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Anna cusses out Ms. Magazine.

Rapist comes into court laughing, leaves crying.

From Nijireiki: Yay, plus-size women featured in Glamour!

A bit on that Wincon issue and fandom fail.

Also from Nijireiki: Givenchy uses transmodels to mess around with gender. This is not nearly as fail as Latina’s take on trans-ness and confidence.

ALSO from Nijireiki: Glamour and Men’s Health want to ruin your sexy times with loogies, weird euphemisms, and asparagus.

Guaranteeing EVERYONE safe and healthy food. Also:  a healthy corner store initiative.

:head tilt: Oh, Henry Louis Gates. Why are you so wrong about history?

Here’s a factsheet on domestic violence.

TheFrisky reflects on empowerment.

Illegal Army spouses told to wait til the language of the law changes. Is immigration a women’s issue? Why yes, I’m gonna say so. From another article:

Just two years ago Juana Villegas was arrested for a routine traffic violation in Nashville after leaving a clinic for a pre-natal visit and detained when she was unable to produce a license. Despite the fact that driving without a license is a misdemeanor in Tennessee that generally leads to a citation, Ms. Villegas was taken into custody due to suspicions about her immigration status. Ms. Villegas was jailed for six days, during which time she gave birth to a little boy while shackled to a bed under the watchful eye of the sheriff’s officer. Barred from speaking to her husband, her baby was taken from her upon birth, leading to a number of health repercussions for both mother and baby. Local police stood by their actions, calling Nashville “a friendly and open city to our new legal residents.” In a chilling display of Nashville’s “friendliness,” local police also confiscated Villegas’ breast pump.

Diane Gabaldon has lost her damn mind over fanfic. Hilarious summary 1. Annnnnnnd hilarious summary 2. Jim Butcher tells everyone to calm the fuck down.

This just in: Sarah Palin’s a hypocrite. The NDNZ comm at LJ reacts.

Raeka sent in this link, and suggests checking out its comments for some good old WTF-ery about rape and victim-blaming.

Guess what? Many frat boys do NOT think attending a party is a free pass for rape!

When the heck did the police get so anti-condom?

Lena Horne died this week.

Skinny jeans are an adequate protection against rape. You must’ve consented, skank!

Oh noeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz a single lady in power! Elena Kagan is getting quizzed about her personal life.

Talking about the fashion of being racist. OH WAIT IT’S HARD OUT THERE FOR WHITEY, I forgot about how tough it is to be in elementary school, NOT JOIN A CLUB, then not get to go on the CLUB FIELD TRIP. Don’t read the comments, they’ll make your BRAINS FALL OUT.

BTW We are losing the battle against AIDS.

Warren Ellis says it’s okay to talk about race and gender in his space, as long as there’s no whining.

Comments

  1. Robin says

    I haven’t read any of Gabaldon’s books, but uh… WTF, lady? Haven’t you heard? The internet is for porn. People have been writing porny fanfic about every popular franchise/series/thingy for years now. And non-porny fanfic, for that matter. It’s the audience’s way of participating more actively in the worlds we enjoy. If people enjoy the world you’ve created to that degree, please don’t bitch them out or compare them to someone raping your kid. Hell, you could even go so far as Joss Whedon and embrace the fact that other people love your characters as much as you do. ::sigh:: I loved Jim Butcher before, but his revised policy is truly awesome.

  2. Julie says

    I’d like to point out that Galbadon *did* revise her opinion in a second post (linked to on the Wank, but I’m not sure: I went through several links connected with this a few days ago).

    As the sole creator of her characters, I think Galbadon-or any other writer-has the right to give *and have* their own opinion on the use of their characters by anyone else. Nor is she required to *embrace* fandom or its writers. I don’t think not liking fanfic=hating fans, either. The one does not follow the other.

    Is your stance on this pro-writer vs fanfic writer issue one in which all pro writers have to lie back and think of England? Or is it specifically for writers who have expressed their distaste for others using their characters in situations they could not see them in?

    Fandom *can* be a truly off-the-wall space where emotionalism reigns supreme and irrationality plays king of the mountain. Reading many of the responses to Galbadon’s original post, and then her second post, comfirms that to me.

  3. says

    Nah, Diane Gabaldon is simply uninformed and wrong, like so many other writers. As a kind, I took my playmobil dolls and played with them in the Star Wars universe, for example. I never wrote fan fiction, per se, but I did write short stories that were still clearly inspired by my literary heroes of that time. And yes, I fantasized about getting some hottie out of a book or a movie.

    It’s just what people do. And with the internet, people can tell each other these ideas, people can write them down for anyone to read.

