[Thread Collection] Goalpost Shifting With Sarah/Bucky

Original thread here from May 2021. Collection edited for clarity.


Some long thoughts on misogynoir in fandom:

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

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Link Lineup – November 2021

In November, I did a lot of content consumption. It was all incredibly interesting stuff! Any errors on my commentary under the pieces are because I did this via a dictation software across the month! 😀


Confronting the Questionable Legacy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Peter Jackson’s trilogy, while spectacular and ground-breaking in many ways, is glaringly white. Worse, the human villains are all coded as non-white; “bad men” from the East and the South, complete with either veils and kohl, or bearing tribal tattooing and scarification and riding mythical elephants. Worst of all, the inhuman Uruk Hai – muscled and merciless – have black skin and dreadlocks. While some of this British colonial racism and eugenicist thought are a reflection of the source material itself, Jackson made a – possibly thoughtless – choice to remain “faithful” to those parts of the text and even to exacerbate them. As a result, racist fans were not alienated by the films but accommodated, allowed to believe that their extremely racist interpretation of Tolkein’s work was the correct one. The film trilogy benefited from their racist support and everyone involved in it is therefore complicit in the abuse now raining down on series’ cast of colour (particularly the black cast, and more particularly the black women cast). The comments directed at Nomvete and Cruz Cordóva are not generic racism: they are rooted in the racist lore and imagery that Jackson’s films perpetuated. One of most frequent comments on Nomvete’s picture is “better be an Uruk Hai”.

I grew up on Lord of the rings and so growing up in the fandom, I realized very quickly that the negative aspect of Lord of the rings where people of color were absent from the narrative was a bonus for a large majority of the fandom. Unlike the Harry Potter fandom which would go on to racebend characters like Harry and Hermione, the Lord Of The Rings fandom never really took to racebending as a thing they could or even wanted to do. Instead, they seemed really happy to be faced with a version of Middle Earth where all the elves were white, and all of the men were too. The films, that I grew up with, were integral to building a fandom identity as an extremely online tween for many people in English language fandom who are my age at this point.

The problem is that when faced with updates to the franchise where characters might be of color who aren’t background characters or silent extras, the fandom doesn’t have a good reaction. Even before we see who all have been cast within the upcoming series that Amazon is doing, there is a history of Lord Of The Rings fans being upset at the concept of racebending even within their own communities. People who are fan artists or fanfic writers that choose to portray these characters using ethnic groups in our world, can expect to get really rude messages from diehard fans of the franchise. They’re subject to racism, even if they are not of color themselves, because they have chosen to “deviate” from Tolkien’s vision. And we’re told that these are all white men. We’re told that the Lord Of The Rings fans, like the Star Wars fans who raged at The Force Awakens and the sequel trilogy having people of color in relatively prominent roles, are all white men.

But that is not true and honestly, that’s why transformative fandom has a white supremacy problem that I don’t see any way to fix. Because people assume it’s all white men, so white women have nothing to do with any of it. Which leaves them to wallow in the mire of white supremacy in fandom and get worse. Anyway, I don’t know what Amazon will do with their Lord of the rings show or the fandom that builds from it, but I am frustrated that 20 years after the original massive trilogy came out from Peter Jackson, fandom still maintains that they don’t have a race problem even while being publicly and actively racist.

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[Stitch Talks Ish] Season 2/Episode 3: Stitch Talks… with Jeanne… About Loki

CONTENT NOTES

This episode obviously has spoilers for the first episode of Marvel and Disney+’s Loki. We also speculate about the future of the show and its arcs/plots in a way that may prove to become spoilers if we’re as accurate as we want to be. Additionally, we talk candidly and cheerfully about villains, what they do, and why we connect with them (in the specific and general sense). While we don’t talk about anything in specifics – I feel – we do brush over cannibalism, The Authority’s fascism, and all the dreadful things in the plot of the 1999 film Titus. We also talk about our experiences in fandom over the years. Use your own best judgment, babes.

