As many of you who read this blog know, I recently became obsessed with Teen Wolf. And of course my favorite part about joining a new fandom is, of course, all the new fanfiction! Now this is Teen Wolf so you know I have to talk about Sterek.
Okay, this pic isn’t really Sterek but just go with it because it’s cute!
Chances are, even if you don’t know anything about Teen Wolf or watched it at all, you probably know about Sterek. Maybe you see it on Tumblr constantly or maybe you were annoyed because “that fucking Teen Wolf pairing beat my favorite ship in an online poll again!” Yep, Sterek has made a name for itself in the slash community and that’s surprising, because the two characters in this pairing, Stiles and Derek, don’t actually share that many scenes together canonically speaking. But when they do interact the dynamic between the two is pure gold. Even if you don’t ship them, chances are you still love seeing them together.
Sterek dominates the Teen Wolf fandom, so there is a lot of fanfiction for it, but most of them are pretty standard. I have often heard that the Teen Wolf fandom has a reputation for having some bad fanfiction, but honestly I haven’t read anything too bad. I have even read fanfics where characters call themselves feminists and the female characters are still well written and never demonized for the sake of a slash pairing. But maybe I’m just finding good fics. Now, that being said, Teen Wolf fanfiction is pretty much the same as any other fanfiction. Same tropes, same plots, same type of pairings, but you know, with werewolves this time!
Star Trek is yet another show that faces a difficult challenge. You might even say that the Powers That Be of Star Trek are up against a potential no-win scenario. This challenge the PTB (particularly the writers) have is that Star Trek has been often up held as this utopian society. In the midst of many dystopian futuristic sci-fi shows, Star Trek, though filled with many alien conflicts, presents us with a universe where the problems of earth have been resolved. In the Star Trek universe there is no more racism, classism, ableism, or sexism.
The reason this can be viewed as a no-win scenario is that it’s hard to create a utopian society when the writer exists in an imperfect world and is influenced by all those -isms that Star Trek claims to have gotten rid of. However, Star Trek has done surprisingly well—yes, there have been some problems, but, for the most part, Star Trek does a pretty good job.
Oh, wait—there is still one problem. There have never been any queer characters in any Star Trek TV show or movie—not one. And no, Kirk and Spock don’t count.
When it comes to marriage and gender, Star Trek has addressed tons of different views on marriage and many different interpretations of gender. Hell, there was even a canon male pregnancy in one episode. There have been polygamous relationships, interracial relationships, and interspecies relationships. There have been tri-gendered species and androgynous races, but gay characters? None at all.
Lady Geek Girl: Many writers claim to care about racial diversity in their stories, but it is a sad fact that that racial diversity usually takes the form of either stereotyped and/or minor characters, especially when it comes to sci-fi, fantasy, or horror stories. Teen Wolf is unique in that the main character is actually a character of color, and yet even then some people claim the portrayal of race is Teen Wolf is problematic.
“I know fanfic authors, well, I know what they like.”
So many of you may have realized by this point that I have been pretty heavily into Teen Wolf recently. No, don’t worry, this post isn’t about Teen Wolf too, but it was when reading some Teen Wolf fanfiction recently that I noticed something that I thought was pretty cool.
Many of the fanfics I read did not define a loss of virginity with penetration. There was more than one fanfic I read were mutual masturbation or oral sex were defined as enough of a sex act to be considered as “actually having sex.”
Now I’m not saying on the whole that every Teen Wolf fanfic is like this. I think it is more likely I just ended up reading a string of fics that define sexual intercourse more broadly than penetrative sex. That being said, I find it incredibly interesting that more fanfics are beginning to define sex and virginity more broadly. The reason I find this so interesting is because even now you have plenty of people who declare for sex to be “real sex” there must be some kind of penetration. No penetration, no sex.
As you can imagine this is frighteningly heterosexist and extremely problematic when we talk about virginity.
Queerbaiting happens when The Powers That Be (TPTB) of a show or other work openly acknowledge that their text could have a queer reading, but don’t ever actually make any of their characters queer. It’s when TPTB try to satisfy the slash-loving part of fandom’s need for shippy content by allowing their characters to engage in long, heated stares, share dialogue that could be read romantically, and be physically affectionate with each other—without alienating their straight audience and pigeonholing their show into a ‘gay and lesbian thing’. It’s the showrunners placing suggestive things into the text and then yelling “No homo!”
This creates a couple of problems.
