pocketseizure: (Needs More Zelda)
Lightsintheskye just sent me a comic based on a scene from the sixth chapter of my Zelda/Ganondorf fic The Legend of the Princess, and words cannot describe how fantastic it is. She also sent me a gag version, which I want to share here because it is made of gold.

Read more... )

My post of her last illustration only ended up getting about three dozen notes, so I decided to ask for the artist's advice about posting this one. I understand that the attention any given post gets on Tumblr is random, but there still have to be ways to skew the odds. Is there a day of the week or time of day that gets more traffic? Is there a good set of tags to use? I know there are marketing strategies for things like this (for example, this is an interesting infographic), but I've never actually sat down and compared notes with another actual human being. And it never hurts to ask for advice, right?
pocketseizure: (Ganondorf)
I'm still thinking about why that post I wrote about yesterday didn't get any notes, and I can't help but wonder if maybe gender has something to do with it. Specifically, if I were male and had established a fandom identity as male, would I (and the artist) get more positive feedback for this sort of collaboration?

For various reasons (including the lack of support for that particular post), I feel that, if a woman works with artists to illustrate her fic, she's considered pretentious, while a dude would be "innovative." Female writers working with artists is extra, while male writers working with artists is how actual comics and video games get made. As an ongoing phenomenon created and propagated through Tumblr-based collaboration, Undertale jumps immediately to mind as an example, as does the Zelda fancomic Second Quest. And maybe it's just me, but the majority of professional writers for comics and games still seem to be male, even despite rising numbers of professional female artists. So I wonder, is there a stigma against female writers working with artists that begins in fandom, where many female creators start out?

I put an abbreviated version of this question on Twitter, and I got some interesting responses. A friend of mine who used to be a Harry Potter BNF and now studies fandom as an academic was basically like, "Pretty much." Another friend who writes for a few pop culture magazines jumped in to say that this is exactly how it tends to work with cosplay, where female models and costume designers go by pseudonyms even though male photographers get paid while simultaneously advancing their professional careers. Another friend summed the issue up nicely by saying that "women creatives 'are just playing around' while men 'have projects,'" a statement that is given weight by the fact that she gives panels at anime conventions for free while her boyfriend is always paid by these conventions to do the exact same thing she does.

And then this idiot white male friend of mine from college (the same one I was frustrated with in an earlier post) jumped in to inform me that it's difficult to judge public perception based on gender. I was like, Oh really. I get a dozen notes for my creative work on Tumblr, while you get $50,000 for your creative work on Kickstarter. Is it really so difficult to judge the difference in public perception? The only legitimate response would be "that's a good point," but I knew he would try to argue with me, so I blocked him.

Anyway, if we can run with the hypothesis that the broader culture exhibits a resistance against female writers working with artists on fannish mixed-media creative projects, then perhaps the more specific antipathy toward writers within Tumblr's female-dominated fandom spaces begins to make a bit more sense.
pocketseizure: (Terra Branford)
I'm working with Lightsintheskye on a series of illustrations for my Zelda/Ganondorf fic The Legend of the Princess. She did the cover illustration a while ago, and yesterday afternoon I posted her illustration for the first story arc.

Despite the incredible quality of her art, the post only got 11 notes.

I was really surprised! I know that this piece will get the attention it deserves when the artist reblogs it later during the peak time for her blog, but I still can't help but wonder why so few people who follow me on Tumblr or track the fandom tags were willing to offer their support for a collaboration like this. (The people who did like or reblog the post are lovely and wonderful and have my eternal gratitude, of course.)

I think this is what it what it means to "create for yourself" - you need to have faith that what you're doing has worth and value, even if it's not something that's immediately recognized by the larger community. Despite the doubts I have regarding my own writing, the artist's talent is readily apparent. Like, what she does is really good, and I'm so lucky to be able to work with her on this project. Even if it's difficult for me to have faith in myself, I can believe in the quality of the artist's work. Along with the artist, I'm creating something interesting and unique and meaningful, and I'm gonna keep going, no matter what...

...if only because the actual process is so much fun. I mean listen, as much as it sucks to get so little positive feedback on Tumblr, I'm not going to complain about how cool it is to get to play around with concept and design sketches like this one of Zelda in fancy princess clothing.

Read more... )
pocketseizure: (Default)
This is from Page 127 of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness...

...wherein a depressed young woman finds the validation and acceptance she's been craving from an online community that supports her. I'm immensely happy for the artist, but this also breaks my heart. This is exactly how I thought it would be for me, and this is what I wanted from fandom, but it never happened.

There's another page in the manga where the artist describes feeling "like being at ninety-five percent rejection" just about all of the time, so that when she experiences even a small rejection it's like the end of the world for her. I think, more than anything, this explains why I tend to get so butthurt about Tumblr. I always feel like I'm already at 95% rejection, so then when I turn to fandom, expecting to find validation and acceptance, the extra 5% of rejection destroys me.

Just as the artist describes it, I have a feeling that I'm not working hard enough, and that I will never be able to work hard enough for my work to be accepted. I'm not depressed like the artist, but this sort of ongoing existential crisis creates the exact same sense of emotional precarity. I wish that fandom could function as a way to escape this emotional precarity for me as it did for her, but I'm already expending so much energy just treading water that I really can't see where I need to go to make that happen.

For the time being, I'm laying low while I take a small break to recover a bit of stamina.
pocketseizure: (Teh Bowz)
In a chapter of her new book Kill All Normies titled "From Tumblr to the Campus Wars: Creating Scarcity in an Online Economy of Virtue," Angela Nagle summarizes her theory on how the right was able to take political power even while the left has become more stridently vocal. She writes:

In the early days of Twitter, a platform in which users are supposed to compete for followers and through which lagging careers can be instantly boosted through the correct virtue signaling, minor celebrities realized that one could attract a following greater than through traditional media. At first, self-righteously or snarkily denouncing others for racism, sexism or homophobia was the most instantaneous and certain way to achieve social media fame. Something about social media platforms, it turned out, was conducive to the vanity of morally righteous politics and the irresistible draw of the culture wars. But soon the secret was out and everyone was doing it. The value of the currency of virtue that those who had made their social media cultural capital on was in danger of being suddenly devalued. As a result, I believe, a culture of purging had to take place, largely targeting those in competition for this precious currency. Thus, the attacks increasingly focused on other liberals and leftists often with seemingly pristine progressive credentials, instead of those who engaged in any actual racism, sexism or homophobia.
Although I tend to think that Tumblr functions differently than Twitter in a number of meaningful ways, this hypothesis makes sense. In fact, I've posted multiple times here on Dreamwidth about how confusing and frustrating it's been for me to be attacked for seemingly minor infractions (such as finding nonwhite fictional characters attractive in the "wrong" way) on Tumblr while actual literal white supremacists drove the U.S. presidential election and were then treated seriously in the discursive forums of mainstream media.

That being said, Nagle's ostensible emphasis on rationality and resulting lack of empathy for other human beings calls her conclusions on leftist culture into question in its creation of major critical gaps. To give an example of what I mean, Nagle is deeply steeped in academic ideology (she wrote a dissertation about this, after all), but for some reason she refuses to reference any political theorists who aren't white, male, and European. As a result, the only women who appear in her discussion are either (a) real or hypothetical victims of online harassment, (b) "special snowflakes" on Twitter and/or Tumblr, or (c) herself, whom she repeatedly positions as being above the "fetishization of vulnerability" that she claims characterizes identity politics.

Essentially, Nagle is uncomfortable looking at the current political situation from the intellectual perspective of anyone who is not white, male, and European. This leads her to make numerous statements such as the following, which precedes a brief discussion of Gamergate:

First, let me be clear on my own position on gaming. If you're an adult, I think you should probably be investing your emotional energies elsewhere. And that includes feminist gaming, which has always struck me as being about as appealing as feminist porn; in other words, not at all.

Statements like this demonstrate that, for someone who goes through great pains in order to connect the contemporary alt-right to twentieth-century academic political philosophy, Nagle really... hasn't done all of the required reading, I guess.

Even though what Nagle is saying about the self-cannibalization of identity politics on Tumblr makes sense, I find it difficult to have any faith in her overall argument, which is basically that the trolls on Reddit and 4chan hate Tumblr-based leftist culture because of course they do, any sane person would. I mean, that's a reasonable thing to say, but it's not really a thesis statement that I would expect someone with a PhD to make, you know? What I'd like to see is a more sensitive and nuanced critique of Tumblr-based political culture from the perspective of someone who is more sympathetic to the concerns of the people who have created communities there; but, to be fair, Kill All Normies is very clear regarding the fact that its focus is on white men.
pocketseizure: (Gator Strut)
"I love your Zelda meta post," I say to a friend. "I'd like to draw a comic about it!" So then of course I proceed to not talk to them for a week, and when I finally sit down and put my pencil to paper this is the sort of garbage that comes out, Jesus Christ.

pocketseizure: (Needs More Zelda)
I've spent the past hour drawing thumbnails for some f/f Zelda pairings I'd like to post pictures of for "Femslash February" on Tumblr, but it's hard.

Last year I got so many messages for so many months from so many people in the Zelda femslash community telling me what a bad person I am and encouraging me to commit suicide. If something like this happens once, it's funny. If it happens a few times, it's just life on the internet. If it happens at least twice a week for eight months, it kind of changes you.

People say that the best way to respond to online harassment is to not respond at all, but this tactic has the unfortunate side effect of making the violence less visible. And then, when you finally do say something, it seems like you're the crazy one for reacting so strongly. When I finally broke down and admitted to a handful of online acquaintances that I was being harassed, they said things like...

"You have to admit that they have a point."

"These people just want to be heard and respected."

"That's rude of them, but you have to understand where they're coming from."

In other words, if the extent of the harassment remains invisible, a culture in created in which the harassers are privileged over the harassed. This is insane, because I'm pretty sure the correct response to a statement like "I'm clinically depressed because I've been receiving death and rape threats every day for weeks" is not "You should think about what you did to deserve this."

At the moment I'm sobbing my eyes out, but I'm hoping this process will be cathartic. And I keep telling myself: It's okay to be a gay girl! It's okay to draw gay girls! It's okay to be in a gay mixed-race relationship! It's okay to draw gay mixed-race relationships! There is nothing wrong with me... except that I kind of suck at drawing.
pocketseizure: (Default)
According to The Best of Tumblr Generator, these are my statistics for 2016:

From what I can tell, this tool only counts original posts in its total for "posts," but in its count for "notes" it tallies all of the notes for all posts, including reblogs. For the "top post" of each month, however, it only takes original image posts into consideration. Like the AO3 statistics tool, it counts the continuing activity on the posts made in a given year within its section for that year, so the "2016" section only counts notes received on the posts made in 2016. I'm not entirely sure if this assessment of how the tool works is correct, but I still got a ton of notes, which is nice. In addition, a few of my posts from previous years still continue to receive a sizeable number of notes, with some of my yearly totals having more than doubled over the past year.

I also have more than twice as many followers as I did last year:

I think I learned three things about Tumblr this year.

First, the number of notes any given post will get is completely random.

Second, it can sometimes take a few months for a post to start getting notes.

Third, although activity on the vast majority of posts will stop dead within 24 hours, activity on certain posts can come and go in waves.

Lol j/k I have no idea how Tumblr works.

I experienced a great deal of Tumblr-related emotional pain this year. Some of this distress came from the repeated harassment targeted at me from April to November, and some of it derived from my inability to build strong relationships. I had expected my friendliness and support to create bonds of affinity and perhaps engender reciprocity, but that never happened, unfortunately. It's important for me to be part of a fandom community, but my understanding of my role within that community needs to be more realistic as I move forward.
pocketseizure: (Cecil Palmer)
In Japan there's a concept called taika, which expresses the idea that everything has a suitable price. This isn't quite the golden rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Rather, it conveys the sense that the smooth functioning of human society requires reciprocity. You cannot take too much, but you also cannot give too much. In order for things to balance out, there must be equivalent exchange.

I think this is why I've become so disillusioned regarding fandom. In order for a fandom to function smoothly as a society, people have to give as much as they take. This can be difficult in some cases. A big name fan, for example, can't possibly return all of the notes that they're given. Still, if there isn't a steady flow of mutual promotion and appreciation between the creators of any given fandom, the community won't be able to maintain itself. People who aren't rewarded for their work will drop out, which means that new people won't have anyone to welcome them.

Back in the LiveJournal days of yore, fans tended to support one another because they read each other's personal journals and therefore saw each other as people. On Tumblr, however, you don't have much more to go on regarding a potential mutual's identity other than an infinitely scrolling wall of reblogged memes, and most fandom posts are devoid of the context of their creation to begin with. Why would you care about supporting someone in the community of your fandom on Tumblr? You don't even know who they are. I wish there were a way to work around this somehow...
pocketseizure: (Default)

The commission in question is (here) !!
pocketseizure: (Gator Strut)
I am fully aware of how narcissistic this is, but recently I've been thinking a lot about why people on Tumblr don't seem to like me.

