Finally, a mainstream media article that presents the human side of fandom, and talks about why it’s important to have alternative forms of media.
I fangirl this woman so hard right now.
Officially the BEST ANON MESSAGE I HAVE EVER RECEIVED. Everything about this is perfection. Thank you for writing, my friend. I will let your message speak for itself, but let me close by saying: I love you.
No one should be attacking Ben.
Call out his ignorance, criticize his uneducated and uninformed opinion absolutely.
But retract the claws, okay? Remember this is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that he says something ignorant about fandom or fanwork.
And just remember, it doesn’t actually matter what he thinks. He is one person. One person who doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about.
New “The Imitation Game” trailer
So I’ve been too afraid to peek my head into tumblr today in the wake of some truly upsetting things said in an interview with Out Magazine by an actor that many of us hold in very high regard. (Here’s a link to the interview for those of you who are interested).
This is a really well-written response to what was a horrible interview to read. I like to think that articles like this should always be taken with a grain of salt, because there is often an inflammatory agenda (and this interviewer obviously had such a motive; you don’t use phrases like “lustful cock monster” if you’re going for unbiased journalism) but nonetheless, many of the sentiments (if they are in fact direct quotes) were dismissive, insulting, and misinformed. Words like that hurt, especially when coming from someone you’re a fan of.
This is indicative of the derision and dismissal of female sexuality on the whole as well as the implication that our culture has to belittle and demonize sex as much as possible while normalizing and glorifying violence and ‘male’ passions.
I have not read the interview nor do I give half a rat’s ass what the actors from Sherlock feel about fanfiction - I just find it alarming that the subject is presented to them over and over again as if it will either stop the ‘behavior’ or shock them into a response like this one. I’m not sure what the end game is except to stir up controversy and call down further derision on our craft.
I already get derided as ‘why would you expend all that effort to create something you’re not going to sell’ from people that I admire and respect, and the answer is simple. While I do fully enjoy and embrace writing original work, fanwork creates a connection between me and a show that I no longer feel that shows are going to give me without effort on my behalf anyway. There are no shows for me, for my ‘nonstandard’ sexuality.
Simply put, I’m not a straight white man. No matter what show I want to connect to, I’m going to have to take some steps to find my own connection.
Fortunately for me I have always enjoyed the creative effort required to do so. I like to think about things and find my own angles and I like to share them with others because it forges a connection and understanding between me & the person who reads my work in a way that does not happen with original work. Neither format is inferior/superior - putting a monetary value on something does not give it an inherent value it did not have before there was a dollar sign attached.
The quality of published work these days leads me more and more to believe this.
All that being said, this attitude that girls/queers/asexual/non!cis need to be nothing but blind, dumb, silent consumers who are satisfied with what they are handed whether or not it is something they find representational and relateable needs to change. Telling them to shut up when they finally find a way to make things their own, is harmful.
Letting them continue to do what they need to to be happy when you will not give them the satisfaction of actual representation because you cry it will be harmful, is in fact, not harmful. (Nor would representation be.)YESshawarma-palaceto everything you just said!! I wish I could respond to this in more detail but just YES YES YES YES YES.
I just don’t understand how people don’t get how important this is. Fanfiction is pretty much the only place I can think of where subversive love and sex narratives are explored and allowed to play out. What are people not getting about this?
Let’s talk about porn. Let’s talk about transformative works and porn.
Obviously I’m biased, because I was already a person who ascribes huge importance to porn in general as an excellent way of mapping out a culture’s anxieties with regards to sex, but the porn written by the fanfiction community is very special porn.
Now, it’s worth mentioning at this juncture that fanfiction is fiction created by the consumer—this is one of the only art-mediums in which the reader/consumer/viewer has any agency whatsoever. That is the beauty of transformative works, in my opinion.Even if we ignore the specific example of porn, this is a very unique and important thing. Why should we sit passively and consume culture that is being spoonfed to us? Fanfiction is, in many cases, an oblique or even a direct critique of the type of narratives and characters being offered to us in the mainstream media today.
When we do not see ourselves reflected in media, we are able, through the medium of fanfiction, to commandeer these (sometimes limiting) stories and characters for the purpose of our own nuanced and deeply personal representation. In this way, every writer of fanfiction is doing something important for the diversification of representation in our culture. I believe that everything you write is infused with a little bit of your experience and perspective. As such, I believe that the fanfiction you write is a direct statement, somehow, of who you are. And any expression/representation of a nuanced and personal identity is, to me, a good thing.
