White Fannish Entitlement Strikes Again

Near the end of June, I made the mistake of commenting on Star Wars fandom stuff when I saw screenshots of some members of that subfandom gloating about John Boyega briefly losing his blue check/verified status on Twitter as well as kind of assuming the worst about his exit from Rebel Ridge – especially once people started kind of claiming that he was “difficult“. (Like fully going “perhaps he will have his MeToo moment and people will know that he’s truly garbage… like we have all along” in some tweets I glimpsed.)

Aside from the comment calling me a bootlicker of color (for making a thread about fandom nonsense from their camp and not immediately writing a Teen Vogue article about John Boyega, who I have no access to and still cannot reach for clarification or an interview), one comment that stood out to me called me a coward because I didn’t like… leap into the way of actual non-fandom white supremacists in defense of Rey/Kylo fandom. Again, a fandom full of people that hate me for pointing out their co-fans’ racism.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Revisiting “POC Coded” White Villains/Anti-Heroes

Recently, Shafira Jordan’s sharp and insightful article “How White Fandom is Colonizing “Character-Coding”” has been making the rounds around fanwork creating & consuming social media. It’s a piece that speaks to something that I also have talked about (a few years ago): the way that white fandom will code white male characters as POC while also hating the hell out of characters of color in the source media/dismissing them entirely. 

This ranges from deciding that a character oppressed racially in-universe like Loki being Jotun was directly paralleling an experience/existence of color to claiming they are “actually” of a marginalized identity like Kylo being Space Jewish because the actors playing Han and Leia are.

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Stitch @ Teen Vogue: Kelly Marie Tran on “Raya,” Internet Harassment, and Fandom

Raya’s key traits are present in Kelly, too, even though the context is different. Kelly, who has faced more than her fair share of trolls and racist critics, is an actor who continues to push forward in the face of adversity and negativity. While she’s gotten to see the positive impact of her presence in these films and how a new generation of usually underrepresented fans have embraced her, she’s also been subject to a long and very public harassment campaign from a certain faction of the Star Wars fandom.

Who’s got two thumbs and interviewed Kelly Marie Tran just in time for Raya’s home release and as a very fitting end to this year’s API Month?

THIS STITCH!

Meme-ing For A Reason #3 – Fandom’s Amy Coopers

It’s the “they’re the same picture” meme with the panel on the left saying “Amy Cooper lying and saying that Christian Cooper threatened//tried to assault her in her two 911 calls” and the right panel saying “white women in fandom saying that Black people in fandom talking about racism in fandom are abusive/toxic/bullies who have actually harmed them by having these convos” over yellow text that reads “corporate needs you to find the differences between this picture and this picture” with the bottom panel saying: “they’re the same picture”.

I already made the Amy Cooper comparison back in June in Why Write About Fandom Racism At A Time Like This? where I talked about what the racism in the supposedly progressive queer/women run fandom spaces looks like:

It looks a lot like… Amy Cooper calling the cops on Christian Cooper and pretending that her life was in danger when all he wanted her to do was leash her damn dog, actually.

(And before you accuse me of “trivializing real racism” or whatever the actual fake woke set is calling it these days, understand that what Amy did and what the nice white women of fandom do are the same kind of behavior and they all weaponize their white womanhood for the same end: a permanent silencing of Black voices that they don’t like or agree with. I get to make comparisons like that considering that I’m subject to Amy Coopers in and out of fandom.)

I was right then and I am right now: there are white women and queer people in fandom who utilize their marginalization (womanhood or queerness, sometimes a blend of both with a splash of mental health issues and claims of trauma inspiring totes valid lashing out thrown in) in fandom.

They use their ability to inspire ATTACK-PROTECT urges in folks in the same way that Amy Cooper tried to utilize her white womanhood to get the cops to come in guns ablaze to protect her from… Christian Cooper’s nerdy ass asking her to put her dog on a leash.

The goal in fandom, as with Amy Cooper and various other cop-calling, hysteria weaponizing Karens, is to control who gets to speak, who is listened to, who is taken as an inherent threatening presence trying to control or harm others… and who should be.

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When Transformative Fandom Passes The Buck On Representation In Fandom

“Well if there were more well-written characters of color, I’d focus on them,” is a recurring excuse for the way content is unfairly weighted towards white characters in Western media fandoms.

I have heard it used for over a decade and it’s an excuse used to successfully argue that the thing stopping them from caring about Black/brown people in their shows is… quality and quantity.

Back when we were hearing the first rumblings of rumors for Pacific Rim Uprising’s John Boyega connection, my friend Holly over at DiverseHighFantasy posted on Tumblr that:

The PacRim fandom is already chanting for no romance in 2, but wait till they see whiteguy Jaeger Tech #3 and whiteguy cafeteria server in a 2 second shot together.

