the stupidest thing in the entire harry potter series was when they go down to the slytherin dormitory and it’s all dark and slimy and freezing and shit. as if lucius malfoy would let his son live in squalor like that. the house with the highest concentration of spoiled purebloods are happy to live under the goddamn lake? no.
wow this is the #1 best harry potter criticism i have ever read
the essential dichotomy of the two very different things jkr seemed to be trying to embody in slytherin which are just not compatible if you ask me.
you’ve got the malfoy side of slytherin. blood purity, deliberate class metaphors, deliberate race metaphors. this kind of slytherin is all about old wealth, british identity, and privilege-based violence. the malfoys are SUPER WHITE they are the WHITEST WHITE, and with that goes this image they project as benevolent philanthropists, while they privately (and then not so privately) degrade and exploit and abuse those they consider categorically lesser (muggle borns, house elves, people poorer than them, etc). this is the slytherins-are-privileged-racists side of the house traits.
the other side has always kind of struck me as jkr’s-privilege-seems-to-have-led-her-to-use-racist-tropes-to-make-slytherins-more-loathesome side of things. it’s the snape side of slytherin. the side embodied by snakes (and all that weight of judeo-christian inflected nastiness they are supposed to carry). why is the house of POWERFUL pureblood families not represented by some animal associated with institutional power in britain (like I DON’T KNOW A FUCKING LION). this version of slytherin is the kind of evil that is “obvious” because everyone knows snakes are bad (just like rats are bad!!! :|). everyone knows the guy with the black eyes, the greasy hair, the “”“”“sallow”“”“” complexion, and the hooked nose (always comes back to the Ambiguously Ethnic thing doesn’t it) is evil. you know it even before he says a fucking thing. you can tell he’s evil by his body, by his phenotype. because this shit doesn’t exist in a vacuum and like it or not, certain traits have a history of being coded in certain ways, racially/ethnically speaking. the idea of sneakiness, of cleverness, of ruthlessness and questionably moral doing-what-it-takes-to-get-ahead, none of that is coded ROBUST HETEROSEXUAL WHITE CHRISTIAN let me tell you that. slytherins are bad at sports (not like the VIGOROUS HEALTHY GRYFFINDORS) and when they do get close to winning it’s by cheating.
but the thing is if you are running the system, you don’t need to cheat the system. the two sides of slytherin just don’t mesh together.
THIS IS SUPER INCOHERENT I need to structure this into something formal with capitalization when I’m not quite so beset with insomnia and inarticulate rage. I’M NOT EVEN A SLYTHERIN. I just care because if JKR had been really serious about the radical and anti-authoritarian message she seemed to WANT for harry potter, it would have been gyffindor that was the dangerous, privileged, racist house. that’s the house with the traits associated with POWER, and so much of that second slytherin has been associated with groups that are ruthlessly marginalized.
this old post explains it pretty well actually, the antisemitism / anti-foreigner sentiment seething just beneath the surface.
i love harry potter but sometimes i fucking hate harry potter you know?
The basic plot, which cannot be ignored even in the films, is that Harry, Hermione and Ron give up everything for their political struggle. They drop out of high school, they go illegal, defy the government, belong to an underground organization [The Order of the Phoenix], operate out of safe houses and forests and even raid offices of the government and banking offices. This is all done in principled opposition to the Dark Wizard Voldemort and a corrupt bureaucratized government that has been heavily infiltrated with his evil minions. This is revolutionary activity. But the movie version does not present it as such or emphasize these radical aspects of the plot, thereby entirely missing the dramatic sweep and action present in the first half of the last novel.
The novels recognize the importance of alternative media for political struggle. The mainstream press [The Daily Prophet] is shown as unreliable and unprincipled, eventually deteriorating into a fear-mongering propaganda machine for the Voldemort-controlled bureaucracy. For a while the alternative but above ground media [The Quibbler] publishes the real news, but it ceases to print after the daughter of the publisher is kidnapped. In the book, friends of Harry [Lee Jordan, with Fred and George Weasley as frequent guests] start broadcasting the real news from an underground radio station, encrypted with a password. This radio station becomes a critical link for the resistance, which is scattered and weak. Although we are treated to some radio broadcast updates in the movie, they are delivered by a disembodied and professional sounding voice, not our friends the Weasleys. This undermines the important message - a guiding principle behind the media coop - that in a serious situation it becomes necessary to produce your own media and not to rely on ‘professionals’.
The novel makes it clear that in this phase of the struggle the characters romantic lives take a backseat to their political activity, as Harry breaks up with the love of his life [Ginny Weasley] so as to avoid making her a target for Voldemort’s forces, who are known to use torture and kidnapping as tactics. The ‘love triangle’ that becomes the focus of the movie isn’t even really present in the books. In the books, the relationship between Harry and Hermione is totally platonic - Ron is shown as jealous, but the feeling is entirely without foundation. In the book Harry says to Ron: “I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It’s always been like that. I thought you knew” (pg 378, DH US Hardback). This conveys that men and women can be close comrades and friends without being involved romantically. But in the film, Harry and Hermione are shown dancing romantically, and Harry’s line to Ron about his brotherly feeling towards Hermione does not even make it into the film. This completely undermines the important message that jealousy is counter-productive and has toxic effects, which is an important feminist message for young people.”
Worth a repost
HP is one of the most fundamentally anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, radical books in a WHILE. The books are incredibly diverse in race and gender, including villains. While everyone was screaming about Pullman, and hanging their hats on the witchcraft in HP, Rowling basically put out a roadmap of revolutiinary youth.
Everyone likes to pull the, “Deatheaters are Nazis,” subtext but if you look at the timeline of the text and publication, it’s pretty clear that politically, this is an England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales under Tory rule and in the midst of the Troubles & Thatcherism from the start, with subsequent books written and published in a post-9/11 world.
Rowling wrote the root, branch, and flower of politics and power creating death and despair, where love and unity by choice were the strongest powers. There are reasons for that.
Can someone make a master post of academic discourse surrounding Harry Potter? Now that I’m not in college anymore I do sorta miss reading research papers and essays… but not so much that I want to read ones that aren’t about HP.
I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be for Toph to successfully navigate the situation she was placed in.
Suyin broke the law. She was an accessory to larceny, resisted arrest, and ended up taking actions that might even qualify as assaulting a police officer. For all intents and purposes, this made Lin a partial victim in Suyin’s crime, on top of being her sister and the officer who arrested her. From a professional and familial standpoint, everything about this situation is incredibly loaded.
This placed Toph’s loyalties as a parent and loyalties to the police force directly at odds with each other. It’s easy to lay out discipline within the home, where matters remain private and behavior improvement is catalyzed by the family, but suddenly Toph’s parenting was placed on a public stage. If this had gotten out, then family drama would have been drawn under a microscope and ruin both Toph and Suyin’s attempts to set the situation right. Suyin probably would have served jail time, which not only would affect her future as she transitioned into adulthood, but also reflect badly on Toph. What kind of Chief of Police has a daughter in jail? Or, alternatively, what kind of mother throws her own daughter in jail?
Yet Toph’s decision to throw out the arrest records also left Lin without an advocate. Suyin broke the law. She injured and permanently scarred her sister. If this were anyone else, there wouldn’t even be a question. Why doesn’t Suyin have to face the consequences of her actions? Why does she get to walk away from this relatively unscathed? Why are Lin and Toph the ones who are left behind to pick up the pieces? Frankly, for Lin, none of this is fair. And it’s a sad thing for a family to have to go through.
This totally puts the sisters’ reactions to each other in perspective. As Lin sees it, Suyin ends up with this seemingly perfect life; she finds success, a family, and even still the support of her mother. Lin doesn’t want to see this, and, as a victim, who would? She still wants justice for herself and justice for the burden this case placed on her mother’s career. Suyin’s life shouldn’t be allowed to work out this way, she shouldn’t be allowed to be happy and never face consequences, why can’t life be fair?
