If I were an anime girl, I would apparently be a weak, sickly one, taking meds in order to survive and having executive function issues.
I would also be a vegetarian for reasons of conscience, and would fiercely defend the few people that I deeply cared about.
It just seems very appropriate. And the appropriateness is comforting.
Please poke Claire and tell her to write more.
We've been wanting to write something about plurality for awhile now. Something sort of like our Otherkin FAQ. (You've read it already, haven't you?)
There are two problems with this, though. The first one being that there's already a detailed FAQ about plurality here. (They call it multiplicity, which is a word we avoid because we feel that it excludes median systems, but still.) The second one is that we don't feel as qualified to speak about plural issues as we do about otherkin-ness. Finding our kintype and identities has taken an awful lot of reading, soul-searching, and seeking validation from other people, sort of like realizing we were transgender.
Being a plurality, or a median system specifically? Not so much. And if we had to guess why, we would say it's because we haven't encountered nearly as much pushback about it as we have for being otherkin or transgender. So we've never felt the same need to justify our existence as a plural system, which means that we haven't gone over and over the explanations in our head and in essays and stuff, the way that we did with the other things.
Having said that, other people have experienced discrimination, as a result of being open about being part of a plural system. And we keep feeling like we ought to write something about plurality in our own words, if only to serve as a resource for readers and friends.
So if you've ever asked yourself questions like "WHY DOES SHE KEEP SWITCHING BETWEEN 'I' AND 'WE' IN THE SAME SENTENCE FFS," read on!
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Our Otherkin FAQ explains the concept of "kintypes," which is basically "what you are on the inside" and can be anything from an animal to a mythical creature or fictional character. Many "therians," "otherkin," and "fictives," like us, incorporate this belief into their already-existing religious practice and leanings. Others see it not as a mystical truth but a goal, an ideal, or simply an explanation for "why I feel this way" that rings true to them.
Either way, for those who feel they may be otherkin finding one's kintype is a process of self-discovery, similar to (but distinct from) finding a totem or a patron saint. You don't have to stick with the same one forever, and just because something strikes you as "cool" doesn't mean that it necessarily calls to you, holds personal meaning for you, or feels deep down like it's what you've always been all along.
Having said that, if we  got to choose our own kintypes instead of dealing with that messy self-discovery business, here's what we all would have come up with!
... and what parts of our real nature each choice denies.
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Content note: Sexism, rape, and abuse.
Creeps and assailants of any kind—rapists, harassers, inappropriate co-workers, slimy strangers in a bar—rely on complicity to function. They know it is unlikely that their actions will elicit repercussion. They commit crimes [...] without fear of ever being punished because they’ve learned that they won’t be. And so we have a culture that treats [victims] like voiceless, undermined objects of servility. [...]
Silence may seem civilized, but passivity is diabolical.
- Carly Lewis, The Year of Complicity
The original piece is specifically about certain high-profile, famous rapists, whose fame entitled them to commit horrible acts while others looked the other way. I feel that it really describes why I haven't felt comfortable in any Free Company in FFXIV, though, and I will explain why so that people who don't play the game can relate it to their own experiences.
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I hope I will eventually find enough people in-game who value my friendship that I'll feel safe in their home and their chat.
There are two ways to get someone to contribute to society, for varying definitions of "contribute" and "society."
One is to require it of them, and to deprive them of their wants or even needs if they don't perform as demanded. The other is to give them such abundance that they cannot help but share.
Everything that I've seen suggests that the latter is much more effective, and that nearly everyone uses it whenever possible. They reserve the former method for people they don't like, or that they feel entitled to exploit because they do not see them as people.
This site is hosted on Dreamwidth, fandom enclave extraordinaire, so let's talk about fandom to start with. "Pirated" shows, lovingly subtitled by their fans, helped turn anime from an art style into a major Japanese export. Fandom could not get enough, and paid generously both through buying official and licensed products (once they became available) and by creating fanwork such as cosplay.