    As a published writer, I would be overjoyed if people liked my creations so much they wanted to spend more time with them or in that universe. And no matter whether I think my dark urban sorcerer would never fall in love with his demanding male boss – it’s a fictional character, so he won’t get hurt, and I can still do with that character whatever I want.

    I see the point if people try to make money off of their fan fiction – which they never do. Or maybe someone attempted that. But if you want to write slash fiction about my stories, or put yourself (or another character) into that world just for fun – heck yeah! It means that 1) you liked my stuff a lot and 2) other people will hear about my stuff and talk about my stuff and maybe even buy my stuff. Go for it!

  4. says

    There’s one thing that I don’t agree with at the harvard/racism post:

    It’s disappointing that so many people think it’s possible that something as basic as human intellectual capacity can be influenced by something as fleeting as skin color.

    It’s not about causality, it’s about correlation. And in fact, I *do* believe that is a legitimate question to ask, just as you can study intelligence and gender. We had human populations that evolved fairly seperated for a sufficiently long timespan to see slight variations in common traits. Of course, even if black people turned out to be less intelligent, but faster runners, that difference would likely be one of the smaller influencing factors, with education and socioeconomic background much more important.

    So, I think it is a legitimate question to ask and to study. I just don’t think that’s the pressing thing to study, there are far more viable and lucrative areas of study, and someone asking these questions would be suspect regarding their motivations. And, of course, asking this question begs the question whether we already have a universal understanding of intelligence and a like method of measuring it, which we don’t. Not only is there the concept of different types of intelligence, I believe that most (if not all) intelligence tests also skew towards testing education instead, or being influenced by education – where, of course, non-whites (perhaps aside from Asians, I don’t know enough about that) are underprivileged again. How would you control for that effect?

    So it may even be a pointless question to ask right now. Still legitimate, though.

  5. says

    Re: the whole fanfic thing, George R.R. Martin (an author I am fond of) gives some interesting input on it on his own blog:

    Here

    The 2 posts after that one also deal with it.

    As a writer and enjoyer of fanfic myself, I still have to admit I can see the point of authors like Martin and Gabaldon. Martin, especially, takes care to point out some of the legal ramifications that I was not aware of. Part of the issue may be copyright law precedents that screw over authors and fanfic writers alike.

  6. Charles RB says

    The Wincon thing is bewildering, since I found via the mess of links an LJ that pointed out the guilty parties boasted about drunken parties, dirty costumes and antics, being or breaking the con rules etc. They don’t think from that “it’s possible we might’ve unnerved someone, at least”?

  7. says

    Your link to the NDNZ comm on LJ goes to a locked post.
    Thank you for linking my post on Ms! I did cuss them out! And they… never responded to my email. I wish I could say I was surprised. If that changes, I’ll let people know.

  8. Maria says

    Thanks! I am kinda over MS. They actually started a new blog project, and from what I can tell it’s an intersectional fail.

  9. says

    I call bullshit on George Martin. I mean, I’m sure he’s not lying, but he’s making bad arguments nonetheless. The comparison between Tarzan and Cthulhu is very lopsided, as if the difference between copyright and shared world was the only difference between the two, as if all beloved copywritten authors died millionaires and all shared worlds were doomed to poverty, as if a “shared world” was the same as allowing fan fiction on the net, as if that wasn’t decades ago.

    And I am not a copyright lawyer, but from what I remember from my role-playing days with D&D, copyright need not be defended against non-commercial “fan” works. And even so, I could write a story in Martin’s universe, make the hero not the Kingslayer who lost his right hand, but the Crownkiller who lost his left hand and things get very iffy. Plus, I’m convinced that nowadays it’s the economically smart decision.

    Sad to see one of my favorite authors “not getting it” (from my perspective), but I can empathize. I just think he’s wrong.

  10. says

    And, of course, asking this question begs the question whether we already have a universal understanding of intelligence and a like method of measuring it, which we don’t.

    Actually, I think this is such a crucial issue that it DOES betray the legitimacy of such a question: because who defined intelligence as we defined it now? White folks! The British, specifically, had a lot to do with that, and we all know what they thought about the African intellect at that time. So are we far enough away from this cultural poison to fairly evaluate the intelligence of different groups that have clashed culturally in various contexts for centuries? Not really. We’re still learning the brain’s physiology. So, yes, the question is legit – but we don’t have the tools to answer it, so it’s irresponsible and logically unsound to attempt it.

    I agree that writers have the right not to love fan fiction. Personally, if I were published and someone wanted to slash a couple of my characters together, I’d be glad they enjoyed it that much. But if they wanted to turn one of my female characters into a simpering doormat with a crush on someone she has no business being with, I’d probably go so far as to criticize it publicly.

  11. Charles RB says

    A guy I know says that if he’s ever a published author, he will write bad pornfic of his own story and put it online under a fake name.