But that all-so-important family element, the part Lin tried to forget from the beginning, comes back into play. This situation isn’t just about what happened between a police officer and a dangerous teenager. The shades of the situation aren’t just professional; they’re also deeply personal. Suyin and Lin took these different paths in life, with Lin following in her mother’s footsteps, and Suyin doing nearly everything to fall on a different path. And the sisters criticized each other’s life choices each step of the way. Lin wants validation for the path she took, and the fact Suyin found success in such a supposedly impossible place is frustrating for Lin to see. But this is something the sisters have in common; Suyin also sought her mother’s attention and approval. Both were raised with ambition and pride.
Fortunately, this common ground is enough to begin to break the barrier placed between them thirty years ago. Lin starts to recognize the need to let go. Suyin’s life is different, but it can also be good, because time can heal wounds and atone wrongs and now Suyin is a different person. And Suyin starts to recognize how her actions and her past affected her loved ones, and that she can’t move on as if no one was ever hurt, because her actions did have consequences. They’re on terms now where they can start to put the hurtful past behind them cultivate a relationship on that shared ground. And getting there was difficult —because the situation around it is so incredibly loaded— but it’s tied tightly enough to family and the individual that it was a barrier well worth breaking for both of them.
Anonymous said: What did Dumbledore do that makes him a bad person? It's been a while since I've read the series and I'm curious.
Dumbledore is literally the scum between my toes
- LEAVES A 1YO CHILD ON A DOORSTEP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT LIKE ‘OH NVM THEYLL FIND HIM IN THE MORNING LOL’
- knows good and well how the dursleys are abusing and neglecting harry and just LETS THE SITUATION CONTINUE even though we see in the fifth book that he has the power to stop it (the ‘remember my last letter’). he lets harry be LOCKED UP IN A CUPBOARD and abused for ten years both because of the ””protection”’ privet dr has for harry (don’t worry, it’s only at the cost of his emotional and mental wellbeing, it’s all good) and because he WANTS harry to fall in love with the wizarding world, like voldemort did, like snape did, because it will make him easier to manipulate
- GROOMS HARRY TO BECOME A PERSON WHO WILL WILLINGLY DIE FOR ””’THE GREATER GOOD””
- PURPOSEFULLY WITHOLDS INFORMATION FROM HARRY AND KEEPS HIM UNINFORMED SO HE’LL DO WHAT DUMBLEDORE WANTS WHEN DUMBLEDORE WANTS HIM TO DO IT
- tells harry in ootp that he kept the truth from him because HE ACCIDENTALLY ENDED UP CARING ABOUT HARRY. LIKE OH HERE’S THE KID I’VE BEEN PLANNING TO KILL AND HAVE LET LIVE A MISERABLE LOVELESS LIFE IN ORDER TO RIGHT THE WRONG OF THE OTHER BOY I FEEL LIKE I LET DOWN AND I ACCIDENTALLY REALISED HE’S A HUMAN BEING WELL FUCK
- told arabella figg she couldn’t be nice to harry when he went to her house? like what the FUCK?
- after all his lectures and ”’wisdom”’ STILL GOES AFTER THE HALLOWS HIMSELF BECAUSE HE WANTS THE POWER
- literally told harry the only reason he didn’t make him a prefect was because he didn’t want people to think he ””plays favourites”” like he didn’t last minute give gryffindor the house cup like four fuckin years in a row because of harry
- KNEW HE WAS GOING TO DIE AND DIDN’T TELL/PREPARE HARRY FOR THE EMOTIONAL DEVASTATION OF LOSING ANOTHER/HIS LAST FATHER FIGURE AND EVEN MADE HARRY WATCH HIM DIE
- locked sirius up AFTER HE HAD SPENT TWELVE YEARS IN PRISON in the house where he was ABUSED AS A CHILD AND MADE TO FEEL OUTCAST AND UNLOVED and pretty much exacerbated sirius’ arrested development and feeling of worthlessness because he’s dumbledore and dumbledore knows best
- LET SNAPE TEACH AT HOGWARTS FOR 15+ YEARS DESPITE KNOWING FULL WELL HOW HE TREATED STUDENTS JUST BECAUSE HE WANTED TO KEEP HIM CLOSE
- HE IS IN A POSITION OF POWER - ARGUABLY THE POSITION OF POWER - AND USES IT TO MANIPULATE AND EMOTIONALLY TRAUMATISE HARRY AND BATTER HIM INTO A WEAPON TO USE AGAINST VOLDEMORT AT THE COST OF HARRY’S FUCKING CHILDHOOD
and this is NEVER ADDRESSED in the books. Dumbledore is never seen as anything but a wise and noble father figure to Harry. HARRY NAMES HIS SON AFTER THIS MAN WHO MANIPULATED HIM AND LITERALLY WALKED HIM INTO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE. FUCK dumbledore.
