kiki_eng: light purple lilacs with soft unfocused blue-purple background (lilacs)
[personal profile] sylvaine posted when will reality finally be my escapist fantasy? what's rapidly coming up to a month ago now, and it made me think, about the stories that I've written, read, and the reality that I live in.

Like [personal profile] sylvaine "I don't want to read about how awful people are to one another." Generally. I read a lot more unhappy stories when I was younger. I think that was part of letting in all sorts of experiences and discovering the world and learning to process and being a teenager and having all kinds of feelings. I've written -isms and despair in fic when those were part of my reality and things I needed to process; processing and expression and analysis through art is a thing.

I read more fanfic than pro work these days, and that's not unrelated to a desire to escape. I don't want to read someone's prejudices; I am less patient with that kind of bullshit than I used to be. I am more assertive of that not being worth my time. There's this thing that happens when you primarily read m/m and f/f fic - you don't tend to run into a lot of homophobia, which hasn't always been the case. I think that earlier fic is more likely to contain homophobia, that there was more of a sense of pervasiveness that led to that getting written into fic, that it was a carry-over from reality. Mind, I'm not actually that old and I haven't been in fandom for that long, and my first experiences with fic were also coloured with being a teenager and a feeling of otherness. There are stories I read then that I don't read now because I'm not interested in them; I'm interested in different narratives now.

In Stargate: Atlantis and SG-1 fandom DADT was a huge thing and source of angst and unhappiness in stories because it was also those things in real life. There was a subset of stories in SGA that I loved a lot that were about how DADT was shit. All of the stories that touched on DADT were about that a little, but the ones I loved were about changing the rules or had McKay berating politicians. Those were really satisfying stories for me. They were angry and hopeful and determined and about action. I believe in stories like that, that plot out change, and I want to see stories with -isms in them, just so that I can see it called out, because there's some shit that we need to talk about if we want to change it.

The corner of fandom I hang out in is pretty good for a lot of things, for being devoid of a lot of the terrible things that are part of my reality, but refraining from using "girl" as a pejorative is really not one of them. (There's this whole angry post in my head titled "fuck you, I was an awesome teenaged girl".) I am so tired of seeing that in fic. The thing is that, all of those fics where it doesn't happen, that show an ideal world in that way - where that doesn't get said or thought - don't call the people that say or think those things on their bullshit. There are a lot of instances of -isms in our culture that are so ingrained that we don't recognise that they're there, that need to be pointed out so that we can stop committing them.

There's a hockey fic that I love to pieces for its inclusion of Patrick Kane casually calling out a team mate for using "girl" as an insult, and it's great. It's so great, because it does two things: it calls out that language as problematic and it shows a way of dealing with that situation in real life, which is amazing.

I believe in stories and I believe in fandom. I believe in the way that they can transmit ideas that can change the world. I believe in learning, and I think that the stories that we tell each other matter.

I don't think that every story should contain that kind of teachable moment. I don't think that every story needs to and I think that that would be boring and trying, frankly, but I think that there's a place for those stories and those moments. I think that identifying and addressing -isms is a necessary part of turning our escapist fantasy into reality.

I also think that escapist fantasy is an important part of turning our escapist fantasy into reality, that when we write stories about people being good to each other we can teach people to be good to each other.

I believe that stories matter. I believe that representation matters. I get excited about lesbian romcoms, happy polyamorous films, diverse casting, people recycling in fic, and I get upset about hockey fights, because the stories that we tell matter, because media matters, because they make up our culture, because you can't tell me that the hockey fight culture of the NHL wherein it is largely acceptable to get angry and punch someone is completely unrelated to the two guys on the bus talking casually about the domestic violence they'd committed, talking like it was a stupid thing that they'd done on the ice. You can not tell me that the stories that we tell do not shape our views and that those views do not shape our actions; I will not believe you.

I get frustrated when people include -isms in their fic that don't get called out because by not condemning them you accept and encourage them. A lot of Generation Kill fic is really terrible for this, and it's full of -isms because the source is, because reality is, because one of the goals of Generation Kill seems to have been a kind of unflinching realism, and one of it's theses is that the military/war was full of shit. So a lot of the fandom takes all of those slurs and shit as characterisation and serves them up in fic without really calling the characters on it, and while that's maybe a choice that makes sense for the series it maybe isn't one that makes sense for that romance you're writing. Maybe I'm weird but I don't believe that you need to put an entire group of people down to write characters shooting the shit or that people need to be racist or whatever.

