kiki_eng: striped mug held by a woman wearing a sleeveless top (Hawaii Five-0) (mug held by Kono)
[personal profile] kiki_eng
[personal profile] calvinahobbes prompted me with this after I'd put people talking to me about femslashy things on my wishlist for [community profile] snowflake_challenge. February is coming, which means that, as I have for the last six years, the only fanworks that I'll be consuming or creating are female-centric ones, and since I'm a shipper there's a lot of femslash in that - Femslash February.

I tend to read more slash than anything else during the rest of the year. I like reading a lot of variations of the same story told over, and over. There's more slash so there are more variations available to me there and the size of slash fandom makes it easier to find works. I have deep roots there and I realised back in 2010 that it was really easy for me to read slash, but that I wanted to read more stories about women. Cutting male-centric fanworks out of my life completely was the easiest way, for me, to make sure that I consume fanworks about women. So, I sort of live in my own self-created fannish lesbian utopia for a month. Since I've started doing that the amount of fanworks I read about women has gone up in the other months, too; it's been a success for me, and I've made some really cool discoveries because of it. It's led me to all kinds of canons and there are all kinds of awesome femslash fanworks.

I need stories about women in my life. I need stories about queer women in my life. I am a woman, and I am queer. Those stories can be like water. Sometimes I'll run into a queer woman who will say something like, "It's a piece of shit, but it's got lesbians in it, so I'll be watching it." ...and, oh man. There's a Star Wars gif going around tumblr of Rey abruptly stopping when a ship is blown up in front of her, saying "the garbage will do" and abruptly turning and heading toward the Millenium Falcon; it's captioned with something like "when you have read all the good fic about your OTP." ...and that's it, it's that feeling, only I feel like very few of us have ever gotten used to consistently good content, we just want to see queer ladies represented and we don't have a whole lot of choices. I have watched some terrible, terrible media because of this.

Representation is so important. There's a quote by José Esteban Muñoz: "Heteronormative culture makes queers think that both past and future do not belong to them. All we are allowed to imagine is barely surviving in the present.” Stories are how we tell each other about our past and our future. Erasing queers from histories, from stories, can make it feel like we're not supposed to be here at all.

There's a quote from Junot Díaz: "You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?" And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”

Stuff like that is why I love [tumblr.com profile] medievalpoc and I am so excited that Lumberjanes is a thing that exists now. Can you imagine being a queer kid and reading that when you're young, growing up having that?

My memories of seeing queers in media when I was younger are so few. I remember Lost and Delirious, which was transfixing and gut-wrenching. The First Wives Club has a minor character that's queer, and she's pretty great, actually, but her queerness is a weapon that she wields at her father, a fuck you, and she is nervous about telling people she is queer; it's written from a different place and a different time than Lumberjanes is. I was still pretty young when Brokeback Mountain came out and that was - I know people loved it and watching it was a good experience for me because it was such a popular film and I got to see how people around me felt about gays and the people closest to me were fine - I hated that film. It's so fucking miserable; it rains and there's sheep and shame and such enormous closets and it felt like the film was saying "being gay is awful and you should feel sorry for the people who are gay". There was also Will & Grace, which I liked, but I don't think I really connected with it in terms of queerness - it's such a sitcom and I don't think I really related to any of the characters, except maybe Karen with her aha! screw it! kind of attitude. ...and then there was what, Ally McBeal(?) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cowboy dancing around in a tutu in the wee hours on CBC one night, and Coupling's running gag that Jane's just pretending to be a bisexual.

Representation matters. The stories we tell matter. There's a Neil Gaiman quote: "[...] the magic of escapist fiction … is that it can actually offer you a genuine escape from a bad place and, in the process of escaping, it can furnish you with armor, with knowledge, with weapons, with tools you can take back into your life to help make it better… It’s a real escape — and when you come back, you come back better-armed than when you left."

I think that when we tell stories about women we can get a better handle on what being a woman means. Stories promote empathy; they can act as a tool for fighting -isms because of that. They can teach us so many different things - to be kind to strangers, not to put up with people's crap, how to clean walls, how to flirt, and so on. I think that, as a queer woman, reading stories about queer women - femslash - can help solidify that identity. It can show you a lot of different paths. Stories do so much.

So, some recs. This is a much quicker and dirtier rec list than I would have liked to make, but this entry did not feel complete without trying to showcase some of the amazing femslash that fandom puts out, and, as it's been a weekend for me, I'm kind of doing a race against time on this.

(ETA: Screw it. I'm editing shit in. Your clocks mean nothing to me.)

What This Means by [archiveofourown.org profile] elevenoclock
Bend It Like Beckham | Jess/Jules | PG | 1,462 words
Summary: It turns out that the middle of the emergency room at six o'clock in the morning is probably not the best place to have a life-changing revelation.

This story is a beautiful tiny little punch of feelings.


i see the girls are out, a lot of freaks in the house by [livejournal.com profile] gonnafeelgood
Bandom | Lyn-Z | R | 8,200 words
Lyn-z loves everything about college. Before she moved out west, she’d always kind of felt like an alien. An alien trapped in New Jersey.

This story, wow. I think it's one of the first bandom fics that I fell in love with because it felt so very real to me. Bandom does that sometimes; it has these moments where it's so grounded in reality, some mundane truth and it just turns the entire thing into something magical. It's been a while since I've read this particular story but I remember it as something as a revelation. When I went to tag the pairings I was like there were ships and the relationships were really important, but I think this is gen? It's bi-gen? It's more about Lyn-Z than a particular ship.


this tightrope's made for walkin' by [archiveofourown.org profile] irishmizzy
Pitch Perfect | Beca/Chloe | PG-13 | 6,081 words
Summary: Beca does this all the time, cuts and runs before things even get a chance to be something. She’s getting sick of it.

This is such a necessary ship. The characterisation is really great in this and there are some excellent funny moments. I'm really a fan of just how realistic a depiction this feels of how this would actually go down - Jesse and Beca breaking up and her starting something with Chloe. It feels right.


Rumor Has It by [archiveofourown.org profile] gyzym
Glee | Santana | R | 8,351 words
Summary: In which Santana Lopez learns the hard way that a life can never be ruined, only lived, and lived, and lived.

This is gorgeous.


The Loneliness and the Scream by [archiveofourown.org profile] growlery
Merlin | Elena/Mithian | PG-13 | 8,447 words
Summary: After Elena's father forbids her from joining any sports teams, she decides the next best thing she can do is join the cheerleading squad. Much to her surprise, it's a challenge and she really enjoys it, even if she is the clumsiest one on the team. Cue self-exploration! Growing as a cheerleader, becoming more accepted by the team, making friendships and fumbling through high school politics.

Merlin's femslash fandom is a really rich place, and this is some excellent high school fluff. Teenagers fumbling their way on. Adorable.


Deductive Reasoning Scenarios by [archiveofourown.org profile] eruthros
Elementary | Joan/Ms. Hudson | NC-17 | 3,234 words
"Sherlock asked me to set up some deductive reasoning scenarios this week. I set up some problems - how has the room changed and what can be deduced from those changes, how does décor reflect personality, that sort of thing."
"He did. Of course he did." Joan presses her fingers to her forehead. "Have you been here long?"


I really like how Joan and Ms. Hudson talk to each other in this, and how there's this spark they follow through on. It's them having coffee together, and then sex - so there's some really basic appeal in that. The whole thing together is this great little tiny slice.


Don't Wanna Dance by [personal profile] anoel
Grey's Anatomy | Meredith/Cristina | PG | 3:16
Song: "Don't Wanna Dance" by MØ (Titus Jones Remix)
Summary: I don't wanna dance with nobody but you.

This captures them perfectly. It is the depth of their relationship and everything that they are to each other.