One of the worst moments of my life was when I realized that Dumbledore was not a great leader on a pedestal but rather a manipulator directing a bunch of mannequins.
Also Merope!! Like that was a moment for me about Dumbles. Just like book 4 was for me and Voldy.
There is this man who takes the story of an abused, young woman who shows no signs of magic and ends up in a very bad situation that leads her to die… and he victim shames the fuck out of her! Based on gossip from people who wouldn’t like her anyway. And filling it in with horrible guesses that leave no real room for doubt.
And on too of it she gets blamed on Voldy being evil because “she couldn’t care enough even raise her wand to save herself” or however fuck that line goes. Followed by comparing her to Harry’s mom. Yes because a malnourished, poor, homeless woman with no real support dying at birth is the fucking same as a middle class woman with lots of support dying because she didn’t move out of the way. It’s completely different circumstances!
Anonymous said: Hey, sorry to bother you but could you explain to me what a meta is? I've googled it but I haven't found anything that really explains it to me in a definite manner.
The best definition I can find online is probably here: http://fanlore.org/wiki/Meta
It’s a concept I’m not sure exactly how to describe as much as it’s something I’ve grown to inherently know what it is and isn’t? Primarily, meta in fandom terms is used for discussion about the universe in ways the creators haven’t addressed - so a fan meta for this past season of Teen Wolf (when we were told we would learn Stiles’ real name, which was a lie) might discuss the possibilities of what his name could be while looking in context at what the show had presented, and what the creators had commented about - then delved into the text some more. (In the case of Teen Wolf, unfortunately, fan meta tends to be a lot better thought-out and continuity-aware than the actual show is).
Essentially, it’s the term used for when fans are commenting or interacting with a piece of work that involves more than just a review, reaction, or recap.
I’ll sometimes tag my commentary meta-ish or mini-meta when I’m going on a bit of a rant that’s less analysis of things and more bringing a lot of little points together to rag on what’s become a ridiculous level of shits-not-given by the powers-that-be, because I see it as less analytic and introspective than what I tend to deem ‘meta’, but more than just a general commentary.
I hope that helped somewhat!
Teen Wolf: Kitsune/Nogitsune Mini-Meta
Before I start, a disclaimer - this is all theoretical, not spoiler-ish. Chances are I’m thinking about this way more in depth than the actual show did. Anyhow, here’s a few random ramblings and thoughts on Teen Wolf & the Kitsune/Nogitsune aspect in Season 3B
I hardly know where to begin when it comes to the kitsune mythology - there are huge amounts that appear to be drawn from, so speculation could go in a million directions, and I don’t want to simply copy and paste everything. Instead, there are a few sections I think are interesting to point out in relation to TW:
Hoshi no Tama: One tradition holds that this literally holds the soul of the kitsune - and I think it has weight in what could be the reason for the nogitsune’s grudge:
“Confound you!” snapped the fox. “Give me back my ball!” The man ignored its pleas till finally it said tearfully, “All right, you’ve got the ball, but you don’t know how to keep it. It won’t be any good to you. For me, it’s a terrible loss. I tell you, if you don’t give it back, I’ll be your enemy forever. If you do give it back though, I’ll stick to you like a protector god.”