I used to be a professional writer, before things went south for me in that department. My best work, both in "pageviews" and in self-perceived quality, was what I was most passionate about, because I wanted so much to share with people what I'd learned. Whether because I was excited about it, or because I was incensed and wanted to share my moral outrage, or raise awareness of an issue.
Sometimes I needed a deadline to get me to write. But when my work became all about deadlines, and the supervisors who had stood up for me mysteriously went absent, and new rules kept me from writing essays like the ones that had won me awards and made lots of money ... I actually shut down from stress. I couldn't do it anymore, not and deal with my sudden personal / family crises at the same time. It wasn't until I felt secure with my partner's financial support that I could coax myself into writing again, to help my partner with expenses and to reward myself with a few games and toys.
I contributed the most to free and open-source software when I felt the most valued by its community, especially when they paid my living expenses as part of the Outreach Program for Women. I was so grateful to my sponsors and mentor, and even though I was living with untreated major depression I pushed myself to work on GNOME. Not just to give back to my benefactors, but because I believed in GNOME's mission and I wanted underprivileged girls to have a free OS of their own.
When the cheques stopped, the program ended, and community interactions showed me how little the free software world valued both women and "women's work" outside of anomalies like the program, I was surprised to find out there was nothing to keep me devoted to them. And that I liked Windows 8 a lot more than free software OSes, and that Microsoft, even as a for-profit company, was sharing a lot more with people like me than the free software "community" was.
Share the wealth
Now I'm surrounded by toys and games in abundance, and the one thing I most want to do is make something worthy of them, and of the people who gave them to me. I want to use the talents that I seem to have, to make artwork like fanfic and models and RPG books, and share them with those who appreciate them.
I play single-player video games, and trim plastic models, and read books curled up in my den, and it makes me want to give back. Not because of duty or forced gratitude, but because it's a natural expression of how I feel. I have to write things that continue the story. I have to share screenshots and work-in-progress photos, and enthuse about things that excite me, and find people to be excited with.
I feel so inspired, I have to share and create.
I think that's how it is for most people.
I think people who don't, or won't, or can't, at least not in socially acceptable ways, don't deserve to starve or be homeless.
Content note: The links in this essay may contain NSFW artwork or ads, or animated icons.
One of the artists I follow on FurAffinity was recently surprised to find out someone had taken on the persona of an incredibly popular character he designed, on Twitter. He didn't explicitly say (in the journal) that he disapproved of this, but soon afterwards the Twitter account vanished.
As far as I know, the person on Twitter did not credit him in any way. He also did not mention them making money off of his persona. He, on the other hand, has sold commissions of people's characters posing with this character.
I used the phrase "taking on the persona" rather than "impersonating," there, because I'm not sure I see anything wrong with what this person did besides not crediting him as the artist. I'm not even sure one should need to ask permission for something like this.
If someone looks at our avatar, and has the same feeling the-part-of-us-that-is-Rei did when she watched Evangelion for the first time, I don't want to take that away from her.
I don't want to pretend it's impossible that she exists.
I don't want to tell her that what she is feeling is wrong.
I don't think she should be able to tell me not to be upset, when she posts transphobic nonsense on her Tumblr. But I don't think that should be illegal because of an exclusive "right" that I have to this character. I think that it should be outlawed because it's hate speech.
I personally feel the whole system of ownership is designed by and for rich people, usually rich white hetero cis men. The whole system of "property" seems designed to transfer as much social and financial wealth to them as possible, at the expense of fans and indigenous peoples. Then, after they "own" everything, they license or rent it to everyone else, including in some cases the people who made it.
The first victims of "property rights" on this continent were First Nations people. My understanding is that many of them didn't know just how evil the men they were dealing with were, until they found out that they'd "sold" their lands. And that they continue to be victimized in this way today, by "copyright" laws which allow capitalists to exploit their oh-so-exotic designs for profit and ignorant white people to use their designs without attribution.