Generally speaking, my goal is to make the people around me feel happy and appreciated. Or rather, "make them feel" is not quite right; "I'd like them to feel" is closer to what I try to do by sending out positive and supportive vibes. It's hard, though, and I feel like I spend most of my time apologizing. I have so many interactions on Tumblr especially in which I try to be friendly but end up rubbing the other person the wrong way.

There's this idea that, if you keep putting out good work, you will build an audience. I've been posting stories and drawings at a steady rate, and I like to think that the quality of my work has improved, but I seem to have done the opposite of building an audience; there are a lot of people I used to be friendly with who haven't left the fandom but no longer interact with me. I want to put more of myself out there, but I'm so, so afraid. The more people see of me, the less they like me, and the less attention my work receives. I feel like an emotional hypochondriac for perceiving my social interactions on Tumblr like this, but I'm not wrong.

Then again, haters gonna hate.
pocketseizure: (Gator Strut)
Hi, my name is Kathryn. I like anime, and I like video games. Welcome to the nerd circus, we're all pals here!! you might say to me, but this is not necessarily true. Friends, I have to tell you that gaming fandom and anime fandom on Tumblr are like day and nightcore.

I've run in video game fandom circles for a while now, and some of the microaggressions I routinely deal with regarding my fellow gamers would make a grown dinosaur cry. To give an example, I have people who like and/or reblog just about everything I post, but they won't follow me because that would be weird I guess?? Meanwhile, I have actual mutuals who won't like or reblog something I post until someone cooler reblogs it from me. And every so often I'll stumble across something interesting from like 2013, and I'll reblog it from the source, and then one of my mutuals will reblog it from the same source not five minutes later instead of reblogging it from me.

Like, who does that? Who mixes beer and Red Bull and dives deep into the dumpster of a Tumblr tag, scraping past the stale garbage at the top of the feed to get to the fermented trash at the bottom? What sort of unhinged person would think that wading through adolescent wank fantasies and the dank memes of yesteryear for an original reblog is a good idea? Who thinks there's any sort of social prestige to be gained by reblogging from the source? I mean, besides me obviously, but listen.

What I'm trying to say is that video game fandom people can be kind of bizarrely competitive sometimes, and they also tend to form oddly exclusive teams. This might be because video games themselves encourage such patterns of behavior, but it might also be because there's something about video games that's a little bit cool maybe. Celebrities play games, musicians play games, and there are even attractive and charismatic people who design games. You can be a game fan and still be "cool." I have never been cool in my life and don't know what that entails exactly, but the point still stands.

Anime, on the other hand, is not and has never been cool. Literally not a single human is going to accept a prestigious entertainment award and thank Megumi Hayashibara for being an inspiration, you know? Us anime fans are all hanging out in the scrub lands of popular culture, crouched around the digital bonfire that is Tumblr and passing around a tin cup of whiskey. "I've seen some shit," one of us will say. "Do you remember the English dub of Gurren Lagann in aught-eight," another will answer. And then we'll all sigh deeply and mutter something that sounds suspiciously like This drill is... my soul!! which we all know in our heart of hearts never made any damn sense. As internationally famed director Hayao Miyazaki so wisely stated, "Anime was a mistake."

Because we're all in the landfill incinerator together, anime fans stick close to one another. If an anime fan follows you on Tumblr, they will follow you forever, through thick and thin, through your changing interests and your social justice warrioring phase and any incomprehensible shitposts you may generate. When an anime fan finds another anime fan, they are Tumblr Waifus for Laifu. Treasure your anime fan mutuals, because they've got your back while the video game people are up to shenanigans.
pocketseizure: (Ganondorf)
As I continue to reblog cute pictures and post fluffy shipfic on Tumblr, I continue to be tagged on reblogs of social justice call-out posts. As far as I can tell, I'm being targeted because of a pseudo-literary reading of Ganondorf's villain monologue at the end of The Wind Waker (link), which is a fairly lazy piece of writing but for some reason got a decent number of notes when I posted it back in March.

I was doing a lot of "volunteer activism" at the time - one of my lawyer friends dragged me along to babysit people's children while she did pro bono legal advocacy for people whose relatives had been imprisoned during the recent riots in Baltimore - and a relatively minor but still important part of my motivation for posting the piece was that my experiences had made me sick and damn tired of seeing Ganondorf being portrayed as "evil angry barbaric Oriental other." Ironically, I'm now being accused of perpetuating neoliberal and neocolonialist ideology, ie, "black people always want white people's shit."

