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!
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
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.
A friend sent me a Reddit post in the r/FanFiction subreddit made by a Black fan venting (it’s literally tagged as such) about how it feels for her to read fan fiction while Black and essentially looking for support. Fandom being fandom – aka “racist as hell” – the most highly upvoted comments in the sub on her comment are from people insulting her, insisting that she’s an entitled “Black American” for venting, and complaining about “wokeness” in fandom (and some that even wind up getting in digs at people like myself apparently leading the charge).
A common thread across many of the comments? They’re not just telling the OP to “make your own” – especially in the case of Reader Inserts, but they’re also assuming she doesn’t contribute anything to fandom at all in the first place. If she’s “just” complaining without contributing – even though she says she’s a writer and has a clear history of engaging on the sub and other parts of reddit as a writer -, then it’s not her place to complain.
It’s a truth universally (but accidentally) acknowledged across a ton of books about being a fan of stuff, that fandom does not like talking about race.
Regardless of how which side of a binary fandom is split into between curative fandom (they primarily collect things related to their fandom) and transformative (they primarily create things related to their fandom), one truth exists: it is easier (and better) not to talk about race at all than to talk about race and racism in fandom.
Originally posted on Patreon December 3, 2021. (A few edits were made to the piece before public posting.)
There’s a James Baldwin video from a 1968 appearance on the Dick Cavett show that features prominently in I Am Not Your Negro.
Recently, the clip has been floating around social media, and I think it’s actually incredibly relevant to conversations we keep having in fandom. Especially the part transcribed below the video:
JAMES BALDWIN: I don’t know what most white people in this country feel. But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church which is white and a Christian church which is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly cannot trust the Christian church. I don’t know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me—that doesn’t matter—but I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to. Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.
A common complaint I’ve gotten whenever I mention that a specific fandom is racist or say, generally, that fandom as a space is racist is… “don’t generalize this fandom” or “it’s wrong to generalize a fandom for what a few people do”. Some people literally pull the #NotAllFans approach I spoke of years ago.
This has been a constant over the years with people deigning to acknowledge racism in fandom being bad or terrible but then turning around to hit me with “but you shouldn’t generalize a fandom as racist because that’s just as bad”.
That’s… not how that works.
Racism is absolutely worse than people saying “hey that’s racist”.
TL:DR – at least one person (twitter user @/GoodyBarwicke) maliciously edited my Fanlore page in August 2021 – I didn’t go to check because no one ever updated it, but once I saw it yesterday, I got extremely upset. That user used Fail Fandom Anon users and people who have been harassing me for years over their love of racism in fandom as “sources” to essentially fill my Fanlore page with a trumped up “Controversies” section that has no basis in truth, lies fully about my behavior, and doesn’t even engage with stuff I have actually addressed even before the “racists in fandom have been harassing me for years and escalated starting in 2019” shit.
So far I haven’t heard back from anyone associated with Fanlore but the article is in edits of some sort but I can’t check because I am violently ill every time I think about this and I just managed to eat for the first time since last night. As far as I know, the user who put the changes in originally is still doing their best to argue that their biased inclusion of hateful anons and reylo shippers who’ve spent years harassing me is relevant – more so than my work, interviews I’ve done, my whole thing about vore, omegaverse, and namjoon – separately of course.
Edited 9:00PM – The Fanlore Admin Team just got back to me. They’ve found that the piece contravened their “Plural Point of View” policy and are reviewing and researching to ensure the page will be balanced. I’m hopeful that they look to people actually talking about what I do, people who like my work or learn from it – even if we don’t see eye to eye 100% (we don’t even need to), and that balance should extend to more than just who I piss off by doing my own shit.
Almost every “reference” link on my @Fanlore_wiki page is a Fail Fandom Anon link and the entire “Controversy” section is misrepresenting what I do/what I write without any recognition of the multi-year harassment campaign I’ve been dealing with (fanlore.org/wiki/Stitch)
Like none of this is true? Not only have I specifically said what could be done at the bottom of this post from SEPTEMBER (stitchmediamix.com/2021/09/08/whe…) but that “stitch advocates for harassment” tweet isn’t even doing what they say and is taken out of its context?
This was originally posted on Patreon! Thanks to my awesome Patrons for giving me feedback across the process and helping me use my words effectively to get the ideas out!
Tackling racism in/from the big institutions within fandom – a Big Named Fan with a 20k following, that fan studies scholar with a book and a bad reputation, or the Organization for Transformative Works itself – is scary. They’re huge, they have followings that they don’t even need to actively weaponize against you, and it’s hard to wear down a big rock in your online community.
So, when it comes to figuring out how to handle racism in your fandom communities and make these spaces inhospitable to racists, let’s start small.
Is this our first text-based meme for this series? I do believe it is!
Rather than me pulling from a photo meme, I jacked the “You kick Miette” meme for my own ridiculous ends. I’m very pleased with the result.
I know a lot of people have been watching the various conversations about what content is “allowed” to be in fandom spaces with bated breath and anxiety – especially as we know that conservatives in the United States and elsewhere trying to ban books about queerness and race/racism. It is documented that the people and stories most often affected and silenced by censorship – even non-governmental – are queer or “non-white”.
I spent most of the past 36 hours researching and thinking about Harry Potter fandom and the barely still-around documentation of the racism that fandom enacted about characters of color – especially Blaise Zabini. They’ll be turned into organized thoughts eventually, but for now… thread collection:
Harry Potter fandom really has been openly racist for ages because they sure did ship Blaise with Draco and/or Hermione right up until the reveal he was Black and then, after the in-fandom rioting, he got the treatment that most Black characters get and his fanworks/ships went 📉
In 2021, Fandoms got more racist, so much more racist. Sure, the dude bros’ mad that anyone not like them gets cast and things are up and about, but my focus is on queer feminist Fandom, and friends, it’s a scary fact that so few of you realize how deeply enmeshed open, white supremacist ideologies and languages are in these spaces. Think about how often people use ‘woke’ in a derogatory way, about fans of color talking about racism, and you might start to see a corner of the full picture.
Queer/Feminist Fandom in 2021 has been a place where people are openly racist in the defense of whatever they like or care about in Fandom, it doesn’t matter what they’re into. It just matters that they feel as though their side is the right side, and that justifies being super racist in its defense.
A) this person won’t admit it but [the reason] they feel like they need to loudly criticize this ship (with the claim that “they should’ve met earlier” knowing full well they don’t mean it) is because of the admission that the flirtation is canon