I'm never going to buy characterisation as a justification for spreading hate and awfulness. ...and I feel like this post has maybe accidentally turned into "Dear Generation Kill Fandom: judging the fuck out of you." I like Generation Kill Fandom a lot, but I really wish parts of it were less accepting of casual -isms in speech, because I think it's harmful and I don't want to read unpleasant reality in my escapist fantasy; I don't want my escapist fantasy to contribute to the unpleasant reality.

I went to the cinema earlier this month and saw this artsy historical film with an unhappy ending and all of these gross tropes and -isms in it. I sat in front of someone who laughed at the evil people being kinky, laughed at the trans person, laughed at the fat person and I got progressively angrier, because, look, that shit isn't okay. It's not.

I look to fandom as a place where things are okay and there's a reason that I get pissed when I read fic wherein a character uses -ist language or expresses -ist opinions and doesn't get called on it within the story and there's an authors note warning for the -ism and explaining that it's in character and doesn't reflect the author's opinions, because- you know it's wrong, and you're doing it anyway? A note doesn't excuse you. It doesn't actually work that way.

For one thing, that author's note is usually vague rather than specific, so it doesn't really call the character out on their bullshit, but it does work to cover the author's ass. I mean, they warned for -ist language, so obviously they're aware of all the -ist language in their fic, right? (No.)

Sometimes that author's note is the equivalent of "No offense, but..." That thing you're doing, where you're including -isms in your fic without also condemning it in your fic? You're supporting those -isms with your fic. It's hurtful.

The film I went to watch wanted me to laugh at the trans person, wanted me to think that the kink they showed me was weird and gross; it was a fat-phobic, trans-phobic, kink-shaming, racist, sexist film. I'm alright with -isms in texts; I'm not alright with -ist texts.

I think art matters. I believe in the importance of stories. I believe that the stories we tell can change the way we see the world, that we can teach each other to make the world a better place. I believe that if we keep telling those stories they can come true.

That's my answer to [personal profile] sylvaine's question, I guess. When will reality finally be my escapist fantasy? Maybe, after we've told those stories enough, they'll become true. *shrugs* (I believe in stories.)
kiki_eng: a woman makes an unimpressed face - text: "Original Cindy is not impressed." (Dark Angel) (Original Cindy is not impressed.)
So there's this word that I stopped using a while ago when I realised that it was hurtful.

I should say, there's this word that I stopped using within a certain context when I realised that that context was hurtful, when I realised that using that word to mean pathetic, pitiful, sad, boring, bad, inadequate is associating those words with people who are none of those things.

When I was in middle school I met someone who, whenever someone used the word "gay" as a slur, addressed it. When people spat it out like it was something dirty or used it casually to mean bad things they went Hey. That's not cool. I don't remember what they actually said; it probably changed a bit each time, but that was the message, and you know what? It got through to a lot of people.

That usage of the word "gay" is one that never entered my speech. I don't know that it would have, if I'd never met that person; I don't remember how I felt about that word before they started calling people on it. They are probably responsible for my being able to express, at an early age, why that usage is problematic.

I'm telling that story here because I think that people will relate to it, because I think that most of Fandom can go Yeah, no, using "gay" as a slur, that's not cool, and because "gay" is sometimes used interchangeably with "lame".

I've never used the word "gay" as a slur, but I have used "lame". I knew, when I used it, that it was a word that meant - and I am just going to use Merriam-Webster here - "having a body part and especially a limb so disabled as to impair freedom of movement" or "marked by stiffness and soreness <a lame shoulder>", but it somehow did not occur to me at the time that those other definitions - "inferior", "contemptible, nasty", etc. - stem from the first, that they are a way of saying that disabilities and by extension disabled persons are contemptible and nasty. So, yeah, using "lame" as a slur isn't cool.

That's not something that I connected on my own. I stumbled on a blog post that casually mentioned "lame" as ableist language before I went ...Right. and stopped using it.

This is a post that I've been thinking about making for a while, because it's something that I think needs to be said, and because it's something that's been relevant to my fannish experience lately.

I've gotten into bandom this past year. It's something that I'm really excited about. There are years and years worth of fic out there and some of it is kind of ridiculously awesome. There is fic out there that I pretty much love everything about, ever, except for its ableist language.

The thing is, these are fics that I would gleefully rec if they didn't use the word "lame" as a slur. They do, is the thing, and that significantly reduces my enjoyment of a work and how comfortable I feel recommending it to other people. It's frustrating, because there are so many other, better, words that these writers could be using and the one that they are using is hurtful.