It's complicated, and I'm willing to acknowledge the validity of multiple points of view. What I am not willing to acknowledge is the condescending and counterproductive assumption that I am ignorant and need to be educated, especially not at the rudimentary "Intersectional Feminism 101" level at which Tumblr seems to operate (probably because a majority of its most active users are in fact college students).

As Angela Davis has written, "Whenever you conceptualize social justice struggles, you will always defeat your own purposes if you cannot imagine the people around whom you are struggling as equal partners."

I am going to get that quote tattooed on my palm; and, the next time someone sends me an off-anon message to inform me that I am a bigoted cunt and should commit suicide immediately, I will tell them to talk to my hand. Or to read Women, Race, & Class for a more informed and nuanced (and still gut-wrenchingly relevant, even thirty fucking years later) view of how to handle intersectionality, either way is good.

I would consider closing my ask box entirely, but I get a lot of sweet messages from friendly strangers and adorable anons. Also, I want to continue to document the "anti" "aggro" "discourse" on Tumblr, which I think is an extremely interesting subcultural movement. I've been having almost daily conversations with a professional cultural anthropologist friend of mine about the recent drama in the BBC Sherlock fandom, and the two of us are thinking of putting together an actual academic paper about Tumblr-based fandom wank. We have both seen our fair share of epic wank sagas since the early 2000s, but we both agree that the wank on Tumblr is really... special.
pocketseizure: (Cecil Harvey)
Because some idiot tagged me on a reblog of a troll post, and because I was stupid enough to try to engage with them like a rational person, yesterday evening I ended up being hit with just shy of three dozen hate messages and death threats on Tumblr. I've been on the receiving end of this sort of thing before, but the people telling me that they want a fictional character to rape my corpse have always been reactionary men, not radical feminists.

I'm sort of at a loss here. On one hand, I don't want the trolls to win. On the other hand, I'm really not doing okay.

Oh man. All I want to do is reblog cute Zelda pictures once or twice a day. What even is this mess?
pocketseizure: (Silver)
Yesterday afternoon I got an ask on Tumblr in response to a post I made claiming that it was silly for people to attack my fandom, as most people who post work on the tag don't get that many notes in the first place. The person who sent the ask wanted to know why that is. I now strongly suspect it was a troll ask, so I deleted my response (and the original post that triggered it), but I thought it might be worth putting up here. The caveat, which I had included in the tags, is that my answer reflects my own experiences, and I'm sure that other people have had other experiences. Fandom is huge, after all. Still, I've been on Tumblr since 2011, and this is the theory I've developed on how notes work.

Every blog on Tumblr has what I call a "reblog coefficient," which indicates how many notes someone's reblog of a post will generate. If your blog has a reblog coefficient of ten, this means that at least ten of your followers will like and/or reblog any given post from you.

I call the blogs with the highest reblog coefficients "anchor blogs," as they serve as anchors for a fandom. Even when XKit is used properly, it can be difficult to catch everything that comes along in the rapid flow of the Tumblr feed stream, so people attached to a certain fandom will often visit one or two anchor blogs to check for new content, which they will like or reblog directly from that blog.

Tumblr has a category of communities that we can think of as "legacy fandoms," by which I mean fandoms that have inherited a large number of fans from fic-centric fandom communities on Livejournal. To give a concrete example, Hannibal is a legacy fandom of Sherlock, which is itself a transitional legacy fandom of Harry Potter. In the larger legacy fandoms, it's common for fanfic authors to have anchor blogs. Because the essentially visual nature of Tumblr as a platform can undermine the circulation of text posts even within legacy fandoms, however, sometimes fanfic writers will work together to create and co-moderate anchor blogs that are separate from their main blogs.

In video game fandoms on Tumblr, however, the anchor blogs tend to be the blogs of popular artists. An artist's work will generate its own fandom, which will help to propel the broader fandom forward. Perhaps because they themselves are visually oriented, these artists tend to only reblog art. In addition, there are typically several large anchor blogs within any given video game fandom that will reblog anything posted with a certain tag or set of tags, but they also tend to reblog art exclusively.

What this means is that, within video game fandoms, it's rare for a fic post to get more than thirty to forty notes, even if the author's blog is fairly popular. There are exceptions, of course, but they're generally tied to a collaboration between a writer and an artist. This is true for the Zelda fandom, and it’s been true for other game fandoms I've followed during the past five years as well.

