We’re still on hiatus until January 6th. Happy New Year, everyone, and we’ll be back soon!
Sexualized Saturdays: A Genderqueer Take on Slash Fanfiction. Pan reflects on their experience with slash fanfiction.
As a genderqueer person I’m fairly certain that my own experience with slash fanfiction differs somewhat from the norm. Only recently have I begun reflecting on how formative both writing and reading fanfiction was at a time in my life when I felt isolated and frustrated by my own seemingly incongruous feelings. Knowing now that there are a surprising number of people for whom the gender binary doesn’t hold true, I like to think that for some small portion of the fan community fanfiction has been an important tool for self-discovery, as it was for me.
Sexualized Saturdays: Teen Wolf and the Turmoils of Male Puberty. Pisces talks about how the cis male werewolf experience is analogous to the cis male puberty experience.
Lycanthropy also serves as a metaphor for the inherent state of physical transition and transformation that is a defining part of puberty. For most able-bodied, non-chronically ill people, puberty is the first time we actively feel out of control of our bodies (potty training notwithstanding). The changes are sudden, violent, bizarre; simple changes in height are nothing compared to the fundamental, irreversible changes to the character and nature of our bodies that happen during puberty. It’s rooted in the same basis that makes all body horror so terrifying—the involuntary changing of and lack of control over the body.
Sexualized Saturdays: Asexuality in Fiction and Fanfiction. Moffat’s wrong about a lot of things, and in this post Ace tells us how he’s wrong about asexuals and asexuality.
Asexuals don’t need to be cured or erased in order to make a good story, and a relationship between a sexual person and a non-sexual person does present a lot of challenges that most people don’t deal with every day. John is a rather sexual person—he’s had numerous girlfriends, and seems to really like the more physical aspects of a relationship. Regardless of Sherlock’s sexuality, if they were in a relationship together, John would probably want to have sex. In a healthy relationship, the two would have to discuss what they are and are not comfortable with, and how often they are either willing to engage in sex or not engage in sex should sex be on the table.
Sexualized Saturdays: Discussing Gender and Genre within Portal 2. Dom discusses how Portal 2 plays with gender and gender roles.
In addition to the robotic characters, the human male characters are also flawed. Cave Johnson, the founder of the company, is shown through voice recordings to be arrogant, poor with business sense, and maniacal. He treats humans as objects and does absurd things like mining space rocks when the company is bankrupt and having his assistant’s brain forced into a computer to become an AI. Finally, the second game introduces Wheatley, another AI sphere. His sole purpose is to be unintelligent. In this respect, he is very successful, but most of his actions only further inconvenience the hero as opposed to humorously helping out.
In Brightest Day: Teen Wolf’s Erica Reyes and Chronic Illness. Pisces talks about chronic illness and how, in Erica Reyes’s case, it was poorly represented.
When Erica is first presented to us in the third episode of Season 2, she is the awkward girl in ill-fitting gym clothes, with bad skin and unkempt hair. This is a visual cue to the viewer that something must be wrong with her, because “normal” high school girls all look like models. After Derek so graciously gives her the “gift” of lycanthropy, she shows up back at school a changed woman. While there are an extremely large variety of chronic illnesses that affect any number of organs, there are none that I know of that specifically affect one’s ability to buy makeup or have one’s hair styled if that’s what you want to do. Not only does this push tired societal standards of beauty that girls and women are expected to uphold, it also does a disservice by suggesting that you can always pick chronically ill people out of a crowd because we look “wrong”.
Games for Girls: The Myth of the Gamer Girl. Does the “gamer girl” exist, and if not, why is it a dumb concept? Rin tackles that complicated issue in this post.
We have all been the “gamer girl” to someone else—even if it’s not us personally, on a general level we have been lumped in with someone’s argument against those kinds of girl gamers. I think we all
subconsciously realize this, so we work harder to set ourselves apart and make ourselves seem like some rare commodity in the community. We invalidate the gaming experience of others to further validate our own participation and membership because we feel we must. Since the gaming community is male-dominated, as it stands we’ll never be able to blend in as equals, so we blend in by sticking out and bringing down the other girls around us. It’s incredibly toxic and serves no purpose but to further keep other girls out of the gaming scene entirely.
Slytherin’s Problem: Hogwarts and the Cardinal Virtues. How successful was J.K. Rowling in her worldbuilding of Hogwarts? Stinekey’s answer: not very.
Rowling clearly believes the fortitude is the greatest of the four cardinal virtues. Maybe she believes prudence is boring; good decisions don’t usually make for compelling storytelling. However, Rowling didn’t have to sacrifice Slytherin’s virtue to write about good and evil. The Death Eaters could have recruited from all four houses, capitalizing on the strengths of each. Harry could have used an especially prudent Slytherin friend to stand up to him when he was feeling reckless or blinded by his own emotions. As any Ancient Greek philosopher would tell you, a truly good person strives to live all four of the cardinal virtues. Giving fair representation to all four virtues would have actually supported Rowling’s message that the world isn’t divided up into “good people and Death Eaters”.
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