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Stitch @ Teen Vogue: What “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Teaches Us About Fandom Misogynoir

Fans identifying with characters and applying their understanding of social justice-oriented issues to them isn’t inherently a bad thing. But there’s a catch: fandom’s activism and desire to push back against problematic portrayals (or endings) tends to work on behalf of white characters (like Lexa and Castiel, and now Bucky) at the direct expense of Black and brown characters.

If there’s one thing I’m really good at, it’s talking about misogynoir in fandom. (I have an entire mini-series about it here actually!) Fandom has always been primed to believe the worst of Black women – be they characters, fans, or even the performers themselves. What we’ve been seeing since Friday when episode four dropped, is a solid example of misogynoir in fandom and how it’s often done in defense of a white male character.

I love me some Bucky, but the way his standom has been acting about Black characters and now, specifically about Ayo and somehow Shuri) since the start of the show has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Because this is the fandom pattern: come up with a valid complaint (in this case, the ableism they clocked in the one scene) and then use it to do something super invalid… dismiss and dump on a Black female character.

Ready to read more about this latest round of misogynoir in fandom? Go check out “What “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Teaches Us About Fandom Misogynoir” now!

A List of Things I Disliked About Infinity War and Endgame… In No Particular Order

As you all know, I am largely on social media hiatus. As a result, I have been making use of the Disney+ membership I got Meems so she could watch Wandavision. (Which is very good but Wanda is whitewashed – to an extent, it feels like the wrong word here but I don’t know what fits – in the casting and that’s not going away any time soon.) Anyway, in watching all of the MCU movies except the Spider-Man ones as they don’t seem to be on the platform, I have come to experience a deep loathing for Infinity War and Endgame.

So now, instead of doing literally anything else I am supposed to be doing, I bring you… a list of loathing.

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Why Does The MCU Do That With Their Villains?

(Please don’t take this too seriously. I beg of you.)

I’m watching Age of Ultron as I write today and I need y’all to understand that this movie is really just keeping me going because James Spader as Ultron is unfortunately My Thing. But what this movie makes me think of – aside from how bad Whedon’s writing is from start to finish – is how the MCU often frames the reasonable negative backlash to the Avengers and the superpowered US Military Interventionalism they represent as The Ultimate Villainy.

In Age of Ultron, there are murals and graffiti in Sokovia that are against the Avengers and US intervention on their behalf. Because Hydra (who are Nazis, not even Nazi coded or inspired like the Empire or First Order in Star Wars) are the folks spurring the backlash to the Avengers, the hatred is framed as irrational and evil –

But at the end of the day: no one wants US interventionism except those that profit from it.

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Thor: Ragnarok and Being Grateful for “Taika’s” Loki

So I’m watching Thor: Ragnarok, since I have to do something while I work now that Twitter is currently not an option for me and… I really love this film. It’s fun, it’s weird, and it’s something that does not actually require a lot of effort on my part to engage with. 

Beyond that, however, I was reminded of how ridiculous the hate for this film was from die-hard Loki stans who missed that this was actually some of the best treatment Loki’d gotten since the first Thor film. 

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Keep Calm and Wait Your Turn

keep calm and wait.jpg

One step forward for white women in nerdy culture… doesn’t actually equal a step forward for all women.

After years of talking and writing about the need for representation in media, I obviously recognize the need for representation in media.

However, I can’t stop feeling some frustration about how white women are frequently set up by nerds and within fandom as the proper first stop for representation. Read More »

[Guest Post] Searching for Black Mothers: Looking in the Margins of Black Panther and Into the Spider-Verse

This awesome guest post comes courtesy of Samira Nadkarni! Images in the header are from ComingSoon.net (Spider-Verse) and KissThemGoodbye.net (Black Panther).