That being said, it's entirely possible for someone who isn't an artist (or any other sort of BNF) to have what I call a "bedrock blog," which is a blog that one or more of the anchor blogs follow. Even if a bedrock blog only has a base reblog coefficient of ten, their practical reblog coefficient can be exponentially larger because of their association with an anchor blog. I've noticed a number of commonalities between bedrock blogs, but the one factor that stands out to me is that the people who run them tend to be very chill and friendly – and also extremely active.

In the end, though, Tumblr is not organic chemistry, and nobody is on the site to try to cure cancer. I think its most important function is to allow people to enjoy themselves while discovering new things. Everybody uses Tumblr in their own way, and notes don't always necessarily have anything to do with it.
pocketseizure: (Needs More Zelda)
I just posted the last entry of a 30 Day Zelda Meme on Tumblr.

The whole thing ended up being around 12,000 words. I'm not entirely sure I had fun doing it, but it's nice to know that I'm capable of producing that amount of material if I just sit down every day and write.
pocketseizure: (Gator Strut)
This quote from Neil Gaiman (source) has been making the rounds of social media...

What I tend to see happening more and more is people retreating into their own corners. People seem scared to get things wrong or be shouted at so they form villages in which they agree with every other member, and maybe they go out and shout at the people in the next village for fun, but there’s no interchange of ideas going on. I think we have to encourage the idea that you’re allowed to think things. I have thought a great many stupid things over the years, and I can tell you that there’s not one stupid thing that I ever thought where I changed my mind because someone shouted at me or threatened to kill me. On the other hand, having great discussions with good friends, possibly over a drink, has definitely changed my mind and made me try to do better. You’re allowed to do better, but we have to let people do better.

...and, while I don't always agree with everything Gaiman says or does (ironically titling his most recent collection of short stories "Trigger Warning" was kind of a dick move, for example), I tend to agree with him that shouting at people doesn't encourage anyone to change her mind. Personally, as a hardcore advocate of intersectional feminism, I completely understand why people get angry, and like a feminist Hulk I am always walking around angry myself. Still, I'm not sure what to make of the messages I routinely receive on Tumblr...

...so this is basically how I'm feeling about fandom right now:

(image source)
pocketseizure: (Ganondorf)
This past Thursday was intense. I woke up, checked my email, and immediately got two gut punches.

The first was an aggressive comment left by a libertarian friend of mine on the article that had run on the gaming site. This friend (who is otherwise a decent guy) is a child of immigrant parents who worked hard to make it in life, and the hardships he's endured have engendered an attitude toward the world that might be summarized as "society doesn't owe anyone anything." His comment was along the lines of "I don't understand why we should care about diversity," which the site editors for some reason decided to approve. There was nothing particularly offensive about the comment, but every time I have to politely explain that increased accessibility hurts literally no one a baby octopus loses its tentacles.

The second was a ridiculous bit of unsolicited concrit on AO3 left by a random stranger who began his comment with the statement that he found one of my stories by means of 4chan. The way he structured this comment was so bizarre, like, "I know that people generally don't like concrit, but I love it, so I'm going to point out something obvious that you probably already know is a problem." When I (stupidly) replied to him to say that I indeed wasn't looking for concrit and that the element of the story he didn't like was a conscious thematic decision, he responded with almost stereotypical sad panda gaslighting, saying that I failed to understand him and that he was only trying to help, why did I make such negative assumptions about him, etc.

To recover a bit of emotional energy before I went to work, I got on the "Wind Waker" tag on Tumblr, which is a happy place for me filled with cute art and screenshots. Apparently the not-quite-troll from Tumblr was not done, however, as she'd used the tag to distribute a number of posts that, although they didn't mention me directly, were obviously mean-spirited reactions to specific meta I've written about the game. Stumbling across these posts was unpleasant, of course, but it was my fault for not blocking her. After I took care of that, I returned to my main Tumblr dash to find that mutual friends had reblogged other things she'd posted, meaning that they read through all of her attacks against me, shrugged, and continued to engage with her. As my libertarian friend might say, no one owes anyone anything, but I was still hurt.

These days I'm feeling unwelcome everywhere I go.

