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13 October 2009 @ 11:36 pm
Unformed meta fandom misogyny stuff.  
Bleh. This isn't formed at all, but it's in my head now, and it's bugging me, so I'm tossing it here to try to get it back out of my headspace.

It's not that I liked or agreed with that classy post on the genrefinders. It's just that some of what I've seen in comments in discussions around the topic ... bug me.

Disliking a character is not inherently misogyny.

Really. No, really.

I can think of, off the top of my head, three separate female characters I've recently disliked in ... 2.5 fandoms? (It gets a little weird.) But you know what that's about?

It's about I dislike the character.

Maybe I've looked at something a character has done and found it indefensible. Maybe the character has taken several such actions. Maybe I question the character's personal or ethical judgment. Maybe I find the character's canon relationship skeevy — not because "she breaks up my OTP, OMG, eleventy!" (I don't even have OTPs) but because the shown relationship is dysfunctional in subtle ways that I find misogynist; or the relationship requires the character to violate her existing relationship commitment for wholly inadequate reasons; or the relationship is the sudden and epic true love of a character who was always previously compelling without all the Twue Wuv. Maybe I resent being told by each plot that the character is the most specialest perfect flawless humanly-flawed supreme ideal everything, and knowing that's not just my perception because the showrunner has stated it.

Maybe the character can even change and become one I both like and respect. One of those three did.

Maybe the character doesn't need to be reduced to "you hate her because you're secretly misogynist!" Seriously, the only reason I don't like her has to be related to her sex? That reductionist viewpoint seems pretty misogynist to me. Maybe I would in fact view these characters differently if they were male, but I've tried to consider that carefully, and I'm not at all convinced I would.

Maybe I'll bend over backwards trying to treat the character fairly in my fandom participation, when I certainly don't treat all characters I dislike that way. When does that come back around to being its own form of misogyny?

Anyway. Bleh. I don't know. As I said, not formed, not well-constructed. And holy crap am I ever not looking to get into a "debate" about it, at all and certainly not here (though thoughtful and respectful commentary is always welcome). I just wanted to feel I'd said it, even just in my own journal under a cut, so I can quit thinking every five minutes that I need to speak up.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Grey Lupous: yesgreyias on October 14th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
The nicest way I can say it is: ♥

You have no idea how utterly sick I am of reading about this supposed "misogyny" for disliking a character. So much so, that it has actually made me dislike one character in particular, that previously I had actually liked a little. I definitely don't agree or like the attitude presented in that genrefinders post, but it feels like the discussion it, and previous posts like it, has gotten away from "this isn't cool behavior" to "anyone who disagrees with my point of view is X-Bad-Thing".

In summary: All of what you said. Srsly. Especially this:

Maybe I find the character's canon relationship skeevy — not because "she breaks up my OTP, OMG, eleventy!" (I don't even have OTPs) but because the shown relationship is dysfunctional in subtle ways that I find misogynist
michelel72: DW-Donna-Spookymichelel72 on October 14th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
♥ right back atcha. (And howdy stranger! Missed seeing you around on the nets lately!)

I was more than a little surprised to see folks heading that direction at Writercon, and here it's back again, and ... sigh. And yes, that rigid categorization into "y'all jus' haters" does tend to trigger a backlash in me, too. It's okay for me to find some female characters kick-ass wonderful (Tosh! Teyla! Sarah Jane! Martha! Sam! Donna!!!) but not have any kind of negative reaction to others? I must have one particular secret shipping motive? Pfeh.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone! (And it's kind of funny how I made the descriptions kind-of-generic so that I didn't devolve into deconstructing specifics, yet anyone can probably figure out exactly what I'm referring to with each one. Heh.)
Grey Lupous: angel <3 sophiegreyias on October 14th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
And howdy stranger! Missed seeing you around on the nets lately!