Boom Boom Ba by [livejournal.com profile] charmax
Xena: Warrior Princess | Xena/Gabrielle | PG-13 | 3:49
Song: "Boom Boom Ba" by Metisse
Summary: This video focuses on the sensual aspects of the show Xena and the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. This was made originally in Oct 04 for a theme challenge and the theme was “lust”. This vid plays heavily on the lust, the swaying bodies and the subtext text.

Classic.


(ETA2: ...and done. Recs now slightly less awful. Success. Sleep.)

These stories are all some of my favourites period, and some of them mean so much to me. Feel free to ask me to talk about any of them in the comments or share some of your own favourites.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-25 04:31 pm (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
I just don't understand how you pull of these huge thinky posts with recs galore. I am... totally in awe.

I'm sure I've talked about it before, the extent to which role-playing as and identifying with Will&Grace as a grade schooler allowed me to slip sort of sideways under the wire into a place where I could be comfortable with a lot of different types of queerness, which again led me (along with the support of online friends) to not backing away when encountering slash and... Well, it's a whole big thing. But Will & Grace has such a huge place in my heart (and I was in many ways a very silly kid). I was just about to round 20 when Brokeback happened, I think, and it's weird because it is exactly as you say it is, and yet I loved it exactly because on some weird level I really relate to that environment and that pathological reticence in Ennis that seem to not be par for the course in all other places. I think maybe because my childhood was in other ways incredibly sad and grief-stricken I just really relate to that inability to deal with emotions. But yeah, it's a horrible gay tragedy, and it's totally all about how the only sympathetic queer is a dead queer in mainstream society, so I agree with you, I am just amused at how on-the-nose your description was.

As someone who has decided to let go of my intention to only read women authors, which has lead directly into a situation where I am simultaneously reading three books by and about white dudes, I am considering joining in in your February resolution...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-25 06:53 pm (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
Oh I guess RP has this specific fannish connotation but in this context I guess it just means "playing"? We were older kids and we spent a lot of time relating to each other by quoting things we had seen and taking on the roles of the characters interchangeably or emphasising how we ourselves were like those characters. In hind sight it must have been beyond imcomorehensible to people around us.

I don't think I've heard of "Fire" before! I would be totally up for a film club thingy (and it wouldn't have to contain that). Like maybe one movie a week for February? Or something less or more demanding?

I consume so few fanworks except through the unmitigated trash disposal system that is tumblr, so I feel like I would have to up the ante a bit, but it might be interesting to see how much male-centered fannish content I could avoid... :D

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-25 08:57 pm (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
playing apartment instead of house and straight-and-gay-roommates instead of husband-and-wife
Well. That's actually exactly it, isn't it? I honestly had never framed it exactly like that before...

Fire sounds like something I wouldn't normally come across, so if we can get it, I'd be up for it.

I would actually maybe like to rewatch The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls In Love, if we're doing that whole return to our roots thing. And then maybe something more modern? Or something classic that we haven't seen? Fried Green Tomatoes? The Color Purple? Carol? Something not Hollywood?

Ooh, I'm not sure I can quit my dash cold turkey *ponders*

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-03 06:14 am (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
Kiki, I don't know! It is a glut of choices. There is also Cloudburst, which I don't remember if you have seen?

But if we each take a pick to start with, we can mull the last two movies over a little?

You go first! What do you want us to watch?

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-03 05:15 pm (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
Yes! And I'm so glad you made that whole list and I don't I knew any of the titles and I didn't mean to imply I was annoyed with your list-making? <3

Okay, so Fried Green Tomatoes it is?! And we have the rest of the week to watch it and think about the next one :) I'm so glad we're doing this!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-01-27 04:13 am (UTC)
akamine_chan: (Alicia Way - Blue and hot)
From: [personal profile] akamine_chan
I remember seeing MuLan in the theater, and leaving after the movie was over, and being absolutely infuriated.

My bf at the time was baffled - he was like "This movie had a strong leading female Asian character, something you've been complaining about the lack of for years. Why are you mad?"

And I was "I'm almost 30, I really could have used this movie when I was a kid."

Representation is so HUGELY important; people who don't agree are usually the ones who are already well represented in media and culture.