The post on Tumblr currently has over fourteen thousand notes and considering how from the jump people were insulting Holly, accusing her of “a homophobic microaggression”, saying “let women like things”… .it probably hasn’t gotten much better. From John Boyega’s interviews and how he talked about why he wanted to be a producer – this film was his production company’s first outing – we knew that the film was going to probably have a diverse cast of characters.

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Link Lineup – November 2020

I’ve been extremely online across October and I’m happy to say that the internet has not let me down. So I bring y’all some of the best content I’ve found across the internet between October and now!


the return of the pleasure activist

in every single aspect of life, seeking the pleasure in it makes it so much more possible for me to be deeply present in the world and sense what is needed.

now, it has become a politic for me…living not just to the point of survival, but to the point of pleasure. i am certain that pleasure is the missing piece in our movement(s) for a new world.

The first time I heard of someone calling themselves a “pleasure activist”, they were a Rey/Kylo shipper claiming that being a pleasure activist is why they’re so invested in Kylo (“if i center my pleasure on characters who i believe can and should be redeemed then that’s a manifestation of how i hope our world can heal thru pleasure”). So of course, I was kind of a dick about it because I am… kind of a dick about so many things related to Rey/Kylo shippers.

Thankfully, one of my darling social media buddies set me on the right path and showed me what pleasure activism was actually all about. Beyond what that moomoo up there said, the idea of pleasure activism actually does work for me. It’s more aligned with the theorists and thinkers I’ve been consumed by since college than anything else.

And it does not actually support focusing on the redemption of a white man as pleasure activism. That’s not how that works. (But then, that day was when someone compared not wanting a Kylo redemption arc to supporting the carceral state so… that fandom is NOT okay.)

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Fandom Racism 101: Clocking and Closing The Empathy Gap

How does fandom’s empathy gap come into play when the trauma of POC is on the table? Why does the empathy that fans extend to white characters, fans, and performers, hit a hard wall at POC – especially when it comes to Black characters, fans, and performers in my direct experience?

In the Slate.com article “I Don’t Feel Your Pain”, author Jason Silverstein uses the following example as he describes the racial empathy gap:

Let’s do a quick experiment. You watch a needle pierce someone’s skin. Do you feel this person’s pain? Does it matter if the person’s skin is white or black?

For many people, race does matter, even if they don’t know it. They feel more empathy when they see white skin pierced than black. This is known as the racial empathy gap.

The way that non-Black people literally do not believe that Black people feel the same levels of physical pain – documented through over a century of studies – is one way that we see the empathy gap play out. However, this isn’t the way that it tends to play out in fandom because there’s no one out there pricking fans of color with pins to see if we bleed the same color and amount. (Yet.)

But what they do is constantly privilege white feelings over Black ones.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Weaponized White Womanhood

Note 3/31/21: Are you here because you googled “Jenny Nicholson racist”? Did a Twitter user link this to you to explain why ~people~ don’t like Jenny in the replies to a tweet calling out a breadtube user? Let me clarify a thing for you:

THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT JENNY AND IT IS NOT ABOUT WHAT SHE MAY OR MAY NOT SHIP. She’s mentioned in one segment in the article and over like 4-7 tweets (out of over 100) in the supplemental PDF/thread. It is literally not about her or about my beef with what other people ship in the Star Wars fandom but about white women and BIPOC who ship Rey/Kylo who tried to say John Boyega was a danger to Daisy Ridley over an IG comment about REY. Please learn to read and think critically and then GO AWAY. Thanks!


Content notes: As with a majority of my pieces, this one focuses closely on antiblackness including the antiblackness inherent in weaponizing white womanhood to excuse dogpiling and slandering John Boyega as a misogynist, as a potential sexual predator, as a bunch of other gross and untrue things. I talk briefly about some examples of Rey/Kylo fics from the fandom’s past including non-graphic (I believe) mentions of sexual assault and include links to a recap of one and an image of the other.


White women have most (if not all) of the actual observable power in transformative fandom spaces.

White women are the image of the typical “fan” in Western transformative fandom spaces.

They are frequently the most popular Big Named Fans (BNFs) in online spaces, the people who dominate discussions about and displays of Being A Fan. If you’re in transformative fandom and you see a particular set of headcanons or a white dude slash suddenly get supremely popular out of nowhere, chances are that a group of white lady BNFs are behind it.

White women in fandom often get to “graduate” from fandom, dominating what we and outsiders think about transformative with staff writer, researcher, and professor jobs that they can tie directly into their experiences and time in fandom.

(Look at the overarching fan studies academic field for an example or fandom-focused journalism on sites like WIRED, The Daily Dot, The Nerdist, and CBR. Chances are that many of the names you know in these fields, if you know any names, belong to white women.)

With that much power already, it can’t be a surprise that many white women in fandom will do pretty much anything in order to keep the status quo level.

