Tag Archives: misogynoir

Abbie Mills Needs Love Too

I have a question for all the television showrunners and writer’s rooms out there:  Why is it so difficult for you to write for women of color?  Why is it so hard to write us as fully-formed human beings with all the emotions, flaws, weaknesses and strengths that everyone else has?  Why do television writers continue to bungle this so badly?

Recent case in point:  Grace Abigail Mills.  During the last season of Sleepy Hollow, Abbie was sidelined in service to showrunner Mark Goffman’s baffling attempts to make Katrina Crane relevant.  Abbie essentially became Ichabod’s sidekick, relegated to bravely swallowing her own pain and fear while acting as a caretaker, marriage counselor, and financial support to the Cranes.  For those of you who aren’t aware, this bait and switch resulted in Sleepy Hollow shedding millions of viewers over the course of the season and caused the show to teeter on the verge of cancellation before FOX renewed it for a third season.

I’d venture to say that if it wasn’t for an outcry by the fans, Abbie would still be playing second fiddle to the now-dead Katrina Crane (who likely wouldn’t be dead) and would still be mistaken for Ichabod’s sidekick by the media (yes, that happened).

I’ll admit that while the show has mostly reinstalled Nicole Beharie to her rightful place as Sleepy Hollow’s co-lead, some improvements with Abbie’s characterization still need to be made.  Sure, it’s nice that she’s an FBI agent now and that we actually got a chance to see her relaxing at home for a change, but what about things of a more interpersonal nature?  We’re into the show’s third season and we’ve yet to see Abbie date, be kissed, or even be told that’s she’s beautiful.  The folks over on Bones didn’t seem to have a problem remarking on Abbie’s beauty during the recent crossover, but for some reason the Sleepy Hollow writers can’t seem to muster up the ability.  And you know what?

Continue reading Abbie Mills Needs Love Too

WOC and Double Standards in Fandoms

Most people who are being honest with themselves recognize that there are double standards in fandom when it come to women of color characters.  Social media spaces like Twitter and Tumblr can be some of the best places to read meta regarding all the different forms of racism and misogynoir that women of color have to face in fandoms.

One such Tumblr post by womanistglasses did an excellent job of laying out all of the points women of color have had top deal with for years.

As an outspoken Black woman in fandom who has had truly terrible experiences in what is supposed to be a safe space for me, I’ve noticed a few things about fandom and how it treats WOC as a whole. I’m coming from the DC, Marvel, and Teen Wolf fandoms so while I try to keep things vague, I’m not always good at that.

  1. Everything you do as a WOC is scrutinized, but as a Black woman, you get it twice as hard. If you write about fellow Black women or stan for them, someone is always coming for you. If you talk about issues that bug you in fandom, you get written off as being angry/living up to stereotypes.

  2. The reality is that fandom is not a safe and welcoming space for you if you challenge it. Having racebent headcanons briefly discussed is all well and good until you actively question why certain characters were/weren’t written as POC in their canon.

  3. Everything you say will be dismissed as wank.

  4. Or as you having a “politically correct agenda”

  5. You will get more hate for speaking out about issues in fandom than any white person will in your same fandom. (It amps up if you are a Black woman, something I know firsthand to the point where it’s hard as hell to convince myself that I should speak up at all.)

  6. Solidarity literally will not exist for you unless you get it from your fellow WOC who are dealing with the same shit as you or from a handful of allies in fandom spaces who recognize their privlidge and how maintaining their position in fandom isn’t more important than setting people straight. For the most part, fandom will crowd around to jeer at the SJW getting what’s what than they will actively work to combat a system that goes against them

  7. People’s position in fandoms will be more important to them than being correct. Popularity > people’s feelings.

  8. Because of the way people approach and view social justice in fandom, you will often get tossed into the role of the “bad” person or the “social justice warrior” simply because you’re at the end of your rope and not inclined to stay calm. (Note, btw how this happens more to WOC and how Black women in particular are held up as “nasty SJWs” when someone needs an example.)

  9. You will be told/people will talk about how you “deserve” what you get once you get hate and hateful replies and negative link backs because talking about issues that affect you as a WOC in fandom is “starting trouble” to them.

  10. Intersectionality? Don’t expect people to know the meaning of the word unless they’re trying to tell you that it doesn’t exist or that it doesn’t apply to fandom.

  11. The only ism that matters in fandom is sexism. You’ll learn the hard way that even then you’re not allowed to think about the ways different groups of people face different sorts of sexism within/outside of fandom spaces and canon media (see all the people who are refusing to see Beverly Katz’s treatment on Hannibal as something that could possibly be indicative of racialized sexism)

  12. A lack of care for everyone that isn’t a white dude in fandom.I’m talking both about the characters and how when people find dudes in fandom they tend to fawn over them at the expense of treating other people badly for it.

  13. People will thrive on your perceived weakness. If you are a so-called SJW and you go through anything at all, expect people to show up out of the blue to link to your posts on anonymous memes, send you hate if you have anon on (or create accounts to do it while it’s off), and hate-follow you as if to let you know that you’re not safe and you will never be safe as long as you continue to express opinions that the majority doesn’t like.

  14. False equivalences re oppression. Fandom spaces are more openly antagonistic to kink shamers than they are racists. That right there is something that we need to talk about and also stop doing.

  15. BroTP/platonic relationships between POC/white dudes where two white dudes would be shipped to the stars and back not being taken as a sign of racism. If you ship Bucky/Steve or Tony/Steve because of their long-lasting friendship but don’t ship Rhodey/Tony or Sam/Steve despite their relationship being older than most of the people shipping them… and then you refuse to think about the whys… Maybe you should.

  16. Good luck getting significant relationships between women of color on their own or with a white partner/friend because those are rare and almost always shut down by fandom as desexualizing Bromances as if to sink in the fact that WOC aren’t attractive partners to people in fandom.

  17. The fact that WOC in fandom are at this point used to being marginalized on all sides and that evidence of their marginalization is everywhere, but then when they speak out, they’re ignored or mistreated in fandom spaces and held up as examples of what not to do in fandom because talking about serious stuf in fandom equals ~wank~ which is bad but actually embracing and perpetuating things like racism and racialized misogyny is… not a big deal to fandom.

  18. Fandom finds everything subversive and empowering as long as it’s not relating to women of color (where they then suddenly find ways to determine that said WOC are not feminist characters or are too problematic to ignore the way they would/do white characters)

‘Nuff said.

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Fangirls United

I think anyone that’s a fan of any women of color characters on television has had to suffer through plenty of racism and misogynoir in the fandoms.  I know I have.  So much so that I’ve actually left fandoms because the hate and ugliness got so out of hand that it was no longer enjoyable.  In fact, it’s become such a routine part of belonging to a fandom now that more and more television shows are casting women of color leads that defense squads for these characters (and unfortunately, for the actresses that portray them) are usually needed before a show even airs.

That’s why I was delighted to read the Black Enterprise article titled “The Power of Black Women in Fandom.”  It was like someone reached into my head and put into words everything I’ve been thinking and feeling for years.

The article hit a lot of important points, including the many different ways in which black women participate in fandoms, such as voting in polls and being visible on social media to help support and promote their favorite shows and characters.

I don’t watch a lot of live television, but for the shows that  I do watch live, I make sure to live-tweet to show my support.  I also make sure to pay close attention to my timeline and the people that I follow so that when hashtags like #WhereIsAbbieMills and #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter kick off, I can help lend my “voice” to the cause.

Continue reading Fangirls United