In case you missed my lengthy post about how Rey/Kylo shippers really don’t like John Boyega, I’m here to remind you of that fact by covering the sheer unsubtle nonsense that’s been going on in this fandom for the past twenty-four hours.Read More »
Originally Posted On Patreon: February 12, 2019
Quote Source: Who the heck is Ben Solo?
Fandom’s Ben Solo is just a reskinned Finn.
There, I said it.
Actually, I’ve been saying it for years and so have many other people in the Star Wars fandom who have seen the way that fandom claims to love Kylo as a villain while the majority of the fandom writes/treats him like a reskinned version of Finn.
I’m not surprised though.
Fandom has long been a space where “good” characters of color – like Scott McCall (Teen Wolf), Finn (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), or Sam Wilson (Captain America: Winter Soldier) – are always either brushed off for being “too boring” or vilified for their goodness.Read More »
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is the focus for the cover story for Vanity Fair’s Summer 2019 issue and readers were “blessed” with dual covers – one with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and the other with Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Written by The Magicians’ author Lev Grossman and interspersed with photos from Annie Leibovitz, this massive article was the talk of the Twittersphere for days after its release.
Grossman’s Vanity Fair article is… alright. It doesn’t really focus on Finn, but I gave up on folks remembering that Finn was supposed to be the male hero of the franchise – and just as heroic as Rey – back when The Last Jedi came out.
In the article, there’s a particularly stunning photograph of John Boyega’s Finn and newcomer Naomi Ackie’s Jannah sitting astride a pair of orbaks – an equine adjacent species new to audiences. It’s an iconic photo as well because Jannah is only the third Black female character with dialogue in the franchise – and the first to be in a main trilogy – and this is the first time that the Star Wars franchise has had two Black characters interacting like this.
It’s something that clearly belongs to Finn and to Jannah –
So, of course, someone had to make it about
Kylo Ren Ben Solo.
“I’m not a hero. I’m not Resistance. I’m a stormtrooper.”
That silenced her. He might as well have hit her across the face with the business end of a blaster.
“Like all of them, I was taken from a family I’ll never know,” he continued rapidly. “I was raised to do one thing. Trained to do one thing. To kill my enemy.” He felt something that should not have been there, that was not part of his training, well up in him. “But my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn’t going to kill for them. So I ran. As it happens, right into you. And you asked me if I was Resistance, and looked at me like no one ever had. So I said the first thing that came to mind that I thought would please you. I was ashamed of what I was. But I’m done with the First Order. I’m never going back.” Suddenly he found it hard to swallow, much less to speak. “Rey, come with me.”
– Foster, Alan Dean. The Force Awakens (Star Wars) (p. 222). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
I know that this is a “Fleeting Frustrations” post which means that I should be able to get over the grievance I’m airing once it’s been aired, but let’s be real here: when have I ever let go of a single grievance in my life?
I haven’t yet and I won’t with this one.
In this rantypants installment of my grouchiest series, we’ll be talking about one of the Star Wars fandom’s most obvious signs of fandom racism: the idea that Finn’s biggest flaw to some folks in fandom is that he’s a liar… for not telling Rey that he was a Stormtrooper on the run mere moments after she’d beaten the crap out of him for thinking he was a thief.Read More »
“certain bodies could be read as blank slates not already overdetermined by race” – a partial quote from page 17 of Melanie E. S. Kohnen’s Screening the Closet: Queer Representation, Visibility, and Race in American Film and Television.
Some of fandom’s favorite characters are “blank slates”.
Beige blank slates, that is.
General Armitage Hux from the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Arthur and Eames from Inception.
Q from Skyfall and Spectre.
Clint and Phil Coulson in the first Thor movie.
Various minor white male characters in a show or film that somehow became one of/the most popular characters in their source media or fandom.
In this installment of “What Fandom Racism Looks Like”, we’ll be looking at the idea of the “blank slate” primarily in Western media-focused slash fandom spaces.
We’ll be asking what a blank slate looks like, what these fans and fandoms get out of these characters, what characters will never be considered blank enough to be loved, and how, while the claim that fandom prefers “blank slate characters” might well be true and there are many instances where the Beige Blank Slate provides necessary representation within fandom, the preference that prioritizes white male characters above all others kind of messes up something that has the potential to be great.Read More »
I love Finn from Star Wars. It’s not just because I not-so-secretly want John Boyega to fall wildly in love with me and marry me (but like…), but I think Finn is one of the most compelling characters in the sequel series.
