I have said it before and I’ll say it again: we can’t expect the world to change if we don’t change ourselves. This blog strives to promote equality for all people, but let’s face it: we all live in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and genuinely bigoted world, and it’s difficult for even the most well-intentioned individual to break out of this culture of hate. Now it’s 2014 and it’s time to attempt to better ourselves and hopefully contribute to geek culture in only positive ways. I’ve got a few suggestions for fans, creators, and the geek community at large.
Write Better Fanfiction: We have written posts before about how there is a lot of slash fanfiction which almost exclusively features white, cis, canonically heterosexual males. Next time you sit down to pen yet another m/m fanfic, maybe think about exploring a different character. Maybe there is a female character whose story needs exploring;
you could even try your hand at some femslash to make it extra fun. Characters of color are poorly represented in fanfiction as well as pop culture; work on changing that. Or maybe start a trend and try writing one of your favorite characters as a trans* character. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on. Remember, fanfiction isn’t just about sex, so let’s write some good fanfiction this year.
Read Books or Watch Shows with More Diverse Representation: Sometimes we get caught in a rut when it comes to watching TV shows or reading books, and it doesn’t help that most stories are the same old “white male protagonist goes on an adventure and saves the day.” There are other stories out that are different and need support or else they will never get the recognition they deserve. Look for books and shows with female leads, or characters of color, or queer characters, or any other minority characters that desperately need more representation.
Read Books Only Written By Certain Authors: This is a fun idea to try no matter what time of the year it is, but it’s always good to start at the beginning of the year. Help support books by minorities. Read books only written by women, or only written by authors of color, or queer authors, etc. For my part I would recommend trying to read books written only by non-Western authors.
On That Note, Read Better Fanfiction: I challenged everyone before to try writing new fanfiction, but seriously try reading new fanfiction with different and diverse characters and pairings. Try fanfiction where your favorite character is asexual or transgender. Try femslash, slash pairings with characters of color; heck, try well-written gen fanfiction. While you are exploring new books or shows, try to get into a new fandom. What can it hurt?
Most Importantly, Create a Safe Space Both Online and In Real Life: Our geeky communities and fellows are often found online, but we all know that the internet is not necessarily an example of human goodness and kindness. If you’ve ever sat idly by while someone online said something misogynistic, racist, or homophobic, maybe this year it’s time to take a stand and let people know that in our community such behavior is unacceptable. On that note, if such behavior is reprehensible online, it is even more disgusting when we are faced with it in reality. Don’t allow places like comic book stores or conventions to become havens of the ignorant. Don’t be afraid to let people know when they are being offensive or inappropriate. Our community won’t change unless we do something about it.
If we ever want to see change in the world, we have to show that we are willing to live up to our own ideals and fight for the change we want to see. Happy New Year’s everyone!