In the real world, I worry about money and feel poor all the time, but online I'm treated like some sort of wealthy capitalist apologist because I no longer live in poverty. In the real world, I have to deal with the consequences of cultural homophobia and queer panic every day, but online I'm treated like some sort of het oppressor because I'm not a gold star lesbian. In the real world, I'm constantly made to feel like I'm not intelligent or qualified enough, but online I'm treated as if I'm ostentatiously flaunting ill-gained knowledge. In the real world, I routinely get forced into acutely vulnerable positions because of my protests against specific instances of institutional racism and racist discourses, but online I'm treated as if I'm a white supremacist for writing about nonwhite characters.

Aside from completely abjuring all future human interaction, the only way to deal with this sort of nonsense is to carry on as if it doesn't affect me, but I want to say for the record that it isn't easy.
pocketseizure: (Ganondorf)
I've been trying to think of how best to describe "Tumblr Drama Part Two," but it's difficult.

Two days ago I got a private message that seemed to be a response to something I had posted on Tumblr tangential to but not directly related to the drama. I say "seemed to be a response" because the message was word salad. I regularly get any number of strange messages on Tumblr, but this was from someone I consider to be a friend. Because I couldn't understand what she was trying to say, and because the only thing I could pick up on was that she seemed to be referring to an interview with someone at Nintendo, I told her that I was interested in learning more and invited her to send me a link if she had it. I felt like a bit of a dick for asking for something without giving anything in return, so I linked her to an open-source academic article that I had found useful in writing the post that I think she was responding to.

To make a long story short, this exchange immediately resulted in a long diatribe against what she assumed to be my privilege. Citing one's sources is academic bullshit, she said, especially because academia regularly discounts the subjective experiences of people from her socioeconomic class. I would never understand this, she continued, because the things I take for granted are luxuries for her. When I tried to suggest that I'm also from a relatively impoverished background and that I have difficulties of my own, she challenged me, stating that the hardships I may have faced are in no way comparable to hers.

What this person seemed to expect was that I provide a testimonial with a full list of the trauma I've experienced in my life. This is a bizarre thing to ask of anyone, but it seems to be fairly commonplace on Tumblr. In order for your voice to count in fandom, you have to enter a contest in which your disadvantages are weighed against those of everyone else. To give a terrifying example that I see with disturbing frequency, if you want to talk about the politics of dubious consent in fanfic, not only do you have to confess to being raped, but you have to prove that you've been raped worse than everyone else. I find the assumption (often clearly stated) that the speaker must remain silent if such information is not provided to be appalling.

I've been working for years to develop certain areas of expertise, and I'm happy to be able to apply what I've learned to my fandom. What both people confronting me seemed to be suggesting, however, is that my expertise is the result of my privilege, which in turn disqualifies me as someone who is able to speak. It's understood that, in order to reclaim the right to be heard, I need to demonstrate that I do not in fact have privilege.

It goes without saying that this is not how "social justice" is supposed to work. The way I understand it, a discursive space built on social justice encourages a diversity of voices in an environment that shuts down hate speech instead of promoting it. Anger has its rightful place, of course, but direct personal attacks are not conducive to fair exchange, nor are competitions over who has had the shittiest life. This sort of nonsense isn't social justice; it's garden-variety social toxicity.

To be honest, I've been finding that my participation in Tumblr culture has been yielding diminishing returns for a few months now. I think it's finally time to leave Tumblr behind and get serious about that book I'm supposed to be writing.
pocketseizure: (Gator Strut)
I'm leaving Tumblr for a few weeks because almost none of my mutuals left "likes" on my fic for the Zelgan Big Bang. I know this is a classic fan tantrum scenario, but bear with me.

It's like, Remember those ten months you spent getting to know people, exchanging asks and reblogs with them, leaving tons of likes and kudos and comments on their work, supporting them in their personal lives and responding to their rambling headcanons via long chains of private messages... And then they wouldn't even touch their fingers to the screens of their phones for a fraction of section to "like" a novella you wrote that was almost tailor-made to their interests?

I'm generally not a bitter person, and I tend to get over things quickly, but I very much want to remember the way I'm feeling right now – the sheer sense of incredulous "what the fuck, guys." I had big dreams about doing cool things with the people I met through fandom, so it's important to remind myself that they're not real friends, and that I would be better served by directing my creative energy elsewhere. Basically, I need to re-establish a sense of perspective.

In the meantime, I've been having some really good experiences with commissioning artists. When gift economies fail, there is always capitalism to fall back on.


pocketseizure: (Default)
Pocket Seizure R&D

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