every time i see a militant vegan post comparing the struggles of Actual People to those of animals i get the strongest urge to go back to my second favorite url of all time
"how did i successfully write sex scenes in the past?"
*puts on science goggles*
*rereads old fic*
"ah….i see……i didn’t."
stop telling fat people that they shouldn’t call themselves fat
stop telling us that “fat” is a bad word
stop telling us that our state of being is a fucking insult
and can you please stop telling me i’m not fat?
The issue is that people are mocking the idea of girls/women/fic writers-at-large writing themselves into fic because it is, to them, an inherently funny idea that they should want to imagine themselves in romantic or sexual scenarios and/or because they see it as a sign of automatically bad writing (note that this almost only ever is applied to self-insert characters by women or girls, where Stan Lee, Dan Brown, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, White Male Writers In General can write the same male-power fantasy over and over and it’s considered ~empathetic narration~ or whatever). The problem isn’t really that people are noticing that it’s self-insert, but that the surface facts of that are what they a) notice and b) automatically see as mockworthy.
On one level, that annoys me because I DON’T think that it’s inherently mockworthy for girls/women/nonbinary people to write themselves into exploratory sexual fantasy, and that’s one of the aspects of fanfiction that is most maligned by the “outside world” and the one aspect that I think is actually the most salient and important part of fanfiction/fandom as a subculture. It’s not one that I personally take part in as a writer because I just don’t have those feelings about the people/characters I write and that I don’t participate in as a reader because it feels too much like reading someone’s diary for my taste, but I think that self-insert fic is really important and really valid, even if I haven’t ever read one that I thought was like… actually serviceable writing. The writing of them isn’t the point; the experience of the author while writing it is the point, and to that end, like, more power to anyone who wants to Mary Sue a fic. Genuinely. Anyone who is shitting on After just because it’s a self-insert One Direction het fic can go stick a fork in their eyeballs because they are disrespecting one of the only cultural outlets that young women have for self-centered pro-female kink-positive anti-abuse anti-misogyny non-threatening sexual exploration and gratification.
BUT. If they, you, we, whoever, is criticizing After for NOT FULFILLING THAT — being pro-female, anti-abuse, non-threatening, and kink-positive, I mean, which is what good fic and a good fanfiction community should strive to be — then that is Very Important. Because I feel like the continued veneration of these horrifically abusive, woman-negative, heteronormative, kink-negative fics by the mainstream world is really telling in a really negative way and it’s setting up fandom and the fanfiction community a) as something that it is not, and b) for something that it does not want. I already have a Lot Of Reservations about publishing paying attention to the fic world at all, because I think introducing the idea of monetary compensation or “traditional success” into a self-modulating gift economy is already gross and problematic, but I think that SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE the most frequently “rewarded” fics perpetuate these abusive, hetero-focused, and frankly badly researched kink-negative ideals, the publishing world’s interest in fanfiction is downright malicious.
Because if the new business model for fandom, for young women and teenage girls and women and related audiences, is “this heinously abusive self-insert story has 55 million [dubious] hits, let’s produce it,” then the business model becomes “this plotline is what this target demo wants,” and the idea of abuse normalizes. More than it already has for this audience, which like, IDK how much paranormal romance you read in the YA section, but it’s pretty ubiquitous already. And if the business model becomes making money off of abuse of women, then the abuse of women has become a commodity. And when it is a commodity, it is something that people strive to own. It becomes a marker of success to be an abuser of women or to be abused. And that is so, so not okay.
lmao yeah i did. just for a start, his treatment of alaska harmed me. if you haven’t heard other people talk about being hurt by his books or presence, maybe you a) aren’t listening b) aren’t looking for it c) make people feel unsafe about speaking negatively about him and his works in your presence.
just some thoughts.
his books and dialogues have harmed people and excluded people and made other people feel terrible. those people are allowed to be angry and you don’t get to tell them how to process that anger.
it’s great he’s helped some people. that doesn’t excuse him from harming others.
i call out nick for shit he’s done too lmao thats the entire thing about being a Critical Fan. you don’t have to like everyone but you do have to acknowledge shitty harmful things people do.
instead of getting your goddamn feelings hurt about someone pointing out shit about your fav, encourage them to do better or at least shut your fucking mouth when other people try to do some fucking good.
it’s that goddamn easy.