Which is why I can’t get over the fact that so many people disagree with me on how amazing Finn is. Heck, I still can’t believe that folks think Finn is up there with Jar-Jar Binks as the worst character in the ~Star Wars Cinematic Universe~.
Or that many of his so-called fans wish he’d just… die.Read More »
Edit 5/28/21: if you’re here because a Rey/Kylo or Kylo/Hux shipper linked this post as “proof” that I was somehow anti-Rose or anti-Asian people and therefore didn’t deserve to interview Kelly Marie Tran, please note that you’re being led by racists (and yes this includes other people of color) who have spent months and even years in some cases harassing me. In February, they actively tried to get me fired and they constantly misrepresent what I actually write (which is some ship of theseus shit) in the most negative light. You’re following the words of active anti fans and the thing they’re anti… Is me.
“Poe, this will save the fleet and save Rey,” Finn said. “We have to do it.”
Rey Rey Rey. Rose really wanted to stun him again.
–— From Jason Fry’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi novelization
One of my biggest issues with folks who really loved The Last Jedi is that they keep trying to lump everyone that dislikes the film together. Everyone that hates The Last Jedi has to hate it because they hate seeing women and people of color in charge, right?
Except, I went into The Last Jedi expecting that Finn would continue his heroic arc alongside the Force-focused plot with Rey (or, if not, that he’d have something focused on himself and figuring out who he is on his own). I went into the film expecting Rose Tico to be AMAZING and for her and Paige to be significant and positive characters.
What I got was Paige dying in the first part of the film, Rose’s unbelievably frustrating interactions with Finn, and my boy Finn being frequently reduced to comedic relief and a naïve child with no common sense or intelligence as Rey tried her darndest to find the good in Kylo Ren for most of the movie.
I keep being told that Rose and Finn are great representation in The Last Jedi and that I shouldn’t complain because that’s just mean, but… Representation in media or fandom isn’t a “one-size fits all” set up where it works for everyone in the group being represented.
Additionally, why does Rose’s status as the first East Asian (specifically Vietnamese-American) female main-ish character in a Star Wars film suddenly mean that I can’t critique her behavior towards Finn or the fact that the writing for her characterization is weirdly nonsensical? (And note that Finn being the first Black character with a main role in Star Wars didn’t stop certain parts of fandom from criticizing the hell out of him and John Boyega for stuff neither character nor actor did… They still do it even when asked not to!)
I’m not Resistance. I’m not a hero. I’m a Stormtrooper. Like all of them, I was taken
from my family I’ll never know. And raised to do one thing. In my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn’t going to kill for them. So I ran, right into you. You looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed of what I was. But, I’m done with the First Order. I’m never going back.
— Finn to Rey in Maz’s cantina in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I know that the Star Wars fandom – both the dudebro hubs and the supposedly feminist and progressive parts on Tumblr and Twitter – is racist as shit, but I still can’t believe the audacity of people calling Finn a coward and demanding he be killed off as like… a form of progressive protest on his or Rey’s behalf.
In her article “Star Wars: The Last Jedi Could Have Been Better If This Character Had Died” author Alessia Santoro goes above and beyond in order to “prove” that The Last Jedi would have been a better movie if only for one death – that of John Boyega’s Finn. She does so, of course, by completely crapping all over his character, problematizing his behavior and, wishing for his death because that’s the only possible way for him to matter to her.
Despite the fact that she – and many other members of the Star Wars fandom – claim that they really do like the character, there’s no bigger sign of disliking a character than by wanting them dead.Read More »
After the release of The Last Jedi, there was a noticeable shift in how members of the general audience discussed Finn – if they talked about him at all. People who resented his inclusion in The Force Awakens – viewing him as a sign of PC culture run amok or as an extra whose sole purpose was to diversify the cast – had little to say this time around, likely because his marginalization in the series’ latest installment merely served to confirm their negative view of his place in the trilogy.
Instead, it was those viewers who claimed to like Finn whose tune changed.
As it became clearer that Force sensitivity would never be part of his arc, at least not in this segment, there arose a collective sigh of relief from certain quarters: “Good! He doesn’t need to be Force sensitive to be important. Let him just be Finn. Let him just have a blaster and kick ass that way. Let him be the everyman the audience can relate to.”
Except that – to paraphrase Luke Skywalker, as he faced off against Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi – “Amazing. Every word you just said is wrong.”Read More »
Before Before the Awakening, stormtrooper FN-2187 is assigned creche duty. The experience is… illuminating.
