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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7 thoughts on “WOC and Double Standards in Fandoms

  1. Yeah, number 16 is probably the one I ran into the most when it comes to POI since apparently people on there are fine with 2 white guys getting together or 2 girls where one is suppose to be a minority but if you looked at a picture of Sarah, you could easily mistake her as white, but a black girl and a white guy, oh no that’s not needed or they are just friends. I heard excuse after excuse for the last 2 years so that gets old.

    One thing that I find funny on POI is the circumstances for Taraji’s and Sarah’s departure since there were clear differences since the EPs have favoritism towards Sarah. I would ask now where the minorities are on the show because the show just seems to throw them away any chance that they get while the main cast is now portrayed as all white. Taraji said she was told 9 months in advance that she would be leaving for good, well short of her 3 year contract and wasn’t allowed to say anything. She was playing such a popular character and televisions shows have admitted to these types of decisions before and changing there mind such as Bones and Breaking Bad. It’s absurd how she got the boot and didn’t even let her spot stay open because she was not leaving for other obligations despite other people claiming that as the reason since Nolan told her. She had never asked to leave. Sarah on the other hand was allowed to publicly broadcast her departure to which the EPs were more than happy to have her back only after 5 months when she said 2 years.

    Taraji was an unknown actress to me until this show. After a few episodes, I became a fan of her because of how she was able to portray the character, for example being a mother. She had garnered a fanbase through her Joss Carter character because there are women out there that could relate to her as a hard working single mom. However, she was discarded in such an underhanded way that no one, not even her fellow cast mates, knew she was leaving which was unfair. Thankfully she has moved on to garner so much success for her role as Cookie while POI falls even harder everyday.

    Taraji, Viola, and the woman from Scandal (I apologize for forgetting her name) were at the Emmy’s this year and Viola made history as being the first black woman to win the award which really tells how much WOC are being recognized with her and Taraji’s show being fairly new. Too bad there are people out there that would rather intentionally give out bad information to badmouth someone just because of their success. When Taraji’s son got arrested a few months ago, people were so quick to jump on that and talk crap but no one said anything about how she later apologized. That was conveniently missing.

    Talk about some ignorant people. This post was spot on and great breakdown.

  2. Even though I am not WOC I have experienced a lot of this first hand since becoming a fan of Carter on Person of Interest,  Abbie on Sleepy Hollow and Iris on The Flash. I’ve watched as Carter fans were kicked off POI forums and Facebook pages for relativity minor offenses while fans of the white characters where allowed to get away with personal attacks and racist remarks. And yet the admins of the those pages will tell you how they’re not racist. I know of one fan who got kicked off a POI FB page for pointing out that one of the admins was making racist assumptions about Taraji. The racist admin is still an admin, the person who pointed out the racism was banned from the page by the person who made the racist comments.

    This is why this site exists!

  3. The thing I always find so interesting is that the people who support the double standards never see it as such.  If you asked them what is it about the woc they don’t like and then point out the same characteristics in a WM or WF they never see it for what it is.  Not just a double standard but also a harbored misogyny and racism.  They don’t see themselves that way so if you point it out to them of course they will be offended.

    I think it will continue to be a uphill battle for WOC’s in fandom until more of us come to fandoms, work across fandoms or create more of our own safe places for WOC’s in fandom and welcome anyone who wants to expand their view of the world.  TV is still fighting the battle of having a WOC in a role that just lets her be a person, wife, girlfriend, mother or a competent leader, someone you can and should root for.  Fandom is just now getting the news that it’s possible to have WOC characters like that.

    Having said that.  I have high hopes for Michonne and Rick.  But then maybe not…Rick is crazy half the time.

    1. I refuse to get my hopes up about Richonne.  The showrunners act like they don’t seem inclined to go there.  I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t trust none of these showrunners where black women are concerned.

    2. The thing I always find so interesting is that the people who support the double standards never see it as such.  If you asked them what is it about the woc they don’t like and then point out the same characteristics in a WM or WF they never see it for what it is.  Not just a double standard but also a harbored misogyny and racism.  They don’t see themselves that way so if you point it out to them of course they will be offended.