This is a post that I'm writing today because there's discussion going on in bandom right now about using the word "faggot", and this, this? It's the same thing; it's a slur.
kiki_eng: two bats investigating plants against the night sky (Ianto)
So, in a fit of strange girliness there was posing, and highly amusing prompting from [livejournal.com profile] readbystarlight, with the black and the slinkiness and the doorway.

Thus: everyone is familiar with the expression "getting your slut on" yes? Yes.

"Getting your (John) Sheppard on." In a slutty-ish (emphasis on the "ish") context, yes, yes. Something like getting your flirt on. In a Sheppard-y way.

This is a wonderful phrase-concept, because it is John Sheppard and there's slinkiness and black and doorways and also happy dorkiness and strange other things. Clearly this is an awesome idea, and we should catapault this phrase into existence.
kiki_eng: two bats investigating plants against the night sky (Ianto)
*stares at title*

*flails*

There has been much awesomeness this month. [1] [2]

There has also been the suggestion made that we really need to stop calling it "gay" or "same-sex" marriage, because there's the implication in that that it's somehow different than "straight" or "mixed-sex" marriage, that there's some sort of special privilege being conferred here. It's about equality, and we need to be using language that reflects that.

*stares*

...but, no one gets "gay-married" in Canada! No one get's "gay-married" anywhere, so far as I know; they just get married.

...which is kind of the whole point, isn't it? We need to reframe the headlines. It should be not "same-sex marriage legalised", but "sex-discriminatory law amended" or some such, and we'll keep using those words until we have better ones, or they don't sound so strange anymore.

And if "sex-discriminatory" sounds ugly and unpleasant: good. Maybe it will encourage people to change their laws.
kiki_eng: two bats investigating plants against the night sky (books)
So, I've been explaining who Stephen Fry is to people a lot lately.

I'll do this again, shall I? Stephen Fry is, according to his wikipedia page, "an English actor, comedian, author and television presenter." He is especially known for his role in Jeeves and Wooster. (Of course, my perspective is helplessly skewed because of PBS. Stephen Fry has an imdb page.)

He is also a geek. He has a very shiny website and twitters. [I believe that the latter came to my attention quite recently, when Stephen Fry was stuck in an elevator. He twittered about it and sent amusing pictures into the interwebs. This was news. This was news in New Zealand. (The world is a bizarre and intriguing place.)] He and Douglas Adams were friends and fellow tech-lovers - he wrote the introduction to The Salmon of Doubt. He was also, the voice of The Guide in the film, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It's a nice voice. I was watching a bit of The Machine that Made Us over lunch a couple of weeks ago and it was very calming. The Gutenberg press is awesome and Fry is amusing.

One of our fridge phrases has been a quote from his appearance as a guest captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. There's a fair bit of geekitude on show there - various bits of random knowledge. Fry hosts a panel show himself, these days, QI.

I was explaining who he was to a friend a few days ago (in rather less detail) and the words "mancrush" and "girlcrush" came up. These are both words describing a nonsexual attraction to or admiration of a person of the same gender, which begs an interesting question: why is there not a word for this when it's the admiration of a person of the opposite gender?
kiki_eng: two bats investigating plants against the night sky (Jack)
Jeff: Steve, do you know what I call this kind of woman? You know, the total "can't get rid of".
Steve: Is this gonna be really tasteless? Am I gonna be ashamed to be your friend?
Jeff: It's a technical term. It's just a harmless expression...
Steve: Hit me.
Jeff: "unflushable"!
Steve: Turn around Jeff, walk away!
Jeff: You know, because they keep bobbing around!
Steve: No, no, no, Jeff! GO! GO! ... Don't look back. GO! 

(from Coupling)
kiki_eng: two bats investigating plants against the night sky (Default)

We have all had them in the past, presuming that we have something to do with socks on a semi-regular basis.  These are things that make no sense to those who do not reside within your head.  It is something that you have dubbed "sock moment" in your personal catalog.  Now, what exactly does that tell you?  It has something to do with socks, which are kind of silly looking things no matter how marvelous they are, and you have attributed a happening to socks.  Thank-you.

It is marvelously unclear what you're talking about.  "Sock moment" puts me in mind of "the sock gap" from Coupling and Original Dessie's Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

It is some small thing that takes over, is strangely true and hidden and blurs lines.  It confuses.

Socks also muffle.  Have you ever felt that your brain was addled by socks?  Besieged?  Tackled?  Strangled?  That would be a sock moment.

This is the end of my public service announcement.  Thank-you for your time.

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