  12. Julie says

    The Other Patrick: did you read the posts Martin put up there after that first one?

    You can’t call “BULLSHIT! and Wrong!” to an author’s feelings about their work. It minimizes their creativity, fortitude, and determination to get that work published–the very works fanatics (let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?)want to borrow for playtime.

    Simply put, if an author doesn’t want fanatics of their works to play with it and put their derivative works up on the internet, then that’s what the fans should listen to-the author’s wishes. If the author wants to take a possible hit to the Goodwill of some of their readers and their own bank accounts, it’s up to them.

  13. says

    Re: fanfic. I’d like to insert some food for thought. Every discussion of authors and fanfic that I’ve ever read positions authors as the privileged group in the relationship, and I find that problematic.

    With a few well-known exceptions that most people assume are typical, writers are paid less than people who work at McDonald’s because linguistic-related work is not valued as highly as math/science-related work. Perhaps it’s Jane Austin’s fault: once people learn that a Womenz can do a job, it tends to plummet in value, you know. Writers are typically the worst-paid group to work in movies, for example, and people can’t understand why I let some nasty bigots chase me out. Maybe it was also because I could earn more as an low-level clerical worker, you know?

    Meanwhile, the fans have no responsibility whatsoever and the USSC ruled long ago they could do whatever they liked with someone else’s creative work, so long as they don’t make money from it. Who’s got the privilege here, again? The person who’s almost eking out a living on something they probably worked hard to create and has loads of pressure and responsibility, or the person making no money but enjoying no responsibility and no pressure and working with ready-made material?

    Just something to consider here.

  14. says

    Re: the crying rapist. OMG, he’s already serving 15 to life for another rape? The entitlement levels here are toxic. And he wants to work with kids. Oh, that reminds me, there’s a new allegation about Polanski I need to write up.

  15. Charles RB says

    I don’t know if he actually does want to work with kids or if he’s just saying that in the hope it’ll get him sympathy & time off. (If the latter, whoops!)

  16. says

    Julie, I’m not calling his feelings bullshit and wrong, but his opinions. His feelings are valid, but in my opinion they lead to bad reasoning.

    Jennifer: Making a living as a writer is *hard*. Really hard. I know, I failed :) But I wonder what the negative consequences of fan fictions are supposed to be. What’s the harm?

  17. jennygadget says

    “Re: fanfic. I’d like to insert some food for thought. Every discussion of authors and fanfic that I’ve ever read positions authors as the privileged group in the relationship, and I find that problematic.”

    Well, except that, as Cat Valente points out, the authors that decry fanfiction tend to actually BE speaking from a position of privilege.

    (granted, this may have to do with the ones who dare to speak out tending to be in a safe position to do so, but…my impression is not so much. Esp as the most privileged in this discussion are the companies – who seem to have a harder time seeing the practical side of fanfic that their many mid-list authors see. but…I admittedly may also be biased bc the published authors I’ve met/talked to/adore are all ok with at least a certain amount of fanfic.)

    ****

    Personally, I think it’s at the very least not terribly classy to write share fanfic of any kind when you know the author clearly doesn’t like it,* but then most fanfic writers and fellow readers I know would agree with that statement, and act accordingly. Which is part of why the shit is hitting the fan with regard to Ms. Gabaldon – she couldn’t leave it at just her wishes. Or even a calmly stated opinion on fanfic in general.

    Nooooo….she decided that she was going to compare fanfiction to stalking. And white slavery. And so forth.

    Which…just…I have no words for.

    Except that, if one is going to publicly compare coming across fanfic of one’s work to such acts, one might want to think twice about publicly admitting to sending copies of your book to the actor who was a big inspiration for your own male lead – a character who spends the better part of the last quarter of the book being beaten, raped, and nearly killed.

    I mean, really.

    I followed that first link and then the next and the one after that and so on and so forth and pretty much spent the last few hours laughing hysterically bc OMG! the level of hypocrisy.

    I mean, look, I totally get the ick factor when it comes to some fanfic, but….really She is SO not one to talk. And I say this as someone who owns her last three books in hardcover. I have no problems respecting her desire that ppl not write about her characters, no matter what she writes about them herself. But don’t be all “ew! fanfic!” when your own books include eroticized non-con spanking** and the climax of your first book reads much like hurt/comfort pornfic.

    *as long as it’s an individual author; I think it’s more complicated when it’s a collaborative work owned by a company, as it’s difficult to determine the feelings of each creative individual that contributed. In those cases I tend to default to my own feelings on fanfic, which is that it’s generally a healthy form of creativity and discussion, as long as it’s not for profit.

    **sadly, this is not an argument one could make to her, as I suspect she would be all “eroticized?! ew! that’s all you!” but um, no.

  18. Marina says

    BTW, Nick Mamatas has an excellent post here debunking the factual errors in Martin’s claims about Lovecraft.

    Also, no, the USSC has not “ruled long ago they could do whatever they liked with someone else’s creative work, so long as they don’t make money from it.” There has never been a court decision about fanfic, in the USSC or any other US court, and fair use is an extremely muddled and complicated legal issue. Not making money is neither necessary nor sufficient to prove fair use, though it often helps. And the average fanfic writer does not have the resources to fight a lawsuit for a highly uncertain outcome just to defend their right to post stories for free on the internet.

    • Maria says

      That was actually why I was hesitant to link to GRRM’s post — it didn’t seem like it was factually accurate. Plus, I think he should be working on A Song of Ice and Fire and not frikkin’ blogging!!

  19. Scarlett says

    I’ve always written fanfic for movies and TV shows; for some reason, books never interested me. Maybe it’s because, fairly or unfairly, I see a stronger sense of ownership between an author and their works and a TV/film character where it’s a collaboration between writers, producers and actors. I actually had the actress whose character I fanfic for contact me to tell me how much she enjoyed my work, which was quite a buzz. (And yes, I was able to verify that it was her.) If I DID write fanfic from books, I (like to) think I would take an author’s feelings on the matter into account; while I would be flattered that someone liked my work enough to fanfic it, I wouldn’t actually want to read it, and I can certainly understand how a writer would feel intellectually violated by it. (Slave labour and child-raping’s taking it a bit far, though…) So yeah – in the case of authors, I think their feelings ought to be taken into consideration, but film and television, just can’t see them having the same connection with their characters and scenarios as an author would.

  20. Julie says

    There was a brou-ha-ha about THAT issue, as well, Maria-you know of it? Some of his fans started vociferiously complaining about Martin’s involvement in other endeavors that didn’t include writing his book and finishing up his series. John Scalzi and other writers got involved in it, all basically telling the fans of Martins books (and their own, incidentally) that writers are people, too, and need to recharge their creative batteries, and to BUTT OUT of the creative process.

    Yet more Reader-Fanatic Privilege!

    (this comment was just-in-case no one else was aware of it!)

  21. Maria says

    I’d heard about it… and at first I agreed, particularly since I think all the breaks King took from the Tower series made the final product that much better. But! I started reading that series when I was, like, 8, and didn’t even KNOW what a muhfuh was, so reading the last book almost twenty years later wasn’t super serious. With this series? OMG I COULD BE OLD BY THE TIME IT’S DONE!!! Hurry the hell up! /tongue-in-cheekness

  22. Scarlett says

    Anyone read Louise Alcott’s ‘Jo’s Boys?’ There’s a section in it about fan’s of Jo’s book who are fanatical to the point of being abusive and harassing, like constantly writing letters (it’s set in the 1800’s, so no email) to write a sequal featuring them (the fan). It’s a fairly small side-plot in the book, but an interesting look at how fans can take their fandom to a point of fanatasism that they’re holdinbg the author’s peace of mind hostage. Gabaldon sounds like she’s taken the issue too far the other way, but I can’t blame her for wanting to keep control of her creations.*IF* I became a published author, I’d be pretty traumatised to see someone else’s interpretation of my work, too.

  23. jennygadget says

    “And the average fanfic writer does not have the resources to fight a lawsuit for a highly uncertain outcome just to defend their right to post stories for free on the internet.”

    The average author does not have the resources to sue for a highly uncertain outcome just to defend their right to make sure no one posts stories for free on the internet.

    “…while I would be flattered that someone liked my work enough to fanfic it, I wouldn’t actually want to read it…”

    Which is pretty much how most published authors I know of feel. Even the ones that write fanfic themselves.

    Also, yeah. Most of the fanfic I read is related to TV/movies. I think it’s for much the reasons we’ve been discussing, plus the fact that TV eps are by nature more episodic.

    re: fan entitlement, I think that it is/can be a serious issue. I just don’t see fanfiction as really being the best example of this problem. Yes, there is a huge amount of entitlement to be found in the idea that one has the right to create even non-profit derivative works of stuff that’s still in copyright. But, I happen to believe it’s entitlement that’s mostly rooted in the human need/desire to retell the stories we love best. It also requires a level of investment that you don’t get from engaging in mere speculation. If you are even remotely any good, it also often requires a whole new level of appreciation for the effort and talent of the original writer/creators.

    “*IF* I became a published author, I’d be pretty traumatised to see someone else’s interpretation of my work, too.”

    Ok, so, not that I don’t respect authors right to feel this way, but I have to admit to being as flummoxed by this kind of blanket statement as the regular commenters at Gabaldon’s blog seemed to be about the idea/nature of fanfic in general. I mean, sure, I can seen some fanfic skeeving me out and I can certainly see not wanting to read fanfic of my own work in the interests of time, taste, and legal self-preservation.

    otoh, the fandom I’ve gotten totally into this last year is Shadow Unit. Which is just all sorts of weird and crazy in terms of fan/creator interaction and openly acknowledging and paying homage to the other works form which SU is derived. I’m not saying that setting up interactive blogs written by one’s characters is something that every author should do, I’m just saying that that level of letting go of control can produce some really interesting results.

  24. says

    But I wonder what the negative consequences of fan fictions are supposed to be. What’s the harm?

    As I said earlier, if someone took a wonderful female character I wrote and turned her into a doormat with inappropriate crushes, I’d consider that harmful in the same way I consider bad media representation of women harmful. Granted, fanfic doesn’t have the force of “mainstream” behind it, but it can still influence people’s thinking.

    Jennygadget, the “white slavery” comment boggled me too, and I started to mention it.

    Marina, no, not directly, but there are cases on intellectual property which apply nonetheless. Specifically, I was on a GEnie board participating in a SW fanfic round-robin in 1993, when Lucas sent a C&D. The C&D was lifted when everybody’s lawyers got together and agreed that USSC rulings indicated: we could write the fanfic as long as we didn’t make money on it. Feist later clarified that only a modicum of original thought was required to make a work non-derivative. Of course, Lucas should be glad about that, since ANH really IS a shot-for-shot copy of The Hidden Fortress.

    The average author does not have the resources to sue for a highly uncertain outcome just to defend their right to make sure no one posts stories for free on the internet.

    Nor does she have the resources to defend herself when a fanfic author claims she stole his work. BUT my understanding of the 90s collection of rulings is that: while not making money off fanfic shields its authors from claims against them, the original ideas fanfic authors generate can be used by the actual copyholders without permission. As far as I can tell, however, that’s changed, and that’s very disturbing. It’s very common for people to come up with the same idea independently, especially playing in the same creative universe. That’s too much of a burden for authors to have to familiarize themselves with every fanfic based on their work and avoid anything that might resemble those stories in their future works.

    I think it’s for much the reasons we’ve been discussing, plus the fact that TV eps are by nature more episodic.

    I’ve only ever written fanfic for movies and TV for the same reason: a book represents one voice (theoretically, anyway) while TV and movies represent committees and what spreadsheets suggested would be required for ratings or ticket sales. It’s a much more clinical, formulaic process than novel writing.

  25. Marina says

    The average author does not have the resources to sue for a highly uncertain outcome just to defend their right to make sure no one posts stories for free on the internet.

    Nor does she have the resources to defend herself when a fanfic author claims she stole his work.

    No, but the average publisher does. Pro authors have a level of corporate backing behind them that fan writers lack.

    And really, all this paranoia about fans suing authors seems a bit ridiculous to me. It has never happened (there’s a fannish urban legend claiming that it happened to Marion Zimmer Bradley, but that’s not actually true), and demanding that all fanfic writers everywhere should stop writing on the off chance that one day one of them might sue is a bit much.

    And really, unless you’re JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, chances are no one’s writing much fic about your characters anyway. From what I’ve seen, 99% of the authors who rant loudest against fanfic have nothing to worry about.

  26. Patrick says

    Other Patrick: [i]But I wonder what the negative consequences of fan fictions are supposed to be. What’s the harm?[/i]

    There are authors who are upset about people writing fanfics of their work. That’s harm, right there.

    Different authors have different emotional reactions to fanfiction of their work. I’ve seen lots of people in this debate arguing that because [i]they[/i] would be flattered and pleased to see fanfiction made of their creations, the authors in question should be as well. I don’t see this as any different from men who argue that “I would be flattered to have women yelling out sexually suggestive things to me on the street, so you have no right to be upset when men do it.”

    Jennifer Kesler: [i]Of course, Lucas should be glad about that, since ANH really IS a shot-for-shot copy of The Hidden Fortress.[/i]

    This is hyperbole, right? Lucas freely acknowledges where ANH derives from AHF, but “shot-for-shot?”

    Also, a nitpicky nitpick: the Supreme Court of the United States is normally referred to by the acronym SCOTUS, not USSC. I had trouble figuring out what people were writing about.

  27. jennygadget says

    “the original ideas fanfic authors generate can be used by the actual copyholders without permission. As far as I can tell, however, that’s changed, and that’s very disturbing.”

    I’m not so sure it has changed though. I think it’s just that the lawyers always think everyone is going to sic other lawyers on them – and then everyone is all confuzzled by the Marion Zimmer Bradley story.

    “From what I’ve seen, 99% of the authors who rant loudest against fanfic have nothing to worry about.”

    Oh, god yes. (although, I think part of the issue with Gabaldon is that her “real literature” and romance fans and sensibilities are running smack into the very different norms of genre fandom.

    And yeah, I was going to say something about the publishers as well, but um, my comment was long enough already. :) But that’s also part of why I often kinda default to “if it’s not making money, wtf-ever” because it’s not like Cory Doctorow hasn’t had an uphill battle most times convincing his publisher/agent that the stuff he wants to try isn’t going to lose them money. And I hear that while Nora Roberts stuff is officially a NO of ff.net, but that it’s the publisher that did that and she’s ok with fanfic. (I mean, I’d find links for that before I took her up on it, but still.)

    “As I said earlier, if someone took a wonderful female character I wrote and turned her into a doormat with inappropriate crushes, I’d consider that harmful in the same way I consider bad media representation of women harmful.”

    hmmmm…but, harmful to whom? and it what way? It’s not that I’m disagreeing exactly, it’s more that it seems kinda like the “omg! what would you do if a patrons asked you for bomb-making info!?!?” type question that passes for library ethics 101.

    Because, in my experience, the people most likely to write this kind of fanfic are teen girls. And writing stories like that would generally mean that there is plenty about your feminist icon that they adore, but that they still have issues to work out. Writing the fanfic and talking about it with others is a way to work out those issues. It’s not a solution exactly, but it is a way of melding the sexist expectations they and the culture they are in have for them with the parts of your character that they find unsafe to adopt in real life. What seems like a step backwards to you is most likely a step forward for them.

    And if the squickiness factor is coming from the idea that someone will actually disagree with your work and deliberately rewrite it to be something different – something more like Gor – keep in mind that this use is *more likely* than that the other to be protected under the current understanding of what constitutes fair use. (Aaaand…thus we come to my big pet peeve with rants against fanfic as an idea.)

  28. Marina says

    if someone took a wonderful female character I wrote and turned her into a doormat with inappropriate crushes, I’d consider that harmful in the same way I consider bad media representation of women harmful

    Yeah, but the harm comes from the bad portrayal, not from the fact that it’s fanfic. Lots of published novels contain bad representations of women, but I don’t see anyone arguing that this means novels are harmful (not in this day and age, anyhow).

    And a lot of misogynistic media actually inspires fanfic where the portrayal of women is much better than in the original source. After all, addressing problems in the source is a common motive for writing fic. I’m not about to claim that the fanfic community is a feminist paradise, because, ouch, a lot of it is HUGELY problematic, but there are a lot of feminist fanfic writers out there, and many of them are writing really good stuff.

    • Maria says

      I hear what you’re saying, Marina, but I think in my experience with fanfic, the kind of scenarios female characters get placed in are similar to the shifts in narrative seen with Hathor, our titular Egyptian goddess. I think the portrayal of men gets much more nuanced, particularly in slash.

  29. jennygadget says

    Maria,

    (I’m assuming you mean me?)

    Right but…that’s not the example Jennifer gave. She was talking about people being affected by what they read and suggested (I think) that reading less feminist fanfic of her feminist published fic would dilute the feminism of it. I pointed out that the people most likely to be doing what she suggested would be girls that, imho, are likely more positively affected by the experience of writing fanfic than she is suggesting.

    I’m not saying fanfic is exclusively or even mostly written by teen girls, just that teen girls tend to be the ones that take awesome female characters and have them moon over pretty boys. The fanfic writers you are talking about tend to go for less sugar coated sexism – and are often taking their cue from texts that are problematic to begin with.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that ppl writing overwhelmingly non-feminist stuff is an argument against fanfiction. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, as that same argument would apply to everything.

    Also:

    “I think the portrayal of men gets much more nuanced, particularly in slash.”

    That is not, in and of itself, always non-feminist.

    Patrick,

    bzuh?

    Where have you seen significant numbers of ppl argue that? Who is advocating making fanfic based on the work of authors that do not want ppl to do this? Who is defending any actual ppl who are currently doing this?

    What I’ve seen are people arguing that *they* think that all fanfic is flattering to the original author, and therefore find ppl that feel otherwise to be a little stupid. And possibly ignorant. (or maybe the other way around.) And a couple of ppl who wrote Outlander fanfic being all “well, then, I will respect your wishes and no longer be a fan

    Except for Gabaldon herself I don’t see anyone going up to any creator and saying omg! I wrote this awesome fic with your toys! aren’t you so flattered?!?!?

    Which is what your analogy suggests, because casting the ppl defending fanfiction on the grounds that it’s a compliment to the author as doing the equivalent of defending street harassment implies that they are defending actual abusive acts and not simply making theoretical arguments about fanfiction’s place in our narrative culture in order to defend *consensually written* fanfiction – and possibly change the kinds of lines we draw around “writer” and “reader.”

    I mean, I get that the whole “YOU, personally, SHOULD find it flattering” that this argument sometimes slides into is MASSIVE FAIL as well, but, srsly, what is with the topic of fanfic that brings on the inappropriate sexual assault analogies? and can we stop with them already?!?!

    • Maria says

      Hi JennyGadget! Yup, I was replying to you. I would say that the nuancing of male characters at the expense of female characters is, in fact, not feminist. I’m sorry if I was unclear in my original comment.

      What I do think is important to keep in mind in this conversation re: fanfic is that the authors are very often women channeling themselves into worlds in which they’re not always welcome. In conversations like this I sometimes wonder if the debate would be the same if the people writing it weren’t seen as being women/girls, vs. men/boys.

  30. says

    Sorry, Patrick, SCOTUS sounds like it ought to be a body part to me, so I think I unconsciously block it from memory. :D

    This is hyperbole, right? Lucas freely acknowledges where ANH derives from AHF, but “shot-for-shot?”

    Okay, “practically shot-for-shot” with about 3% deviation. A friend and I did the shot-by-shot comparison in high school and for the first 3/4 of the movie, it blew us away. Then it starts deviating for the run on the Death Star, but not by a lot.

  31. says

    There are authors who are upset about people writing fanfics of their work. That’s harm, right there.

    Being upset is not any kind of harm I’d want to see prohibited by law. If that’s the argument, I would say at worst tough luck, and at best that the fan fic author behaves like an ass.

    If Jennifer argues that the point made in her original fiction might get diluted – I can see that. I don’t think the original fiction is harmed in any way; I forget which writer said it with regards to bad films based on his books, but, “the book is right there on the shelf, the same as always”. But I could see myself even taking a public stand against something that goes against the inherent values contained in my books. I still don’t see it as legally actionable, though.

  32. Charles RB says

    “And a lot of misogynistic media actually inspires fanfic where the portrayal of women is much better than in the original source.”

    What’s depressing is seeing the opposite. Objectively, I can see why young writers kept doing stories where Hermoine Granger learns she’s really an adopted Pureblood from a super-wealthy/monarchic family and suddenly becomes uber-attractive (and totally gets to date Draco), it’s basically writing out old childhood fantasies – but the implications of saying “this character can only be attractive to blokes when she’s conventionally ‘hot’ and not brainy”, and “she was never a Mudblood she was one of the pure race” are fucking terrifying.

  33. Marina says

    I think the portrayal of men gets much more nuanced, particularly in slash.

    I don’t particularly disagree with that (though there is feminist slash out there, too), I just don’t see how it’s an argument against fan fiction. The portrayal of men is more nuanced than the portrayal of women in TV, in movies, in mainstream and genre fiction, in theater…

    Fan fiction is a product of our culture, just like any other form of creative expression, and just as subject to our cultural biases. It should be discussed and critiqued on that basis (and it is — “misogyny in slash” is, if not the most frequently discussed subject in fannish forums, then definitely in the top five), but I don’t see why it should be singled out for “harmfulness” more than any other creative expression.

  34. says

    I don’t see why it should be singled out for “harmfulness” more than any other creative expression.

    Strawman, much? This site has over 1400 articles at present, many of them about harmful forms of expression in our culture, not one of them about fanfic.

    Some of you guys are really proving my point for me. I offered myself as a theoretical case, a potential published author who has a more analytical reason for objecting to her fanfic than “eeewww, porn!” or “eeewww, teh gay!” But you’re still debating my RIGHT to an opinion over the creative expression of people borrowing the universe I worked to create rather than the opinion itself.

    That’s the other reason I left screenwriting, aside from dealing with HW bigots: I found I could make more money and be treated with more respect in any number of entry-level jobs.

  35. says

    Maybe that’s part of what Jennifer is referring to, but I just noticed that I conflated two issues here: not liking fan fiction and wanting to prohibit fan fiction. The first is a perfectly all right opinion that I just don’t share, the second would be one I’d try to argue against.

  36. says

    not liking fan fiction and wanting to prohibit fan fiction

    YES! I wouldn’t support a law against fan fiction. I don’t look to the law for solutions, generally. But I would encourage fans to respect an author’s wishes if they truly value what she’s written. That’s all.

  37. jennygadget says

    “But you’re still debating my RIGHT to an opinion over the creative expression of people borrowing the universe I worked to create rather than the opinion itself. ”

    I think maybe the issue is that it’s very unclear from sentence to sentence, person to person, whether we are talking, at any one time, about

    1) personal opinions on fanfic

    2) the moral implications of fanfic

    3) the legal rights of writers

    Because when I wrote this:

    “I don’t see why it should be singled out for “harmfulness” more than any other creative expression.”