First, this plays into the assumption on the part of TPTB that fans who want to see real queer relationships on a show are simply fangirls who fetishize gay relationships. They pay lip service to the idea of the ship in question, but don’t take it seriously, because they assume that the people who want it to become canon are just in it to see two hot guys (or girls) make out. This is patently not true. Although gay-fetishizers will always be a part of slash fandom, a large part of the fandom is queer, and we read these characters interactions as queer because we are desperate for shows that represent our own experiences.
Second, whether intentionally or unintentionally, queerbaiting perpetuates the idea that queer relationships are not important and that they’re not worthy of representation. It’s like, “Sure, we’ll give you some suggestive dialogue, but actually spend time telling a story about you in a thoughtful and complex way? No, we can’t be arsed. You don’t matter enough for that.” Continue reading →
I am so excited for this movie I can’t even contain my joy!
Despicable Me 2 brings us the return of Edith, Margo, Agnes, and their now formerly villainous parent, Gru. I’m not sure what Gru is doing now that he is no longer villainous. The trailer kind of implies that he has been out of the game for a while. I hope we get to see Gru working some tedious normal job so that he can make enough money to raise the girls. Whatever the case, it will be nice to see three of my favorite young female characters.
For a brief second I was excited that Margo asked why it mattered if she was texting a boy or a girl, because I thought that maybe there would be some young love between her and another young girl, which would be awesome. There are so many movies for kids that stress heteronormativity (like every Disney movie ever), which can makes things really awkward for LGBTQ kids growing up, since they never see any sort of relationships that apply to them. It’s time for a kids movie or show, or whatever to step up to the plate and makes this a reality. It’s time. Sadly, the trailer doesn’t suggest that Margo may be in love with a girl, but it doesn’t preclude the possibility either—though I’m probably just projecting my own desires on to this brief scene.
We also have an awesome new red-headed female character named Lucy, played by the equally awesome Kristen Wiig. At first I thought she might be acting as the bad guy in this film, but the trailer seems to imply that they will actually be allies. So yay! New female character!
So yes, beyond excited for this movie. If I were you, I would go see it come July.
It’s always a good day when I get to blog about my fellow feminist ladies. So this week’s Web Crush is the awesome Feminist Disney.
So many feminists over the years have talked about what a problem Disney is for young girls, people of color, and many other minority groups. Disney tends to be a bastion of heteronormative white people fulfilling traditional gender roles. I’m not saying that strides haven’t been made—compare Snow White to Brave and I think we can all agree there’s been progress, even if Disney hasn’t reached their full potential.
Now here we are at the last and final installment of this little series. I looked at the accusations that Supernatural is sexist and racist, and now it’s time for the last question: is Supernatural homophobic?
Supernatural has been accused of being homophobic by fans and non-viewers alike. This is sometimes because of the actual portrayal of gay characters in the show, but sometimes because of fan pairings. Fans have also accused Supernatural of not being daring enough with certain characters’ sexualities when they have the opportunity to. So let’s take a look at homosexuality in Supernatural to figure this all out.
“I know fanfic authors, well, I know what they like.
[WARNING: IRENE ADLER MEANS ADULT CONTENT AHEAD]
One of the things that really bothers me in fanfiction is something as simple as arguing over who is the “top” and “bottom” in a pairing. If magically there are somehow no arguments about who’s on top, then I notice that one person in a pairing is constantly seen as the bottom because they are “weaker and more stereotypically feminine.”
I should stress that I feel this is mostly a slash fanfiction problem, but het pairings and femslash pairings are not exempt in any way. Het pairings simply delegate the women to the role of a “bottom,” but femslash tends to avoid top and bottom debates, though there are some exceptions, such as if a female character tends to be more “stereotypically masculine,” then she will more than likely be on “top.”
Have you seen the key factor here? Hint: it’s a penis.
How often do you see minority characters in fiction? They’re pretty rare. When you read fiction, unfortunately you normally see a white protagonist alongside a plethora of supporting white characters. Possibly a minority sidekick, if you’re lucky. Minorities of both sexual orientation or race are underrepresented in teen and young adult fiction, according to this YALSA study.
But why is it so necessary for authors to write characters that accurately represent our world? It all boils down to facts—namely, the fact that races other than Caucasian exist in the real world, and when there is a fantasy world in which no minority characters exist, it’s basically telling minority characters that they aren’t good enough to exist even in a fantasy world. If elves and hobbits and dragons and dwarves can all wander around Middle Earth, there shouldn’t be anything terribly far-fetched about a few characters of color in the mix as well.