Theoretically, someone in Beacon Hills could have the Hoshi no Tama of the nogitsune - being what led it there in the first place. The kitsune are usually expected to deal with problems caused by the nogitsune, so it would follow that it wasn’t Kira’s family who took it - they’re just here to deal with the nogitsune.
One of the curious things about the folklore is how kitsune are apparently able to take on the appearance of anyone, regardless of age or gender - but they have to have something on their head to do so. Though this is different from possession, it goes side-by-side with the ‘unwrapping’ of nogitsune-Stiles head. If they’re staying true to the mythology, it could all be illusions placed upon Stiles, or the real Stiles could be missing entirely - with the only one we see actually being the fox.
It’s also interesting to note the state of ‘Kitsunetsuki' - literally being possessed by a fox. This can help to identify the difference between Kira and her mother, who appear to be Kitsune themselves, vs. Stiles, who's been possessed - the mythology has room for both.
Several other meta-theories have been proposed with Allison being the ‘true’ nogitsune, or possessed - theoretically this would follow the mythology better, as those possessed are usually female.
However, I think it’s important to note that most of the information on the mythology relates directly to Kitsune, the ‘good’ foxes, as it were. The information on Nogitsune is limited, since I don’t read Japanese. It is interesting to note that Nogitsune was "wild fox, used at one time to differ between good and bad foxes. At the time they used ‘kitsune’ to mean a good fox/messenger from Inari and nogitsune as all foxes who did mischief and tricked people. Not really considered evil, more like prankish." So here comes the question of whether Teen Wolf/Jeff Davis thought everything through (and thus the nogitsune has a bigger backstory than just bad/evil), or whether it was just haphazardly thrown together. Could go either way.
On a somewhat unrelated note, I was peering through for meanings of Kira’s name - in the somewhat controversial move of having her father take her mother’s last name (controversial because of the Korea/Japan history), she was given the last name Yukimura. While her name doesn’t appear to have specific meaning, it’s possible that she’s meant to be descended from the famed samurai Sanada Yukimura, who was known as "A Hero who may appear once in a hundred years" and "Crimson Demon of War".
A bit more on Japanese Superstitions & Mythology:
[Superstitions] [Mythology] [Superstitions] [Kitsune] [Kitsune]
Anonymous said: I really like your theory on the Dark Druid! Any thought on why this Dark Druid suddenly came to Beacon Hills? Or if there is any connection with the Alpha pack?
Well, Cora commented that word was spreading that a Hale was alpha again in Beacon Hills - I’m guessing that had something to do with it. The question would be if Cora really did survive, and is part of the catalyst, or if she was brought back first? That, to me, would be the main tie to the Alpha pack - either she was caught by chance, or on purpose.
My worry right now is the preview for the upcoming episode - we’ve been told there’s major character death. Ms. Blake isn’t a major character, at least not currently, but it’s possible that’s who they’re referring to or that she might also die (again, see extended preview). My fear is that they’re going to kill her off and say she had absolutely no connection - and we’re supposed to feel really sad. I think that would be a major disservice to both characters and fans, because that would be saying my first major fear was right - that they didn’t care enough to actually give character development for her/reason behind things like her being in the school records at 2am, that the only reason we’re supposed to care about her is because she’s somewhat involved with Derek. I’ve just started getting positive about possibilities again, but this preview really worried me.
Who Is Jennifer Blake?
Disclaimer: This is not anti-Jennifer/Dennifer! I may not ship it, but you are totally welcome to ship whatever you want. She could be good, evil, or neither, but I do not want to police your right to ship. This is just a meta-bit on who she is/why we don’t know much yet.
