t know why, but just don’t feel like this is something I’m interested in”

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Link Lineup – January 2021

Friends it’s the first Link Lineup of 2021! Exciting! There’s so much going on and all of it is cool so let me share what’s been on my mind since the start of this stressful new year!


How “let people enjoy things” became a fight against criticism

Critics have been around for as long as we’ve had artists, and they’ve been the objects of disdain for just as long. Which makes sense, because no one enjoys getting criticized, and no one enjoys having someone tell them that the thing they love is bad. But it’s hard for me to remember any cultural moment quite like this one, with giant high-profile celebrities shouting down critics every week and fans accusing critics of stopping their fun just by writing reviews.

Has criticism suddenly gotten more harsh than it ever used to be? It doesn’t seem to have: Old-school critics are complaining that criticism has gotten more insipid than it ever was before. “Editors and critics belong to a profession with a duty of skepticism,” Christian Lorentzen wrote at Harpers in April. “Instead, we find a class of journalists drunk on the gush.” And Lorentzen’s complaint in and of itself is an old argument, because with criticism has always come people complaining that it isn’t critical enough.

Judging from the in-fighting among critics, criticism is neither especially meaner or especially nicer right now than it was 10 years ago. It’s not criticism that has changed. Instead, it’s the reception to criticism that has changed. And as far as I can tell, that’s because of a major shift in the way we talk about popular things.

I remember seeing a Taylor Swift review get 7 out of 10 in the review (a solid C, a passing grade where I’m from) and trigger waves of harassment towards the reviewer. When Wonder Woman 1984 came out and Black women reviewers talked about how bad the film was, they were harassed endlessly over a movie many of the people freaking out about… hadn’t seen at that point. People treat criticism of fandom – and more specifically, behaviors and bigotry in fandom like uh… racism– as an attack on fandom.

At this point, people hate criticism. They just want to enjoy things, but then they never stop to think that perhaps… critics enjoy crafting criticism. Like I don’t enjoy writing about racism specifically – especially as it’s increasingly racism against me that I get to unpack – but I do enjoy writing and thinking critically. I like looking at a problem and going “okay so this is like this because -“.

And yet, in fandom, everything but criticism falls under the umbrella of “let people like things”? I just think that there’s a difference between pushing back against genuinely poor and too harsh criticism and not wanting anyone to do any criticism because… people enjoy the thing being criticized.

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Stitch Talks Ish With Y’all… Season 2 Trailer

Episode Notes:

This is a trailer for the next season of Stitch Talks Ish… where I talk with y’all!

If you’re interested in being a part of this upcoming season, send me a DM on Twitter or email me at contact@stitchmediamix.com!

Transcript

Stitch Talks Ish… With Y’all: Season Two Trailer

I had a lot to say in 2020, and god did I say all of it. Last year, I did 10 episodes of Stitch Talks Ish that rounded out to about six hours of content and covered a wide range of experiences. I did a fairly large amount of Korean pop and hip hop content – I did two episodes for BTS’ Map of the Soul ON:E concert -, negative and positive fandom experiences, nostalgia, and sharp conversations about antiblackness in and out of fandom. 

The one thing I didn’t do?

Have guests!

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Urban Fantasy 101: Magical Negros in the Genre

One of the most infuriating things about urban fantasy as a genre is that one of the most familiar representations for Black readers (and of Black people) comes in the form of the magical Negro figure.

In his article “The School for Magical Negros”, Michael Harriot writes that:

The Magical Negro is the white man’s idealized version of black people—a cross between faithful slave servant who walks with his head down and a superhero too conservatively demure to wear a cape and too grateful for the benevolence of white people to slit their throats for past atrocities. He may drop his “r’s” and use incorrect subject-verb agreement (because a literal incarnation of the perfect black stereotype, by definition, can’t be smart), but he is the incarnation of the friendliest, most loving, loyal dream of a human being.

And that’s the heart of it: magical negro characters literally exist to serve (usually, but not always) white characters on their quest to great magical power.

They exist to use their magical talent (which sometimes isn’t even actual magic but uncanny ability to be exactly what the white protagonist needs to fix themselves) and provide education to prepare the naïve non-black protagonist for magical success. Unless you’re lucky, there’s rarely any attempt at fleshing out the magical negro character or acknowledging either his talent or blackness beyond what those things can bring the hero.

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Let’s talk about racism in The Archive – again.

Tweet thread originally posted on main this morning. Turned into a lightly edited (for clarity) blog post because I recognize that a lot of people were caught up in blockchain and have no way to then let me know that…


Let’s talk about racism in The Archive – again. Not just the AO3 but the idea that archives are judgment free and therefore bias free and everything SHOULD go and be hosted/archived… Including objectively harmful and RACIST content.

Recently, @dhifantasy posted about how the latest AO3 update was about image embeds… When everyone else is at least once again pretending to care about moderation and racism in User Generated Content and their TOS.

Holly’s original post: https://diversehighfantasy.tumblr.com/post/640044277530001408

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WHEN CAN WE TALK ABOUT RACISM IN FANDOM?

Originally this thread on Twitter.


For the purposes of this thread/post: fandom = generative/transformative fanwork creating spaces including the hybrid music fandom spaces of idol fandom AND to a lesser extent gaming/cosplay fandoms which are seen as Outside Communities


CAN WE TALK ABOUT RACISM IN FANDOM AFTER A COUP ATTEMPT IN THE US?

No.

Because while the people involved WERE racist, connecting their online radicalization with the radicalization possible in fandom spaces is WRONG and trivializes real issues. After all, it’s not like there are real racists in fandom who seem to enjoy harming POC in fandom… They’re not looking to recruit or anything… Right?

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