Typically, FN-2187’s work assignments never take him through the creche. That section of the ship has their own sanitation workers and FN-2187 is not one of them. The hallways look unfamiliar as he walks through them and several times, he has to be nudged in the right direction by the impatient beeping of a sentry droid.
He hasn’t been back in the creche since he was old enough to handle a blaster properly. The creche is purposefully kept on the other side of the ship from recruits his age and the Stormtroopers that work with the children rarely knowingly interact with the children they once took care of. How could they, when everyone above the age of ten cycles wears a uniform?
However, after the creche on the Supremacy receives a larger than normal group of new recruits from a recent stop at Hays Minor, several of its former inhabitants are repurposed in order to help. It’s supposed to be a temporary assignment, especially for FN-2197. While his shifts in sanitation are on hold until other creche minders can be relocated from smaller, lesser ships in the First Order, his training – on Captain Phasma’s orders, no less – is still ongoing.
FN-2187 can’t allow himself to get used to working in the creche.
Not that there’s anything for him to get used to, of course.Read More »
In “Cinnamon Rolls, Sinnamon Rolls, and Capable Killers: How to Categorize Your Fav” the author gives the following description for the “True Cinnamon Roll” (which falls under the “Looks like a Cinnamon Roll, Is Actually a Cinnamon Roll” part of the meme):
A true cinnamon roll really is as innocent and well-meaning as they appear. They can be completely naïve or somewhat sly, or may have the most common sense of the group, but most importantly they are more of a nurturer and healer than a fighter.
Throughout much of the Star Wars fandom in the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens male lead Finn (played by John Boyega) has been assigned the marker of the “True Cinnamon Roll”. Here’s the thing, I get where it comes from and as with Bodhi, I think that it comes from a well-meaning place but doesn’t bother to reckon with intersectionality or the reality of how Finn is treated by a significant portion of fandom both on and off of Tumblr.
Despite being the male lead of the film, Finn is not the most popular new male character in the fandom. He’s not the most respected. He’s not even the most written about. Right now on the AO3, Finn is the sixth most popular character represented in the fandom with 7150 appearances so far.
(Minor antagonist Armitage Hux (who only had about 3 minutes of screentime in The Force Awakens) has over 3000 more tagged appearances than that. I’m never going to stop having a problem with that.)
Let’s look at that definition of the true cinnamon roll again.
At first glance, Finn being equated with a trope predicated on innocence seems pretty great because we live in a world where Black people are assumed guilty even in situations where they are the clear victims of violence. However, fandom doesn’t exist in a vacuum and what appears to come in good faith frequently… doesn’t.
Just because some people honestly view Finn as a cinnamon roll character while not forgetting his character from the film and related supplemental materials, that doesn’t mean the entire fandom does.
In viewing Finn as “a true cinnamon roll”, fandom ignores his actual characterization. Most frustrating, is that many members of fandom ignore that he is a complex character who is literally trying to find his place in the world. It’s a way to look like they care about Finn as an archetype (who is so pure, so perfect, and so put together, that the fandom simply must fall for “bad boy” characters like Hux or Kylo) without needing to care about Finn as a character.Read More »
Earlier this week I got a chance to participate in an episode of fandom podcast Fansplaining that was all about race/racism in fandom and giving people of color a chance to speak about what they’d witnessed and experienced. It was amazing!
First, the cool content:
Fansplaining Episode 22A
In “Race and Fandom Part 1,” Flourish and Elizabeth follow up on the last episode’s questions about the impact of racism in the Star Wars fandom—and how it’s a microcosm of fandom at large. They interview Rukmini Pande and Clio, and they hear clips from Holly Quinn, Shadowkeeper, and PJ Punla. Topics covered include the historical presence of fans of color, space nazis, femslash and its discontents, and the Filipino perspective on the whiteness of media.
Fansplaining Episode 22B
In the second and final installment of our “Race and Fandom” episodes, fans of color continue to speak about their experiences in fandom. Elizabeth and Flourish interview Jeffrey Lyles and Zina (@stitchmediamix), then hear clips from Roz (@rozf), Traci-Anne, and zvi LikesTV (@zvilikestv). Topics covered include being Black and Jewish, Star Wars weddings, cosplaying characters of color, and why kink is never divorced from the real world.
Under the cut is a bit of backstory (copied largely from some DMs I sent earlier in the week) about what sparked this anger at fandom (for me and several of the contributors this episode):Read More »