This season my biggest problem with Jennifer Blake has been how little we know about her. It felt like the creative team didn’t care enough to give us a character they were developing and fleshing out. After last night, and some other fans’ commentary, I’ve begun to wonder about more intricate reasons we’re not being told much yet. (and hoping to god they exist or I’ll be pissed)
What We Know: Jennifer Blake is a first-year English Teacher at Beacon Hills High School. She was there on the night of the full moon, long after everyone else had left (guesstimated time about 2/3 am?). She needed to be in the records room for some reason. She sees a therapist (good, because in this godforsaken town everyone should). She finds Derek Hale very attractive (not surprising), and commented that this was not how she saw their first date going, insinuating she’d been thinking about it in some context. She also suggests that he not tell anyone he’s okay. (Also, as HelloTailor pointed out, she told him he looked like an open wound and then had sex with him while he was clearly not healed or his wounds covered up? Guessing that’s just TW logic)
Mini-Meta and Questions:
* Jeff Davis has commented that names are almost always chosen for a reason. Shipsanddip has done some excellent research about meanings of names for most of the characters. Here’s a direct excerpt from her Jennifer Blake research:
Jennifer is a Cornish form of Gwenhwyfar which in turn is the proper, Celtic spelling of Guinevere. Guinevere was the Queen consort of King Arthur who infamously had an affair with the knight Sir Lancelot. In light of this, it might be prudent to refresh your memory on that particular story if you don’t remember it. Interestingly, Jennifer in its own right may mean “white fairy” or “white phantom”. So Ms. Blake could be a phantom. Joy!
Blake means black, having been derived from the Old English word “blac”. Being described as black or dark can only bode well for a character.
My conclusion is that Jeff Davis doesn’t want Derek to have nice things. And I hate him for it.
* Romeo and Juliet - Jennifer Blake is an English Teacher, and has demonstrated a knowledge of various titles. When she brings up Romeo and Juliet, I found it kind of surprising - the faked death in that story is what turns it into a tragedy, and there’s no way she didn’t know that. Then again, it could just be brought up because it’s also, for some reason (sorry, theatre person with shakespeare ~Opinions~ here) seen as the most romantic story every written. So the question I have there is whether the writers had it brought up because they thought their audience would all know it (whereas Ms. Blake should have much better comparisons), or for a more purposeful reason.
Theories: The following are some possible theories I’ve been running through in my head.
Theory A) Jennifer Blake is/is working with the “Dark Druid”. This is the one I’ve had the most thoughts on, so bear with me. Jennifer Blake’s name has connections to phantoms, fairies, and blackness, and comes from the Cornish/Old English, much like the Druids. She showed up at the school right before the sacrifices started. She went through the records room when she thought no one else was in the school - possibly to find people with the right qualifications for sacrifices? She had the opportunity to be in the school unquestioned during the hours of Harris/Music Teacher’s disappearances. She had the opportunity to put Wolfsbane in Finstock’s whistle. At the point when the werewolves were in the most danger at the motel, she tried to convince Derek to not tell anyone yet (and see: Romeo & Juliet commentary), and then kissed him and slept with him at a stage where most people seemingly would’ve waited until he healed/they knew more about each other (then again, TW logic). This theory, to me, actually puts reasons behind her actions so far/our lack of information on her, but it also could be a way for the creative team to draw attention away from someone else? (seems unlikely, but always possible, and would be way better than them just not caring enough to flesh her out).
Theory B) She’s working with the Alpha Pack. This one is one I don’t put much stock in - the only evidence I can see is circumstantial; she showed up at a similar time and was the only one we knew to know Derek was alive. Evidence against it - she was in the school the night of the full moon with no visible defense, and looked genuinely shocked when suddenly werewolves showed up (even when only the audience could see her); if she was working with them, I can’t imagine she’d be unaware and unarmed on that particular night.
Theory C) She’s got some other connection, for good or bad, that we don’t have the details to figure out yet.
Theory D) She’s genuinely some innocent bystander and the creative team doesn’t care enough to give us actual information on her, which would be seriously the worst thing that could happen.
Completely Separate Thoughtstream/ possible addendum or alternative to Theory A: We’ve been shown that Stiles is supposed to be good at noticing the culprits early, and one of his major comments was Cora Hale (who I love already, but who we also are getting next-to-no information on). We’ve got the hands reaching out at each other in the opening credits (meta from other people has given good logic to it being the Hales), and a tree that could theoretically represent a family tree, rowan wood, or both. Cora also didn’t show up at the place she’s supposed to be living the entire time Ms. Blake was there that we saw. Bringing up the “white phantom” meaning - what if the two of them are connected in a way that’s meant to bring the Hale Family back from the dead? What if that’s what the sacrifices are for? Similarly, if we go with the “fairy” meaning, what if that’s how Derek suddenly healed everything at once when she kissed him?