      Truth. In the POI fandom there were a lot fo people who claimed to not like Carter because “She got John shot!” OK she din’t mean to get him shot, Snow lied to her, but fair enough; except they were invariably fans of Fusco, who tried to kill John TWICE. None of them ever answered the question “How could you like Fusco and not like Carter?” But we know.

  4. Well I think my hopes for Richonne are misplaced.  Partly because this is an already established story and I don’t think they hook up in the comic but Rick and Andrea do hook up in it.  I can’t fault them for wanting to stick to the story to a certain degree.  Even though some things have been drastically changed from the comic already, such as Andrea still being alive and Glenn being dead by now.

    However I think the fandom(as well as Andy Lincoln’s mom) would welcome Richonne happening sometime soon.  Don’t know how tuned in, attuned to or influenced by the fans the show runners are so they might not care what the fans would like.  I think it was at SDCC when Lincoln stated that his mom told him that Rick really is crazy if he doesn’t get with Michonne.  But he had to quickly and very strongly state that he, himself, was not shipping them.  It sounded like he didn’t want to get into trouble by supporting that ship.  The audience  however seemed to be on board with it.

    There are still a lot of people who don’t think that Carter’s demise had any influence on the rapid decline in POI numbers.  She was a WOC of no consequences so her exit could not be the start of the ratings slide for the show.  I think TPTB severely underestimated TPH’s contribution to the show, the size of her fan base and the fact that she was a well known, talented and well liked WOC in the black community.  They were unaware that their demographic for the show wasn’t just the coveted WM between 14 and 40.  But they found out very fast that there is another demo(BF) that they had ignored to their chagrin.  They refused to acknowledge it but the numbers speak for themselves.  Do I still watch POI, yes.  Hate watch it , no.  I am interested in what twist TPTB are going to do next that they had said the show was not about(ie Shaw’s and Root’s romance) and how they will justify it.  I also want to see who they kill(major character) in the last season.

    Though I am enjoying Cookie I really miss Carter.  I wasn’t sure I was going to watch Empire because IMHO TPH is still playing a stereotype.  The hoodrat that’s gonna do whatever she needs to to get by.  Yeah it’s been brought up out of the gutter, so to speak, with all the glitter, fashion and awesome music(lovin’ most of the music) but it’s still in it.  I really did like Carter because she was somewhat of a different character. She was an action person as well as a veteran, mother and generally a good person wanting to help others. And she was really good at what she did.  After a while though I know I’ll tire of the hate and the double dealing on Empire and I will slowly stop watching just like I did the other shows like this one(Dallas, etc).

    Right now though I’m waiting to see what’s gonna happen with her two new loves. They need to hurry up with that!

     

    1. I agree, seeing Taraji as Cookie has me missing her as Carter. I am glad that she is seeing such success in the role but there are so many people that miss the Carter character. She was such a down to Earth, realistic character that could really be John’s equal. Carter was someone that was replaced by two women who they are now going to push for a lesbian relationship with and of course there is the added fact that of Sarah’s race which I forget what it is. They want to say it’s interracial but really, if you show a picture of Sarah to someone who had no clue about her asked her what she was, 9/10 would have them saying white. It’s absurd how much POI treated any POC, not just Carter, as a throw away character. Look at the black male characters. Quinn is in jail, never to be heard from again, Collier died in the S3 finale and Dominic died in the S4 finale. The Carter character was such a strong character that last for 2 1/2 seasons, gaining a fanbase including myself. They got rid of Taraji’s huge fanbase for Sarah, who is unknown and inexperienced. Taraji has expressed humbleness over her current success and it makes me smile that she is getting such glamorous treatment while POI threw her out like garbage before her contract even ended and now they want to try and get her back, thinking that it will save them from sinking. They had their chance and squander it. Taraji was a likeable person, especially with her castmates. That allowed for a comfortable environment when filming. It’s clear that isn’t the case anymore now. I mean Jim continues to express how much he misses her after such a long time. That’s not something that you can fake and would have been perfect for an on screen relationship. Taraji hasn’t forgetten those fans that continue to show support for the Joss character because she understands that role drew in lots of people. I still miss her:(

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