I am sick and tired of the way we critique misogyny in fandom.
Why is it always “shame fanwork creators (overwhelmingly young women and queer ppl) for not including enough female characters” and never “question the fact that we’ve created a media culture where canonical female characters are by and large so boring that no one wants to create fanworks based on them?” (Not to mention the fact that any person who dares to include an original female character in a fic will have the deadly accusation of “Mary Sue” leveled at them, even if they’ve written the most well-rounded character in the world)
Why do we talk about the danger of fetishization when straight women are writing about male/male pairings, and never think about the fact that slash is often being written by young women who have been socialized to be so ashamed of their sexuality that their own fantasies never include people of their own gender?
Why are we placing the burden for destroying problematic tropes about sexuality and romance exclusively on this tiny, relatively powerless subculture made up of relatively powerless people who are creating media exclusively for their own enjoyment, and not on the gigantic megacorporations that are profiting off the romanticization of abusive, unhealthy, destructive relationships, an attitude fans are only repeating?
Why do defenses of fic always turn to “it’s not all gay porn !!!1!!!!111” as an argument? What’s wrong with people creating erotica that they can enjoy, when almost no one is making mainstream porn for the audience that reads fic, when people can explore potentially problematic or even dangerous kinks/desires without actual performers having to participate in making video porn, when the “gay porn” side of fandom can lead to some of the most wonderfully freeing discussions about sexuality possible in our society?
Say I write a fanfiction. The only female character complies to the problematic sassy/helpful best friend trope, mostly because the story revolves around two main male characters (well-developed in canon, with lots of canon jokes about how much they love each other, and played by male actors I find extremely attractive) getting together and having a fair amount of extremely explicit sex. This fic is read by, oh, 200 people, all of whom are already familiar with the conventions of fandom. How does that compare to the literal millions of people who watched, for example, the first Hobbit movie, which contained (as I recall) no women or queer characters at all, and had an audience full of all kinds of people, likely including little girls who are looking up on screen and learning that their stories aren’t seen as worth telling?
I’m not saying fandom tropes aren’t harmful, I’m just saying we should look at the scope of the damage done by them as opposed to, oh, every other kind of media ever, and then think about why we’ve chosen to shit all over the not-for-profit hobbies of young women and queer people.