Sterek and Derek/Ms. Blake : my personal reaction
I’ve been trying to formulate my reaction both within the story to Derek/Ms Blake and how fandom has responded to it, and it’s all kind of messy in my head, but I’m going to put it out there because maybe other people are feeling the same. What I’m NOT doing is saying this is the only/right way to feel. It’s how I personally feel. I am not attacking anyone’s opinion, but I am not going to soft shoe it either and be supportive of things I don’t understand/agree with - especially when I feel it’s damaging in some way. I am coming at this from the perspective of a Sterek shipper, and I don’t consider that a caveat at all, but rather a starting point.
1) Within the show itself:
I think these two posts by Suaine and Qhuinn have some very valid points about HOW the start of Derek and Ms Blake’s romance begins. It’s very cliche, much more so even than Scott overhearing Allison’s phonecall and immediately fixating on her. That was designed to fit within the concept of werewolves, anchors, etc. What Davis did with Derek and Ms Blake was straight up create a romantic relationship out of cheesy music and a hand stretched out in help. More problematic is the fact that they used the heteronormative expectations of viewers to create the romantic relationship in viewer minds without ever having them speak a word to each other. This is problematic in two-fold ways. First, it is based not on character chemistry or flirty interactions but on heteronormative romantic tropes - it’s purely designed to create a sense of romance with zero buildup/work. It’s like shipping a couple from the cover of a romance novel, without bothering to read the actual book. We all know Derek, but we don’t know Ms Blake and it’s a disservice to her character to have their romance start via cliches and not character moments. The second reason that it is so problematic is that they did this in the season after they discovered the popularity of Sterek, a fanon romantic relationship built of on many more scenes/chemistry, etc than Derek and Ms Blake were given. Yet Davis decided to straight up use heteronormative tropes and audience conditioning to show a het romance happening. Knowing how much more effort has to be made for non-Sterek fans see a romantic relationship between Stiles&Derek because of those same heteronormative assumptions - despite certain similarities between this scene in 3x03 to Derek saving Stiles in 2x02 - Davis went with the easy, heteronormative cliche route to show the start to Derek and Ms Blake’s romance. It bugs me, because it feels like Davis decided it was just easier to write a het romance and see how fans react, then to go for the harder writing of a Sterek slowburn because it bucks the assumptions of the non-shipping audience.
Now, while I find the start to their romance extremely forced, it’s possible that in the next few eps they will have more scenes together that show their chemistry/makes it more romantic. It was a bad start, but it could get better. And I personally am not opposed to Derek (or Stiles) having a relationship with someone else so long as it’s transitory. And given Jeff Davis has a bedside book titled “How to Torment Derek Hale” it would be probably the most shocking thing the show has ever done if their relationship works out. So while it’s off to an inauspicious start, and while I’m unhappy with Davis’ choice to do it at all, I’m not going to assume I’ll hate it. I won’t ship it, but we’ll see how the season goes.
2) How fandom reacts:
So, I really don’t like when slash fans respond to a love interest by hating on the character purely for being a woman and love interest. I think we’ve all seen the cardboard cutouts for characters many shows call love interests and are duly nervous - but insulting her purely for her gender is out of line.
On the other hand, I really don’t like when Sterek fans fall over themselves to show support for Derek/Ms Blake, either out of some misguided sense of fairness/not wanting to seem like a crazy shipper or because they truly like it. Here’s where things get dicy and I’m not saying people should do this or that, my way is right, whatever. I’m explaining my personal feeling. You know why I don’t like it when Sterek fans support Derek/Ms Blake? I feel like Davis is testing our resolve, seeing if he can convince people that Derek/someone else or Stiles/someone else is an acceptable substitute for Sterek, which would be harder for him to write. I feel like every time a Sterek shipper ships Derek/Ms Blake after seeing only the cliche romantic trope of their meeting, the probability of Sterek going canon decreases a little because it’s telling Davis that it’s ok to substitute an easier het romance for a m/m romance between two not immediately identified as gay characters. So honestly, every time I see a name on my dashboard who I know ships Sterek saying they also love Derek/Ms Blake I flinch a lot. I’m not invalidating anyone’s right to feel that way, I’m explaining how I feel when I see it, which is a different thing.