    I was not at all trying to imply that you, personally, had decided to go on a crusade against fanfiction. (what?) I was talking about the idea that I seemed to be hearing that “don’t like” should ever at all enter into government backed censorship.

    I had hardly forgotten that the site that I’ve reading and commenting at for god knows how many years now* is all about critiquing art. That was, in fact, exactly the part that had me stumped. Because I found fanfiction via critiques of various works and much of what I still read has that element in it. And maybe I’m just tired and being overly emotional and therefore misreading people, but what many seem to be edging up to is idea that the reason why authors should have the right to say “no fanfiction of my work” is because people could write stuff you don’t agree with. Which is just….what?

    Whether authors have the right to outlaw fanfiction or not should be based on copyright laws that balance writers ability to engage in commerce with citizens right for public discourse. Individual authors may certainly choose to outlaw fanfiction of their work for reasons other than those that line up with why the government grants those rights. Sometimes the “they are going to make it harder for me to sell my work” and “they are writing stuff I don’t like” overlap rather than being completely separate things. But that doesn’t then turn around and make those personal feelings an adequate argument for the defense of such rights.

    If a particular author wants to try to outlaw fanfiction in an attempt to control how the world interacts with their published work, I will respect their wishes not to have fanfiction written about their work. But I’m also going to think that they have kinda weird ideas about author’s ability to control how people interpret their work once they’ve released it to the world for their viewing pleasure. And I’m going to feel free to explain why I disagree with those opinions.

    *fyi, I changed handles a year ago, in case that makes that sentence make more sense

  38. jennygadget says

    (note: it probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been jumping back and forth between here and other places)

  39. Patrick says

    jennygadget:

    “bzuh?

    Where have you seen significant numbers of ppl argue that? Who is advocating making fanfic based on the work of authors that do not want ppl to do this? Who is defending any actual ppl who are currently doing this?”

    That’s been pretty much the discussion on the linked blogs. People objecting when authors say “Stop wiritng fanfiction based on my works.”

    “What I’ve seen are people arguing that *they* think that all fanfic is flattering to the original author, and therefore find ppl that feel otherwise to be a little stupid. And possibly ignorant. (or maybe the other way aroung…

    Except for Gabaldon herself I don’t see anyone going up to any creator and saying omg! I wrote this awesome fic with your toys! aren’t you so flattered?!?!?”

    That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m irritated by is exactly what you mentioned you’ve seen: People saying “I would find fanfiction flattering, therefore you should find it flattering as well.” I did not state or imply that the fanfiction writers were claiming that their own work should be seen as flattering, I described the argument used by defenders of fanfiction. There’s obviously some overlap, but I did not claim the “aren’t you so flattered?” argument was being made.

    “Which is what your analogy suggests, because casting the ppl defending fanfiction on the grounds that it’s a compliment to the author as doing the equivalent of defending street harassment implies that they are defending actual abusive acts and not simply making theoretical arguments about fanfiction’s place in our narrative culture in order to defend *consensually written* fanfiction – and possibly change the kinds of lines we draw around “writer” and “reader.””

    My analogy did not say that it was the street harrassers making the argument.

    “I mean, I get that the whole “YOU, personally, SHOULD find it flattering” that this argument sometimes slides into is MASSIVE FAIL as well, but, srsly, what is with the topic of fanfic that brings on the inappropriate sexual assault analogies? and can we stop with them already?!?!”

    The supposed “logic” of both arguments is the same. “Your emotional reaction to this should be the same as mine.” Which is, as you stated, MASSIVE FAIL. I made the analogy not because of anything Gabaldon said, but because looking at the fanfic threads I kept seeing the EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS used in defense of street harassment.

  40. Patrick says

    Regarding the “stop writing fanfic” vs. “there should be a law:” Yes, very different things, and I would oppose any censorship laws on this front. The fact that I don’t think something should be illegal does not mean that I don’t think it’s wrong.

  41. Patrick says

    Just to clarify my position: There is nothing inherently wrong with fanfiction. But if an author doesn’t want people writing fanfiction of their work, any person who knows this and does so anyway is being an asshole.

  42. says

    I think jennygadget is right that there’s some general confusion. To sum up my position:

    –Fanfic is okay. It’s just part of the human storytelling thing that’s gone on forever.
    –If a specific creator asks fans not to write fanfic, fans who continue to do so are exhibiting massive entitlement and generally being assholes.
    –I don’t support comparing that entitlement and assholishness to “white slavery” or anything else where lives are actually endangered.
    –I don’t support making fanfic illegal.
    –Fans who write fanfic after the author has asked them not to should be ostracized by other fans who are more interested in the AUTHOR’s continued work than the fanfic writers. Because if the author gets fed up with being objectified for long enough, maybe she’ll just quit writing, and it’ll be the fanfic writers’ faults.

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