One of the people I enjoy on YouTube never spoke up about a recent scandal concerning jokes about sexual assault (made by her now boyfriend), and as a result, I’ve been seeking out new things to watch to mend this tear in my heart. While YouTube, as a platform, has cultivated some of the most problematic people and cultures on the internet, it’s also a fantastic source for information and discovering people who may have gone through similar experiences as yourself. For me, my web crush fits into the former—as I don’t share many of her defining traits—but I believe for many, and hopefully some of our readers here as well, Kat Blaque offers a voice to a minority that is spoken over more often than not.
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.
December 8th was Pansexual Pride Day and as a proud pansexual myself, I wanted to mark the occasion by talking about pansexuality in geekdom. Except… there isn’t much pansexual representation in geekdom, and I’ve already written about the few characters who have been identified as pansexual. Gay and lesbian characters are still barely represented in all of pop culture, and bisexual and transgender characters rarely, if ever, grace our sphere of geekdom. So while it’s not much of a surprise that other lesser known sexualities are not represented, it’s always nice to dream of a day when more queer characters will exist in our media. Today, I decided to pick five characters that I would love to see come out as pansexual. Just to clarify, these are characters I wish would end up being pansexual. This does not mean that I think they necessarily are pansexual or are presented as pansexual.
Without further ado, here, in no particular order, are five characters I wish were pansexual.
Not too long ago we were contacted by authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith about reviewing their new YA novel, Stranger, thanks to our previous interest in diverse post-apocalyptic fiction. I happily accepted the opportunity to read and review this book, but was admittedly nervous that I wouldn’t like it and then struggle with the review. My fears were utterly unfounded. What I found was an extremely exciting and well written book, with a diverse cast of characters.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “why does this character have to be gay? It’s so distracting!” Or what about this: “we thought about making this character queer, but we thought it would be a distraction”. It seems like I’ve been seeing this sort of thing a lot lately—I see authors insisting that they’re open-minded and love their “gay fans”, but making characters queer would divert attention away from the story; on the other hand, I see fans complaining that the existing queer characters are distracting. But all I, a queer person, can hear from this is “for me to accept and portray you as a person, I need to ignore a piece of your person; can we pretend it doesn’t exist?” and “no one wants to see you as you are”.
It seems that a lot of creators think that it’s enough representation if they have ‘hidden’ LGBTQ+ characters—only revealing it with a throwaway punchline at the end of a movie (see: Mitch in ParaNorman), or even worse, only mentioning it outside the work itself (see: J.K. Rowling’s “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay”). Many fans cheer when this happens, because, see, you can write gay characters who don’t distract from the story. On one hand, this helps to normalize queer characters; it makes them seem just like heterosexual characters, so straight viewers don’t think of them as ‘other’, but as people just like them. And this is important. But on the other hand, really, what sort of representation is it if the audience has no idea the character is queer for mostof the work? Invisible representation is not representation. It also sends the message to queer audience members that they’re only equal to straight people when they’re indistinguishable from them, when they’re exactly the same; that to be accepted you have to follow the heteronormative rules. If you’re in any way different, you draw attention and it’s annoying and disgusting and the need for you to be this way is constantly questioned.
I’m a girl who, if there’s a chance for a choice-driven romance dictated by the player in a game, will be about 70% more likely to buy said game. Or at least I’m 70% more likely to dedicate my brain-space to the consideration of buying it. I have no shame in saying, then, that one of the huge draws of the Dragon Age series for me are its potential romances. After what feels like like an eternity, one of the last possible love interests for DA: Inquisition has been revealed to the denizens of the internet last Thursday. With fan-favorites Varric (the charming surface dwarf) and Vivienne (an intriguing mage from the court of France-inspired Orlais) at the tip of fans’ tongues for “most wanted love interest”, the reveal of the newest LI—the Grey Warden, Blackwall—left a huge portion of the fandom underwhelmed and even hurt. These feelings stem not from feelings of entitlement, but from a sense that despite the game’s astounding nine romancible characters, this newest installment of the Dragon Age series has taken a step backward for minority representation.
Recently, there has been some fantastic news for Bubbline (Princess Bubblegum/Marceline) shippers everywhere! Olivia Olsen, the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen and a contributing author for the The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia, said at a book signing that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum totally used to date.
In case you are unable to listen or can’t hear the video, this is the full text of what Olsen said:
I was at the studio on Tuesday and Pen was actually there because he was recording for Lumpy Space Princess [crowd goes wild!] and I wanted to ask him a lot of questions, because he’s trying to write the book and stuff, so I wanted to pick Pen’s brain a little bit. And he says, “Oh, you know they (Marceline and PB) dated, right?” And I said, “Wellll, that’s what I figured from all the creepy fan art.” [crowd goes wild again!] And I said, “Are they going to do it on the show at all, or can we say anything about it in the book?” And he’s like, “I don’t know about the book, but in some countries where the show airs, it’s sort of illegal.” So that’s why they’re not putting it in the show.
After hearing this statement I, along with many other fans, rejoiced that Bubbline was now canon, but I was also feeling disappointed. My disappointment stems from the fact that still more queer characters in children’s shows and movies are still basically being forced into the closet. While Adventure Time is not without its issues, for the most part it has been a pretty progressive show, especially in its portrayal of female characters and various feminist issues. I had hoped beyond hope that maybe, just maybe Bubbline would soon be canon and that Adventure Time would go down in history as the first children’s cartoon to predominantly feature a queer relationship.