So, my take away is not that Derek/Ms Blake is a threat to Sterek because I doubt it is long term. It’s that I’m already side eyeing it because it didn’t start in a way that supports the characters themselves. And it’s that I’m worried Davis is testing Sterek fans to see if he can get away with substituting a het romance instead.
This is EXACTLY why, my personal feelings aside, the fandom reaction has broken my heart yesterday.
The question keeps coming up, “why don’t queer slash fans care more about canonical queer characters.”
It’s the “Did you stop beating your wife” of fandom questions. It’s leading. It’s reductionist.
There is the obvious answer — Queer fans are people, and people in general care more about main characters most directly influential to the main storyline of any tv show, book, movie, etc. The vast majority of queer characters are minor characters crammed in for politically correct purposes, without any real character development. The few that do get actual development are usually still not central to the plot of the show. I often feel when people ask me this question that they are essentially asking me, “Why aren’t you grateful for table scraps?”
Because I’m not a fucking dog?
The few cases in which queer characters do get to be main characters central to the plot, the story usually revolves entirely around their queerness. And when I say queerness I mean gayness. Because let’s face it, no one in the media takes bisexuality seriously.
With precious few notable exceptions in niche genres, all the bisexuals on television are women. This is because the media doesn’t take female sexuality seriously. This is because the media doesn’t take women seriously. The media is going to keep dismissing bisexuality for as long as bisexuality is coded female only.
People in Teen Wolf ask, “Why aren’t you more invested in Danny? Why aren’t you fighting for him to have more backstory and more plotlines.”
As a media consumer and a pragmatist, the logic of this question is completely backwards. “Why aren’t you invested in a character that lacks flaws, motivation, depth, and for that matter anything else that might make you invested in said character? Isn’t it your moral duty as a queer/woman/POC to base all your character preferences on how similar a character’s minority status is to your own?”
I feel like the people asking these questions are asking me to choose what emotions I feel based on ideals. They’re asking me to choose between being a feminist/poc activist/queer advocate and being human.
I think of High School musical, whose entire fandom following both slash and het ships a multiracial pairing. Not out of moral duty, but because the POC in that movie series are well written and central to the plot.
Often when a show has a lot of race/sex/gender diverse cast you will hear white/cis/het people complain that the show is “trying too hard” to be diverse.
The fact is, oftentimes minority characters do seem awkwardly placed in a storyline, for the sole purpose of being politically correct. And they do feel out of place and unnecessary. And the problem isn’t that the show creators are “trying too hard.”
They’re not trying hard enough. They thought it was enough to slap on a few characters haphazardly, without fully integrating them into the storyline.
I think people need to focus more on how women/poc/queer characters are represented, instead of just focusing on how many.
No one seems to ask why lesbians read/write m/m slash.
I’ve met a lot of lesbians who read/write m/m slash.
People like to assume that slash is purely voyeurism and than compare it to “straight men watching mainstream lesbian porn.” That comparison is pure bullshit. Accusing lesbian/bisexual women of voyeuristically fetishizing gay male porn, for that matter accusing women of fetishizing men in general is like accusing black affirmative action advocates of reverse racism.
Anyone can be a bigot, but racism is bigotry + power. Sexism is bigotry+power. Transmisogyny (prejudice by cisgendered people towards transgendered/genderqueer people) is bigotry+power. Monosexism (prejudice by people attracted to one gender towards people attracted to more than one gender) is bigotry+power.
There’s a whole conversation that needs to be had, about slash as escapism, rather than voyeurism. About allegories. Not in this post. Maybe later. I have a post in the works.