Some bandom recs, including a bunch of self-recs.

Self-recs (many of these have podfics, as well):

Walk Away A Savior, Bandom, Lindsey/Jamia, ~800 words, superhero AU.

like a bad girl, Bandom/Comics RPF, Becky Cloonan/Jennifer "Kitty" Dunn, ~1100 words, Kitty and Becky meet at a party at Gerard and Lindsey's house.

reach for love, Bandom/Janelle Monae's Many Moons Video fusion, Cindi Mayweather/Alicia Way, ~900 words, apocalyptic cyberpunk AU.

I like my girl like my women, Bandom, Lindsey/Jamia, ~1000 words, tour shenanigans

cut up angels, Bandom, Vicky-T/Greta, ~800 words, apocalyptic cyberpunk AU.

Sass, Bandom, Lindsey/Jamia,~900 words, werewolves!

mess me up beyond all recognition, Bandom, Lindsey/Chantal, ~1300 words, more tour shenanigans.

My favorites:

Bury This Town by [archiveofourown.org profile] crossiantkatie, Bandom, Vicky-T/Greta, ~1100 words, magical realism AU

Anticipating Your Next Move by [archiveofourown.org profile] fleurdeliser and [archiveofourown.org profile] tuesdaysgone, Bandom/Comics RPF, Lindsey/Becky, ~13k, Lindsey and Becky play chess and get to know each other.

Went Out Looking For a Rainbow by [archiveofourown.org profile] fleurdeliser and [archiveofourown.org profile] tuesdaysgone, Bandom, Lindsey/Jamia, ~13k, the ladies take a road trip.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-10 09:12 pm (UTC)
lucifuge5: (America Chavez rocking the red hoodie)
From: [personal profile] lucifuge5
[..]it's captioned with something like "when you have read all the good fic about your OTP." ...and that's it, it's that feeling, only I feel like very few of us have ever gotten used to consistently good content, we just want to see queer ladies represented and we don't have a whole lot of choices. I have watched some terrible, terrible media because of this.

I'm agreestamping all over this with such force that I might break my keyboard. IJS.

Gods, I was a kid in the 80s and I can honestly say that I don't recall seeing ANY representation of female queerness. There were many rumours and innuendo but nothing that I could say "oh, hey, that woman has the same feelings I do or, at the very least, similar ones!"

IIRC, I didn't notice anything until that glorious period between 1994 and 1998 where a lot of my (formative) queer women films were released: Go Fish, Gia, All Over Me, Fire, Bound, Foxfire, etc. This was also the period where shows like La Femme Nikita and Xena showcased female queerness on TV (the latter eventually turning it into maintext, the former leaving it way more vague than it needed it to be).

Bookwise, however, there were a lot of real life accounts of queer women thanks to writers such as Lillian Faderman--who began publishing books in 1990/1991.

My fic-reading habits were 100% about femslash. I'd read pretty much anything as long it had two women as the main couple. By 2009, however, I was reading about 80% M/M and splitting the remaining 10% between F/F, het, and gen.

Nowadays, I am reading even less F/F (whether profic or fic) even though there is so much more available. I'm not quite sure why that is so I don't know how to feel about that. As a queer woman, part of me is like "Luce, you ship F/F like whoa whenever you consume media. You champion femslash pairings to people who aren't even IN Fandom so why don't you want to read about it?" and the other part is super ashamed that I don't find F/F as enticing to read as I do M/M.

FTR, I do have about 5 or so F/F YA books in my TBR pile but I'm not in a rush to get to them.

TL;DR: I've got complicated feelings about F/F all over the place and it messes me up. The fact that I'm queer myself just adds more fuel to the fire. /o\

ETA: I wasn't a fan of Will & Grace due to my general dislike for TV comedy shows. Lost and Delirious was amazing and so fracking angsty that I almost couldn't deal with watching it more than once.

