Survival Guide to Fandom

Meta: misunderstanding sexuality is a double-edged sword

ivanolix:

There’s a way that our society understands sexuality, and it’s flawed. I think most people are aware of this if they pay the slightest attention to what they ingest via the media. But it’s not just one thing that the media screws up on—it’s the whole damn theory of sexuality itself.

See, popular culture would have you believe that sexuality only belongs to the elect privileged few. And of course, in the eyes of the media, “sexuality” is another word for “libido”. As if that’s all the word means. But leaving aside that point for the moment, the media makes it clear that only some are allowed to desire sex. The young, the thin-but-proportionate, the white (unless you’re a very special WOC), the people who fit into that category of youthful and pretty.

Fat people aren’t allowed to have sex, according to the media and the parts of society that have drunk its koolaid. That’s just “gross”. And not just having sex, they aren’t even allowed to want sex. Disabled people, whether physical or mental, are also not allowed to have libidos. People with “weird” medical conditions, people who are socially awkward, people who are old enough to have adult children of their own, people who are religious, people who are too thin or too flat or too scrawny or too ugly. Sometimes anyone non-white, if you find the extremes of the media. Sexuality is denied these people. They are shamed and dismissed if they even attempt to express desire or act on it, and we go back to our worship of the youthful pretty heterosexual people having sex like bunnies.

And that would be bad enough, if the problem ended there. But remember before, when I said that the media treats “sexuality” as another word for libido? Turns out, that’s not what the word covers. There are those who desire sex, whether with men and/or women and/or everyone who doesn’t ascribe to those binary labels. But there are also those to whom sexuality isn’t actually about sex. The demisexual and the asexual, who have complex identities of their own that are simply ignored by the mass media.

Unless, of course, you fit into the privileged category of People Allowed To Have Sex. If you’re young and pretty and not a weirdo, you’re not only allowed to have sex but you’re required to. Being asexual would simply be a waste, according to popular culture. Sex matters. Only sex. Beautiful people having sex makes the world go round, right? Of course, ugly people are allowed to be asexuals. Disabled people are just assumed to be so. And even in fandom, try to say that a certain character played by a “beautiful” actor might not care about sex, and you can almost hear everyone’s gasp of shock.

Popular culture, as instructed by the media, is flawed. In fandom at least I hope we all know that (a vain hope, but indulge me). But it’s not a simple matter. If the fucked up “theory” of sexuality is a sword then it is a double-edged one. With one side it cuts down those who have desires but aren’t supposed to (and aren’t supposed to be desirable either), and with the other it cuts down those who don’t have desires but are supposed to.

I know, I know - you’re asking, “what does sexuality have to do with fandom?” It has a lot to do with fandom, it isn’t something that’s simple and can lead to an all out, fandom civil war here and there. Read it, absorb it and ponder on it - besides, it’s always fun to learn something new.

WHO KNOWS IT MIGHT EVEN OFFER A TWIST FOR YOUR BRAIN AND LEAD TO AN INTERESTING FIC!


Renly and Loras— Power, Dominance, and Love

lemon-sprinkles:

 So this was bound to have come up at some point in time, and I’ve tried to ignore it, but this topic has made a few friends of mine a little upset and I’ve decided to jump atop the white horse and do that thing I do: you know, rant about topics that don’t matter in the long run, but by god if I don’t feel better after.

 This weeks topic is on Renly and Loras and the Lord/Squire dynamic, and the age difference of the two. You know, that gigantic age difference of four fucking years. There are a lot of people out there (a surprising amount, actually) who think that Loras was pressured into his relationship with Renly, and that Renly ‘groomed’ him to be with him and that he used his position of power to intimidate Loras into a relationship. This sort of stuff happens both in fiction and in the real world; I am not denying this. But this is not the case for Renly and Loras even in the slightest, and I will explain why.

 Firstly, this whole ‘grooming’ argument holds no water when your think about the ages of both parties involved throughout their developing friendship and subsequent relationship. When Loras arrived to squire, he most likely would have been about 11 years old (if we’re using a medieval model), which would have placed Renly at the age of 15. ‘Grooming’ someone is either done by adults to adults, or adults to children, but not children to children. While a person during this time was considered an adult at the age of 14, biologically and psychologically we know that they are not at a level in which they could really grasp any concept of grooming or control— unless there was a mental imbalance such as sociopathy. Grooming is psychological manipulation done in a deliberate fashion in order to groom a child into being sexually active with an adult. THIS IS CLEARLY NOT WHAT WENT ON BETWEEN RENLY AND LORAS. Renly was too young to even really think of this nasty bullshit and I cannot even fathom how one would believe he even would think of doing such a thing.

 Secondly, this sort of notion completely disregards the characters we are dealing with. Renly is not a manipulative user who abuses his power and is a sexual predator— this just isn’t seen in the text or on the screen at all. He was probably a young man who made a friend, and eventually relations developed between them in a fair and equal manner. This theory also relies on the notion that Loras is a weak-willed, easily manipulated young man— a fact most can assure you is not at all correct. He is arrogant and confident, cocky and head-strong; we see this both in the books and in the show. He is in charge most of the time and he is the one in control. If we go by the basis of the show, this is even more evident, with him controlling Renly more than Renly ever seems to control Loras. Loras knows with perfect clarity what he is doing and wants to do it. It is his choice. You don’t make the Knight of Flowers do something he doesn’t want to do. Not to mention if he was groomed he certainly would not have retained assertive energy and personality— he’d be meek and unassuming, bending easily to Renly’s will. So the entire notion is completely contradictory to who they are as characters. Renly is not a manipulator with a sexual-predator’s mind, and Loras is not an unwilling part of this relationship with little to no confidence. 