Howdy back! Yeah, I've been laying low, partly because work was rather OMGINSANE, and I get incredibly guilty if I forget to reply to comments. Of course, in all honesty, for a while now I've felt like really bad company, because of the above posted subject was about to push me into doing something worthy of Fandom Wank if I didn't take some time off the fandom circuit.

I was more than a little surprised to see folks heading that direction at Writercon, and here it's back again, and ... sigh.

*pats* I've seen this particular one brewing since January, and seeing it grow instead of die off has made it a really rotten year to be a gen SGA fan. (Well, at least for me.) I was kind of dreading Writercon a little because I was sure something was going to explode there, but I was surprised it was as toned down as it was.

I must have one particular secret shipping motive?

But of course, otherwise the entire premise of you being "jes jeluz" falls through and there might be a need to re-examine the current theory. We can't have that.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

Oh, no, thank you for saying something! I've literally been sitting on this all year (except within private e-mail conversations), and it had gotten to the point where I was convinced it was all in my head.

On the flip-side, I have been working on a few lists of kick-ass female characters, for a future post. I can't believe I forgot Tosh and Donna! What's wrong with me?
trystings: Teylatrystings on October 14th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)

Every time the subject pops up I find myself thinking the exact same thing.

I agree it's aggrevating to see disparaging posts about a character one happens to like on the flist, but disliking ONE female character for whatever reason is not misogynist. It simply isn't.
michelel72: SGA-Teyla-Gleemichelel72 on October 14th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. As I mentioned to Grey above, I'm capable of really liking some female characters, and disliking others; why is that impossible? Why does it have to boil down to not even just "if she's female and you dislike her, you're misogynist" but "if you don't like her it's because she threatens McShep/Janto/whatever and that's misogyny"? (That's the route I usually see. As if polyamory is impossible (Jack Harkness, hello!); as if no one can see the world through anything but 'ship glasses.) Pfeh, I say.
Astridastridv on October 22nd, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
No worries, not gonna get into this argument in your post. Actually I can't; I had enough meta debate for a while and I really need to catch up on work. But I'd really like to make myself clearer because the debate keeps getting misrepresented: "if she's female and you dislike her, you're misogynist is just not what we're saying at all. So, just in case you're interested, I wanted to invite you to read my discussion with xparrot over at my dreamwidth: I think it clears many things up and she makes many points you might think as well. (That discussion is also closed and the last thing I want to do is wake it up again, but if you want to disagree with me on something that's cool, of course; I'd just ask you keep it to email or message... and only to me, not to frienshipper who also needs a break from this.)
michelel72: SGA-RodneySam-Sadfacemichelel72 on October 24th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm not saying everyone's saying that, that you're saying that; I'm saying I've seen the assumption taken there. There are show fans who are misogynist, I'm sure, just as I'm sure there are die-hard character fans who accuse anyone who disagrees of any -ism to hand. Neither side represents everyone. But I have seen assertions that imply otherwise.

McKay (or Kavanagh, or Kolya, or Caldwell, or Bates; or Owen) haters don't automatically get accused of misandry (that I've seen), but daring to say that one doesn't like Keller or "Gwen Bloody Cooper", in whole or in part, always seems to end up there (if it doesn't start there), or at the related assertion that I wouldn't have the same problems at all if only the character were male. I resent the implication that either I'm Rush Limbaugh in disguise or I just don't know what's really going on in my pretty little head, y'know? If I find a male character telling his assertive girlfriend to sit down, shut up, and play nice nauseating, my having the same reaction to a female character doing the same to her boyfriend doesn't mean I'm treating her unfairly.

Just as someone can say "fuck you, she's awesome" (heh), I'm equally entitled to say "I don't like her and that doesn't make me a bad person". It doesn't mean that I didn't end up really liking Gwen in S3, or that I won't continue to try to treat Keller (and Kavanagh, and most everyone else) fairly in my writing; it just means that I'm tired of reductionist arguments that discount a character preference by demonizing it, by assuming biases most decidedly not in evidence.