Guest Post - Mothers and Margins.png

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.Read More »

In Fandom, All Villains Aren’t Treated Equally

In Fandom, All Villains Aren't Treated Equally

From Hannibal Lecter eating the rude across the northeastern United States to Loki’s attempts to subjugate the human race and Kylo Ren’s patricide and misogyny, fandom just loves to look at villains who have committed atrocities and decide that they’re in fact complex characters who just need a redemption arc to set them on the right track (because they have a good reason for what they did/the heroes of the series are in fact the real villain) …

But only if they’re white dudes.

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While You Sleep: A Black Panther Drabble Collection

While You Sleep - Title Card (1)

Four times T’challa watched someone sleep and one time that the tables are turned.

Absolutely un-beta’d. Spoilers for Black Panther abound. The last two snippets are set between the end of the final fight scene and the last scene in California. They also diverge from the end of the film.

Content warnings for character death, trauma from character death, and implied violence.


i.

The first time that T’challa holds his newborn sister Shuri in his arms, he worries for a moment that he’ll drop her. Then she nuzzles close in her sleep, tiny lips parting with a smacking yawn, and he knows that he’d never hurt her. Not even on accident.

She’s hours old and so very small, warm and soft in the cradle of his elbow, her dark little face tucked up against his chest. She barely has any hair atop her head aside from a faint whisper of black hair that is pitch black and feather light against the dark brown of her skin.Read More »

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: The Smartest Girl in the World Has To Be A Mary Sue

Fandom Racism - Mary Sue

On the first day of Black History Month, a random writer on Archive of Our Own gave to me… two separate stories that framed Shuri – T’challa’s brilliant baby sister in Black Panther –  as a character that couldn’t possibly be as smart as the MCU claims and as a victim of child abuse by the Wakandan elite who are “taking advantage” of her brilliance.

These stories were written in response to Black people calling out the author’s racism in deeming Shuri a Mary Sue in Black Panther in a tumblr post (that used the Black Panther tag) and subsequently writing off the film.Read More »

[Stitch Elsewhere] Luke Cage review @ Strange Horizons

luke-cage-netflix-poster
Marvel’s Luke Cage looks at trauma from an intersectional point of view—one which doesn’t center whiteness or stereotypes of Black masculinity.

After eight years, fourteen feature-length films, and four separate television series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally managed to place a Black man front and center in his own narrative. Luke Cage, a character previously seen as a supporting character in the first season of the Netflix-exclusive series Marvel’s Jessica Jones, is the first Black character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to star in their own series rather than remain a poorly-fleshed out sidekick to a white character.

Marvel’s Luke Cage is one of the only series out on television today that provides a close and realistic look at what it means to be a Black person in a world of superheroes. The series’ significant focus on agency, trauma, power, and personhood as they relate to Black bodies—as well as its portrayal of powerful, multi-faceted Black women like Mariah Stokes, Misty Knight, and Claire Temple—puts it above and beyond the very white superhero television and film franchises that dominate the media.

I wrote this piece on Marvel’s Luke Cage series for Strange Horizons and I’m really proud of it!

I got to talk a lot about the role power and agency play in the series, how Jessica Jones really had issues with antiblackness, and how Luke Cage matters as significant representation both to us in the real world and within the MCU.

I’m really grateful that Strange Horizons gave me the chance to write this piece and I think that if you read nothing else from me, that you should read this because a lot of work went into it and I feel that it comprehensively covers the things that Luke Cage did right and how important the show is.

Read the post here on the Strange Horizons website!

Stitch Watches Daredevil Season Two

I’m supposed to be writing a paper on the nature of transgression via the Marquis de Sade. Instead, I’m rebelling by watching Matt Murdock beat the shit out of half the criminal underworld in Hell’s Kitchen while Frank Castle murders the half.

I’ve been sporadically tweeting about the series (mostly cursing) but Tues/Thurs I’ll be putting up a video about the series and my thoughts. So far though, its okay. I’m not liking how so far its even less diverse than the first season (SOMEHOW) and obviously, I think The Punisher is a dick but he has a monologue in episode four that really kind of helped me get into his character.

If you’re watching Daredevil or you plan to, the comments for that forthcoming post will be a place where we can scream about the show together.

Happy watching, folks!