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[Signal Boost] Boyega Brigade Boost for Theatre Peckham

From the GoFundMe:

“I admire Theatre Peckham’s continued mission to increase diversity in the creative industries, inspiring young people like myself to be the change we want to see in this industry.” — John Boyega

Hey, fellow John Boyega stans! John put his heart and soul into bringing the amazing Finn to life in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Many of us who never saw ourselves in major sci-fi franchises found a champion in Finn’s journey from slave to hero. John told us from the door that he lives, breathes, and bleeds Finn, and his dedication to the role and to his fans have been a high point of the entire series.

In honor of his fantastic portrayal of Finn — and the effortless cool, poise and sense of humor he maintained offscreen — we’re raising money for something near and dear to John’s heart — Theatre Peckham, the South London-based training theatre company where he was a featured player from ages 9 to 14, and of which he became a patron in 2016. The group recently unveiled a mural  of John, and as a patron, he has helped TP kick off its 2020 fundraising drive to celebrate “talent that has come from Peckham and looking towards the future of those who will become.”

All money raised here will be sent directly to Theatre Peckham in aid of its programs and its mission of building a diverse talent pool for creative industries. Since 2020 is the year that John brought in with a bang, we’ve set that as an initial target.

(TP takes donations in pounds only, so this will work out to about 1600 GBP depending on currency exchange. If you feel most comfortable donating directly to TP’s donations’ processor , that’s cool too!)

Please consider donating to this worthy cause if you can. Thank you!

Boyega Brigade Boost for Theatre Peckham

For me, John Boyega’s performance as Finn changed the game.

I wasn’t a die hard Star Wars fan before the sequel trilogy. I’d liked the franchise, sure. But I was well in my teens before I saw all of the previous films. I didn’t have opinions on favorite characters or any of that. I saw a cool space opera and that’s about where it went for me. I wasn’t invested.

And then John Boyega, my Attack the Block bae, gets cast in The Force Awakens and I pretty much got sucked into further fandom-ing for him – but also for Finn. Finn remains a character I adore and who I would love to write some day. I’ve seen myself in him and I know many other John Boyega fans and Black people in the general (non-nerdy) audience did too.

Like Em says in the description for the GoFundMe above, “Many of us who never saw ourselves in major sci-fi franchises found a champion in Finn’s journey from slave to hero.”

As far as I can remember, there are only four Black people playing human characters in Star Wars. John is the first to be a main character. That he’s playing a character with as much power and potential as Finn – who broke his own conditioning and rebels against the fascist First Order that took him away from his parents…

I get chills thinking about it.

I am a huge John Boyega fan and that’s why I want to ask that my friends and followers alike donate whatever they can to this GoFundMe and share it with anyone that might be interested! This way, we can all show our appreciation to John by can supporting the place that helped set John on his path to stardom.

Let’s help light the way for future generations of actors to find themselves and practice their craft at Theatre Peckham!

[Stitch Talks Ish] Episode 2: Stitch Talks About The Rey/Kylo Fandom and Weaponized White Womanhood

Episode Notes:

Transcript:

Hi, everyone, welcome to the second episode of Stitch Talks Ish.

It’s been about two and some change months since my first episode where I talked about like five minutes of The Tablo Podcast. And, and right now I’m back to complain again — not about Tablo this time.

If you follow me on Twitter, which you could if you wanted to, (and weren’t blocked,) I’ve been talking about the Star Wars fandom’s antiblackness from pretty much at the beginning of 2020. We’re only 12 days in. So I’m going to cover, as best as I can for podcasts, everything that’s happened, and about some really frustrating, and even worrying things that I’ve noticed about what’s been going on with the Reylo fandom, which is the ship name for Rey and Kylo Ren, and just overarching, transformative fandom.

So to start, I guess we have to begin from the beginning.

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Quick Coverage: John Boyega Ends 2019 With a Bang (And a Hearty ‘Fuck You’ To Rey/Kylo Shippers)

Note: I have an ongoing thread about this entire situation and the fans’ responses that fully covers the majority of what this fandom’s been up to with John.


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.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: The Star Wars Fandom (Part One, Probably)

Few fandoms fill me with the kind of anger that the Star Wars fandom does.

In fact, there are times where I’d go so far as to say that I hate it.

Times like Wednesday night.

When I got home Wednesday night from my first A.C.E concert, I was flying high. It’d been a great night with fantastic music and a stellar performance. Everywhere I looked, I saw fans loving their thing and loving that they got to share that thing with other fans. For a few blissful hours, I’d experienced fandom at its best: people coming together in joy and in celebration over something brilliant.

And then I was rudely reminded that the Star Wars fandom exists and that a whole huge chunk of the Rey/Kylo shippers who dominate much of the fandom discourse is made up of just really terrible people.

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