Now let’s return to porn with this concept in mind. If you watch as much porn as I do, you know that a lot of porn leaves much to be desired in the representation department. I find I have little in common with the men and women on the screen. I do not often see my sexual identity or proclivities reflected in the porn that I watch, probably because a lot of porn is not made for me, but for a very specific male audience. The pornographic fanfiction I write is a direct expression of important parts of my sexual identity, and the pornographic fanfiction I read is a gratifying assurance that I’m not alone in the fantasies and desires that linger in my mind. It is an affirmation that I am not the only one whose frequent forays into the world of easily accessible porn have left me feeling under-represented, misrepresented, or just plain missing entirely from the scene.
How can people think that this is not important??? How can people think that the development of a healthy sexual identity is not important???
I refuse to accept the products that are being sold to me. Sexual identity and representation cannot be successfully mass produced or homogenized. We are all too different for that.
I am going to fucking write my obscure powerplay porn. I am going to play with so called ‘fringe’ fantasies and ideas as I please. Fanfiction gives me a safe outlet and community for exploring the uncharted territory of my sexual identity.
If our unabashed exploration of human sexuality makes society a little bit anxious, I say society deserves to wallow in that anxiety and examine it a little bit more closely. Is it the fantasies themselves that are making you uncomfortable, or the fact that I wrote them, the fact that I claim them as mine, the fact that I unashamedly and nakedly go forth and seize control of my own representation, the fact that I choose to read and write the rules of my sexuality and the rest of the world be damned?
OMG YES YES YES thefloatingpoem YES. Especially this:
"How can people think that this is not important??? How can people think that the development of a healthy sexual identity is not important???
I refuse to accept the products that are being sold to me. Sexual identity and representation cannot be successfully mass produced or homogenized. We are all too different for that.”
I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THIS. WOMEN (AND INDIVIDUALS AT LARGE) TAKING OWNERSHIP OF THEIR SEXUALITY IS SO IMPORTANT.
IT IS LITERALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
AND YOUR POINT ABOUT THE INDIVIDUATED NATURE OF FANFICTION IS SO BEAUTIFUL. I CANNOT STOP SPEAKING IN CAPSLOCK BECAUSE THIS IS ALL SO IMPORTANT AND I LOVE WHAT YOU SAID.
All the wonderful words above make me sad that the genesis of this particular debate came from a man that on one hand was proclaiming he would fight sexual repression to the death, yet glibly showed his own prejudice in his statement on adolescent girls, fan fiction authors and the freedom to express creative sexuality in transformative prose featuring two male icons whose sexuality has been in question for over a centuary.
This just keeps getting more brilliant.
I agree with every single thing that has been written above, and I just want to pick up on the idea of someone who believes he is progressive and liberal and yet is incapable of seeing his own prejudices. That’s such an important point.
I’m going into librarianship, and many of my classes in my masters program have to deal with diversity and serving diverse populations. One of the ideas that is drilled into us over and over is that NONE of us are without prejudice, none of us are without presumption, some of them so ingrained and inherent that we no longer see them as anything but fact. Our ingrained prejudices just become the way the world works, from our point of view. So it becomes impossible to separate yourself from your ingrained prejudice, to step back and see it for what it is.
In the case of fan fiction, it is so very stigmatised in society that it has become almost everyone’s ingrained presumption that it is something negative. Even those of us who spend our waking hours writing it sometimes feel we are doing something forbidden, something taboo.
I sometimes hide my computer screen in public, because WHAT IF SOMEONE SEES WHAT I’M WRITING? Then I feel bad that I’m worried about that. Because I’m truly not ashamed. Im proud of what I write and I think it’s good, and spend my free time being creative, which can never be a negative…and yet. That nugget of self-doubt and shame is always there, kind of waiting at the back of my mind.
None of us should be ashamed of this. Not reading it or writing it. But it is sometimes very hard to fight the ingrained prejudice. The fact that this is a niche populated largely by women, young people, and the lgbtqa community makes us feel even more marginalised, because we were marginalised to begin with.
Do you ever stop to think about how we’re writing fanfiction about a show that is a giant fanwork modernday!au of one book that is simultaneously incorporating references to numerous other fannish adaptations.
Who’s going to tell Benedict.
I volunteer as tribute!
*Sits Ben down, hands him tea* Honey, this is gonna come as a real shock…
Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, will return to cinemas worldwide this October! Find out more HERE
A ton of new locations have just been added and you WILL NOT want to miss this one, guys!!! I’m kind of a performing arts enthusiast and this is easily the most incredible production of anything I have ever seen!!!
agreed. If you get a chance to see this GO. Incredible theatre and well worth the money.
Ooh! Excited! I’m seeing both versions of this play this month! The first one tomorrow night! Whoot!
"The Imitation Game" - Photocall - 58th London Film Festival