But try to sell your Final Fantasy fangame, or publish fanfic without attaching this to it:
I DO NOT OWN THIS! All characters (c) by Square-Enix
And watch the legal and/or popular reprisal.
People self-police on this stuff, in the parts of the web that I go to. I think some of that is okay. You really should attribute the original creators. You shouldn't impersonate them or imply their endorsement of your work, whether you're drawing fanart or explaining religious beliefs.
(Don't get me started on the irony of Christians getting mad at Mormons for appropriating Christianity.)
But a lot of the policing goes on along lines of oppression. Corporations sue fans for making things that were inspired by the work of another person just like them, just because the people in charge have the money to say that they "own" that person's work. And people who had the lifestyle and ability to allow them to create artwork tell people who don't that they aren't allowed to have refs for their RP characters.
When I start creating a new character, like the one that I played in D&D Encounters, the first thing I do is look up other people's interpretations of that idea (or ones like it) on DeviantArt and Bing image search. I've never been able to draw very well, and I don't feel that being able to do so should be a requirement for having a personal character. I don't feel that having money should be a requirement.
I don't feel that agreeing with the creator should be a requirement, either.
Just look at the "genderbent" fanart on Tumblr. The feminist appropriations of characters originally meant to be male fantasies. Hell, Christian Sonic the Hedgehog is how I got into writing originally. And I may write elaborate backstories for my characters, but the more popular my writing becomes the more likely it is that someone will draw them as her lesbian love slaves.
(Plz send me links if you do.)
Sometimes, I feel this is wrong. That I do need permission, and that everyone who disagrees with us should have the right to shut us up. Or at least the people in the social justice world, or whatever we look to for morals and purpose these days.
But the thing is, if I had to get permission from everyone whose ideas I use, I would have to throw out two-thirds of my identities and all of my essays about them. What should I ask them for, anyway? The right to exist? To use the words that they say to mean what they say they mean?
Does the word "dysphoria" stop meaning what transgender people say it does, when a trans woman who's also an otherkin uses it?
I'm not claiming to be an albino Asian girl because I want to make a statement about albinos, Asians, or young women. I'm not saying it to pretend, or insult people, or make money from others' hard work, or make an intentional political statement. I am saying that because it is part of who I am.
I don't care if otherkin hate fictives, trans women hate otherkin, radical feminists hate trans women, or the patriarchy hates radfems. I don't care if everyone agrees that "transethnic" and "transability" are not real things, and that the only people who say they are those things are posers. I don't care if an actual, Asian, albino young woman thinks I'm making fun of her, and I wouldn't care if someone we all agreed was the actual Rei Ayanami told me to please cease and desist.
Even the-part-of-us-that-is-Rei, quiet and compliant as she is, could not do that. Because she can't help but believe that this is who she is, the same way we all agree we're female. She could stop talking about it, stop claiming to be it, or prepend "I believe" to statements she knows to be true. But the people who would ask her to do those things have the privilege of not having to do any of them, theirselves. And if the person she feels she is has less privilege along different axes than we do ourselves, well, maybe that isn't her fault.
I don't think it's right not to credit creatives, and I feel copyright laws should protect them and indigenous peoples from misattribution and capitalist exploitation. But I don't feel that anyone can legitimately gatekeep someone else's access to a myth or an identity. Whether their "ownership" of the "intellectual" "property" comes from being the artist, hiring the artist, or being a person who has been hurt or oppressed, on account of believing in that myth or having that identity.
"Fake geek girls," represent.
Trans women, represent.
Trans everything, represent.
This essay is part of a series based on Meirya's 30 Days of Otherkin Challenge. These essays describe what it's like for Jewelfox to be otherkin. If you don't know what otherkin are, please read Jewelfox's Otherkin FAQ.
Because jewelfox is a plural system, each member will answer each question for herself.
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