What Fandom Racism Looks Like: #NotAllFans

WFRLL - #NotAllFans

Inspired by this tweet thread I wrote.

Fandom really doesn’t like to acknowledge that it has multiple problems with race and racism.

From members of fandom writing racist alternate universe stories where characters of color are dehumanized, tortured and killed off (as a form of “putting them in their place”) to the harassment that fans direct at fans and performers of color, there’s no way to escape the fact that fandom – transformative and curatorial fandom spaces– is racist as hell.

One thing that I’ve noticed as I move through various fandoms is that few fans want to acknowledge that the problem and commentary calling out the problem are coming from inside their specific fandoms and social groups within fandom. If a fan of color points out the racism in an aspect of fandom or in harassment they’re receiving from people in fandom, one of the first responses that they get from members of that fandom is…

“I know racism sucks, but don’t generalize a whole fandom based on one person.”

Basically, that’s one of the most useless responses you can give a person talking about something currently impeding their ability to enjoy their free time and security in fandom. Read More »

[Audio Post & Transcript] Stitch Talks Toxic Fandom

stitch talks toxic fandom

Content Warning:

In this audio post I discuss racism in fandom (including sexual racism… somehow), mention sexual assault and objectification, harassment from toxic fandom (or, as I call it… fandom) including death threats to and attempts to incite suicide in celebrities, trying to get them fired, and falsely accusing them of “not caring” about assault survivors.

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When White Villains Get Woobiefied: Kylo Ren Is Just A Monster In A Mask

Notes: The following post will mention childhood abuse (and who gets to have that kind of trauma respected/made up for them to give them weight and validate their actions) and spoilers from the film and novelization versions of The Last Jedi as well as mild spoilers for Last Shot. Images come from StarWarsScreenCaps.Com.

More care has gone into fabricating a sobbing wreck of a backstory for Kylo Ren where he’s been dealing with childhood abuse (that is supposed to explain why he’s somehow the most interesting/compelling character of the sequel trilogy) than has gone into showing any empathy or interest in analyzing the one character in the sequel trilogy who does have that backstory, but gets none of the empathy: Finn.

Today in “that’s literally not canon”, I’m going to be picking apart an article from The Mary Sue about how Kylo Ren’s story is about childhood abuse; one that says things like:

“Rey and Kylo relate to one another about their childhoods, which included parental abandonment and neglect, and abuse, as well as their Force abilities.”

First off:

As far as I know, there’s nothing that shows that Ben’s childhood included parental abandonment and neglect. Nothing. Nothing across two movies. Leia sending her Force Sensitive son (who was in late teens/early adulthood) to train with her Force Sensitive brother is not neglect.

We currently have ZERO canon that shows what his childhood was like, but we know that the whole point of the Ben-to-Kylo Ren transformation was that it came out of nowhere and that nothing in Leia’s relationship with her son prepared her for his full leap not just to the dark side, but to full on fascism.

The most we can say with confidence about Ben before he was Kylo, is that he was radicalized by Snoke who preyed on his insecurities at some point most likely when he was a teenager.

But we don’t know anything about what Snoke did – that presence probing Leia’s uterus back in that Chuck Wendig book does not count — but I suspect we never will considering his abrupt death in The Last Jedi.Read More »

Queer Coded Villains Aren’t That Awesome

Queer Coded Villains Aren’t That Awesome.png
AKA “Hux and Kylo aren’t the queer coded villains you’re looking for”

I woke up  on MLK Day swearing that I’d dreamt up a tumblr post where someone quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in order to defend Hux, Kylo Ren, and the First Order. When I went through my archives, not only did I find out that the post was real, but I then stumbled back over a post I made in response to one arguing that Star Wars’ Hux was coded as queer and that said queer-coding was a good thing.

And I mean –

A fair amount of people not only read Kylo Ren and Hux as queer-coded within their canon, but:

  1. Queer coded villains are actually kind of shitty and they definitely shouldn’t be something to aspire to or admire, and
  2. I don’t know how they leap to that conclusion of Hux and Kylo as queer coded in the first place.

For one thing, there’s a difference between a character – especially a villain – being coded as queer in their canon (typically via stereotypes about femininity/masculinity, style of dress, speech, interactions with other characters) and a queer fan deciding to read a character as queer because they see themselves in the character.

If they’re actually present in canon, queer coded villains typically come from a place of homophobia – conscious or otherwise. They come from a fear of supposedly non-normative genders and sexualities and from society straight up repurposing queerness (or stereotypes about queerness) as a go-to for “spooky and scary” because well –

Heterocentrism kind of needs to portray queerness as a dangerous avenue to stroll down.Read More »

[Guest Post] Finn as everyman? How about no?

Finn as everyman - Guest Post Header.png

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 »

The Last Jedi: Thoughts

I don’t have the energy to write a full review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I mean, I literally don’t have any energy. I’m exhausted from not sleeping well the night before and I’m literally trying to write this before I fall asleep again.

If I get a chance to see the film again, I might write more about some things that stood out to me, but that’s probably not happening until January so… yeah. Instead of a couple thousand words of relatively insightful criticism, y’all get a bullet-point list full of MAJOR spoilers and complaining.


  • Straight up, I’d give this movie a six or seven out of ten. Maybe. If I rewatch it the way I want to with my notebook in hand, it’ll probably drop down to a solid five. Let’s get that right out in the open. I left the theater overwhelmed with emotion and I had lots of laughs/tears throughout, but it’s not a movie I see myself rewatching until I’ve memorized the dialogue the way I’ve done The Force Awakens. (Also, it kind of feels like the second of like four movies and not the central piece in a trilogy…)

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