 I wrote a paper on male same-sex desires in the warrior class of Medieval Europe, and took a look at squire relationships and lords. Squires were stuck together during a time where they were slowly developing both their physical bodies, as well as their mental bodies— the ones that house their desires and passions. These boys were also usually second or third sons, meaning they could not inherit any property, and this meant that they could not get married. Whore houses and their fellow friends were the best place to seek companionship when one is surrounded by testosterone and the need for physical release. So it can be assumed that Renly and Loras went through the same sort of stage— young boys growing up together, with each other almost at all times, and looking for a way to sexually explore. When one realizes that this was not a ‘phase’ in their development and that this attraction was mutual and only stood for men and not women, it is even more likely that they forged common ground on this knowledge. Imagine finding someone who is just like you when you yourself thought you were different— strange, queer, abnormal, even. So the fact that they most probably bonded over this must have struck quiet a bond between them, even if this realization happened before a romance began. It was not uncommon for squires and knights to explore their sexualities with each other; what was uncommon was to stay with men and only men. Renly and Loras were uncommon. If you’re going to criticize this fictional couple for their relationship based on the grounds of squires and knighthood status’ (and lordship status on Renly’s part, although he is a very young lord), than you best criticize your entire Western culture. Pederasty in ancient Greece, anyone?

 Finally, and this is where we have some spoilers….. Once Renly passes away, the absolute grief and complete loss of his mind that Loras displays is the most telling of what they had. The love and devotion they had for each other is palpable in the pages we read describing Loras after Renly is gone. It he was an unwilling party or had his mind warped at a young age (again, a feat I cannot see Renly doing, not do I think he would have been psychologically capable to ‘groom’ a person) than Loras would not have reacted the way he did to Renly’s death, and he would not have been so utterly broken. End Spoilers.

 The notion that Renly manipulated Loras is completely mind-blowing to me, really. Did such relationships happen? Yes. Is this the case with Renly and Loras? I can with absolute confidence state no. They chose each other, they loved each other, and they were good together. No one can take that away from them.

 As an aside— four years difference… really? Especially in this medieval setting. Four years is nothing to bat an eyelash at. My parents age difference? 10 years. They started dating when my mom was 19 and my Dad was 29, and I would be so fucking pissed if anyone— ANYONE— said their love was a manipulation of power, dominance and ‘grooming’. And I’m pretty sure my mother would kick your fucking ass for such a suggestion.

Done and done. 


The Great Kahlan Debate: Book!Kahlan vs. Show!Kahlan (Spoilers for the whole of both Legend of the Seeker and the Sword of Truth Novels)

confessorlove:

Everyone has their own opinions and the right to free speech.  I am not trying to deny that.  In fact I am using that right in the hopes of sharing my personal opinion.  I have seen on Tumblr a certain post stating that Kahlan Amnell as portrayed in Legend of the Seeker is a whiney, pansy.  Someone is claiming that she is a stereotypical damsel in distress character.  This is completely off base.  I am not going to tell you that your opinion is wrong, even if I might think it.  All I am going to do is educate you on why I personally believe that Kahlan Amnell from Legend of the Seeker is a much stronger and bad ass character than the Kahlan Amnell of the Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind

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Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.

The Boy Who Lived Forever | Time Magazine

#so much stigma around fic #i don’t get it #it seems so natural to me to want to write more about characters and worlds you feel you don’t get enough of #ugh i wish people would just stop making into a super weird thing that only older basement-bound star trek nerds do #…because do those people even exist anymore? did they ever exist? #people who read and write fic are people who appreciate something so much they need a new medium to express it #sigh #NERD CULTURE IS MAINSTREAM NOW AND WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT FIC DEROGATORILY YOU’RE THE ONE THAT’S OUT OF THE ZEITGEIST

(via barafundlebay)


T

"T" focus’ on talking, or so it seems.

TMI: Too Much Information

TMLF: Taste My Lightning Fuckers

  • Typically in reference to godly characters fucking shit up.

TTFN: Ta-Ta For Now

  • Simply means, “see you later.”

TYBACA: Thank You Badass Cracky Author

  • Traditionally used to thank someone for writing something that causes serious amounts of laughter (with the occasional milk spraying from nostrils).

TTYN: Talk To You Never


S

"S" makes for super kinds of fun.

STFU: Shut the Fuck Up

SNAFU: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up

For those every day situations that just kinda… get fucked up.

  • Meet your ex-girlfriend in the woods, go with her to find your son - get ambushed and tortured. (Legend of the Seeker)
  • Think you’re going to the wall, get decapitated instead - daughters have to watch. (Game of Thrones)
  • Plan on going back to your universe, get pulled back into the not so cool red one with plans for your brain to get examined. (Fringe)
  • Think it’s third wife’s night, find out it’s second wife’s night, second wife traded nights with first wife due to having her period. Find kids in first wife’s bed. (Big Love)

R

"R" you ready?

RPSF: Rocket Propelled Shit Fuck

  • So you know when things turn catastrophic? Then it turns worse? Like that time Ned became Hand of the King, then got beheaded and the War of Five Kings began? That’s a RPSF.

ROFYSST: Rolling On the Floor Yet Somehow Still Typing

  • Used for true, rib splitting laughter moments.

RTFM: Read the Fucking Manual

  • No explanation needed.