Fun fact: I saw Brokeback Mountain on a blind date with a woman and we were the only women in the audience filled with gay men. Neither of us had any idea that the movie was going to be so terribly sad. Like, to the point that we went our separate ways shortly after leaving the theater and never talked to each other again.

At that time, I respected the film's narrative but looking back I've grown to resent it. Mostly because I'm tired of the "if you're not straight, then your life will be tragic" notion.
Edited (Forgot to add something.) Date: 2016-02-10 09:22 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-16 10:03 pm (UTC)
lucifuge5: (America Chavez rocking the red hoodie)
From: [personal profile] lucifuge5
Oh, yeah, lesbian pulps were pretty terrible for the most part. (Mind you, gay pulps were equally as bad). The lesbian was always predatory and there only to mess up the "good" straight girls by trying to woo them away from their dudes.

Off the top of my head, I'd say that the only books from that era that had positive lesbian/queer (no one was labeled bisexual) F/F relationships are the first two books in the Beebo Brinker Chronicles (Odd Girl Out and I Am Woman). The rest of the series went into a WTF!spiral that I can't even begin to explain. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (which is the novel the movie Carol is based on) also had a surprising lack of negative portrayals of lesbians.

Sometimes when I've seen people talking about not reading about women they've linked it to escapism and that one of the ways for a character to escape from a lot of the whole systemic anti-women thing is to be a man, which is.... maybe true but also /o\. I do think there is also a thing where most of us are trained to have some white dude as our default character and so that can be very familiar. IDK.

Huh, I can see that. For me it's just a shocking lack of interest on reading F/F (which is something I'm trying to correct because that's ten kinds of messed up, you know?)

Perhaps is the fact that I'm older or that I've been in Fandom for a long time, but I've noticed a very marked dislike for a lot of media that only has white dudes as the main character. I don't understand why in 2016 the majority of the stuff that's marketed for media consumption doesn't have POCs or non-straight people ASIDE from gay males. Personally, I don't have time for that kind of bullshit. It puts me at odds with some aspects of Bandom and lot of MCU. Baby steps, I guess.

Regarding the Brokeback Mountain thing, I don't think neither the other woman nor myself had ANY idea that the movie was going to be such a downer. All we know was that there was an LGTB+ relationship at the center of it and that was enough to entice us to the movies. *facepalms*

*nods* I am all about the fluffy ridiculous happy queer things.

I think that one of the things I'm most interested in nowadays are established couples. Seeing queer peeps deal with the ups and down of life after being together for a number of years is, like, one of my kryptonites. LOL!
Edited (Forgot something.) Date: 2016-02-16 10:05 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-02-17 05:11 am (UTC)
lucifuge5: (Xena/Gabrielle kissage)
From: [personal profile] lucifuge5
YW!

I don't think I'eve ever heard of Cloudburst before today. /o\

There are only two movies I can think of regarding F/F in an established relationship. One is Freeheld (with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as the couple)--which is a REALLY depressive movie.

The other one is The Kids Are Alright (with Annette Benning and Julianne Moore as the couple. It also features Mark Ruffalo). This one started v. interesting and cozy and then it veered off course and made me almost walk out of the movie in a rage.

My yearning for actually HAPPY movies featuring F/F in established relationships is exactly what you mention in your comment: coming out stories are great, but I'm fairly sure I've seen about 3546832465135468 movies about coming out. I want something else aside from that storyline. As much as I like first time plots, I want something that reflects two women in a couple who have been together for a while and it must also have a HEA. Like, how freaking hard is that to make? >:(

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-02 08:52 pm (UTC)
wenchpixie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wenchpixie
via 2017 snowflake.

This is really interesting - and somewhere I'm coming to myself, a bit I think. I consume far more female-centric content from mainstream media now than I used to, and it's great, but my fannish consumption is still conspicuously male... I like the idea of a set period to consume nothing but female-centric, to try and open up my sources and searches a bit.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-04 08:46 pm (UTC)
tamsin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tamsin
here via the snowflake challenge

I hear you about needing to see yourself in queer women in media. Especially queer women who get a happy ending, that's still too damn rare.

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