jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Today I read a Q&A that went something like:

Q. Is it possible for one of my fantasy harpies to be transgender when they're an all-female species? Isn't that like a human who thinks he's an elf???

A. Of course it's possible, because gender isn't the same as physical sex. Write your own fluff to explain if it makes you feel better.

This is going to sound melodramatic, but the answer that my heart was aching to hear was "who are you to tell [PLAYER] what body their character would prefer?"

Yelling, swearing, angry depressive rant. )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

(Content note: TERFs, transmisogyny, xenophobia directed at otherkin and other invisible minority groups.)

I wrote, awhile back, about some social justice warriors on Tumblr, who take a break from smashing the kyriarchy to enforce it on minorities they don't like.

Not all people who profess a concern for social justice, or identity as SJWs are like this. The ones who are, though, use a skill that I called "mind-reading," but is really more like "depersonalizing someone by claiming their identity is not genuine and is just an extension of their privilege."

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Danah Boyd wrote a review of Alice Goffman's "On the Run," about the way that the poor Black community interacts with (or is fractured by) "law enforcement." She also shares her own experiences with police abuse and corruption.

Not being able to be identified as a POC, I'm shielded from a lot of these terrors by white privilege. On the other hand, I'm poor, I look kind of genderqueer even while presenting as male, and I experience mental illness. All of these things make me vulnerable to maltreatment from pretty much any institution, and I'm always surprised when I don't get it.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

And was reminded of why I usually don't.

I'm a fan of the kind of intersectional feminism I usually see advocated on the Geek Feminism blog, even if I think it doesn't go far enough (it's annoying to hear people equate "human" with "person"). My experience with Tumblr social justice activism, though, has been much more negative.

It's not about people there being young, queer, or angry, or being whatever kind of person isn't allowed to have an opinion. It's not about being called on my privilege, either.

It's the mind-readers.

Tumblr social justice mind-readers know that you're being yourself just to upset them. Your identity is either a roleplaying character bio or proof that you "need help." You are appropriating them and their marginalized identity by being who you are, and you need to stop it right now.

This is hard for me to deal with, because it's the same kind of crap that I've gotten from my parents of origin and from religious authority figures my whole life. The person I am, they say, is unacceptable to them, is a performance I'm deliberately putting on just to offend them. I can choose to stop any time I want, and the fact that I haven't yet is proof that I'm terrible.

This really gets to me. Because deep down, I feel like the correct response is to disappear for their benefit, even if I have to kill myself to do so.

It takes a conscious effort for me to tell myself that no matter who someone is, no matter what authority they claim, and no matter what they're accusing me of, if the choice is between upsetting them and dying then I have to flip them the bird. Because that really does not come naturally for us.

Even though we're part protobird.

If our saying that upsets someone, or our using the first-person plural whenever we feel like it upsets someone, the most I can do for them is apologize for the confusion. I don't have the time or emotional resources to educate everyone who challenges me to a debate and then argues in bad faith. I'm not obligated to justify my existence to anyone.

The only obligation I feel is to explain who I am, what is important to me, and why. For my benefit, and for the benefit of anyone else who's having trouble finding the courage to be themselves.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

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.

A black-and-magenta foxgryphon with wings, wearing a sleeveless teal top and jean shorts.
Artwork by [personal profile] aliaspseudonym.

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?

Rei 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.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
Thinking about my last post, I want to strike the last example I gave in it. I only remember hearing about that event third-hand, and [personal profile] citrakayah pointed out that I was not even using the correct terminology.

Instead, I want to point out a few things that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym and I have noticed, and that I've spent awhile discussing with him. I'm going to try to use personal experience more when discussing this.

Read more... )
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
Ana Mardoll wrote a great piece on this. She discusses it both firsthand, as a Wiccan, and as someone who's seen the Quileute tribe exploited in the Twilight franchise and thought this was Not Okay. And she uses some very good stories and examples, both to point out what is Not Okay and to raise questions about what, exactly, is Not Okay about "cultural appropriation."

I think those questions need to be asked. What's bad about cultural appropriation, after all? Is it that one person is being silenced, or is it that another person is finding their voice and is saying things they aren't allowed to?

Trigger warning for discussion of privilege, oppression, racism, transphobia, religious supremism, and genocide.

Read more... )
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
May you never hear me say that your identity isn't real, that you don't have a right to it, or that it offends me personally.

May I never bully you because I don't think you're bullied enough.

May I never accuse you of appropriation for being yourself.

May I never forget what it's like to be looked down on.

May I always respond with empathy, and never with incredulity.

May those who would do otherwise never feel comfortable around me.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

Subscribe

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Jun. 22nd, 2017 10:09 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios