Lady Geek Girl & Friends’ Best of the Blog Saturdays

Hiatus Spongebob Pic SaturdayWe’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.

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Sexualized Saturdays: A Genderqueer Take on Slash Fanfiction

A casual search on the popular fanfiction site Archive Of Our Own will reveal a trend that—while unsurprising to the fandom community—would be somewhat baffling to the casual observer. A search of standardized tags on AO3 indicated that nearly 63% of all the romantic and/or sexual fanfiction published there is classified as male/male (i.e. “slash”), compared to about 30% in the female/male category and a scant 6.6% in the female/female (“femslash”) category. Based on a survey of fanfiction.net, another popular fanfiction website, FFN Research estimates that 78% of fanfiction writers identify as female. Myriad explanations try to account for this: the most popular is that girls just like to fetishize gay men, but some contend that it’s partly an empathetic reaction to media dominated by male characters; others speculate that it is a way for women to write romance while removing objectification from themselves. As other LGG&F writers have speculated, the real explanation is probably a combination of these motives, as well as innumerable others.

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.

“Maniac” is such a strong word, I prefer “enthusiast”. (x)

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Sexualized Saturdays: Trans, Intersex, and Non-Binary Headcanons

Fanfiction is often used to give representation to minorities that wouldn’t normally be featured in the mainstream media. While this doesn’t always work out, fanfiction in general has done a decent job at providing representation, especially queer representation. And while most fanfiction featuring queer relationships is comprised of slash fanfiction (fanfiction featuring male/male pairings), some efforts have been made to give more representation to the rest of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, last month was Femslash February, which focused on celebrating queer women. Fanfiction authors who wanted more ace representation have started Asexy April. So while the majority of queer pairings in fanfiction are still m/m pairings, there has been a push in the fanfiction community for more inclusion.

Laverne CoxHowever, when it comes to transgender, intersex, and non-binary characters, there is noticeably less representation, both in mainstream media and in fanfiction. Recently, I have seen some more trans and non-binary headcanons, but there are still very few intersex headcanons. Headcanons, for those of you that might not know, are fans’ personal idea about characters which could fit into the existing canon of a show, even if the show itself has little to support the idea. Usually headcanons have some sort of explanation or evidence to back them up.

So to encourage people to write more fanfiction with trans, intersex, and non-binary characters, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite headcanons.

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Sexualized Saturdays: UQ Holder and Genderqueerness

UQ Holder cover imageI am an unabashed fan of anime and manga, but unfortunately I don’t have time to get deeply involved in more than a few series at a time. Lately I’ve gotten into a new manga called UQ Holder, by Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima (the prequel to UQ Holder). I haven’t read Akamatsu’s previous works, but I started this one because my favorite scanlation group had picked it up, and I trust their judgment. And boy am I glad I did, because it is slowly taking the place of Naruto in my heart as a source for my weekly action shounen fix (believe me, that is high praise). I was drawn to it because its first chapter featured a strong female character and a lot of excitement. Later, the introduction of a gender-ambiguous character made me think the series could be trying to do something super interesting with gender, and I was hooked for good. That’s not to say it is perfect in its representation of gender, however. Beware of spoilers in my summary and analysis below.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Non-Human Characters Outside the Gender Binary

Lal: “I am gender neuter. Inadequate.”
Data: “That is why you must choose a gender, Lal, to complete your appearance.”

the-offspringOh, Star Trek, you are one of those shows that consistently disappoints me. This conversation from Star Trek: The Next Generation perfectly illustrates how our society tends to view gender in a strict gender binary. In the episode “The Offspring”, the robot Data creates his own android progeny named Lal. He decides to create Lal gender neutral, so that Lal can choose what gender to be. It seemed like a great idea, but it quickly turned problematic when Lal declared gender neutrality “inadequate” before promptly choosing a female gender. For people who don’t fit the gender binary, this statement is wildly offensive. The message seems to be if you aren’t male or female then you are… inadequate. How fucked up is that?!

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Fanfiction: Not Necessarily a Voice for Minorities

Reading your fanfic!

Reading your fanfic!

Let me start this post by saying that I LOVE fanfiction. Yes, the caps are necessary, because that’s how much I love fanfiction. I can safely say that most of my free time I’m either on Tumblr or reading some sort of fanfiction.

But recently I have been very frustrated with fanfic. After writing about both the lack of lesbian couples in pop culture and about queering straight characters in fanfiction I’ve started to realize something. Fanfiction, which has so often been hailed as a way that authors and readers could write/read about characters of varied genders, races, sexualities, and physical and mental abilities, is not actually an epitome of acceptance and diversity. In fact, in many ways fanfiction has the same sexist, racist, and homophobic issues that the mainstream media has.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: The Case for a Genderqueer God

2012-12-17-ImageofGodWell, ladies and gentlemen, I have just finished and defended my thesis and can now proudly say that I have a Masters in Theology. My thesis discussed the idea of gender fluidity—basically, whether or not a more expansive view of gender could help to limit stereotypical views of gender in theology. That’s not what this post is about, but these ideas did get me thinking about how God is portrayed both in theology and in pop culture.

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